Sri Ramakrishna used to say that God is like the wish-fulfilling tree of the celestial world (Kalpataru) which grants whatever one asks of it. But, one should be careful while approaching it and ensure that one’s mind has been purified by spiritual practices and is free from worldly desires. To illustrate this point he used to tell a beautiful story.
A weary traveler, who had been walking under the sun for many hours and was thoroughly exhausted, sat down in the shade of a wayside tree to rest for a while. He was not aware that he was sitting under the celestial Kalpataru Tree. The moment he thought, what a comfort it would be if he could get a soft bed to sleep on, he found a nice bed by his side. He felt astonished, but all the same stretched himself on the bed. Then he thought how pleasant it would be if a young damsel were to come there and gently stroke his legs. In an instant this wish was also fulfilled. Then he felt very hungry and wished for some food. He was astonished to see a variety of delicious items of food before him. He finished eating and then stretched himself again on the bed. The events of the day began to revolve in his mind. While thus occupied he thought what would happen if a tiger were to attack him. At once a large ticket attacked and killed him. He thus lost his life.
Sri Ramakrishna would add, such is the fate of men in general. If during meditation one were to pray for worldly things, there are chances of the desires being fulfilled to some extent. But, one should be aware of the threat of the tigers behind the gifts one gets. Those tigers i.e. disease, bereavement, loss of honour, wealth, etc. are a thousand times more terrible than the live animal tiger.