Biographies | Men
Janak, Raajaa-Some Incidents
See Nimi Vansh (according to Bhaagvat Puraan);
See also Ashtaavakra
As we know about Janak that in spite of being a King he used to live like a Yogee. That is why he is called Raajarshi also because in spite of being a king he lived like a Rishi. He is called Videh (Vi means not and Deh means body, so Videh means who is not concerned with the body) also as he did not care for his body. He has a few stories connected to a few Rishi. Some of them are given here...
(1) Janak and Ashtaavakra
(2) Janak and Ashtaavakra
He obtained Aatm Gyaan (spiritual knowledge) from Ashtaavakra Jee. This knowledge is known as Ashtaavakra Geetaa. How he got this Gyaan from him is an interesting story. King Janak was known for inviting learned people in his court and to learn from them spiritual knowledge. Once he did so by announcing that "If there is anyone who is a great scholar, Pandit, Mahaatmaa, Yogee, whosoever he may be, let him come and teach me the knowledge of Aatmaa." In this message he also expected that the person will teach him the Aatm Gyaan within moments - even during the same time in which he rode his horse and settle down on him. This condition was so hard that none could dare to come to him.
At this point a boy Ashtaavakra entered the kingdom of Mithilaa. During his journey he met many sages and learned people who had long faces. When he asked them the reason, he came to know about the announcement of the King. Ashtaavakra said - "What is the matter of worrying in this. I will solve his problem soon." So he went to the King and said - "O King, I can do what you want. I can make you enable to experience the knowledge of Aatmaa as you desire; but this sacred knowledge cannot be taught so easily. This palace is full of Rajo Gun and Tamo Gun. We will go to a place where there is only Sato Gun." So they left for a forest. Janak's bodyguards, as it was customary, wanted to follow him but he left them behind him.
After reaching in a forest Ashtaavakra said - "I am not going you that experience unless you accept my conditions. Although I am a boy, but I am old enough to be your Guru; and you are all-powerful King but still you are my disciple. So according to this, first you offer your Guru the Guru Dakshinaa." Janak Jee said - "Guru Dakshinaa is asked by the Guru, what do you want, I am prepared to give it to you." Ashtaavakra said - "I do not want any material thing from in the form of Guru Dakshinaa, I want your mind. You must give me your mind." Janak Jee said - "I gave it you. Till now it was my mind, but from now it is yours." Ashtaavakra asked the King to dismount his horse and sit down in the middle of the road. Ashtaavakra walked inside the forest and sat quietly under a tree.
King Janak was away from the palace for quite some time, so his bodyguards were restless, as where the King was. They started coming out of the palace one by one in search of the King. They followed the same road which the King took to go to the forest, and came to the place where the King was sitting in the middle of the road and the horse was standing before him. King was sitting his eyes closed like a stone statue. Ashtaavakra was nowhere to be seen. the guards thought that Ashtaavakra might have cast some spell over the King, so they went back to Prime Minister. The prime Minister came and called the King but he did not speak or move at all. Seeing this they all got frightened. The prime Minister brought the Queen there, that perhaps the Queen can help to wake up the King. Queen came and she also called him but to no avail.
Meanwhile the soldiers looked for Ashtaavakra in the forest and found him sitting under a tree quiet and like a statue. The soldiers caught hold him and asked him what had happened to the King? Ashtaavakra asked them why were they so much worried. The King was safe and there was nothing to be worried. They brought him to the King where he was sitting and showed him that how he was sitting there. Everybody had called him but to no avail. But when Ashtaavakra had come there, the King opened his eyes and spoke - "Swaamee" Ashtaavakra asked the King - "See, so many people have come to see you and you have not opened your eyes and not spoken to them.
(3) Janak and Ashtaavakra
Once Raja Janak was sleeping and had a dream where he was caught by
another king, stripped of his kingdom and clothes and made to live
One day when Rishi Ashtaakvakra
came to his Palace, he enquired of him about his dream - "What was
Real? Was that dream Real or is this Real?" and they conversed as
Janak Jee asked - "O Lord, Then what is Real?"
Version of this Story
In the city of Mithilaa, there lived the sage Uddaalak and his wife Sujaataa with their young son Ashtaavakra. He was named Ashtaavakra because his body was bent from 8 places (Asht means 8, and Vakra means crooked, so Ashtaavakra means whose body is crooked from 8 places). One day his father did not retun from his teaching work, and Ashtaavakra saw that his mother was worried. he asked his molther about his father. Sujaataa said - "He has gone to reply the King's question and it seems that he has also not been able to answer his question so the King must have thrown him in his prison cell. he has done this to other people also who could not reply his question." Hearing this ashtaavakra got ready to go to the King in spite of his mother warning.
As Ashtaavakra entered King's court, he was welcomed by the laughter of his cortiers. Ashtaavakra said - "O King, Is your court full of shoemakers?" Everybody got silent hearing this rude voice. The King asked him politely - "Why do you say so to my most respected courtiers?" Ashtaavakra said - "Because they are looking at my body, deformities and young age only?" The King understood and the courtiers also realized their mistake. Ashtaavakra sat on the seat which was reserved for the people who came to answer the King's question. He asked the King - "So, What is your question?" King Janak told him his dream and asked its meaning. Ashtaavakra answered - "O King, Neither the dream, nor the world we see around are real, if we lose, if we lose the feeling of peace and contentment within us. All things change and that which remains true, is within us. Feeling that reality dispels all doubts, but thinking and talking only leads to more doubt and discontentment. If you truly wish to know yourself, I have that mirror and I can show you."
King Janak got convinced with the child. he accepted his offer and then the King became his disciple. Ashtaavakra's father Uddaalak and other prisoners were released.
(3) Janak and
Janak was a known disciple of Yaagyavalkya too. Their one story comes in Brihadaaranyak Upanishad. Once King Janak organized an assembly of learned people and kept 10,000 cows along with 10 gold coins on everyone's horn, on stake that whosoever is the most learned, could take them. Yaagyavalkya and Gaargee were also there. For a while all sat quiet, then Yaagyavalkya ordered his one disciple Somshravaa to drive those cows to his Aashram. Other people sitting there asked him - "How do you think without any discussion, that you are the most learned man?" Yaagyavalkya said - "I did not say that I am the most learned person, I needed these cows, that is why I am taking them." They said - "You cannot take them unless you have discussion with us." "You are most welcome." Then they had a discussion and Yaagyavalkya defeated everybody including Gaargee. This story is given in Brihadaaranyak Upanishad.
(4) Janak and Shuk Dev
(5) Janak and a Braahman
This story is a little similar to the story of Janak and Shuk Dev Jee. I read it on Internet. I am writing it here for public interest. In this story Janak wanted to reach him how to meditate.
There was once a great sage and his disciple. The sage send this disciple to the court of King Janak to learn how to meditate. The disciple did not want to go. Here he was, a Brahmin, a monk who had renounced the world. What could a King who was only a Kshatriya teach him. But since the master had ordered him he went. When he reached the court of the King, he saw the King living a very luxurious lifestyle. He was disgusted; a great condemnation arose in him. What could such a person have to teach a monk. He bowed to the king. King Janak saw his mental state and said that if he wanted he (the monk) could return the very next day. On this condition the monk agreed to stay the night.
King Janak took every care of the monks needs. After having him fed and washed he personally escorted the monk to the bedroom where he was to spend the night. As can be expected the bedroom was luxurious and comfortable. The monk got into bed and tried to sleep. Just then he saw hanging above him a sword suspended from above from a thin thread. The slightest touch of breeze and the sword could fall injuring or even killing him. The monk spent the entire night in a state of fear and extreme alertness since he knew that if he stopped being watchful for even a moment he might lose his life. The next morning King Janak asked the monk if he had spent a comfortable night. The monk grew indignant and asked what was the meaning of having him sleep under a naked sward. He said that he had not slept the whole night despite being very tired from his long journey.
King Janak replied that this was exactly the lesson on how to meditate that he had wanted the monk to learn. The monk had to be alert and aware the whole night. It was a matter of life and death to him. This was the teaching of the King Janak. King Janak said that despite living in luxury and all else he always remained aware of the sword hanging over his head. The sword was invisible, but it was very real. It was his own impending death. Since King Janak kept the awareness of death in his mind, he was able to stay detached from his luxurious lifestyle. He knew that it could end any moment; that in fact it would inevitably end one day. In this manner he lived in the palace and yet was a hermit.
Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 03/07/14