Who was Raja Janaka?! King or Ascetic?! Four Relevant Stories with Guru Janaka & Nachiketa – the Disciple

Shri Mataji – Guru & Founder of Free Sahaja Yoga Meditation:
`In the past, very few people got Realization. Raja Janaka gave realization to only one person, Nachiketa. It was a very slow process. One Guru gave realization to only one Disciple (out of thousands)`

(quote: Synopsis of Felicitation Ceremony Talk , Delhi, India 21/03/92)

Introducing King & Guru Janaka

This time we`ll find out more about Shri Janaka, the first Primordial Master to be studied at the Halton classes during the popular Sahaj Guru Game.  A brief introduction follows.  He is the father of Shri Sita who represents the feminine aspect of the divine principle and power that governs the Right Heart Chakra. Queen Sita was the beloved spouse of King Rama who embodied the ideal man as a son, a king, a husband and a father. Shri Mataji is explaining the connection with our chakras- subtle energy centers – and the powers that govern them. We present 2 excerpts from Shri Mataji`s lectures on this principle of evolution (Shri Mahalakshmi):

Prophets & Chakras & Deities in Pure Connections

`Mahalakshmi is an incarnation of the Lakshmi, the power of Vishnu (governs the third subtle centre: Nabhi chakra). When in a human being the desire to rise higher comes in, the Lakshmi principle becomes the Mahalakshmi principle. Also at the time of the Prophets, Mahalakshmi incarnates as a Pure Relationship with them. Like Raja Janaka’s daughter was Janaki, means Sita.` (Shri Mataji, in Munich 1983)

`Now, this Mahalakshmi has taken birth so many times amongst us. Let’s see. First of all there is a very close relation between the principle of Mahalakshmi and the Guru. In this relationship there is Love and Purity. Now, if you look from the beginning, all those great Gurus had a daughter or a sister. As one of those relations Mahalakshmi took birth. Like Janaka’s daughter, Sita, was the swarupa (incarnation in Sanskrit) of  Mahalakshmi, she was the tattwa (principle in Sanskrit) of Mahalakshmi. Sita was Mahalakshmi and the daughter of Janaka.` (Shri Mataji, in Sangli 1986)

King Janaka`s Love for God: Shri Vishu-Shri Rama

`When Janaka had seen for the very first time Shri Rama and Shri Lakshmana (the 2 brothers when they were children), he was curious to know about their identities , so he asked:

“O lord of the sages, please do not hide anything from me, tell me who are these two children? The supreme Lord in whose thoughts my mind is completely engrossed, does the same Lord manifest in these two children? My mind which has renounced everything and is not the least disturbed by desires is behaving strangely today. The effects which the red-legged partridge has on its heart after seeing the Moon, I am experiencing the same after seeing these two children”.

King Janaka whose mind and heart was engrossed in thoughts of God, was impressed by the sight of Rama and Lakshmana. The thought of the unseen Almighty vanished from his mind and was replaced by the thoughts of Shri Rama. It was but natural because who would like to run after the unseen, if he is fortunate enough to see the ‘real’.

Janaka’s affection for Shri Rama was boundless. This is evident in the following incident: After marrying Sita, Shri Rama was on his, way back to Ayodhya along with the marriage procession. Janaka too came along with them to see them off. Dashrath requested him to return back to his palace. But, not willing to let Rama go out of his sight, Janaka refused many times. After repeated insistence of Dashrath, he got down from the chariot with tears in his eyes. He came towards Shri Rama and said:

“O Rama, I do not have words for your praise”. Janaka had mystical love for Shri Rama which cannot be described in words. (from a sahaj material)

Back to King Janaka: The Milk Story or Lesson about Detachment

Raja Janaka was a God-Realized King. He is teaching us to have detachment in any circumstances and have a pure attention based on dharma (inner religion and moral conduct)  and the Spirit.

There is a beautiful significant story shared and explained in depth by Shri Mataji, shared in Divine Cool Breeze magazine, Jan-Feb 2055 issue:

“You know King Janaka was called ‘Vidheha’ (means also ‘dead’ or ‘eliberated from the body’). Great sage Narada asked him one day, ‘ Revered Sir, how are you called as Vidheha, you live in this world, how can you be a Vidheha?’ Raja Janaka said,’this is very simple. I will tell you about it in the evening. Now, please do this little job for me. There is milk in this bowl. You take this bowl & come along with me. Please see that not a single drop of milk is spilled on the Earth. Then only I will tell you why I am called Vidheha’. Narada took the bowl & followed Janaka everywhere. He had to be very careful because the bowl was such that by the slightest movement the milk might have spilled. He got very tired. When they returned in the evening,

Narada asked ‘Please tell me now, I am quite fed up with carrying this bowl & following you everywhere at the same time.`

Raja Janaka said, `First of all tell me what you have seen?’

Narada, `Nothing except this bowl of milk so that it won’t spill.`

Raja Janaka, “Didn’t you see, there was a big procession in my honour, then there was a court wherein, there was programme of dancing? Didn’t you see anything?

Narada said, “No sir, I have not seen anything”.

Raja Janaka, `My child, likewise with Me, I also see nothing. All the time, I just watch my attention. Where is it going? Making sure that it won’t spill away like the milk.`

“This sort of attention one has to develop: chitta nirod’. Nirod means the saving of your attention, so your attention should not be on saving money & worldly things and all that, but attention itself must be saved. As you watch your money, as you watch your road when you drive, as you watch your child, when it is growing, as you watch the beauty of your wife, or the care of your husband, all put together you watch your Self – your attention. (Shri Mataji)

Nachiketa`s Choice: Pearls or Self-Realization as Satisfaction

“You should be very well dignified personalities.  But there should be Detachment. As you saw, Raja Janaka, he was a king and still he was so detached, that all the saints used to go and touch the feet of Raja Janaka.  So there was this fellow called Natchiketa, he asked his master “why do you touch his feet? – he is a king”.  So the master said “all right – you go and meet him now”.  So what he saw was that Janaka had all the luxuries of life.  He was living in the palace and in the procession there were 1,000’s and 1,000’s of people who were throwing pearls on him.  So Natchiketa thought he should get one pearl at least.  Next day, he went to Raja Janaka and asked him – “give me self-realization”.  So Raja Janaka said “I can give you all my kingdom but not self-realization, it’s very difficult because you are possessed by the idea of money, such a person cannot get self-realization.  He said, “Alright, I will live here until I get realization.  Next day – Raja Janaka took him for a bath in the river and he was enjoying the bath and people came and told him that there is a fire in his palace.  But Raja Janaka was meditating – he didn’t bother.  Then they said that the people who are in the palace had run away.  Then he says that somebody said that now the fire is coming here.  Still Raja Janaka was meditating.  But Natchiketa ran out because his clothes were outside, so he ran out to save his clothes.  And still Raja Janaka was not bothered.  So when he came out he told him: `Natchiketa, this is all Mahamaya (the great power of illusion). This is how you are tested, if you are money oriented you cannot get Self-Realization.  She (Mahamaya) is the one who is testing.`

All the greedy people, all the people, for money’s sake, do all kinds of things, as you have here, Mafia’s, you see – will be all punished.  In any case they are not happy people, satisfied people,  they are all the time worried.

So first thing you must have is satisfaction. This is a very important thing in modern times to understand.  Because they said also, in the economics, that wants are not satiable in general.  You want today a carpet – all right, have it.  You work very hard to save money to buy a carpet, then you have the carpet, you want to have a house – you never enjoy the carpet for which you have worked so hard.  Then you have a house, so when you get the house, you want to have a car – then from car, you want, I think, helicopter, maybe an aeroplane.  This is how it goes on and you work so hard and have no satisfaction.  Because of this, in these modern times, people are extremely restless.  There is no peace in your heart but if you have this Laxmi principle in you, you will feel extremely satisfied with everything that isn’t materialistic.  If you have, well and good, if you don’t have, well and good.  But after that, this Mahalaxmi principle (that governs the subtle central channel of evolution) is awakened within you, that you start Seeking and then that is also, later on as you have seen, is granted, because you get your Self-Realization.` (Shri Mataji during the visit to Moscow, Russia, July16th, 1996)

Nachiketa`s Dilema: King or Ascetic ? How to become Ascetic ?

“… Now a question was asked whether you become an ascetic or you become detached. Now there is a confusion on this, very much. You think the one who wears a dress like a saint or an ascetic and who gives up his wife, family and runs away in the Himalayas, a ascetic, he is not. Because if goes and builds there a compound for himself with lock and key, then he is not an ascetic. He is ascetic from outside. But you become ascetic from inside. You are not attached to anything. Everything is there but you don’t get attached. I will tell you a story of Raja Janaka who was a great king in India. He was called as Bidehi – means an ascetic. And He was a king and whenever He went to any Ashram the saints used to get up and touch His feet. So one disciple of a guru got very angry .. his name was Nachiketa ..and he said (to his guru), “How can you all touch His (King Janaka’s) feet when He is a king and enjoying the life like a king, living like a king, wearing a crown? How can you touch His feet?” So the guru said that: ‘He (King Janaka)  is the Primordial Master. To Him it does not matter whether He lives in a palace or on the street. `So this Nachiketa went to Him (king Janaka) to see. And he was very bold and he told him that, “How can you call yourself a king and also an ascetic, allow people to call you an ascetic?” So He told that, “All right, tomorrow we will go to the bath together in a river.” And He told him now you go into meditation. I am going into meditation. So the people came and told that, “Your palace is on fire.” Still He was meditating. Then they said that, “All your things are being burnt. Your children and families are running away.” Still He was meditating. Then they came and shouted, “Now the fire is coming here and all your clothes will be burnt.” So Nachiketa ran out of the water to catch hold of his clothes and to look after it. But He was still meditating. After sometime He came out and Nachiketa said, “Aren’t you worried about your palace being burnt, everything being burnt?” So He said that, “When you live in the realm of divine power, the Brahma, that looks after you.” (excerpt from a Public Program lecture by Shri Mataji – Rome, 10 September 1983)

Sword, Fire and King`s Saintliness

Like Raja Janaka, he was the king so he had to wear ornaments, he had to wear beautiful clothes, he had to do everything and when Nachiketa went to him he was quite surprised that my guru has sent me to this king who is wearing all kind of dresses and this and that and he also had a big function of dancing. Nachiketa said he’s not a saint. Why my guru touches his feet? He’s a king. Of course Raja Janaka knew what he was thinking about. He said, “Why have you come here Nachiketa?”. He (Nachiketa) said, “I’m here to get my self realisation”. He (Raja Janaka) said, “You can take all my kingdom but its not easy to give you self realisation.” Nachiketa said, `Why? Whatever you say I’ll do.`So Raja Janaka put a big sword on Nachiketa’s head and asked him to sleep. He couldn’t sleep at all. Then they were having a bath, he said come and have bath in the river, people came and told that theirs a fire and everybody is running away and Raja Janaka was in his meditative mood. He was just mediating quietly. Nachiketa got a little upset. Then they said the fires coming here and all these cloths are going to be burnt. So Nachiketa ran out and saved his clothes but still Raja Janaka was meditating. Then they came out and Nachiketa found that nothing that was burnt was there. It was just an illusion for people. He was amazed. Then he realised what was wrong with him, that he was doubting the divine power itself. The one who was Janaka, who was a king was not bothered about his own powers, these are what? Because he’s today this, he has to do it. (Shri Mataji about herself🙂 I’m married, I have to wear a mangal sutra. So this is for tradition, the style. But inside he (King Janaka) was a saint, a very high level of saintliness.` (excerpt from synopsis of Shri Mataji`s talk in New Delhi, India, December 4, 1994)

All about Detachment

“A detachment develops within yourself. I don’t know if you have heard the story of Raja Janaka .. Raja Janaka was the father-in-law of Shri Rama. This Raja Janaka was a king and all the saints use to bow to him, so one fellow asked his guru, “Why is it you bow to this king? He is a king and what is so great?” He said, “He’s the only one who can give realization and he’s so high.” So he sent one of his disciples — his name was Natchiketa — to Raja Janaka. Raja Janaka told him, “No, you can ask anything, but I’ll not give you self realization.” He said, “No, sir, I must have it. But I want to know about myself.” So he said, “All right.” So first he took him with himself to have a bath in the river. I mean, many tests he took, but lastly. And there he was having his bath while people came and told that “Sir” — he was meditating. He was in thoughtless awareness, just enjoying himself. And they came and told that “Your palace is on fire.” Still he was meditating. Then they came and told him that “Now all the family’s running away from the palace.” Still he was meditating. Then they said, “The fire is coming here and will burn everything that you have.” Now this fellow ran out and he clutched his clothes because he thought, “This will be all burned.” But he was still in meditation. And then when he opened his eyes, he saw nothing has happened. `I know nothing has happened. And there’s nothing important to me.`

Shri Mataji: `So the Detachment is within. It’s not without. You don’t have to announce it. It is within. It’s something that you do everything. As I knew, I am a grandmother, I’m a mother, I’m a wife, my husband was holding a very big position, all that. I did everything, but there’s a kind of a detachment about it and this detachment can only be possible if you develop your spiritual powers. When your spirit shines, you see everything is useless and fruitless, but by giving up things, by renouncing things, you’re just pampering your ego by saying: ‘I have given up this. I have given up that.’ (Philadelphia Public Program, 1993)

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sir, you have shared with us rare details about Gura Janaka.. Thank you very much. U have also pointed out how Shri Matji is behaving like a normal house-wife, though She is the Atma-gnani. Fantastic.

    1. varun

      King Janaka has to be taken as an example of spirituality at peak living with worldly things around.. awesome articles these are

  2. Sunny K

    I want know Surname Of janak raja…! n his family history

  3. yuga

    GOOD MORNING i really want know the story about the king janak received liberation in his life just in a second. this particular story ,,, thank you .

  4. Sachin

    It was a a very good read, Shri Raja Janka is revered as being an ideal example of non-attachment to material possessions. He was intensely interested in spiritual discourse and considered himself free from worldly illusions. I grew up learning so much about Janka, no wonder he had the privilege of being father of Mata Seeta, Urmila.
    I always admired Ramayana, always cherished Raja Janaka and attributes he had.

    There are so many stories abut Janaka, nachiketa, Ashtavakra etc.

    Namaste !!

  5. Kyla

    Hello, I rather enjoyed how I came about landing on this article. Through a path of self-confusion and also pondering ascetism. I am content with the answers I found. The stories of King Janaka and Nachiketa were repeated with slight variations and as the article progresses, I found the subtle changes or additions, furtherings to the story added an appropriately graduated depth. This helped my appreciation of the essence of the story.
    I find the final quote particularly summarizing “When your spirit shines, you see everything is useless and fruitless, but by giving up things, by renouncing things, you’re just pampering your ego by saying: ‘I have given up this. I have given up that.”
    I personally find my ego vacillating when I am desiring enjoyment, it decides I am better if I deprive myself of these enjoyments… but then part of me starts questioning what I am cutting myself off from. My mind takes over and I land in confusion. I am noticing this is a tendency of mine, which might be a reaction to some of my conditionings, or part of my conditionings, such as ‘I am more worthy the more I can deny from myself’.
    We watched a talk during the group meditation last evening where Shri Mataji was talking about how everyone was happy and harmonious initially, during the reign of Shri Rama, but then they misunderstood his teachings and became ascetic- they became only serious and going off on their to develop their spirituality. So, next Shri Rama re-incarnated as Shri Krishna to bring back the joy and collectivity in life.

    All of these lessons are coming full circle. I believe Shri Mataji is teaching us that we can have an ascetic focus internally, by keeping our attention on the spirit, but that in our external lives, we can still enjoy our roles in the play, and participate and maybe be part of the illusions around us, all the while being detached and understanding the pure essence of reality, and of these illusions….
    Please feel free to correct or elaborate for me = )

    I’m enjoying the trunk of treasures always available at my fingertips here.
    Thank you for your compilations Ioana!

  6. NITI

    It’s a profound article about Shri Raja Janaka one of the primordial master.,Everything is beautifully explained why he called videhi because of the power of detachment he had in him.The true meaning of detachment explained with the stories of Nachiketa and Raja Janaka.Thanks Ioana.

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