Sage Ashtavakra has answered all queries of King Janak. The king bows before the sage, and becomes a disciple, and seeks permission to renounce his kingdom. King Janak says he seeks to be mukta, a liberated one, and will live in the jungle. But the sage assures him that he shall be mukta, without any renunciation. It will only take a moment – as much time as a rider takes to mount a horse.
A horse is brought in, and the king puts his foot in the stirrup. As he starts to mount, Ashtavakra demands his gurudakshina, the gift to the teacher.
His first demand – give me all your fears. The second demand – give me all your desires. The third demand – give me all your hopes, and the final demand – give me all your knowledge. At each demand, the disciple empties himself of these attributes, and now stands still. Ashtavakra asks, “Why are you not mounting the horse?” And Janak says, “Sans fear, desire, hope, and knowledge, there is now no ego. There is no I, only the Truth. Only His will can happen.”
Ashtavakra asks him to mount. King Janak swings on to the saddle and says:
There is no existence or non-existence,
no non-duality or duality.
What more is there to say? Nothing arises out of me.
Ashtavakra then says, “Sit on the throne, and perform the duties of a King, forever knowing you are only the peoples’ trustee. You are mukta.”
The scriptures tell us that it is not necessary to either renounce the world, or die, to become a liberated one. By the Guru’s grace, when egotism is eradicated, the disciple is jivanmukta – liberated and alive. Saint Kabeer guides us:
Kabeer, such is the touchstone of the Lord; the false cannot even touch it.
He alone passes this test of the Lord, who remains dead while yet alive.