Then the King chose a kingdom that would be imperishable even in a future life, while in this life, he sought strength to destroy the strength of his enemies and thereby the restoration of his own kingdom. But the wise merchant, whose mind was full of dispassion for the world, chose the knowledge, which releases one from the attachment of ‘mine’ and ‘I’.
Suratha is “one who has a good chariot”. The body is the chariot while the Self is the rider. Samadhi, on the other hand is a merchant representing integrated or concentrated or focussed mind, a mind that is absorbed in meditation. 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 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. Thus Suratha (a good chariot) and Samadhi (a concentrated or focused mind) cannot serve their true purpose, cannot find true happiness till they meet the sage Medhas (intellect or insight or knowledge), who can lead them to the Goddess, to the Supreme Self.
Suratha, who has unfinished business, asks for the return of his earthly kingdom, followed by an imperishable kingdom in the next life. The merchant Samadhi, on the other hand, has grown wise and dispassionate. He has become free from worldly attachment. His mind is now fixed only on Supreme knowledge, the Goddess. So he asks for the supreme knowledge that will dissolve the bondage of worldly existence.