My teacher recounted the story of Queen Chudala of the Malava kingdom.
Chudala spent the morning in meditation, and aided King Sikidvaj in governing the kingdom during the day.
The King thought the Queen was only wasting her time in meditation. However, as the days passed, he saw the Queen was radiant and calm even after her meditation, and her decisions improved the kingdom’s governance.
Envious of her state, the King said that he would give up his kingdom, and retreat to the forest to meditate and be calm and at peace. The King entrusted the kingdom to Queen Chudala and left for the forests.
Many years passed, and the Queen knew in her heart that Sikidvaj was still not at peace. She dressed like a saint, and went to meet him.
The King tells the saint that he finds peace during samadhi, but at other times, the mind is just as restless as it always was.
And the saint said, “Just let go.” Sikidvaj said what more is there to give up, I gave up a kingdom. “Let me burn my hut and staff,” he said. When he had done so, the saint repeated, “Let go.” “I will burn my body,” said Sikidvaj, “it is the only thing left.”
The saint said even then you will not be free. “Look deep into your mind,” was the advice, “and you will see the ‘I’ that says I gave up my kingdom, I burnt my hut. Even if the body burns, that ‘I’ will continue, and there is no peace. Burn the ‘I’.”
Enlightenment struck Sikidvaj at this point, and he attained a state of permanent meditation. “You can now govern again,” said Queen Chudala, “for even as you are King, you will perform your duty without attachment, as did the great King Janak.”
The great saint-poet Bhai Gurdas says:
Meditation most high—that title goes to King Janak
For he is truly detached even as he is surrounded by wealth.