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King Janaka Learns the True Meaning of Mantra

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I can so closely relate to the story of King Janaka!
Many times, I have approached the spiritual practices of japa, meditation, and chanting with a pining to have a particular experience of something extraordinary. While this desire has sometimes provided the impetus to bring me to my meditation mat, I usually end up distracted and disappointed.
The playful, graphic teaching given by the sage Ashtavakra to King Janaka in this story exemplified for me once again that the true experience of So’ham, “I am That,” is not the result of anything I can force upon myself. Instead I see that the state of oneness is already present within me. I can access it by quieting the noise of my mind through regular and natural practice in my everyday life.

Vadodara, India

King Janaka’s experience at the end of the story reminds me of the experience of oneness I sometimes have. In this experience, I feel and hear a sweet vibration within. I look around and see that everything is shimmering with the exact same vibration. For me, relaxing into and relishing this sweet vibrational sound is the most inspiring way to perform the Siddha Yoga practices and to go about my day.

Washington, United States

I love this story about King Janaka! So much of my own life is spent striving for things on the outside. Like King Janaka, I sit down to meditate, repeating my mantra diligently, hoping to get something. This happens to me especially when life seems full of challenges and decisions to make.
This story teaches me that what I seek is inside me, that what I need to do is sit quietly and allow the Truth to reveal itself to me from within.

New York, United States

I liked this story so much because it opened my heart with laughter and allowed wisdom to enter.
I am grateful for this new awareness about the meaning of mantra.

San Giorgio a Cremano, Italy

When I read this story, I was touched by how the king’s experience was transformed by Ashtavakra’s words. Like Janaka listening to Ashtavakra, when I hear Gurumayi’s words or remember her teaching, a veil lifts, obstacles dissolve, my inspiration and understanding seem to come to life.

In meditation this morning, I offered a teaching of Gurumayi to my mind. My mind became calm and receptive. Flashes of insight for dealing with my mind in daily life as well as in meditation came to me. I felt that Gurumayi was by my side guiding me toward being secure in my true nature. I cherish these moments of recognition when I can invite Gurumayi into my heart and home, and feel guided concretely by her teachings and subtle presence.

Ramonville-Saint-Agne, France

What power in the sage's words! I am familiar with this story; however, as I read it again today, the sage's final statement to King Janaka landed deep in my being. I sat in stillness. This teaching became, for me, an experience.

Sydney, Australia

As I read the story of how King Janaka learned the true meaning of mantra, I remembered an experience I had while reciting Shri Guru Gita in Gurudev Siddha Peeth.
That morning, the Sanskrit words suddenly became the sweetest nectar, coming directly from a place deep within me. "I" was no longer chanting. The chant was coming forth from the Self; the words themselves were the Self.

Ajijic, Mexico

Reading this powerful story reminded me of an experience I had some years ago during a Shaktipat Intensive that was focused on the So'ham mantra. As I meditated with So'ham, I kept encountering what seemed like a wall that prevented me from going deeper into the Self. I tried repeating So'ham silently but with great force, thinking I could break down the wall through the force of my effort. It didn't work.
Then I realized I could simply relax and listen to So'ham repeating itself along with the movement of my breath in and out. As I did this, the wall dissolved and I felt I was floating in a gently undulating sea of light. I felt I was that sea of light. This Intensive transformed my experience of So'ham, my experience of meditation, and my experience of my Self.
I am grateful for this story, which reminds us so clearly of who we truly are.

Massachusetts, USA

Inspired by this beautiful story, I repeat the mantra with the knowledge that I am the Truth. I find myself relishing each syllable. The sound texture and form of each syllable emerges from a vast and perfect space within me.
I am in awe, aware that with each repetition I am acknowledging that I am one with the universe. I am that which has no beginning or end.
As I continue this practice, I settle into the simple, unquestionable Truth of my own divine nature. It is blissful, spacious, and full of infinite possibility.
I am grateful for this story—a sweetly profound invitation to enter the company of the Truth within.

Hampton, Australia

This story revealed to me how, in everyday speaking, I often say words without understanding their innate meanings and connotations. My habitual pattern of speaking without intention is transported to my repetition of the mantra as well.
This story helped me to understand that in order to repeat the mantra with understanding, whether inwardly or outwardly, I need to be more aware of my everyday speech. Then, by consciously using language with true intent, I will naturally repeat the mantra in the same way.

New York, United States

I smiled when I read the story because it reminded me of my habitual way of doing mantra repetition. So many times I have noticed myself repeating the mantra without awareness.
What has worked for me is to ask myself, “Who is the one that is repeating the mantra?”. The moment I do this self-inquiry, I have found that my focus shifts to the silent one within who is listening to the mantra. With this subtle shift, my awareness dissolves into that silence.
I am going to follow Ashtavakra’s instruction to repeat the mantra knowing I am already the Truth.
I am grateful that these invaluable teachings are available through the Siddha Yoga path website.

Pune, India

King Janaka's longing touched my heart and refreshed my own longing to know and live the highest Truth.
So I began doing japa with the approach taught by Ashtavakra. As I continued doing japa with total conviction, I was filled with sweet tenderness. I felt woven into and totally connected to the world around me.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The story helped me recognize how I sometimes repeat the mantra in a loud, fast inner voice as if I’m pushing myself!
I appreciate being reminded to adopt a gentle, kind approach toward repeating the mantra and toward myself in general. I feel myself soften.
I am filled with gratitude for my Guru who, like Sage Ashtavakra, teaches with humor and compassion.

Massachusetts, United States