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Teachings From King Janaka And Suka Discussion

Sage Vyasa sends his son Suka to learn about Moksha from King Janaka. The teachings of King Janaka and Suka are found in the Mahabharata and the Puranas.

Janaka said: “To get the state of emancipation (moksha or liberation), a man should order his life and live gradually and progressively through the four stages of life (Ashramas) – Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and finally Sannyasa (Brahmasharma) – discharging the duties of every stage.

At this point Suka intervened and asked – “If knowledge which is essential for the state of emancipation arises in a man’s mind, is it still necessary for him to live through all the customary Ashramas of life?

Janaka replied – the traditional religious code of the four ashramas is meant to preserve the uninterrupted continuity of society and of activities essential to it. One whose mind has become purified can attain the state of emancipation even in his youth in this first ashrama i.e. stage of life. For him the remaining three ashramas have no meaning. The “Light” is within and can be visualized by one who has equanimity. One who does not bear ill in thought, word and action.

The complex knot of desires is difficult to cut at a stroke. It can be removed only gradually by living through the four stages of life. Even who lives a householder’s life can get a state of emancipation if he lives a life of detachment. The states of bondage and emancipation are after all contingent on the state of the mind. One, whose mind is still, gets serene.

The bondage consists in the belief that ‘this body is mine’, while freedom from this belief is emancipation.