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Janaka achieves Self-Realization

Astavakra told Janaka to dismount from his horse and leave it by the side, and then he told the king to sit down in the middle of the path. Astavakra walked further into the forest and sat quietly under a tree. Outside the forest, the soldiers waited for a long time. Neither the king nor Astavakra showed up, although it was long after the customary time when the king would have his repast. Both the officers and the soldiers who loved their king and were very faithful to him, became anxious to find out what had happened to him. So, one by one, they stole into the forest to look for King Janaka and the little boy who was with him, suspecting some foul play.

When they went along the path leading into the forest, they were relieved to find the king seated there, in the middle of the path. His horse was standing next to him. The king had his eyes closed and he sat motionless. The boy, Astavakra, was not to be seen. The officers addressed the king, but he did not answer. They feared that Astavakra might have exercised some magic spell over the king and had made him lose consciousness. They went to look for the prime minister.

The prime minister came and addressed Janaka, "O king! O king! O king!" But Janaka did not open his eyes. He did not move at all. The prime minister became very frightened. Not only the prime minister but all the other officials from the palace who had come, were now getting thoroughly concerned. The king had always kept to a rigorous schedule. He took his supper at the same time every day. Now that time had long since passed but the king still had not stirred. In this way, the day went on and evening came, but the king did not move from his position, sitting there immobile on the ground.

Left with no alternative, the prime minister sent the chariot back to the city to bring the queens, thinking that if the queens spoke to the king he would surely respond. The queens came and addressed the king, "Maharajah! Maharajah!" The king did not stir; there was absolutely no response from the king. Meanwhile the soldiers searched throughout the whole forest for Astavakra. At last, they found him under a tree. Astavakra was immersed in divine ecstasy.

The soldiers called out to him and exhorted him to answer their queries. Astavakra came out of his self-absorbed blissful state. They implored him to come to the place where the king was. Astavakra asked them, "Why are you all so worried? The king is safe and everything is all right." But they insisted that Astavakra come along with them and brought him before the king seated in the middle of the path. The king had his eyes closed. His body was completely still. The soldiers said, "Here, look for yourself! See what has happened to the king!" Until that time, whether the prime minister, or the other ministers, or the queens, or any of the court officials or soldiers or common people, had called out and addressed the king, he neither opened his mouth in answer nor opened his eyes in acknowledgment. But now, Astavakra came and spoke to the king. King Janaka immediately opened his eyes and replied, "Master!"

Astavakra questioned the king, "Well, the ministers have come and the soldiers have come, and also many others have come. Why did you not reply to their entreaties?" Janaka answered, "Thoughts, words and deeds are associated with the mind, and I offered my mind entirely to you. Therefore, before I can use this mind for anything, I need your permission. What authority do I have to speak to anyone or use this mind in any way? Without your permission and command, I am not going to do anything." Astavakra told Janaka to put one foot in the stirrup and get up on the horse. By the time he had climbed up and seated himself on the horse and put his other foot in the stirrup, he had attained the direct experience of the atma. Then Astavakra said to him, "You have attained the state of God-realization."