Raja Janaka

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So the wealth that you have should be seen in your temperament, in your nature, in your behavior, in your living. Moreover, the person who has Lakshmi has to be a very humble man. For example, Shri Lakshmi is standing on a lotus. Lotus is the lightest flower you could think because it floats over the water. So Her temperament should be not of a very serious type but of a very mirthful… and She doesn’t show off because it’s such a simple thing, like a lotus, to stand on that.

So for people who have money, or who have wealth should not try to show off by very big cars and this and that. That, of course, does not mean that you should become sanyasis. On the contrary, 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 Nachiketa, 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 thousands and thousands of people who were throwing pearls on him. So Nachiketa 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, very difficult because you are possessed by the idea of money, such a person cannot get Realization.” He said, “All right, I will live here till 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 have run away. Then he says that somebody said that now the fire is coming here. Still, Raja Janaka was meditating. But Nachiketa ran out because his clothes were outside, so ran out to save his…. And still Raja Janaka was not bothered. So when He came out He told him, “Nachiketa, this is all Mahamaya.” This is how you are tested,if you are money-oriented you cannot get Self-realization. She’s the one who is testing. All the greedy people, all the people, for money’s sake, do all kinds of thing, as you have here, Mafias, will be all punished. In any case, they are not happy people, satisfied people,they are all the time worried. So the first thing you must have is satisfaction. This is a very important thing in modern times to understand. Because is 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, 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 than from a 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 Lakshmi Principle in you, you will feel extremely satisfied with everything that is materialistic. If you have, well and good,if you don’t have, well and good.

Shri Mahalakshmi Puja. Moscow (Russia), 16 July 1996.

You all might be knowing about King Janaka. Nachiketa thought that this King Janaka who has crown on his head, he has all slaves and servants, there is dance going in front of him. When he comes in our Ashram my guru touches his feet? How is it that he is so great? So his Guru said to him that he should himself go and see. Nachiketa went and stood in front of Janaka and said, “ Please give me self-realization, My Guru has said that you can give self-realization, so please give me self-realization” King Janaka said, “ look , if you would have asked me whole universe I would have given but I cannot give you realization, reason being that one who doesn’t know the subtle aspect of it then what is the use of giving it to such human being? The one who will understand its subtle aspect can only get deeper into it.” So, the tattwa of Prapancha is ‘Pr’ which means the light. Until unless it is awakened within you all……you will remain in ‘Pancha’ and cannot enter in ‘Prapancha’. When Nachiketa asked the above question to King Janaka. King Janaka asked Nachiketa to be with him. I hope you know rest of the story. So I don’t have to repeat it. But at last, Nachiketa understood that this man (King Janaka) has no attachments. He is not worried at all, neither he has any sticking with worldly things or what we call as the world. He is like an ascetic. He will wear a crown on his head of a king and sleep on the ground, like a real Emperor. He doesn’t need any comforts, somewhere he will sleep on soft bed… sometimes lie on the ground…. like an Emperor within. He is not worried about anything, he is not caught by anything.

Public Talk (in Marathi). Dr. Antonio De Silva High School. Dadar, Bombay (India), 26th Nov 1984.

He came in the world in the form of Adiguru many times to teach how to cross the Bhavsagara (void). Yesterday I have told you that we fight in the world by forming many religions. The same Shri Datta incarnated many times on the earth. As I told you yesterday, King Janaka was one of them. King Janaka was the father of Janaki (Sitaji). He was none other than the incarnation of Shri Dattatreya. Thereafter, Machindernath, most have you must have heard his name, was also His incarnation. After that Zoroaster who came three times on the earth, he was also His incarnation. After that Mohammad Sahab, who was His incarnation. And when he was asked that- ‘Bhai (Brother) there must have been others also before you? Then he replied, ‘ yes, there a Mohammad’. Then again he was asked who was before him. He replied, ‘there was one Mohammad’ .Mohammad means Praise, the one who is praised, the one who deserves to be praised and is the one who is the redeemer of the world. They were all Mohammads, they were all Dattatreyas, who came on earth regularly. (...)

The one who has found God, if he wishes he can sleep on the ground and if he wishes he can sleep in a palace comfortably. For this reason, I will give an example of King Janaka. Once a very great arch called Nachiketa went to the King Janaka. He was first suspicious and eager. He asked his Guru, ‘why do you pay a visit to him since he is a householder and also a king and then why do you bow down before him and touch his feet? He is a householder person!’Then he replied, ‘ok, you should go to the place of King Janaka and stay there .You know that he is called as a videhi (beyond body), he was a dehati(a country person)’.When Nachiketa lived with him then he saw that there was so much wealth , people were eating and living comfortably. The King enjoyed all type of meals; he roams and has children –such a man, and how it is possible that this man should know God? Next day he told that “I am leaving just now, I’m just leaving now. I do not have to live here.’ Then the king said, ‘ok, let’s go for a bath first. They went to bath in a river. He took him to Sharayu River for a bath. While bathing in a river, suddenly somebody informed that ‘O Lord, your palace is on fire.’ King Janaka said, ‘Let it be, just now I’m in meditation,’ he replied with a smile. This poor Nachiketa got little worried. After a while, people told that ‘all of your family members have to run away and fire is fast approaching you.’ Then he said, ‘to hell with it, now I’m in meditation.’ Afterward, they said that ‘fire has reached up to here and all your ornaments and clothes will get burnt.’ All the bodyguards also ran away. This Nachiketa whose one or two clothes were lying outside – he thought that if these too were burnt then what will happen him .So he also ran outside .He picked up all his clothes. Even then he (Janaka) was in meditation. When he came back, Nachiketa was very much surprised. He asked ‘King, do you have not any worry that had your clothes been burnt then would you have moved just in this way.’ Then he replied, ‘What is myth is going to be perished -there is no need to save it, till it is there keep it there or if it is not there then leave it.’ This is a true fact. Those Gurus who do not consider myth as myth then what are you going to find in them.

Public Program, Shri Dattatreya Jayanti (Hindi), Mumbai (India), December 9th, 1973

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 why my guru has sent him to this king who is wearing all kind of dresses and this and that and he also had a big function of dancing and this. He said, “He’s not a saint so 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 said, “I’m here to get my Self-realisation.” He said, “You can take all My kingdom but not easy to give you Self-realisation.” He said, “Alright, whatever you say I’ll do.”

So He put a big sword on his head and asked him to sleep. He couldn’t sleep at all. Then they were having a bath, he said, “Come and have a bath in the river.” People came and told that there’s fire and everybody’s running away and Raja Janaka was in His meditative mood, He was just sitting quietly. Nachiketa got a little upset.

Then they said, “The fire is coming here and all these cloths are going to be burnt.” So Nachiketa ran out to save his things but still He (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 realized 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 is today, this you have to do it. Because I’m married, I have to wear a mangalsutra. So this is for the parampara, for the tradition style, but inside He was a saint, a very high…high level of saintliness.

Shri Rajalakshmi Puja, Nizamuddin Scout Ground, New Delhi (India), 4 December 1994.

What are the powers of the right side now, which are achieved through the left-side perfection? We have some very great Gurus on this line. One of them was Raja Janaka. He was a ruler of a country, and a very well-known ruler and everything; but still, still, though He was so generous and good and everything, but at the same time He was a great monarch, great king of those days, very much known for His impartiality, for His statesmanship and all kinds of beautiful things He did for His subjects. That is there, is Raja Janaka. He could not get disturbed with anything. And people never understood why the greatest of greatest saints used to bow to Him. What was so great? Though He was a king, He was living so lavishly and He had so many of ornaments and also conveyances and all that; because nothing was above Him, He was so detached with everything. He had everything, but He was so detached. That’s a very good example of a person who had mastered His left, and now who was the king, Raja Janaka, was there.

Guru Puja. Cabella Ligure (Italy), 21 July 2002

You know from ancient times people have been talking about your rebirth. Even at the time of Rama, one disciple called as Nachiketa went to the father-in-law of Rama, whose name was Raja Janaka, and asked Him that, “Give me self-knowledge.” And Nachiketa was very, very anxious, very much wanting to be the Spirit. But Janaka put him to many, many, many tests and the conversation between them is very interesting. So one individual is mentioned in those days – I mean that’s a long time back, Rama’s time – who was seeking. Even at the time of Christ, there was, we would say, John the Baptist who talked of baptism. But as far as seeking is concerned in the multitude, there was no such urge. There was not that seeking as you find today. So there must be something in the atmosphere. (...)

Now, this was done … as I told you there was only one person at the time of Rama,Nachiketa who tried to find it. Yoga Vashistha was a realized soul, no doubt, but he did not give realization to anyone. Only Raja Janaka gave realization to one fellow called Nachiketa

Public Program. Hampstead Meeting House, London (UK), 23 October 1980.


Shri Raja Janaka is an incarnation of the primordial master who manifested as the ancient Indian king of Mithila. He was the father of the goddess Sita, who pursued spiritual truth and spoke of the need to be born again.

See: Ten Primordial Masters

From Saints, Sufis and Yogis

The Janakas were a lineage of sage-kings of Mithila or Videha in ancient northern India. The best known was Seeradhwaja Janaka, more popularly known as Raja Janaka or King Janaka (c.600BCE). He is mentioned in the Ramayana as the father of Sita. The Ashtavakra Gita is a dialogue between the sage-guru, Ashtavakra and his disciple, King Janaka.

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has stated that Raja Janaka was an incarnation of the Primordial Master. It is unclear whether this refers to the historical Raja Janaka (c.600BCE) or to an earlier king.

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, “How can you all touch his 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 is the primordial master.” To him it does not matter whether he lives in a palace or on the street. (1983-0910)

Raja Janaka eventually gave realization to Nachiketa (1979-0720) after the latter had achieved detachment from worldly desires through many tests (1980-1023). Shri Mataji described the relationship of Raja Janaka and Nachiketa a number of times in lectures. (eg. 1993-1015; 1994-1204; 1996-0716)

The Sanskrit text known as the Ashtavakra Gita documents in twenty chapters a dialogue between the sage Ashtavakra and king Janaka on the nature of soul, reality and conditionings. This text is also known as the Ashtavakra Samhita.

Bibliography: Geoffrey Samuel, The origins of yoga and tantra: Indic religions to the thirteenth century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), chapter 4, esp. 69-71; ‘Who was Raja Janaka? King or Ascetic?! Four relevant stories with Guru Janaka and Nachiketa – the disciple’ [1]; Ashtavakra Gita, translated by Baij Nath (1904) [2]; Ashtavakra Gita, translated by John Richards (1994) [3] [4]; Ashtavakra Samhita, translated by Swami Nityaswarupananda (Mayavati: Advaita Ashrama, 2nd ed., 1958) [5]