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Janaka welcoming Rama and his father Dasharatha in Janakpur of Nepal
Reign c. 543 – c. 505 BC
Born Janakpur, Nepal
Died 505 BC
Janakpurdham, Nepal
Spouse Sunayana
Issue Jivahata
Dynasty Maithil
Religion Hinduism

Janaka (also spelled Janak; Nepali: जनक, Sanskrit: जनक[note 1]) is the name used to refer to the kings of Videha and is the ancestor of indigenous Maithil people who are now the Madhesis of Nepal and Biharis of India.[note 2] The Janaka Dynasty ruled the Videha kingdom from their capital, Mithila, in modern days, Janakpur metropolitan of Nepal. A certain King Janaka, who probably reigned during the 7th century BCE, is mentioned in the late Vedic literature as a great philosopher-king. A King Janaka is also mentioned in the Ramayana epic.

His conversation with Ashtavakra is recorded as Ashtavakra Gita, where in he is depicted as one realised and this tested by the sage Ashtavakra. Many spiritual teachers have referred to this writing often translating and deducing its meaning.[1][2]

Janaka in Vedic literature[edit]

Videha and other kingdoms of the late Vedic period
Yajnavalkya teaches Brahma Vidya to King Janaka

Late Vedic literature such as the Shatapatha Brahmana and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad mention a certain King Janaka (c. 7th century BCE)[3] as a great philosopher-king of Videha, renowned for his patronage of Vedic culture and philosophy, and whose court was an intellectual center for Brahmin sages such as Yajnavalkya.[4] Under his reign, Videha became a dominant political and cultural center of South Asia.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In other languages, Khmer: Janak, Kannada ಜನಕ, Telugu: జనకుఁడు, Sinhalese, Tamil: ஜனகன், Thai: ชนก (Chanok), Malay: Maharisi Kala. Also known as Raja Janaka (राजा जनक, rājā janaka)
  2. ^ The Videha (or Mithila) kingdom was located in South Asia, the east of the Gandaki River, west of the Koshi River, north of the Ganga river and south of the Himalaya. The region is now divided between present day Nepalese state of Mithila and the Indian state of Bihar.


  1. ^ Vanita, Ruth. "Full of God:Ashtavakra and ideas of Justice in Hindu Text". Equinox Publishing Ltd.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help);
  2. ^ Radhakamal Mukerjee (1971). The song of the self supreme (Aṣṭāvakragītā): the classical text of Ātmādvaita by Aṣṭāvakra. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1367-0. Source: [1] (accessed: Friday March 19, 2010)
  3. ^ H. C. Raychaudhuri (1972), Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.41–52
  4. ^ H.C. Raychaudhuri (1972)
  5. ^ Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, 97–265.