Faith

Raja rishi Janaka

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While describing Sita’s joy on receiving Rama’s ring from Hanuman, Valmiki says “Janaki experienced bliss” to signify her realised state that is on a par with that of her father Janaka, pointed out Sri B. Sundarkumar in a discourse. Janaka, king of Mithila and father of Sita, is renowned as a raja rishi, since at heart he is a realised soul. It is held that Janaka used to receive instruction on Vedanta Sastra from Yagnyavalkya, an important sage in the Upanishads whose teachings are valuable.

This sage’s hermitage was situated on the outskirts of Mithila. Yagnyavalkya was quick to notice that Janaka not only easily imbibed his teachings but also put them in practice. The sage would begin his classes only after Janaka took his place among the disciples. The rest of the disciples began to feel that the preceptor showed partiality and the sage realised this feeling through his yogic power. He decided to set their minds at rest and conjured through his yogic power the illusion that Mithila was in flames. The disciples seemed visibly upset and ran out to save whatever little was there of their belongings. But Janaka did not stir from his place. He did not feel any need to be perturbed as he said he owns nothing and least of all Mithila. “Infinite indeed is my wealth of which nothing is mine. If Mithila is burnt, nothing that is mine is burnt.” The disciples then realised their mistake.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna celebrates Janaka as a liberated soul and as an example of a karma yogi. Krishna tells Arjuna that by karma yoga, Janaka attained to perfection. Janaka ruled giving up his personal sense of being the worker. He carried on with his work and was not perturbed by the events of the world.

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Printable version | May 23, 2019 7:03:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/raja-rishi-janaka/article6321708.ece

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