Sage Vyasa was worried because his son Suka was not inclined to marry. So he advised him to go to Mithila and meet King Janaka. Vyasa said Janaka was a gnani.
He further said Janaka was a king, but did not allow his royal duties or his duties as a family man to steer him away from the spiritual path. Suka was not convinced by his father’s words, for family ties bind a person to worldly life. That being the case how could Janaka be considered a gnani?
Anyway, upon his father’s insistence, he set off in the direction of Mithila. Those being days of difficult travel, it took him some years to reach Mithila, and to do this, he had to cross mountains and face all kinds of difficulties, but it was his desire to see Janaka that kept him going, explained Sengalipuram Rama Dikshitar, in a discourse.
After a long and arduous journey, Suka reached Mithila. King Janaka’s city was so safe that there were no prescribed punishments for crimes. The reason for this was that there were no crimes at all in Mithila and therefore there was no need for punishments! King Janaka was so just and was such an evolved soul that his kingdom was free from strife and his subjects enjoyed peace and safety.
But the palace guards there refused to let Suka in. They wanted to know who he was. Suka, instead of answering their queries, told them that the purpose of his visit had been served, and that he was going to head back home. The guards were puzzled, for the man before them had expressed a desire to see the king, but now suddenly seemed to have changed his mind. Moreover, if he had wanted to meet the king, how could he say that the purpose of his visit had been served, when he had not yet met the king? Suka explained what his words meant. He had wanted to meet the king of Mithila. To do that, he had faced all kinds of difficulties. All of these problems were the result of his desire to meet Janaka. So the cause for his problems was desire. The lesson he had learnt was that desire of any kind led to problems.