Once Janaka, the great emperor addressed a gathering of saints, holy men and scholars and asked them-
“Who among you can provide me Self-Knowledge within the shortest time and fulfil the purpose of my life?”
No one came forward to take up this task. Just then a guru named Ashtavakra stepped forward and said-
“Oh King, I can provide you the knowledge of the Self on the condition that you should give your treasury, throne, body and mind to me.”
The King agreed to do so.
Ashtavakra told the King-
“Janaka, now everything of yours is mine. Step down from the throne and sit on the shoes piled at the entrance of the palace.”
King Janaka obeyed the orders of Ashtavakra and sat on others shoes. Sitting there he began to worry about the affairs of his state.
Ashtavakra observed this and asked the King-
“What are you thinking about? Does not your mind belong to me?”
The king realised his mistake, gave up reflecting on external world and started his inward journey. Within a short time he gained Self Knowledge and Self- fulfilment.
Ashtavakra, the Mahaguru, revealed the truth that by giving up ego one can attain atma jnana or Self Knowledge. He gave back the kingdom and the treasury to the King and blessed him with spiritual wealth.