When does King Janaka’s Surrender?
In sage Vishwamitra’s case, through the episode of Tadaka Vadh Vishwamitra surrendered unto Shri Rama. But in King Janaka’s case, his mode of surrender differs from that of Sage Vishwamitra. The Breaking of Shiva Dhanush was King Janaka’s stake. The person who breaks the Shiva Dhanush, shall have his daughter Janaki’s hand in marriage. King Janaka had already attained Sitaji and now had to find a suitable groom for her. कस्मै देवाय हविषा विद्यम| Prajapati Sukta. But who shall be her bridegroom? His weighing scale says that the man who succeeds in breaking the Shiva Dhanush will be the bridegroom for Sitaji.
King Janaka enquires about Rama
Just like Rishi Vishwamitra, King Janaka at the very beginning recognised the glory of Sri Rama. In the Ramacharaitamanas it is said that when Janak Maharaj saw Sri Ram for the first time in his capital with Sage Vishwamitra he was bewildered and thought for a moment whether Brahman himself has come at his door. So he humbly requested Sage Vishwamitra to introduce him to the 2 princes. He enquired- “Are these two, princes or the sons of a muni?”
Parshurama and Janaka
In this regard there is a mention about the great contrast between the personalities of Janaka Maharaja and Parshurama. You will find an enormous difference in their approach to things. Janaka is a King while Parshurama is a Muni. By the very mention of their castes it would appear that King Janaka is a mighty ruler while Parshurama must be a great ascetic. But reality speaks something different. King Janaka was a treasure house of Jnana and there is no mention of him being a conquering warrior in his entire history. While Parshurama was world renowned for his great command over weapons and his fiery stand against Adharma. Both their possessions seem to have gotten interchanged. A King and a muni are 2 different personalities, dissimilar in all respects. A king solves the issue of his reign by applying the right strategy and takes the aid of the scriptures, this was king Janaka’s way. Janakji believed that the answers to all problems in society lies in thought, Jnana alone is the solution. So he constantly preached the supremacy of Jnana. King Janaka was soaked in the essence of the scriptures and gave priority to Shaastra over anything else. While Parshuramji’s firm conviction was that such problems cannot be solved through Jnana. Harsh punishment is the only way through weapons. Parashuram believed in Shastra dand. No Shaastra, only Shastra. Now, which tool can solve the problems of society- Shaastra or Shastra. The strange formula of both these personalities reflect in Shri Rama’s character. King Janaka found in Sri Rama all the qualities that befitted a virtuous ruler as well as the sublime disposition of a one of the renounced order. On Looking at the personality of Sri Rama, he was bewildered. He was unable to judge- are they Kings or Munis?
King Janaka recognizes Bhagavan
Which is why he was compelled to pose this question-
कहहु नाथ सुन्दर दोउ बालक |
मुनिकुल तिलक की नृपकुल पालक ||
Do these brilliant scions belong to the Kingly clan or are they from the renounced order? Vishwamitra smiles at Janaka as if trying to hint- You yourself are a great Gyani and people flock to you to find answers for their doubts, and you yourself seem to be positioned in a dilemma and are speaking in contradictions. They appear both to you since they carry with them the excellent traits of both the clans. What do you think? Who they are? King Janaka with his sharpened intellect spoke- It is Brahman alone who can shelter such opposing personalities. No mortal man can hold these exceptional qualities together at the same time. So, it is my firm conviction that-
ब्रह्म जो निगम नेति कहि गावा |
उभय बेष धरि की सोइ आवा ||
Supreme Brahman Himself has come to my door. Vishwamitra was impressed at the witty reply of Janaka as Janakji proved his mettle to the praises he had earned across the globe.
Just like Vishwamitra King Janaka was also deluded about the glories of Bhagavan until the breaking of the Shiva Dhanush. After inviting the kings from the various princely clans for Sitaji’s Svayamvar, none were successful in breaking the Shiva Dhanush and thus fulfil the vow of Janak Maharaj. At that time, Shri Rama behaved in a very queer fashion. Even after hearing the conditions laid for the Svayamvar by the kinsmen of Janakji, Sri Rama wasn’t inclined to participate. Seeing the failure of the participants and the disinclination of Sri Rama, King Janaka was plunged in an ocean of gloom as he thought about the repercussions of his vow. Hence plunged in sorrow, he spoke the following words with tears in his eyes-
तजहु आस निज निज गृह जाहू |
लिखा न बिधि बैदेहि बिबाहू ||
सुकृतु जाइ जौं पनु परिहरऊँ |
कुँअरि कुआरि रहउ का करऊँ ||
जौं जनतेउँ बिनु भट भुबि भाई |
तौ पनु करि होतेउँ न हँसाई ||
“What am I to do now? My daughter shall now remain unwedded. If I were informed earlier that the earth is devoid of heroic warriors, would I take this oath and become a laughing stock. Lakshmanji was deeply hurt at the remarks of King Janaka, and in anger spoke-
कही जनक जसि अनुचित बानी |
बिद्यमान रघुकुलमनि जानी ||
Had someone else spoken these words, I wouldn’t have felt so bad. But how could Janakaji speak like this?
Why did Lakshmana get angry at Janaka Maharaj?
Janakji was an exceptional Gyani. At the first glance, he had recognized Shri Rama and with Brahman around, how has such intense depression make room in his heart? What type of a Gyani is he? Being the father of Mahashakti and having witnessed her playful exploits, he has yet not recognized the glory of Bhagavan. If this is the case, his earlier utterance in praise of Rama was a mere accident. If he would have known the glories of Sitaji, he couldn’t think of Sitaji to remain unwedded? Shakti and Brahma are eternally married and here a logician is crying over his fate.
When does Janaka truly surrender?
Even after hearing the scolding of Lakshmana, King Janaka wasn’t convinced until Shri Rama broke the Shiva Dhanush and proved his supremacy in the eyes of Janak Maharaj. With the breaking of Shiva Dhanush all the qualms that haunted Janaka maharaj dissolved. Then Janak Maharaj gives Sitaji’s hand in marriage to Rama. As Sitaji garlands Sri Rama with the Jayamala, He experiences gratitude and fulfilment.