There was a good-natured millionaire in the town. Three beggars thought of approaching him for help. The first man went to the millionaire and said: “O Lord! I want hundred rupees. Please give me.” The millionaire was taken aback at this man’s impudence. “What! You demand hundred rupees from me as though I owe you the money! How dare you? How can I afford to give hundred rupees to a single beggar? Here, take these ten rupees and get away,” he said.
The man went away with the ten rupees.
The next beggar went to the millionaire and said: “Oh Lord! I have not taken a square meal for the past ten days. Please help me.” “How much do you want?” asked the millionaire?
“Whatever you give me, “Oh Lord! Replied the beggar.
“Here, take this thousand rupee note. You can have nice food for at least 10 days.” The beggar walked away with the thousand rupee note.
The third beggar came. “Oh Lord, I have heard about your noble qualities. Therefore, I have come to see you. Men of such charitable disposition are verily the manifestations of God on earth,” he said.
“Please sit down,” said the millionaire. “You appear to be tired. Please take this food,” he said, and offered food to the beggar. “Now please tell me what I can do for you.”
“Oh Lord,” replied the beggar; “I merely came to meet such a noble personage that you are. You have given me this rich food already. What more need I get from you? You have already shown extraordinary kindness towards me. May God bless you?”
But the millionaire, struck by the beggar’s spirit, begged of the beggar to remain with him, built a decent house for him in his own compound, and looked after him for the rest of his life.
God is like this good millionaire. Three classes of people approach Him, with three different desires and prayers. There is the greedy man full of vanity, full of arrogance, full of desires. He demands the objects of worldly enjoyment from God. Since this man, whatever be his vile desires, has had the good sense to approach God, He grants him some part of the desired objects (even these very soon pass away, just as the two rupees the first beggar got are spent before nightfall).
The other type of devotee prays to the Lord for relief from the sufferings of the world, but is better than the first one, in as much as he is ready to abide by His Will. To him the Lord grants full relief from suffering, and bestows on him much wealth and property.
The third type he merely prays to the Lord: “O Lord, Thou art Existence-Absolute, Knowledge-Absolute, Bliss-Absolute, etc., etc.” What does he want? Nothing. But the Lord is highly pleased with his spirit of renunciation, of desirelessness and of self-surrender.
Therefore, He makes him eat His own food, i.e., he grants this man Supreme Devotion to Himself. Over and above this, He makes the devotee to live in His own House for ever afterwards this devotee dwells in the Lord’s Abode as a Liberated Sage.
Last but not least, if the only prayer you say in your life is thank you that would suffice.