The Fable of Four Wives

Metaphorical wisdom

An ancient Vedic Indian Story of a man with four wives that was at some point taken literally by some as they could never understood the essence and secret of this tale:

There was a rich man who bought and sold things, earn and lose money and a life of twists and turns, of fortunes and misfortunes; tragedies and good times. This man had four wives, he loved the fourth one very dearly, he would be lost in her charms He would adorn her with jewellery, rich dresses for her and entertain with her all the time, giving all his best. She loved him, he loved her. Both were forever thinking of each other and dint know there was more to life than consumption.

He also loved the third wife. The third wife was a very beautiful, dear to him, he would give her everything, she was the one who controlled everything in his life. Even though very proud of her, always wanted to show off her to his friends. However, he could not trust and intuitively feared that she might run away with some other men.

He also loved the second wife, perhaps very considerate, trustworthy, she was the one to whom he would tell all his personal matters, he would always talk to his second wife about life, its problems, failures, successes and how people behaved strange. When there were problems, he turned to his second wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.

His first spouse the most loyal partner, contributions in helping him achieve wealth and as well as taking care of the household. However, he wasn't too attached to her, she was always there, modest, always trying her best to show herself but he would ignore her, ya I will talk to her one day when free. He found her boring at times as he mostly dreamed of beautiful face of third and passionate nature of his fourth spouse.

One day the man suddenly fell ill as excessive partying, the so called enjoyments and excessive worries took toll on him and he was on his death bed, all of his wives were gathered around him, he said "My dear beautiful beloveds, I don't want to die alone, who of you will come with me?"

He called his fourth wife and said "You are the dearest to my heart, I have always loved you, I have given you the best of all, now the time has come for me to die, will you come with me? would you please join me?" The wife said "No are you crazy" and turned back and went away. His heart was broken into pieces.

Sadly he called his third wife to the front and said "I am going to die, will you come with me?" to that she said "No way, the moment you die, I am going with somebody else; there is a line of admirers; who will give their life just to see me", Good luck and she turned her back and went away.

He called his second wife and asked her the same question, she said "Oh dear, I lament that you are dying, but I can only come up to your cemetery, I will be with you until there and turned back.

From behind he heard a meek voice "I will come with you, I have always been with you and I will be with you forever. We are inseparable. This body is temporary but our bond is permanent", he looked at his first wife, forlorn, broken and big tears flowing from his eyes he said his last words "Oh My real friend, my only real partner, I have always neglected you, you look so abandoned, now my life has come to an end, I wish I knew you loved me more than anybody when I was healthy. I feel very sad I neglected you all this time" and he died.

In the story, Fourth spouse represents the body, its sensual attractions, its cravings and clinging to so called pleasure to satisfy the senses, which we lose when the physical body dies.

The Third represents wealth or so called assets, properties, possessions, status and wealth that are mainly to provide support to the sensual and physical life; which others get after one leaves body. Entire life we fight, lie, work hard to amass this wealth and at end it goes into hands of some ungrateful people who abuse it.

The Second spouse all the friends and family who can only come up to do the last rites to good bye to the lifeless body. Does not matter how close all had been there or not for us when we are alive and kicking with energy, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave. Once body is abandoned and dumped, none of them is our friend nor family. It was all a dream that was.

The first spouse represents the soul, that you can feel via your still mind, it is always there but unnoticed, the dearest and important one is ignored and one often realizes it only at the end of life. We ignore our soul, the only real friend we have, is neglected, suppressed in pursuits of lying, faking and accumulating temporary pleasures and useless things that will never contribute to our real spiritual growth.

Isn't it time to look behind the stories for the real meaning, to dig more into our soul, look within, look our acts, our ignorance, arrogance and foolishness, Before the fuel of life is completely burned?

By Dr Naila Shirazi - - Facebook - more posts

*A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison.


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