Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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Read about Janaka at the Urday website.

JANAKA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology]

1. King of Mitihila, of the Solar race. When Nimi, his predecessor, died without leaving a successor, the sages subjected the body of Nimi to attrition, and produced form it a prince “who was called Janaka, from being born without a progenitor.” He was the first Janaka, and twenty generations earlier than Janaka the father of Sita.

2. King of Videha and father of Sita, remarkable for his great knowledge and good works and sanctity. He is called Siradhwaja, ‘he of the plough banner,’ because his daughter Sita sprang up ready formed from the furrow when he was ploughing the ground and preparing for a sacrifice to obtain offspring.

The sage Yajnawalkya was his priest and adviser.

The Brahmanas relate that he “refused to submit to the hierarchical pretensions of the Brahmans, and asserted his right of performing sacrifices without the intervention of priests.” He succeeded in his contention, for it is said that through his pure and righteous life he became a Brahman and one of the Rajarshis. He and his priest Yajnawalkya are thought to have prepared the way for Buddha.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM