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Story of True Knower of Brahman – King Janak and Yajnavalkya

During the Vedic period, King Janak used to go to the forest to study under his Guru, the great seer Yajnavalkya. The sage always had a seat in front reserved for the King. The other disciples of Yajnavalkya, which included several hardcore ascetics, used to feel jealous of the king. They thought that their Guru was either afraid of the King or partial to the King. Yajnavalkya who knew about the discontent among his disciples said nothing and continued to reserve a special seat for the King.

One day, while the students and the Guru was discussing the truth of Brahman, the reality of existence. Suddenly a messenger came running with the message that the Kingdom of Janaka is burning and fire is spreading into the forest. All the students started running to save their belongings. Only King Janak Maharaj stayed seated and quiet and continued his discussion.

Yajnavalkya turned to the students who were running and said, ‘This is the difference between him and you. His whole kingdom is burning but his attention is on Brahman, whereas you are running after meager possessions! You think you have given up the world but in reality you have not!’