The one who renounces all worldly possessions, leads an ascetic life and gets enlightened about the Supremes Being is called a Maharishi. The one who though being a king, yet leads a life of an ascetic considering him free of all such pleasures is a Rajarshi. One such great Rishi King was Maharaj Janak, who was the beloved father of Mata Sita.
The kingdom of Janak was Vidheha, with its capital as Mithila. Maharaj Janak belonged to the dynasty of Nimi who was a great devotee of Bhagwan Vishnu. Maharaj Janak was the elder son of Hroshoroma and initially called as Sreedhwaja, but later named as Janak, as per his ancestors title. Maharaj Jank had a younger brother Kushdhwaja. Maharaj Jank’s wife Sunaina was as ideal and righteous as Maharaj Janak, and a befitting queen.
Maharaj Janak is revered as an ideal example for his control over the senses, and his detachment from the worldly possessions and was respected in the all three worlds. The discourses and interactions of Maharaj Janak with the great sage Ashtavakr is named as the Ashtavakr Gita which is a reflection on the release of the self and realising the Almighty.
Maharaj Janak’s roleplay in the Ramayan is one of the most important one. Once, a great famine came over Mithila. Maharaj Janak observed a yagn to overcome the famine and as per its custom started ploughing the field. Sometime later, the bullocks stopped as something came in the way of the plough. He dug out the land to see what it was, and was surprised to see a beautiful girl child in a box. Being the enlightened one, he knew that her birth was for a purpose and he was destined to play a role in the divine lila. He adopted the girl child, named her Sita and raised her very fondly. The bond of Maharaj Janak and SIta was inseparable and Sita came to be called as Janaki on her father’s name.
Maharaj Janak was worried about Sita’s marriage as he knew she could not marry just any prince. Once he saw Sita lifting the great bow of Bhagwan Shiv, which even a thousand people together could not lift. He immediately understands the solution for his problem and announces a swayamvar that his daughter would marry the person who would not only lift the great Shiv Dhanush, but also string it too.
Suitors and princes arrive from all over the world to test their luck and destiny but all fail. Then a a young handsome prince accompanying Rishi Viswhamitr steps forward and lifts the bow as easily as a blade of grass. He starts stringing it and with great force breaks it too. The young prince was Shri Ram who had won the heart of Sita. Maharaj Janak very happily conducts the marriage of Shri Ram and Sita with great pomp and splendour. Thus, Maharaj Janak plays a pivotal role in uniting Shri Ram and SIta who are none other than Bhagwan Vishnu and Bhagavathi Lakshmi.
As the father-in-law, Maharaj Janak was always a constant guide to Shri Ram and his brothers. He advised them many occasions the right path of Dharma and was a father figure to them. Maharaj Janak understood Dharma in its minute sense and how it was applicable
in every different situation. His understanding of Dharma made him one of the great intellectual and revered King in all the three worlds and hence he was aptly called as a Rajarshi.