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  • Title WIKI.Janaka 
    Short Title WIKI.Janaka 
    Author Wiki 
    Publisher Wikipedia 
    Call Number 
    Repository WIKI.EN 
    Source ID S101 
    Linked to Seeradhwaj Janaka 

  • Janaka
    Janaka welcoming Rama and his father Dasharatha to Mithila
    Maharaja of Videha
    Predecessor Hrasvaroman
    Successor Dynasty abolished
    Born Siradhvaja
    Mithila, Videha
    Spouse Sunayana
    Issue Sita
    House Videha
    Dynasty Suryavamsha
    Father Hrasvaroman
    Mother Keikasi
    Religion Hinduism

    Janaka (Sanskrit: जनक, IAST: Janakā) is the King of Videha who ruled from Mithila, in the Hindu epic Ramayana. Janaka was married to Sunayana. He is the father of Sita, the female protagonist of the epic and Urmila.[1]

    Janaka is revered as being an ideal example of non-attachment to material possessions. 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 the ancient texts.[2]


    Birth and ancestry

    Janaka was born as Sīradhvaja to King Hrasvaroman of Mithila and his wife Keikasi. The Videha kingdom was historically located between east of Gandaki River, west of Mahananda River, north of the Ganga river and south of the Himalayas.[3]Kushadhvaja was the younger brother of Janaka.[4] When Janaka became the King of Mithila, the King of Samkasya, called Sudhanvan, attacked Mithila. Janaka killed Sudhanvan in the war, and crowned his brother Kushadhvaja as the King of Samkasya.[5]

    King Nimi was the first ruler of the Videha kingdom. Janaka was descended from Vishnu in the following order:—Brahmā—Marīci—Kaśyapa—Vivasvān—Vaivasvata—Ikṣvāku—Nimi—Mithi—Udāvasu—Nandivardhana—Suketu—Devarāta—Bṛhadratha—Mahāvīra—Sudhṛti—Dhṛṣṭaketu—Haryaśva—Maru—Pratvantaka—Kīrtiratha—Devamīḍha—Vibudha—Mahīdhraka—Kīrtirāta—Mahāroman—Svarṇaroman—Hrasvaroman—Janaka.[6]

    Marriage and children

    Janaka carrying Sita to Mithila, after he found her while ploughing

    Janaka was married to queen Sunayana. According to Ramayana, Janaka and Sunayana found Sita while ploughing as a part of a yagna and adopted her. Sita is considered as an avatar of goddess Lakshmi.[7] She later gave birth to Urmila on Jaya ekadashi, who is an avatar of goddess Nagalakshmi.[8][9]

    When Sita reached adulthood, Janaka conducted her svayamvara, which was won by Rama. Alongside the wedding of Rama and Sita, Urmila married Rama's younger brother Lakshmana.[10][11]

    Later role in Ayodhya

    Janaka accompanied Bharata to Chitrakoot, where Bharata went to persuade Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to return to Ayodhya.[12] After Rama returned from the exile and was then crowned the King of Kosala, Janaka became an important figure in his court. Rama would also take Janaka's advice on many important occasions.[13]


    Yajnavalkya teaches Brahma Vidya to King Janaka.

    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.[1] Under his reign, Videha became a dominant political and cultural center of the Indian subcontinent.[14]

    For his contribution to Mithila region, Janaka is termed a National Hero in Nepal.[15]


    Fresco on the inner walls of a Nirmala Sikh temple depicting Raja Janak, at Naurangabad, Punjab

    Janaka's conversation with the sage Ashtavakra is recorded in the Ashtavakra Gita, wherein he is depicted as one who is realised and this was tested by the sage Ashtavakra. Many spiritual teachers have referred to this writing often translating and deducing its meaning.[16][17]



    See also


    1. 1 2 Raychaudhuri 2006, pp. 41–52.
    2. "Ramayana | Summary, Characters, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 12 April 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
    3. Jha, M. (1997). "Hindu Kingdoms at contextual level". Anthropology of Ancient Hindu Kingdoms: A Study in Civilizational Perspective. New Delhi: M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 27–42. ISBN 9788175330344.
    4. Mishra, V. (1979). Cultural Heritage of Mithila. Allahabad: Mithila Prakasana. p. 13. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
    5. Lakshmi Lal (1988). The Ramayana. Orient Longman. p. 20. ISBN 9780861318056.
    6. (28 January 2019). "Story of Janaka". Retrieved 10 September 2022.
    7. Sutherland, Sally J. "Sita and Draupadi, Aggressive Behavior and Female Role-Models in the Sanskrit Epics" (PDF). University of California, Berkeley. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
    8. (24 June 2012). "Urmila, Urmilā, Ūrmilā: 9 definitions". Retrieved 10 September 2022.
    9. Dictionary of Hindu Lord and Legend ( ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola
    10. "Book 2 (Ayodhya-kanda): Chapter 27 - Princess Sita entreats Rama to allow her to accompany him". Retrieved 20 December 2023.
    11. Smriti Dewan (2021). Urmila: The Forgotten Princess. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9789390252916.
    12. Buck, William (8 June 2021). Ramayana. Univ of California Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-520-38338-8.
    13. "Chapter 9: 171. Rama Becomes King". Press Book. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
    14. Michael Witzel (1989), Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes Dans Les literatures Indo-Aryennes ed. Caillat, Paris, 97–265.
    15. "National Heroes / Personalities / Luminaries of Nepal". 23 December 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
    16. Vanita, Ruth (2009). "Full of God:Ashtavakra and ideas of Justice in Hindu Text". Religions of South Asia. 3 (2). Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
    17. Mukerjee, Radhakamal (1971). The song of the self supreme (Aṣṭāvakragītā): the classical text of Ātmādvaita by Aṣṭāvakra. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1367-0.
    18. "Telugu Review: 'Sri Rama Rajyam' is a must watch". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 22 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
    19. Dalrymple, William (23 August 2008). "All Indian life is here". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
    20. "StarPlus' Siya Ke Ram: Everything you should know about the show". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
    21. "Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush". PINKVILLA. Archived from the original on 3 December 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
    22. "Ramyug first impression: Kunal Kohli's retelling of Lord Ram's story misses the mark". The Indian Express. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
    23. "Shrimad Ramayan Review, Episodes 1 and 2: A cinematic visual spectacle on small screen". Pinkvilla. Retrieved 4 January 2024.


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