|Children||Sita, Urmila (Daughters)|
|Birth place||Videha Kingdom|
|Death place||Videha Kingdom|
Janaka was a king of Videha, approximately in the 8th or 7th century BCE,, who later appears as a character in the Ramayana. He is revered as being an ideal example of non-attachment to material possessions. As a king, he had access to luxuries and pleasures far beyond the ordinary, but his internal state was closer to that of a sadhu. He was intensely interested in spiritual discourse and considered himself free from worldly illusions. His interactions with sages and seekers such as Ashtavakra and Sulabha are recorded in ancient texts. His relationship with adopted daughter Sita led her to be called Janaki Mata. The Nepalese city of Janakpur is named for him and daughter Sita. The Videha (or Mithila) kingdom was located between east of Gandaki River, west of Mahananda River, north of Ganga river and south of Himalayas. The region is now divided between the present day Indian state of Bihar and a small part of Terai Region in Nepal.
Janaka in Vedic literature
Late Vedic literature such as Shatapatha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad mention a certain King Janaka (c. 8th or 7th century BCE) 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, Uddalaka Aruni, and Gargi Vachaknavi. Under his reign, Videha became a dominant political and cultural center of the Indian subcontinent.
In other Literature
Janaka is the father of Sita, the wife of God Ram in the Hindu epic Ramayana. His conversation with Ashtavakra is recorded as Ashtavakra Gita, wherein 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.
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