Episode # 494 – King Janaka vs. Sage Ashtaavakra – The “Preliminary debate” begins!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Ashtaavakra letting out an open challenge to Bandhi, to come out and debate with him on “Dharma”, if he really has the guts. As we’ve witnessed yesterday, Sage Ashtaavakra and his mother were stopped from entering King Janaka’s palace by the security guards, citing the reason of “young age” of Sage Ashtaavakra. However, Sage Ashtaavakra reacted angrily and as he came to know that Bandhi was the “kingmaker” in King Janaka’s courtroom, he openly challenged Bandhi to come and debate with him if he really can! Alarmed by Sage Ashtaavakra’s challenge, the security guard understood the gravity of the situation and allowed Sage Ashtaavakra to walk inside! Moreover, the security guard himself was thinking that there should be someone to somehow win over Bandhi, because his arrogance was going above his head every passing day! Perhaps, this child might be that one person who can win over Bandhi and show him his place! Thinking thus, the security guard let Ashtaavakra to walk in! 

As Sage Ashtaavakra enters King Janaka’s courtroom, King Janaka was sitting on his throne and discussing something with his ministers. As King Janaka saw a little boy walking in, he immediately enquired thus, “Oh my dear boy! Who are you? Why have you come here? Did you come to see me? Tell me what can I do for you!” As King Janaka talks thus with utmost humility, Sage Ashtaavakra replies thus, “Oh King Janaka! I know that you’re a great and a righteous king! I know that you’re an epitome of “Dharma”! I did not come to see you. There is someone by name Bandhi in your courtroom, isn’t there? Where is this Bandhi? I have some issues to deal with Bandhi! I would like to debate with him on a few issues! Oh King Janaka! Please understand that you’ve been caught in the trap that is laid by Bandhi for a while now! I’ve come here to release you from that trap and give you freedom!” 

As King Janaka heard this from the child, he was stunned! How come a little child has so much guts to talk about Bandhi in this way, and that too amidst the public courtroom? Thinking thus, King Janaka asks back, “Oh child! Do you even know who Bandhi is? Do you know how scholarly he is? Why are you rudely talking about him in the public courtroom? What is the issue between you and him?” As King Janaka asks politely thus, Ashtaavakra replies back: “Oh Great King Janaka! See how humble you are even now as I talk rudely about Bandhi! This shows how you are “grounded” without any headweight! You’re an epitome of “Dharma” and still you do not have even an inch of pride that you know everything! However, this Bandhi is just opposite to what you are! Whoever comes and debates with Bandhi and wins over him, Bandhi would never tolerate that person and would push him into the pond of water and kill him! This is what I’ve heard! How can Bandhi do such a heinous crime? I would like to test his knowledge on “Dharma” and show him his place today! Call him here from wherever he is! Let the debate begin in front of you only!” 

As Sage Ashtaavakra talks with so much anger and frustration, King Janaka tries to pacify the little child and replies thus, “Oh my little boy! I understand your anger and where it is coming from! However, it is not good on your part to criticize someone so blatantly like this in front of everyone, even though that person might have committed the most heinous crime ever. Anyway, I shall call Bandhi here, but before he comes, let me ask you just a couple of questions – These are certain things that any “Panditha” (Learned scholar) should know. So tell me if you know all these – Do you know the following arithmetics – 30 Avals, 12 Amsas, 24 Parvas and 360 Padaarthams? Only a person who knows all these, can be a “Panditha”! Tell me if you can!” 

Upon listening to this, we might get stunned! What is King Janaka asking here? When he lists out various numbers like 30, 12, 24, 360, etc., what is he talking about? Why should a “Panditha” know all these numbers and the arithmetics behind them? An interesting accord awaits us tomorrow! Stay tuned for a detailed discussion on what these numbers signify! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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