Janaka and Ashtavakra
A Journey Beyond
The story of a sage Ashtavakra and his disciple King Janaka is one of the most gripping yet unknown episodes from the Ramayana.
A young boy Ashtavakra goes to King Janaka’s court to debate the kingdom’s most learned sages but is ridiculed by the courtiers for his deformed body. After the boy triumphs in the debate, King Janaka realizes the boy is extraordinary and becomes his disciple. While Janaka becomes obsessed in his quest for spiritual liberation, inside the secretive world of the palace, a treacherous plan unfolds. Very soon war clouds gather on the horizons of Mithila, but Janaka devotes more and more time with the young sage. Even though the whole world believes a calamity is imminent, Janaka stays on the spiritual path. With Rishi Ashtavakra’s guidance, the king enters the realms of a new world that alters the reality for him and his kingdom.
This novel is rooted in ancient Indian spiritual wisdom and philosophy, but with new interpretations of the concepts of liberation, enlightenment, consciousness and the absolute realities of life. It invokes the question of whether what we see is indeed an illusion. This compelling story sheds light on the modern reader’s own existential questions, leading oneself to relate to the king and his struggles.