King Janaka's palace catches firePrince Siddhartha gave up his kingdom to become Lord Buddha. In Indian history only one person has ruled his kingdom and, at the same time, realised God. His name was King Janaka.
Sri Ramakrishna used to say, "Do not think everybody can become Janaka. He is one in a million. Every rule admits of exception. Janaka is the proof. Tell me if there can be another Janaka who was in the world and who realised God at the same time. There is nobody else like King Janaka. He is the only one to realise God while he was King because he was able to renounce everything."
King Janaka had a spiritual Master and he used to go and see this Master, like an ordinary seeker. One day, while Janaka was visiting this Master, someone deliberately set fire to his palace. The fire was raging out of control. Others who were nearby were poorer than the poorest. They had only loin cloths and the simple necessities of life. But they all left the Master's presence and ran to save what little they possessed. Meanwhile, King Janaka stayed with his Master.
The Master asked, "Why are you not concerned about saving your palace and all your precious possessions?"
King Janaka replied, "I have come here to acquire God-realisation. Do I need those things?"
The other so-called seekers who had come to learn from the Master all went back to save their loin cloths, but Janaka, who stood to lose everything, was only praying to God and thinking of God. And in the course of time he did realise God.