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Janaka, 7 Definition(s)


Janaka means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism


1a) Janaka (जनक).—(king of Mithīlā) one of the twelve sages who knew the nature of the dharma ordained by Hari. Son of Nimi, born by churning his dead body and hence known Mithila. He was Vaideha, born of a videha. He founded the city of Mithilā. His son was Udāvasu. Father of Sītā.1 In his sacrifice Yājñavalkya won a prize for learning while Śākalya was humbled for pretended superiority. Father-inlaw of Rāma.2 In the Aśvamedha Yajña of his, Sākalya was ruined on account of his conceit by taking part in a disputation; Janaka wanted to know the best among the learned assembled and set apart 11,000 crores, much gold, villages and servants to be given as present to him; in the disputation each took part but Yājñavalkya ultimately threw out the challenge. Sākalya questioned this and put to him a number of questions which were all answered. Yājñavalkya in his turn put him a single question, a wrong reply to it inviting instantaneous death; Sākalya agreed, and unable to answer his question, was gathered to his ancestors;3 told by the sage Asita what the Earth narrated to him about the ignorance of kings who without subduing themselves, try to subdue others.4

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 3. 20; IX. 13. 13-14; X. 71. 9; Vāyu-purāṇa 89. 2; Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 5. 22-4; 13. 103.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 34. 33-68; III. 37. 22; 64. 2;
  • 3) Vāyu-purāṇa 60. 32-62; 89. 5; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 18. 85-90.
  • 4) Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 127-136.

1b) King of Videhas, and an ally of Balarāma. Welcomed Balarāma to his capital.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 57. 24-26.

1c) A son of Viśākhayūpa and father of Nandivardhana.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 24. 5-6.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana IndexPurāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

1) Janaka (जनक):—Son of Nimi (one of the sons of Ikṣvāku). He was born from the remains of his father’s (Nimi) material body, during a sacrifice. Because he was born in an unusual way, the son was called Janaka. Because he was born from the dead body of his father, he was also known as Vaideha. Because he was born from the churning of his father’s material body, he was known as Mithila. He had a son named Udāvasu. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.13.13-14)

2) Janaka (जनक):—Another name for Śīradhvaja (son of Hrasvaromā, who was a son of Svarṇaromā). (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.13.18)

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Janaka was the king of the Videha kingdom. He had no children and therefore wished to perform a great sacrifice to obtain the blessing of the Devas to yield children. While plowing the ground for the sacrificial altar, he found a girl child in a casket. This girl was Sita, who was the daughter of earth. He adopted as his daughter. When she came of age, he declared that he will marry her only to the most valorous of princes, and set a tough task to all the suitors. They had to string an immense bow, which had been given to him by Shiva. Nobody could even lift the bow, let alone string it.

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Janaka is the name used to refer to the kings of Videha. The Janaka Dynasty ruled the Videha kingdom from their capital Janakpur in Mithila region of Nepal. A certain King Janaka, who probably reigned during the 7th century BCE, is mentioned in the late Vedic literature as a great philosopher-king. A King Janaka is also mentioned in the Ramayana epic.

Late Vedic literature such as the Shatapatha Brahmana and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad mention a certain King Janaka (c. 7th century BCE) as a great philosopher-king of Videha, renowned for his patronage of Vedic culture and philosophy, and whose court was an intellectual center for Brahmin sages such as Yajnavalkya. Under his reign, Videha became a dominant political and cultural center of South Asia.

According to the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Janakas were a race of kings who ruled Videha Kingdom from their capital Janakpur, Nepal, which was an ancient state in the foothill of Himalayas before its unification into Nepal by Prithvi Narayan Shah. The father of Nepali princess Sita was named Seeradwaja Janaka. These epics mention many other Janaka kings who were all great scholars and lead the life of a sage, though they were kings. They engaged in religious conversations with many sages.

etymology: Janaka (Nepali: जनक, Sanskrit: जनक).

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

1. Janaka - King of Mithila, a previous birth of the Bodhisatta. For his story, see the Maha Janaka Jataka. J.i.268; J.vi.59.

2. Janaka - King of Benares. His minister was Senaka, whose story is related in the Sattubhasta Jataka. J.iii.341, 348.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).


janaka : (m.) a producer; father. (adj.), producing; generating. || jānaka (nt.) knowledge; recognition.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Janaka, (to janati) 1. producing, production Vism. 369; adj. (-°) producing: pasāda° Mhvs. I, 4 (=°kāraka); a species of karma Vism. 601; Cpd. 144 (A. I).—2. n. f. °ikā genetrix, mother J. I, 16; Dhs. 1059≈(where it represents another jānikā, viz. deception, as shown by syn. māyā & B. Sk. janikā Lal. V. 541; Kern, Toev. p. 41). (Page 278)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English DictionaryPali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Relevant definitions

Search found 42 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Janaka Kamma
'regenerative karma'; s. karma.
Cula Janaka Jataka
-The stories, both past and present, are the same as in the Maha Janaka Jataka (q.v.). J.i.268
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Ashtavakra Gita
Aṣṭāvakra Gīta or the Song of Aṣṭāvakra, also known as Aṣṭāvakra saṃhitā is an Advaita Vedān...
Asita (असित) refers to the city of Nirṛti, situated on the south-western lower slope of mount M...
Vaideha (वैदेह) refers to a variety of prāsāda (upper storey of any building), according to ...
Nandivardhana (नन्दिवर्धन) or Nāndivardhana or Nandīvardhana.—As suggested by R. B. Hiralal, th...
1a) Śatrughna (शत्रुघ्न).—A son of Daśaratha; bore the bow and quivers when Bharata carri...
Uddālaka (उद्दालक).—A sage.** Vāyu-purāṇa 41. 44; 61. 25.

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