JANAKA AND ASHTAVAKRA: A Journey Beyond

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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 most learned sages but is ridiculed by the courtiers for his deformed body. After the boy triumphs in the debate, Janaka realizes that the boy has an extraordinary intellect and becomes his disciple. While Janaka is obsessed with his quest for spiritual liberation, a treacherous plan unfolds inside the secretive world of the royal palace. Very soon war clouds gather on the horizon of Mithila, but all Janaka does is devote more and more time to the young sage. Even though the whole world believes a calamity is imminent, Janaka stays on the path to spiritual enlightenment. Ultimately, with ashtavakra’s guidance, the king enters the realm of a new world which 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 realities of life. Among others, It seeks to answer the question: is everything we see indeed an illusion? This compelling story sheds light on the modern readers’ existential questions, leading them to relate to the king and his struggles.

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