How can a King be a Saint

Heaven and Hell Within

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King Janak ( Father in law of Lord Shri Rama ) was a renowned saint of his time. Even though he was a King, he possessed all the qualities of a saint. One day, an ascetic came to his royal court and asked him a question.

King Janak, how is it possible that you are a king as well as a saint. Both these posts require personalities which are almost opposite to each other. A saint is someone who does not indulge in any materialistic pursuits whereas a king is someone who indulges in more and more materialistic pursuits as he has to do such things as a part of his kingly duty. How do you manage both of these profiles together and being a saint, how do you rule your kingdom ? Why don’t you indulge in all of this luxury that is present around you all the time ?

King Janak said, ” I can answer this but I have a small request for you before that “. King Janak gave him a lamp which was lighting and requested him, ” Please take a round of my Palace and after completing the round, kindly come to me and I shall be ready with your answer. But kindly make sure that this Lamp does not go off anywhere in between and when you return to me, this lamp should be in the same lighting state “. The ascetic did not understand anything but he did as he was requested to do and he started taking a round of King Janak’s palace in supervision of King’s guards.

The ascetic came back after a long time looking all attentive and bit worried. He put the lamp in front of the King and said, ” The light in the lamp is intact, Now kindly answer my question “.

The king asked with a smile on his face, ” Before I answer your question, I have a small question for you. How did you like my palace and what type of good or bad things did you see in the palace “.

The ascetic replied nervously, ” Well I was so focused on protecting this lamp from going off that I could not see any part of your palace at all as all my concentration was on this lamp “.

King Janak replied with a smile, ” This is how I run my kingdom and be a saint at the same time”.

Moral : In order to be a saint, you do not need to physically leave all the luxuries of life like the ascetic thought. You can live among all the luxuries and material things of life and still be a saint. Just concentrate on your final aim which is liberation while at the same time, keep on disposing all your duties and keep on enjoying every good thing that comes your way, without indulging in it or without getting addicted to it.

Liberation is a state of mind and it is not a state of body. The moment your mind is liberated, the body may keep on doing anything but the liberation is not altered. Enjoyment is altogether different from indulgence. Hence, enjoyment is fine but indulgence is an obstacle to your Liberation. So enjoy everything and every relation but do not indulge in any one of them which means that do not get addicted to any of the things or relations. Enjoy them while they last but do not regret when they are not there with you anymore.


Himanshu Shangari