Category Archives: Janakpur

Important Scriptural Events of Janakpur

AhilyaDeliverance of Ahilya in Mithila : Upon seeing the beautiful city of King Janaka, all the sages accompanying Vishvamitra began praising the city of Mithila, exclaiming “Excellent! Excellent!” Seeing there on the outskirts of Mithila a lovely hermitage that was old and desolate in a grove of trees, Rama asked Vishvamitra: “What is this place that so resembles a hermitage, but is devoid of sages? I wish to hear, O master, whose hermitage this was previously.”

Hearing what Lord Rama said, the great sage Vishvamitra, who was skilled at speaking, replied: “Alas! I shall tell you. Listen in detail, O descendant of the Raghu Dynasty, to which great soul this hermitage belongs and by whose anger it was cursed. Previously this hermitage, which looked like heaven and was honored by all the gods, belonged to the great soul Gautama. At that time, the famous sage practiced austerities here with his wife, Ahalya, for quite a number of years, O prince. Once, when Indra was aware that Gautama was absent from the hermitage, he came disguised as Gautama and said the following to Ahalya: “Those who are anxious for sexual enjoyment do not wait for the proper time for conception of a child. Therefore, O shapely woman, I wish to unite with you.” Recognizing him to be Indra disguised as her husband, she unwisely agreed, out of eagerness, to enjoy with the king of the gods.

Later, when she was inwardly gratified by her accomplishment, she said to Indra: “I have achieved my goal, O best of the gods. Leave this place quickly, my lord. Guard yourself and myself in every way possible from my husband Gautama.” Laughing, Indra spoke the following words to Ahalya: “Lovely lady, I am very satisfied. I shall depart just as I came.” In that way, he began to leave the hut, hurrying due to fear, being apprehensive of Gautama’s return. Just then he saw entering the hut, the great sage Gautama, who was difficult to overcome for gods and demons because of his strength acquired through the practice of austerities. He was drenched with water from the holy river and was shining like fire. In his hands he carried firewood and kusha grass. Seeing Gautama, Indra was mortified and hung his head down.

Seeing Indra disguised as him and guilty of misconduct, the sage Gautama, who was well-behaved, spoke out of anger: “You, O fool, have disguised yourself as me. For this misconduct you shall lose your testicles.” When the great soul Gautama had spoken these angry words, Indra’s testicles fell to the ground that very moment. As Indra had been cursed, even so did Gautama curse his wife: “You will remain here for many thousands of years without food, living on air alone, practicing austerities and sleeping on a pile of ashes. You will dwell in this hermitage unseen by all living beings. When, however, Rama, the son of Dasharatha, comes to this terrible grove, you will be absolved. O immoral woman, by offering proper hospitality to Him, you will become free from lust and illusion. You will then regain your original body at my side, being overwhelmed with delight.” Having spoken in this way to the immoral woman, the powerful Gautama left this hermitage and went to the pleasant Himalaya Mountains that are frequented by siddhas and caranas and began practicing austerities.

Being castrated, Indra, with fearful eyes, said to the siddhas, gandharvas, caranas and gods headed by Agni: “I have performed a service for the gods by interrupting the great soul Gautama’s austerities by invoking his anger. Now I have been castrated by his anger and Ahalya has been made formless. By this I interrupted his practice of austerities. Since I was only engaged in the welfare of the gods, you, O best of gods, accompanied by the sages and caranas, should restore my testicles.”

Hearing the supplication of Indra, the performer of one hundred horse sacrifices, the gods, headed by Agni and accompanied by the Maruts, approached the celestial forefathers and said: “Here is a ram with testicles and Indra has been deprived of his testicles. Taking the testicles from the ram, immediately attach them to Indra. The castrated ram will please you greatly. To those men who to propitiate you offer you a castrated ram, you will bestow an undecaying and abundant reward.”

Hearing Agni’s request, the assembled celestial forefathers removed the testicles from the ram and attached them to Indra. From then on, O descendant of Kakutstha, the celestial forefathers have enjoyed offerings of castrated rams and have conferred upon the offerers suitable rewards. Since then, O Rama, by the strength of the great soul Gautama’s austerity, Indra has had the testicles of a ram. Now step inside the hermitage of the pious sage and deliver the highly blessed Ahalya, who previously had a celestial form.”

After hearing Vishvamitra’s words, Rama, accompanied by Lakshmana, entered the hermitage, being lead by Vishvamitra. There Rama saw the fortunate lady who was glowing due to the practice of austerities and who was unable to be seen by the gods and demons, much less by ordinary people, even when approached closely. Her heavenly form was originally striated by Lord Brahma with great effort and resembled a striated of magical powers. She resembled a blazing tongue of fire enveloped in smoke, like the halo of the full moon covered by mist or a cloud, or like the undeterrable radiance of the sun shining through a cloud. By the curse of Gautama, she had been rendered invisible to the three worlds until she would be seen by Rama. The period of the curse had now come to an end as she was seen by them all.

Rama and Lakshman then caught hold of her feet with delight. Remembering the words of Gautama, she welcomed the two princes. With a composed mind, she offered the two water for washing the feet and hands and other acts of hospitality according to scriptural rule. At that time, the gods showered down flowers and beat kettle drums, while the gandharvas and apsaras celebrated jubilantly. Exclaiming “Very good! Very good!” the gods honored the lady Ahalya, whose body was purified by the power of her austerity and who had remained obedient to Gautama. Gautama was also happy to be reunited with his glorious wife Ahalya. After offering proper respects to Lord Rama, the great ascetic engaged himself in the practice of austerities. After personally receiving the highest honors from the great sage Gautama, Rama proceeded to Mithila.

1) Krishna visits Bahulashva and Srutadeva in Mithila :

Chapter Eighty Six of Tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. This chapter describes how Arjuna kidnapped Subhadra with a great fight. It also describes how Krsna went to Mithila to favor His devotee Bahulasva and stay at the house of Srutadeva and advise them about spiritual advancement.

There was a brahmana devotee of Sri Krsna’s named Srutadeva, who lived in the city of Mithila. By the will of Providence, he could earn only barely enough to keep himself and his family alive. Still, he was always satisfied and spent all his time executing his religious duties. King Bahulasva was another great devotee of the Lord residing in Mithila. A member of the dynasty in which King Janaka had appeared, Bahulasva ruled over the whole province of Videha, yet he remained as detached from material wealth as Srutadeva. Pleased with the devotional attitude of both these great souls, Lord Krsna went on His chariot to Mithila to visit them, taking along Narada and several other learned sages. The people of Mithila greeted the Lord and His saintly entourage with great delight. Bearing various gifts for Krsna, they bowed down and offered obeisances to Him and the sages.

Bahulasva and Srutadeva both stepped forward and respectfully requested Sri Krsna to visit their homes. To satisfy both of them, the Lord expanded Himself and went to each of their homes simultaneously. They each worshiped Him suitably, offered prayers, washed His feet and then sprinkled themselves and all their family members with the washed water. Lord Krsna then praised the sages who were with Him and glorified brahmanas in general. He also imparted instructions to His hosts concerning devotional service. Understanding these instructions, both Srutadeva and Bahulasva honored the sages and Lord Sri Krsna with single-minded devotion. Lord Krsna then returned to Dvaraka.

2) Krishna and Balaram chase and kill Satadhanva :

Chapter fifty seventh of tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam describes how Lord Krsna, after the murder of Satrajit, killed Satadhanva and had Akrura bring the Syamantaka jewel back to Dvaraka.

When Lord Sri Krsna heard that the Pandavas had supposedly been burned to death in the palace of lac, He went to Hastinapura with Lord Baladeva to maintain the principles of worldly protocol, even though, being omniscient, He knew the report was false. When Krsna was out of Dvaraka, Akrura and Kritavarma incited Satadhanva to steal the Syamantaka jewel from Satrajit. Bewildered by their words, the sinful Satadhanva murdered King Satrajit in his sleep and stole the gem. Queen Satyabhama was overcome with grief at the death of her father, and she rushed to Hastinapura to report the sorrowful news to Sri Krsna. Together with Lord Baladeva, Krsna then returned to Dvaraka to kill Satadhanva.

Satadhanva went to Akrura and Kritavarma to beg for help, but when they refused, he left the jewel with Akrura and fled for his life. Krsna and Balarama pursued him, and Lord Krsna beheaded him with His sharp-edged disc. When the Lord could not find the Syamantaka jewel on Satadhanva’s, Baladeva told Him that Satadhanva must have left it in someone’s care. Baladeva further suggested that Krsna return to Dvaraka to find the jewel while He, Baladeva, would take the opportunity to visit the King of Videha. Thus Lord Balarama travelled to Mithila and remained there for a few years, during which He taught King Duryodhana the art of fighting with a club.

Lord Krsna returned to Dvaraka and had the funeral rites performed for Satrajit. When Akrura and Kritavarma heard how Satadhanva had met his death, they fled Dvaraka. Soon many kinds of disturbances-mental, physical and soon began to afflict Dvaraka, and the citizens concluded that the cause of these troubles must be Akrura’s exile. The city elders explained, “Once there was a drought in Benares, and the king of the region gave his daughter in marriage to Akrura’s father, who was visiting Benares at the time. As a result of this gift, the drought ended.” The elders, thinking Akrura had the same power as his father, declared that Akrura should be brought back.

Lord Krsna knew that Akrura’s exile was not the main cause of the disturbances. Still, He had Akrura brought back to Dvaraka, and after properly honoring him with worship and greeting him with sweet words, Krsna told him, “I know Satadhanva left the jewel in your care. Since Satrajit had no sons, his daughter’s offspring are the just claimants to whatever property he has left behind. Nonetheless, it would be best for you to keep the troublesome jewel in your care. Just let Me show it once to My relatives.” Akrura presented Krsna with the jewel, which shone as brilliantly as the sun, and after the Lord had shown it to His family members He returned it to Akrura.

Meanwhile at Mithila, When the King of Mithila saw the arrival of Sri Balarama in his city, he was most pleased and received the Lord with great honor and hospitality. He gave many valuable presents to Balaramaji in order to seek His pleasure. At this time Sri Balarama lived in the city for several years as the honored guest of the King of Mithila, Janaka Maharaja. During this time, Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarastra, took the opportunity to come to Balarama and learn from Him the art of fighting with a club.

After killing Satadhanva, Krsna returned to Dvaraka, and in order to please His wife Satyabhama, He informed her of the death of Satadhanva, the killer of her father. But He also informed her that the jewel had not been found in his possession. Then, according to religious principles, Krsna, along with Satyabhama, performed ceremonies in honor of His departed father-in-law. In those ceremonies all the friends and relatives of the family joined together.

3) King Nimi and the Nine Yogendras mentioned in 11th canto of Srimad Bhagavtam:

Maharaj Nimi

In this second chapter, Narada gives instructions in bhagavata-dharma to the faithful and inquisitive Vasudeva by recounting a conversation between Maharaja Nimi and the nine Yogendras. Greatly eager to see Lord Krsna, Devarsi Narada resided almost exclusively in Dvaraka. Vasudeva, bewildered by the Lord’s illusory potency, had previously offered worship to the Supreme Lord Ananta for the purpose of getting a son, but had failed to worship Him for liberation.

Once Narada arrived at the home of Vasudeva, who worshiped him according to proper etiquette, greeted him respectfully and requested to hear about pure devotional service, which frees one from all kinds of fear. Narada praised Vasudeva’s fixed intelligence and then related the ancient history of the conversation between the nine Yogendras, who were sons of Lord Anabhadeva, and Nimi, the King of Videha.

Svayambhuva Manu’s son was Priyavrata. His son was agnedhra, whose son was Nabhi. Lord Anabhadeva, the plenary portion of Vasudeva, incarnated as the son of Nabhi. The oldest of Anabhadeva’s one hundred sons was Bharata, an exalted devotee of Narayana by whose name this earth, previously called Ajanabha-varna, became famous as Bharata-varna. Nine other sons of Anabhadeva were widely known as the nava-yogendras: Kavi, Havir, Antarekna, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, avirhotra, Drumila, Camasa and Karabhajana. They were well versed in knowledge of the self, fixed in their goal and always striving for perfection. Nine other sons of Anabhadeva took on the duty of ksatriyas and became masters of the nine dvipas comprising Bharata-varsha. His other eighty-one sons became brahmanas expert in smriti doctrines who propagated the path of fruitive sacrifice.

The nine Yogendras, free to move without impediment, travelled everywhere as they wished. They were direct associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Madhusudana, and wandered freely to give protection to the various planets in the universe. The human body can be lost at any moment, but it is still a very rare attainment. Still rarer is to get the association of the confidential devotees of the Lord of Vaikuntha while in this very human body. The association of such saintly persons, even for a fraction of a second, bestows all benefits on a living being. Therefore King Nimi offered the nine Yogendras suitable seats, worshiped them, humbled himself with obeisances and joyfully inquired from them about bhagavata-dharma. Bhagavata-dharma, or pure devotional service to the Lord, is the only means of ultimate good fortune for the soul. The Supreme Lord, being pleased by such service, offers His own self to the devotee.

Maharaj Nimi & 9 YogendrasIn answer to the King’s question, one of the nine Yogendras, Kavi, spoke as follows: “Those means of advancement which are described by the Personality of Godhead Himself and which enable even foolish persons easily to achieve perfect self-realization are called bhagavata-dharma. This bhagavata-dharma, manifested as service to the lotus feet of the infallible Supreme Lord, eradicates all fear for the living being. By abiding in bhagavata-dharma one will never stumble or fall, even while running with both eyes closed. Whatever one does with his body, mind, words, intelligence, consciousness, senses and natural proclivities should all be offered to Lord Narayaea. Living entities averse to the Lord’s lotus feet come under the control of the Lord’s illusory energy, maya. They forget the Lord’s identity and are trapped by the illusion of identifying with the temporary body. Under the sway of material attraction, they become greatly fearful. Thus the best thing for them is to surrender their very life energy to a qualified guru and execute worship of the Supreme Lord, the absolute controller of maya, with pure devotion. Just as by eating one gradually appeases his hunger and with every bite feels more and more satisfied and nourished, a surrendered devotee achieves detachment from all objects other than Krsna, gains direct personal experience of the Lord and relishes pure love for the Lord, all simultaneously.”

Next Havir spoke, describing the different characteristics of first-class, second-class and third-class devotees: “One who offers prescribed worship with faith to the Deity of Lord Vineu but has no devotion for Vaineavas and things related to Vineu is a materialistic devotee. One who shows love for the Lord, friendship for the Lord’s devotees, mercy for the ignorant and indifference for the enemies of Vineu and the Vaineavas is an intermediate devotee. And one who sees the presence of the Supreme Lord in everything and sees everything within the Lord is the topmost devotee.” The first-class devotees are described in eight verses, which conclude by stating that the first-class devotee keeps the Supreme Lord perpetually fastened to his own heart with ropes of affection. Lord Hari never leaves the heart of such a devotee.

4) The Vaishnava Poet Vidyapati from Mithila.

VidyapatiVidyapati, a great and learned poet of Mithila, has said that the pleasure derived from friendship, society and family life in the material world is like a drop of water, but our hearts desire pleasure like an ocean.Vidyapati was a famous composer of songs about the pastimes of Radha-Krsna. He was an inhabitant of Mithila, born in a brahmana family. It is calculated that he composed his songs during the reign of King Sivasingha and Queen Laxmidevi, in the beginning of the fourteenth century of the Saka Era, almost one hundred years before the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The twelfth generation of Vidyapati’s descendants is still living. Vidyapati’s songs about the pastimes of Lord Krsna express intense feelings of separation from Krsna, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu relished all those songs in His ecstasy of separation from Krsna. (CC adi lila13.42.)

Sri Svarupa Damodara used to read the poems of Vidyapati and Chandidas and Jayadeva Gosvami’s Sri Geta-govinda. He used to make Caitanya Mahaprabhu very happy by singing these songs. (CC Madhya 10.116)

5) Adavaita Acharya meets Vidyapati at Mithila

Then Advaita Prabhu went to Mithila, the birthplace of Seta. He rolled on the ground there and then chanted and danced in ecstasy.

Now hear about the wonderful incident that took place at that time. The Lord heard a sweet, melodious song in glorification of Krsna. He rushed in the direction of the sound and found a first-class brahmaea sitting under a banyan tree singing the nectarean glories of Lord Krsna like a Gandharva. Advaita Prabhu was struck with wonder on hearing the descriptions of Krsna’s form. He was filled with love and embraced the brahmaea. On the pretext of embracing the brahmaea, Advaita bestowed His mercy by giving him love of God just as iron is turned to gold by the contact of touchstone.

The brahmaea understood that Advaita was the Supreme Lord and offered Him obeisances. Advaita remembered Lord Vineu and asked the brahmaea his name and the name of the author of the nectarean song.

Advaita Prabhu said, “Such a sweet composition is hardly heard, and the pleasing sound of your voice is most excellent. I became intoxicated by hearing that nectarean song of yours, and out of attraction I came running here.”

The brahmaea said, “My name is Vidyapati. Since I am maintained by the king, my consciousness is contaminated. I composed this song in this maddened condition. You became pleased with the song because You are a paramahamsa, who has accepted the essence of everything. Otherwise, who has the power to attract You? You have delivered me simply due to Your saintly qualities.”

Advaita Prabhu said, “What to speak of ordinary living entities, even Krsna Himself is attracted by your nectarean song. By some great fortune Krsna has bestowed His mercy on Me and I am able to associate with Vidyapati, the composer of this song.”

Saying this, Advaita embraced him again and then started for Ayodhya while remembering Lord Hari.

6) Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya in Mithila –

The original name of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was Vasudeva Bhattacharya. His place of birth, which is known as Vidyanagara. It is about two and a half miles away from the Navadvipa railway station, or Campahatti railway station. His father was a very much celebrated man of the name Mahesh Visharada. It is said that Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was the greatest logician of his time in India. At Mithila, in Bihar, he became a student of a great professor named Paksadhara Mishra, who did not allow any student to note down his explanations of logic. SarvabhaumaBhattacharya was so talented, however, that he learned the explanations by heart, and when he later returned to Navadvipa he established a school for the study of logic, thus diminishing the importance of Mithila. Students from various parts of India still come to Navadvipa to study logic. According to some authoritative opinions, the celebrated logician Raghunatha Shiromani was also a student of SarvabhaumaBhattacharya’s. In effect, SarvabhaumaBhattacharya became the leader of all students of logic. Although he was a grhastha (householder), he even taught many sannyasis in the knowledge of logic.

7) Janak Maharaj in Gaur Lila came as Vallabhacharya, the father of Laxmipriya.

CB adi-khanda

TRANSLATION: There was one qualified brahmana in Navadvipa named Vallabhacarya, who was equal to Janaka Maharaja.

COMMENTARY: In the Gaura-ganoddesa dipika (44) it is stated: “Janaka, the great King of Mithila, has now appeared as Vallabhacarya. He is also accepted as Bhismaka, the father of Rukmini. Sri Janaki, Rukmini, and Lakshmi were all his daughters.”

10.48 : ta’na kanya ache-yena lakshmi murti-mati
niravadhi vipra tan’ra cinte yogya pati

TRANSLATION :He had a daughter who appeared to be the personification of Lakshmi. That brahmana was constantly searching for a qualified husband for her.

10.49 :daivelaknmeeka-dinagelagaiga-snanegauracandrahenaisamayeseikhane.

TRANSLATION : By providence, one day when Lakshmi went to take bath in the Ganges, Gauracandra was there at the same time.



Marriage of Sita and Rama in Jankapur, Mithila


Sita Rama


The following morning Lord Rama, Laxman, Viswamitra muni & others went towards the northeast, heading for Mithila. Gradually the forest paths gave way to roads laid with stone that led to the city. The forest opened to fields of crops. As they came closer to Mithila they saw well-planned gardens and groves with seats and fountains. The sounds of wild animals were replaced with the clamour of people in the city.

Shouts of children and the rumbling of horse-drawn chariots greeted them as they entered the gates of Mithila. Huge elephants swayed along majestically, with smiling people waving from the howdahs on their backs. Gazing about them, the travellers saw the golden domes of innumerable temples along with many mansions of brilliant white stone. Along the roadside were shops displaying countless varieties of fruits, vegetables and all kinds of sweetmeats. Other vendors displayed rows of shining gems looking like numbers of rainbows. Everyone called out respectful greetings as the party moved slowly. As they went along the wide, smooth road they were met by the king’s ministers, who had already been informed of their arrival.

Headed by Visvamitra and the princes, the party was led along the main highway to Janaka’s palace. People thronged the sides of the road to gaze upon the famous sage and his two illustrious charges. As they looked upon the powerful princes, some of them guessed that they might be the sons of Emperor Dasaratha. The people wondered what had brought the princes to Mithila. Were they going to attempt to string the king’s great bow? As Rama smiled at the people they were filled with a desire to see this handsome, powerful prince win Sita’s hand.

Janaka personally came out to greet them, accompanied by his priests and counsellors. He immediately fell at Visvamitra’s feet and brought them all into the palace, where he offered him and the two princes golden seats. The king had fetched water for washing their feet and personally performed the ceremony.

Once the formalities were complete, a meal was offered to the sage and the princes. As they sat on the floor on silk rugs, ivory tables were placed in front of them. Gold and silver dishes were fetched containing choice foods of every description. They ate heartily and when they were finished, Janaka said to Viswamitra, “Great indeed is my good fortune today for I see before me your holy self. I am blessed by your presence. Tell me who are these two boys accompanying you? They appear like two powerful tigers and They rival the gods in beauty and grace. What brings you here to my house, along with these boys equipped with weapons?”

The king had waited until the travellers were rested and refreshed before making his inquiries. Viswamitra told him all about the boys and how they had disposed the Raksasas in the forest. They had come now to see the famous bow. Janaka was thrilled to hear that They were princes from Ayodhya. Nothing could be better than an alliance with Dasaratha’s line. If only Rama could pass the test of the bow.

At that point Satananda, Janaka’s head priest, spoke to the princes. After welcoming them he began to narrate the history of Viswamitra. Satananda was himself a great ascetic. He knew Viswamitra well, having previously spent time with him in his hermitage. Seeing the famous sage again, Satananda felt inspired by affection to speak of his glories. Looking upon the beautiful faces of Rama and Lakshman, who sat enraptured by his speech, the priest told the story of Viswamitra, who had performed difficult asceticism for thousands of years. [See Appendix Two, The History of Viswamitra.]

He told them how the sage had once been a great king and, after practicing tremendous austerities, had been blessed by Brahma to become a powerful ani. When Satananda finished his astonishing tale, everyone gazed with awe at Viswamitra, who sat flanked by the princes, his mind absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme Lord. Janaka approached the effulgent muni and spoke to him with joined palms. “I stand blessed by your appearance, O holy sage. This account of your many glories has filled my mind with wonder. Indeed, I could go on hearing it again and again. But dusk has now fallen and I beg your leave. Let us meet again in the morning and it will be my very great delight to satisfy your every desire.”

Janaka, along with his ministers and priest, circumambulated Viswamitra in respect and then departed. After performing their evening rituals and prayers, Viswamitra and the princes rested for the night in the king’s palace.

The following morning Janaka again came before Viswamitra. He bowed low before the sage and touched his feet, asking in a pleasing voice, “Please instruct me what I should do for you today, O sinless one. You are worthy in every way of receiving my service.”

Hearing these words from the virtuous and gentle king, Viswamitra asked that they now be shown the bow. Janaka assented, but before taking them to see the bow he described its history.

Long ago, in a former age the bow belonged to Siva. He had become angry with the other gods when they had denied him a share of the sacrificial offerings made by the sages. Siva had threatened them with the bow saying, “I shall now sever your worshipable heads from your bodies. Stand ready on the battlefield if you have any valor.”

But the gods relented and quickly worshipped the infuriated Siva. They had managed to appease him, whereupon he gave the bow to them. The famous bow was then given by the gods to Janaka’s ancestor, Devarata, after he had fought for them in a battle against the demons. It had since been kept in the king’s family, being worshipped as if it were Siva himself.

Janaka continued speaking to the sage and the princes, who listened with great curiosity. “Once I was performing a sacrifice to please the gods in order to get a worthy successor in my line. As the sacrificial ground was being prepared with a golden ploughshare, a wonderful child appeared from out of the earth itself. This female child, who became known by the name of Sita, grew up in my palace as my daughter. Her beauty is matchless. I have raised Her with love and will give Her in marriage to whoever can show exceptional prowess. Various rulers and princes have approached me and sued for Her hand. Seeing these kings, I set a standard for winning Sita, saying, ‘Whosoever can hold and string the mighty bow of Siva will win this princess.’

“Many proud kings thought they would easily bend the bow. However, coming before that bow they were soon shorn of their valor and pride. They were hardly able to move the bow even slightly, far less lift and string it. Angry at their failure, numerous kings together besieged Mithila for one full year. When my resources were exhausted I prayed to the gods for support. I then received from them a vast army equipped with every kind of weapon. That celestial army quickly dispersed those bellicose kings in all directions. Thus this bow remains here, unconquered and awaiting some truly powerful king.”

Janaka looked at the two royal brothers. Rama’s fame had reached him and he felt sure that the prince would win his daughter’s hand. As the king beheld Rama’s beautiful features, His powerful physique and noble bearing, he longed for the prince to pass the test and become his son-in-law. He stood before Viswamitra with folded palms. “Come now, O sage, and bring these boys with you. If any can string the bow, then the hand of the divinely born Sita will be won.”

Janaka led them to the part of his great palace where the bow was kept. It was stored in an iron chest which was adorned with gold engravings and covered over with numerous flower garlands. Three hundred powerfully built men somehow managed to move the chest to the center of the hall where it lay. Janaka turned towards Rama. “Here is the wonderful celestial bow. It has been kept and worshipped by the Janakas for many generations. Not even the gods, demons, Yaksas, Gandharvas or Kinnaras can string it; how then could any ordinary man? Gaze now upon this bow, O Rama.”

Janaka ordered that the chest be opened. As the lid was lifted the brilliant bow was revealed. It spread a golden glow all around. Constructed of pure horn, it was skillfully worked with gold and silver images of the pastimes of the gods. Hundreds of golden bells and ornaments hung from the bow, which was studded with diamonds and other gems.

Seeing the bow the two princes gasped in appreciation. Rama bowed down in respect and then walked slowly around it. He looked towards Viswamitra who nodded slightly. Understanding Viswamitra’s indication, Rama stood with joined palms at the bow’s center. He turned to Janaka. “I wish to attempt your test. I shall now try to lift this heavenly bow to gauge its weight and strength.”

While being extolled by Viswamitra and other sages, who uttered “Victory!Victory!”Rama placed his hand upon the bow. There was complete silence in the hall. Janaka held his breath as Rama stood motionless. Viswamitra, knowing the extent of Rama’s power, smiled slightly.

In the balcony of the hall stood Sita, She looked at Rama, feeling a natural attraction for the prince. Until then She had never been interested in any of Her suitors, although the most powerful kings from all around the world had come there. To the gentle Sita they were all arrogant and overly proud of themselves. Sita was deeply religious. All Her life She had prayed that Vishnu might become Her husband. As She watched Rama approach the bow She felt Her love for the Lord being awakened. Was this Vishnu himself? Becoming absorbed in Her loving sentiment, Sita felt anxious. Would Rama string the bow and become Her husband? She held the matrimonial garland with trembling hands.

Suddenly Rama seized the bow by its middle part and raised it high above His head. A gasp of astonishment filled the hall. It was inconceivable. Rama tossed the bow slightly to gauge its weight. Placing one end of the colossal bow on the ground, Rama then moved to the other end and strung it. He pulled the string and bent the bow round into a semi-circle. It broke suddenly and a sound like the crash of thunder reverberated around the hall. The earth shook as if there were an earthquake. Everyone was stunned and rendered senseless for some moments.


Janaka was amazed. He turned to Vicvamitra. “I have now witnessed Rama’s strength. His achievement is incredible. Having secured Rama as Her husband, Seta will bring undying fame to my family.”

Janaka’s eyes were filled with tears. Surely Rama was a divine personality. There could be no doubt. Till then no king had been able to move the bow even slightly; some could hardly even look upon it. But Rama had handled it as if it were a piece of bamboo. The king looked up to Seta in the balcony. She was filled with delight upon seeing Rama’s feat and Her breast heaved with excitement. Awaiting Her father’s indication to come down, She stood surrounded by Her many female attendants. Janaka turned to speak to Rama, who stood peacefully, having replaced the broken bow in its chest. “I shall now fulfill my pledge to give Seta’s hand to whoever could string this bow. Seta is dearer to me than my own life, but I gladly offer Her to You.”

Seta came down from the balcony with a garland of golden flowers in Her hands and stood by Her father. She was resplendent in a silk sari of deep maroon, a necklace of pearls shining on Her breast. As She walked Her golden anklets tinkled and her diamond earrings swung to and fro. Smiling gently, she shyly lifted her eyes a little and looked at Rama, who caught Her glance. Both felt Their hearts moved by love. In that moment Their union was forged. Seta’s father signaled and She went before Rama. She placed the garland around His neck, indicating Her acceptance of Him as Her husband. She blushed slightly and kept Her eyes down. Walking slowly, She went back to her father, who felt as if his heart might burst with happiness.

The king wanted to perform the marriage ceremony as soon as possible. He asked for Vicvamitra’s permission, and when the sage agreed, the king arranged for swift messengers to go to Ayodhya to inform Dacaratha.

The ministers of Janaka left immediately and arrived at Ayodhya after three days. They quickly went to the palace and were ushered into the presence of Dacaratha, who appeared to them like a powerful god. Put at ease by the emperor’s benign expression and gentle words of welcome, the ministers politely told him of the events in Mithila. The emperor was delighted to hear the submission of Janaka’s envoys. Rama and Laknman were well! They had conquered over the demons, and more than that, Rama had now won the beautiful Seta for His bride.

Dacaratha recalled how he had been contemplating the marriage of his son even as Vicvamitra had arrived at his palace. The sage must have been sent by Providence, by whose arrangement this union had surely been made. After consulting with his counselors, Dacaratha made up his mind to leave the next day for Mithila.

Taking with him his ministers and preceded by a party of priests, Dacaratha went the next morning towards Mithila, with his army marching close behind. They arrived after five days. Dacaratha approached Janaka, who graciously received the abundant riches brought as gifts. Janaka embraced the emperor, and the two old friends sat together discussing the wedding. Janaka told Dacaratha how Seta had appeared from the earth. He also told him of a prophesy he had heard.

“Once the celestial seer Narada informed me that Sita is Vishnu’s eternal consort and that he would one day become Her husband in this world. I thus devised a test which would only be possible for Vishnu to pass. Your son has now passed that difficult test and must therefore be Sita’s eternal husband.” Dasaratha was again astonished to hear of Rama’s divinity. He still found it hard to believe, having raised Rama as his child. He looked at the son who stood before him modestly with bowed head and folded palms. Dasaratha was overpowered by love. His loving sentiments overcame the thoughts of Rama’s divinity. The emperor looked again at Janaka and said, “I approve this marriage in every way. Perform the ceremony under the guidance of learned Brahmins. O king, the success of a gift depends upon the way it is given. Therefore be sure that all the necessary rites are properly observed without loss of time.”

Dasaratha wanted to ensure that the marriage ceremony was performed carefully according to scriptural codes. He did not want any ill fortune created by neglect of sacred rituals. Such errors would bring the marriage and create future difficulties for the couple.

Janaka issued instructions to his ministers and then sat with Dacaratha in his great palace hall. Both of them listened as Vasinöha recited Rama’s family lineage. After hearing of Rama’s ancestry, beginning with the sun-god, Janaka recited Seta’s genealogy, describing his own ancestry, which began with Brahma.

When Janaka finished, Viswamitra spoke. He suggested that Seta’s sister, Urmila, wed Rama’s brother Laknman. The sage also advised that Janaka’s brother Kushadhvaja allow his two daughters to marry Bharata and Shatrughna. Then there could be one ceremony for all four marriages.

Rising from his seat with joy, Janaka said, “Let it be so!” again and again. He fell prostrate before Vicvamitra and said, “I am ever your servant. Your words are worthy of my worship and I stand commanded by you. Let the wedding take place tomorrow, a day marked by favorable stars.”

As the two kings sat talking together, the sun gradually set. Janaka took his leave from Dacaratha and departed for his personal quarters, flanked by his ministers and a hundred warriors. Thousands of golden oil lamps lit up the hall as the crowds of Brahmins made their way out, all of them constantly uttering auspicious Vedic hymns.

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Marriage of Sita Rama

The following morning Dasaratha rose early and performed the first ritual for invoking good fortune. He had his four sons brought before him and then gave to the Brahmin priests a hundred thousand cows on behalf of each of them. The emperor also distributed gold and gems to the thousands of munis assembled in Mithila to witness the wedding. The four princes shaved their heads and dressed in silk robes, putting on brilliant jewelled ornaments. Surrounded by the four handsome and effulgent youths, Dasaratha shone like Brahma surrounded by the celestial guardians of the four quarters.

A great pavilion had been erected for the ceremony. Its walls were constructed of marble and it was supported on numerous pillars studded with sparkling gems. Fragrant and brightly coloured flower garlands were draped everywhere and the air was filled with the scent of black aloe incense. Large stands constructed of mahogany inlaid with coral and pearl, holding rows of golden seats, surrounded the sacrificial area. Kings from all around the world along with their ministers filled the stands, eager to see the wedding.

The entire pavilion was crowded with jubilant people who cried out, “All glories to Rama and Sita!” Hundreds of elderly brahmins wearing simple loin cloths, with clean white threads hanging from their left shoulders, were seated around the sacrificial arena. They recited Vedic hymns continuously and the melodic rise and fall of their metrical chanting filled the pavilion. Musical instruments played while expert singers sang the praises of Rama and Sita. The whole assembly appeared like an exuberant festival held in the heavens by the gods.

Dasaratha and his four sons approached the sacrificial fire, which was tended by Vasinoha. When they were seated, the princes saw Sita and the other three princesses enter the arena. The princes’ minds were captivated by the beauty of their wives-to-be. Adorned with shining silk garments, jewels and gold ornaments, the princesses appeared like four goddesses descended from the celestial realm. They sat down opposite their intended spouses, glancing down shyly, and Vasinoha immediately began the wedding ceremony.

Janaka stepped forward, speaking in a voice choked with emotion. “My dear Rama, I now give to You Sita, my own beloved daughter, to be Your assistant in all Your religious duties. She will always remain exclusively devoted to You and will follow You like Your own shadow. Take Her hand in Yours and accept Her. I bless You both.”

Janaka took Rama’s hand and placed it over Sita’s. Vasinoha sprinkled sanctified water over Their clasped hands, signifying the confirmation of the gift of Sita. Holding Sita’s hand, Rama led Her slowly around the sacred fire.

From the upper reaches of the pavilion, the gods were heard to exclaim, “Excellent! Bravo!” Celestial flowers rained down upon Rama and Sita. The entire assembly of onlookers erupted with a shout of joy. Both Dasaratha and Janaka looked with tearful eyes at the newlywed couple. Rama’s complexion, resembling a celestial emerald, contrasted the pure white features of Sita. They were both covered with golden flower petals and Their many jewels shone brilliantly. As They walked hand in hand around the fire, Sita looked down in shyness while Rama smiled at the loudly cheering crowds in the pavilion.

Each of Rama’s three brothers, one after another in order of their seniority, took the hand of one of the other three princesses. Lakshman was united with Urmila, Bharata with Mandavi and Shatrughna with Srutakirti. The three effulgent princes, holding Their brides’ hands, went around the sacred fire along with Janaka and the many sages.

Cries of happiness filled the pavilion. While the gods played their celestial drums, bevies of Apsaras danced and Gandharvas sang. The sages recited Vedic texts and the blast of conch shells was heard everywhere. All those present in the assembly were lost in ecstasy.

The ceremony ended at midday and the kings and princes gradually retired to their tents, headed by Dasaratha, Janaka and the four newly married couples.

The following day, Viswamitra, after taking permission from both Dasaratha and Janaka, left for the northern Himalayan ranges, his mind intent on the performance of asceticism. Janaka bestowed upon his daughters a dowry consisting of hundreds of thousands of cows and an equal number of elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers. The king, whose wealth was virtually unlimited, gave away millions of pieces of silken and cotton textiles, tens of thousands of handwoven carpets, heaps of gold, silver and jewels, and hundreds of richly adorned maids for each of the brides.

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After a few days Dasaratha left for Ayodhya, proceeding as the head of a large army. As the king, surrounded by his sons and the host of sages, was travelling along the broad road that led to Ayodhya, he suddenly saw a strange omen. Birds began to cry out fearfully and swoop low over their heads. Witnessing this foreboding sign, Dasaratha’s heart quivered and his mind became fearful. The king asked Vasinoha if he knew the cause of those omens.

“These signs portend some grave danger,” replied the muni, “but here are groups of deer crossing our path from left to right. This indicates our deliverance from that danger. You should not fear.”

A fierce tempest blew up. The sun was enveloped in darkness and the sky became black. Trees crashed to the ground and the earth shook. A dreadful dust storm swirled around the travellers, confounding their senses. They were rendered virtually unconscious. Suddenly, from out of the darkness, appeared the terrible sage Parasurama. He was dressed in tiger skins and had matted locks coiled at the crown of his head.

Dasaratha and his followers immediately recognized him. Although a Brahmin, Parasurama was famous for his prowess as a fighter. In former ages he had single-handedly overcome the world’s warriors, annihilating them by the millions. The sage had become enraged when his father was killed by warrior kings, and he wreaked an awful vengeance. He had ranged the globe massacring the entire warrior class. He now stood before Dasaratha holding a battle-axe in one hand and in the other a fierce arrow which resembled a streak of lightning. He was as tall as two men and he had upon his shoulder a great bow. Appearing as irresistible as the fire of universal destruction, he blocked the path like an impassable mountain.

The sages in Dasaratha’s party quickly gathered together. They took water to wash Parasurama’s feet and hands and offered him gentle words of welcome.

Accepting the honor offered by the sages, Parasurama looked at Rama and said in a grave voice, “O Rama, I have heard of Your strength. By breaking Siva’s bow You have performed an incredible feat. How can I, who has formed a great enmity with all warriors, tolerate hearing of such prowess existing in a king? I have here another sacred bow, that of Vishnu’s. Let us see Your power now. Fit this celestial arrow upon this bow and simply draw it to its full length. If You are able to accomplish this task, then I shall challenge You to single combat. When You stand on the battlefield and are swept away by the force of my weapons, You shall earn undying fame.”

Dasaratha threw up his hands in horror. Knowing well of Parasurama’s power, he feared for Rama’s life. He approached the sage with joined palms and entreated him to spare Rama. Paying no heed at all to the king, Parasurama continued to speak only to Rama: “Both the bow broken by You and this one here were constructed by the architect of the gods, Viswakarma. The one you sundered formerly belonged to Siva. However, this one here was Vishnu’s property. It is thus more powerful than the one you broke, for Vishnu is always Siva’s superior.”
Parasurama took the bow from his shoulder. With furrowed brows, he gazed at Rama with bloodshot eyes, not immediately recognizing the prince’s divine identity. “The bow has been passed down from Vishnu’s to my ancestors and finally to me. I now offer it to You, O Rama. Considering Your sacred duty as a warrior to always accept a challenge, exhibit now the strength of Your arms!”

Parasurama held out the enormous bow. Rama, smiling slightly, stepped forward. “I have heard of your tremendous feat in fighting and killing all the world’s warriors twenty-one times. You have fully avenged your father with this commendable action.”

Even as a child, Rama had been told the story of Parasurama. The many kings killed by that sage had become debauched, and it was by divine arrangement that they had been annihilated. As a sage Parasurama had performed much asceticism and had finally been personally empowered by Vishnu’s himself. By dint of Vishnu’s own desire and power Parasurama had been able to exterminate the warrior class. Now Vishnu appearing as Rama, again stood before the sage. He continued to speak: “You are a Brahmin sage and are therefore worthy of My worship. However, since you despise Me, seeing Me to belong to the warrior class, I shall now display to you My personal prowess.”

Rama seized the bow along with the blazing arrow from Parasurama’s hand. He strung the bow in an instant and drew the arrow back to His ear. Looking angrily at Parasurama, He asked, “Where shall I discharge this deadly shaft, O sage? As you are My superior I dare not aim it at you.”

Hosts of gods had assembled in the sky. Seeing the celestial bow drawn in anger by Rama, and fearing that He may destroy the heavens, they cried out, “Vishnu! Save us, save us!”
Rama, standing with the bow, blazed as brilliant as the sun and Parasurama fell back in astonishment. He felt his own power completely eclipsed by Rama. Suddenly realizing Rama’s identity, the sage spoke in faltering tones. “You appear invincible and I can understand that You must surely be the imperishable Vishnu’s himself. I accept defeat but I am not shamed, as You are indeed the Lord of all the worlds.”

Parasurama recalled how Vishnu had long ago said He would come again to take back the divine energy He had given to the sage. The warrior-sage folded his palms and said, “O Rama, O all-powerful one, You have already divested me of my power and my pride. Please release this arrow upon my desires for heavenly pleasures and thereby burn them all to ashes. I wish only to serve You. With all my material aspirations destroyed by You, I shall be fit to become Your eternal servant. This is my deepest desire.”

Parasurama bowed low before Rama, who then fired the fearful shaft. The sage immediately vanished along with the arrow. Then Varuna, the god of the waters, appeared and Rama gave him the celestial bow to keep on behalf of the gods.

The exchange between Rama and the sage was heard and understood only by Vasinoha and a few other spiritually powerful Brahmins. The king and the others present had been wholly confounded by the events that had occurred. They were amazed and relieved to see that Rama had somehow appeased the sage. Everything again became calm and the party resumed their journey, soon approaching Ayodhya.

marriage procession

Places Close by Janakpur

Dhanush Temple

Dhanush Temple –

Dhanush TempleRam and Sita are the two central characters of the great epic Ramayan. In the story, Ram strings a bow (originally belonged to Lord Shiva, the destroyer) and in the process, the bow breaks into three pieces. One piece flies up to heaven, another falls down into the depths of the underworld. Presently there is a huge pond called Dhanushsagar at this spot. The third piece flies to present day Dhanushadham, about 40 kilometers from Janakpur.

There, visitors will see huge rocks shaped liked a bow. Thus, after Ram’s successful attempt to string the bow, Janaki’s father, King Janak gives his daughter’s hand in marriage to the brave prince of Ayodhya.

Special Festivals

Janaki Mahal - Festival

Throughout the year, many pilgrims come to pay their respects to Ram and Sita who are the main religious attractions in Janakpur. The city is thronged by worshippers and visitors, especially during the festival of Bibah(vivah)Panchami. This annual festival is celebrated on the occasion of Ram and Sita's marriage and their wedding ceremony is enacted throughout the week. During this period, the city is enlivened by the wedding festivities.

Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple in November/December for VivahPanchami( marriage over 5 days ), the towns major annual festival, when the marriage of Sita and Rama is celebrated with various re-enactments.