Namastey–I bow to the divine in you!
Through our series of Ramayana Stories, we are giving information about the Ramayana in every interesting way possible. We talked about those stories in previous three blogposts.
This is the fourth such blogpost and we will let you know the King Janaka Story here.
As we have earlier mentioned, Ramayana—the word is made up of Rama+Ayana, which collectively means the journey of Rama—is an ancient Indian Hindu epic whose protagonist is Shri Ramachandra (henceforth Rama) and antagonist being Ravana.
Originally chronicled by Valmiki, it compromises almost 24,000 slokas which are divided into seven kandas—Balkanda, Ayodhyakanda, Aranyakanda, Kishkindhakanda, Sundarkanda, Lankakanda, and Uttarakanda. The last one, according to the popular belief, was added later into original Ramayana.
In the Ramayana, the wife of Rama is Janaki, popularly known as Sita, the princess of Videha kingdom, ruled by King Janaka.
King Janaka Story, Raja Janak 4 Daughters Name in Hindi
King Janaka, who is often described as Rajarshi—a sage who is also the king, is the father of Sita, the (only) wife of Rama, the hero of the epic. Janaka was the king of Videha Kingdom, which can be traced to region around modern-day Nepal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
He, Hindu texts say, was a seeker of knowledge and that can be learnt in King Janka and Ashtavakra episode. Ashtavakra was the very intelligent sage but his eight body parts were bent; hence his name.
Janaka became the obedient disciple of him and learnt the deep philospophy which can be explored in the Ashtavakra Gita.
Let’s know about the family of Janaka in the details. Although the Ramayana doesn’t mention the name of Janaka’s wife but her name, as other texts mention, was Sunayana. Janaka with Sunayana had one girl child named Urmila of their own and one adopted that is Sita.
Kushadhwaja, the younger brother of Janaka, was married to Chandrabhaga (Kushadhwaja Wife Name).
Their names (from the eldest to the youngest) are: Sita, Urmila, Mandavi, and Shrutakirti. The first two were of Janaka and Sunayana whereas the latter were of Kushadhwaja and Chandrabhaga.
They can be written in Hindi as: सीता, उर्मिला, मांडवी and श्रुतकीर्ति.
As Sita grew older, King Janaka organised the swayamwar for her and put the condition that if any prince would broke the bow pinaka then Sita will marry him. Rama, we know, broke that bow and the marriage of Sita happened with Rama.
Along with that marriage, Lakshmana was married to Urmila, the daughter of Janaka and Sunayana. Not only Lakshmana but Bharata and Shatrughna were also married on the same day to Mandavi and Shrutakirti respectively.
Thus, completes the brief introduction of King Janaka of Videha. But we would like to draw your attention to the fact that Janaka is mentioned in many texts, therefore, his elaborative descriptions may vary a little.
Now, let’s move to another question on why Janaka is refered as Rajarshi.
Why is Janaka called a Rajarshi?
In Hinduism, Rishi word is extensively used and it can be loosely translated as ‘sage’, the person who is a devotee of the supreme, does tapasya to please the almighty, and have spiritual enlightenment.
If one explores the Hindu texts then she may come across the terms like Maharishi, Brahmrishi, Rajarshi, Devarshi etc.
With respect to Janaka it has been observed by anyone that Rajarshi is used as the prefix. So, what is the reason for using it? Why is he a Rajarshi? And what is the meaning of that?
Let’s know why it is so.
The original Sanskrit word ‘Rajarshi’, as we have said earlier in this blogpost, is made up of raj which loosely means the ruler and rishi which loosely means the sage. Janaka is refered as a Rajarshi because he was both the sage and the king altogether.
It is often said that Rajarshi is the king who have the spiritual enlightenment and later turned to the royal sage. Rajarshi, typically, doesn’t leave their worldy commitments like ruling the kingdom with dharma but they still stay unattached.
So, how Sita became a daughter of the Rajarshi. Let’s know it in another question.
How was Sita born? Who was the true father of Sita in Ramayana?
Sita, as you already know, was a daughter of King Janaka and the wife of Rama. Later on, in the Ramayana, she gets abducted by Ravana and the great war happens in which Ravana ultimately gets killed.
Do you know what the word ‘Sita’ means in Sanskrit?
Swami Vivekananda has the answer.
“The word ‘Sita’ in ancient Sanskrit,” Swami Vivekananda says, “means the furrow made by a plough.” Additionally, he says, “Sita was found in a field; she was a daughter of the Earth, and was born without parents.”
Therefore, we hope, it is clear that Sita’s ‘true’ father is not mentioned in the Ramayana and so is the answer of how exactly Sita was born.
We just know that Sita was found in a field to King Janaka.
So, you might be wondering about the brother of Sita in Ramayana. Let us allow to tell you the answer.
Who was the brother of Sita in Ramayana?
We have just learnt about the father and mother of Sita Mata apart from her sisters with whom she grew up.
But, the people ask who the brother of Sita according to Ramayana was.
The answer is no one. It is mentioned in the Ramayana that Sita had no brothers.
In Ayodhya Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana, the sloka comes:
वृद्धः चैव अल्प पुत्रः च वैदेहीम् अनिचिन्तयन् |
सो अपि शोक समाविष्टः ननु त्यक्ष्यति जीवितम् || २-६६-११
It can be translated as, “Janaka too who is aged, and who is not having sons, will be thinking of Sita, over whelmed with grief and will surely abandon his life.”
So, according to the Ramayana, she didn’t have any brothers.
Although there are some other texts which mention that her brother, the child of Janaka and Sunayana, was Bhamandala who was kidnapped at the very young age.
What is the best scene in the story of Ramayana? Why?
After Rama left for the exile due to his father’s obligations, Bharata became aware of her mother’s sinister plot. He goes on to explain his mother about her grid but nothing happens.
Thereafter, he, along with his army and raj-darbar, goes to Chitrakoot, a place where Rama was staying with his wife and brother, Lakshamana.
The conversation between two brothers happen at that moment. And that was the best scene in the story of the Ramayana. This is the famous short story in the Ramayana too.
It was full of respect, devotion, and sacrifice among other quantities. After that conversation, Rama remained unconvinced to go to his palace and become King, as was the intention of Bharata.
But, Rama gave his charan paduka- a pair of sandals, to Bharata which the latter took along with him and ruled the kingdom of Kosaladesha under its guidance.
Isn’t this amazing when both the brothers weren’t fighting for the property unlike modern day scenarios?
We hope that we have satisfactorily answered your numerous questions in our series of these blogposts.
The Ramayana School is an initiative to take age-old wisdoms of the Ramayana through innovative methods. We are active on various social media platforms; follow us on Twitter; like us on FB; connect with us on Instagram.
Jai Shri Rama—Hail Shri Rama!