People have not shopped for clothing, shoes, and other luxury items for more than 2 months. Yet, their wardrobes are certainly packed with jillions of these items which they would have barely used. If an inventory is done in the whole world, probably 75% of what has been stored in our wardrobes are nonessential items. And they will still be redundant after COVID restrictions are lifted. Why so much of buying when we don’t need them? Ironically, the trade must go on…. And the marketplace has to buzz and fizz….

“Saudaa kare so jaane, kaayaa gadh mein laagal baazaar
Yaa kaayaa mein haat lagaayaa, baithe saahoukaar”

Those who are good at buying and selling know that the best market is in the fort of this body. The money-lender has set up his booth in this marketplace. Satguru Kabir Saheb is directing us to the right spot where we should be selling (getting rid of) our unwanted items and buying the precious gem. The art of good trading is being taught to us here. The body is being likened to a fort; meaning it has been made strong enough to protect itself from enemies. However, if a fort is unattended, enemies can still force their way in. It is our duty to safeguard it. Since it is a stronghold, it has a marketplace with a dealer in precious stones. That dealer is our discriminative power to differentiate between good and bad, our intellect. If we are shrewd traders, we will sell our useless items and try to get the highest price in exchange for them. What we want to obtain is spiritual knowledge, and what we want to get rid of are all immoral values.

“Yaa kaayaa mein chor phirat hai, loocche deeth labaar
Yaa kaayaa mein laakh jawaahar, ratna ki khaan apaar”

Thieves, pilferers, scoundrels, and vagabonds are also roaming in this fort (body). Because the fort abounds in precious stones and gems. The thieves and other evil characters are anger, greed, attachment, lust, hatred and so on. These qualities are always looking for ways to slow down our progress on the spiritual path. But the intrinsic values of the fort (human body) are love, compassion, forgiveness, contentment, patience and so on. And there is an abundance of these good qualities in us. First, we have to be strong enough to safeguard ourselves, preventing the thieves from entering our ‘fort’, and secondly, we have to use our intellect to stop any of them that may be present in us from manifesting themselves. As Satguru Kabir Saheb says, we have to make use of the ‘dealer’ in us. Exchange the bad for the good.

We have to acknowledge that, being born human, we have been loaded with all that we need to embark on the path leading to liberation. If we choose the wrong boat, we will end up in the whirlpool sending us back to square one.

Mahant Jay Jaggessur, Kabir Association of Toronto.