Janak is not a name. All the kings of Mithilaa were called Janak. But this Raajarshi Janak about whom I wish to write was the father of Seetaa and was known as a Raajarshi Janak. Raajarshi means the king who has the qualities of a Rishi even being a king. So this Janak had the qualities of a Rishi that is why he was famous as a Raajarshi. He was called Videh also. Videh means without body. Why was he called Videh? Because body is the main cause of feelings and emotions, feeling and experiencing pains and pleasures; and since he did not feel pains and pleasures, he was known as without body. He did not feel all these things, that is why he was called Videh. Here I would like to cite three examples of his Gyaan and being Videh.
Janak and Seetaa
Being a Raajarshi he was like a Sthit-pragya (a Geetaa's term). He lived in the world, still he was not involved in the world. He had no Moh (attachment) with anybody or anything. When Seetaa went to forest with Raam, he had no complaint or anger against Kaikeyee. he was very much satisfied. His satisfaction can be seen when he goes to see Bharat and then goes to forest, he meets Raam and Seetaa and instead of being sad or angry or complaining he says to Seetaa - "Daughter, I am very proud of you. You have brought honor to both the families." And for even Raam, when Bharat requests him to request Raam to come back to Ayodhyaa, he was sure that He would not come back to Ayodhyaa disobeying His father's orders. Even when Raam exiled Seetaa after coming back from Lankaa, then also Janak did not show any complaint or anger towards Raam.
Thus we don't see any kind of support or sympathy towards Seetaa when she went to forest as most parents show for their daughters in their adverse times, nor any kind of anger, or complaint towards Kaikeyee or Dasharath or Raam as why did they do it with his daughter. This is the examples of Gyaan and of being Videh.
Janak Jee Became Guru of Shuk Dev Jee
Janak Jee was so much Gyaanee that even Ved Vyaas Jee chose him for imparting Moksh Dharm Gyaan to his son Shuk Dev Jee. When Shuk Dev Jee requested his father to impart Moksh Dharm Gyaan to him, he always said - "It is only Janak who is capable of give you Moksh Dharm Gyaan." Shuk Dev Jee thought - "He is a king, a worldly man, what does he know about Moksh Dharm. How can he impart me Moksh Dharm?" so he did not go to him. But whenever he talked about this with his father Ved Vyaas Jee, he always told him the same thing. So one day he had to go there to know Moksh Dharm.
This story is also very interesting. When Shuk Dev Jee reached the palace of Janak, nobody came to welcome him. Even the guards asked them to wait at the gate until Janak was ready to meet him. He had to wait there for three days. On the fourth day he was called in and was attended in a royal way. The King kept him for 8 days in the most luxurious way, but Shuk Dev Jee was unaffected by those luxuries.
Next day Janak Jee came in the court. While Janak Jee was talking to him, one of his attendants informed him that his cantonement area was on fire. Hearing this Janak Jee sat without any reaction, he just said - "It is the will of God." Shuk Dev Jee thought that he was not worthy to be a king. After a while another attendant came and informed him that the city was on fire. This time also Janak Jee said - "It is the will of God." After a while another attendant came and informed him that even the palace was on fire. The courtyard of the palace was on fire."
Now Shuk Dev Jee could not resist himself, he immediately jumped up to save his clothes and the metal cup. Janak Jee had guessed his thoughts, he said to him - "Now tell me who is renunciate? Me or you? Then only Shuk Dev Jee felt that he himself was more attached to the world than Raajaa Janak. And then Janak Jee imparted him the Moksh Dharm Gyaan.
Although Raajaa Janak was a father, a brother, a king, but he was not attached with any of his these roles that is why he was called Raajarshi. Read about Janak in detail here.
Janak Jee and Ashtaavakra Jee
Once Raajaa Janak made an announcement that he wanted to meet any saint, Rishi or a learned man who can teach him the knowledge of Aatmaa (soul) within a few moments. This condition was so difficult that nobody could dare to to come to him. At the same time Ashtaavakra Jee came to Janak Puree roaming around. Ashtaavakra Jee was the son of Uddaalak Muni's daughter. There he came to know about Janak's announcement, so he came to the King and asked him what did he want to know. Janak Jee repeated his problem. Ashtaavakra Jee said - "I can do it, but not here. Let us go outside the city in a lonely , and you will go alone with me." So Raaja Janak and Ashtaavakra Jee came out of the city.
There Ashtaavakra Jee said to the king - "But first I will take my Guru Dakshinaa."
Janak Jee asked - "What do you want in Guru Dakshinaa?"
Ashtaavakra Jee said - "I want your mind, give me your mind."
Janak Jee said - "I give you my mind, it was mine till now, it is yours from now."
Ashtaavakra asked Janak Jee to sit at one place and give his mind to him. Janak Jee sat on the ground and he closed his eyes. Ashtaavakra Jee sat at a little distance from Janak Jee. He also closed his eyes. When Janak Jee did not come back fro some time his bodyguard got restless. They came to the forest, found the King but could not wake up him. they brought the queeen buty she also could not wake up the King. In the meantime they saw Ashtaavakra sitting, so they came to him and asked him what had happened to the King. They brought him to the King. As he came there, Janak Jee opened his eyes and called - "Swaamee."
"See your people are standing here and you have not spoken to them." Janak Jee said - "I have got the Aatm Gyaan."