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Learning meditation from the King and the Merchant in The Devi Mahatmya

The king and the merchant are archetypal characters. We are all a bit like the king and the merchant. We all share their predicament. At some point of time we all experience suffering, hurt and loss. At times our close friends, relatives, and family members fail us. In spite of our deep hurts we still cling on to our old ways and old associations. We fail to discern. We fail to learn from our past. Instead we simply brood over the past constantly reliving our miseries in the present. The king and the merchant find themselves in the hermitage of a great sage in whose hermitage even wild beasts have successfully tamed themselves of their ferocity. Yet the king and the merchant find it hard to awaken their abilities to discern or be dispassionate. Here again we share their plight. Most of us go to a temple or an ashram or a spiritual retreat or a great saint only to find that the mind is still under the conditioning of the past. We worry about our losses and hurts. It would be good if we could reflect rather than brood over our losses and hurts. This is our predicament. 

Returning back to the merchant Samadhi, though he had the natural inborn ability to engage his mind in meditation, in single minded pursuit, it did not bring him happiness. Instead the end result was unhappiness. Why? He concentrated on wealth alone. The object of his single- minded pursuit was only material wealth. You always get what you pursue with a focused mind, whatever you meditate on you attain that. The merchant focused on the riches of material existence. The external world is impermanent (anitya). Existential suffering is an inevitable consequence of existence. Permanent happiness cannot come from an impermanent, phenomenal, material world. Lasting happiness is possible only through the eternal (nitya) or the spiritual. The only unchanging principle in this ever changing world is The Supreme Self, The Divine Mother. She Is The Only Object Of Meditation that can bring lasting happiness, both in the present and hereafter. Unless the chariot (body), the reins (mind) and the intellect (buddhi), all serve the rider’s (Self) purpose, the chariot is useless.