Monday, 27 February 2017

Stories of King Janaka: Yajnavalkya and the Light of Man

Yajnavalkya, Image Source: Wikipedia
Yajnavalkya is one of the earliest philosophers in recorded history.

He is famous for coining the word "Advaita" and for debating the nature of existence using the method of neti neti ("not this, not this") to discover the universal Self and Ātman.

He is also applauded as one of the rare Vedic scholars in history who encouraged and included women in the study of scriptures and debate, as seen here in a comment addressed to Maitreyi:

One should indeed see, hear, understand and meditate over the Self, O Maitreyi;
indeed, he who has seen, heard, reflected and understood the Self – by him alone the whole world comes to be known.
— Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

This story of Yajnavalkya and King Janaka, also from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, points to the Self as the source of illumination when all other lights have gone out.

Here is a longer narrated version of the same text for you to enjoy:

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya speaks with King Janaka

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