Yagyavalkya was a great maharshi who has had God-realisation (called Jeevan muktas). He was livingat the outskirts of Mithila whose king was Janaka –highly spiritually oriented ruler.

Yagyavalkya was daily conducting satsang classes on Vedanta philosophy in the evening which was attended by a number of monks as also king Janaka. If Janaka were to be delayed due to urgent matters of State, the Satsang would not begin till Janaka came.

Other monks used to pass derogatory remarks – ‘‘Look at Yagyavalkya the great knower of Brahman. Even he wants to please the king as he provides him with all provisions and bears all the expenditure in connection with the maintenance of the Ashram.’’

Yagyavalkya, who came to know of their sentiments wanted to prove to them as to what a high level of fitness or eligibility the king had for leading aspiritual life, which none of the monks can equal.

One day when the Satsang meeting was in progress, a villager came running and shouted to the monks that their colony was on fire.

Immediately on hearing it, without even taking permission of the lecturer all the monks rushed to their colony only to find that it was a false alarm and all their possessions which mainly consisted of loin cloths and some rags were all safe.

A few days later when the Satsang was in session,
some palace guards came in with a highly agitated demeanour, went quietly to King Janaka without disturbing the discourse and whispered something in his ears. Janaka instructed them something crisply and they left. It took another one hour for Satsang to end.

Then Yagyavalkya casually asked Janaka as to whether anything was serious as he had found the Palace guards who came to the king in a highly disturbed state.

When Janaka replied that the, guards came to inform him that there was a big conflagration of fire in the palace, which had extended to the harem (living apartments of Janaka’s wives and children) and showed no signs of abating in spite of their best efforts to extinguish it.

The Maharshi was astounded at this cool reply and exclaimed – ‘‘Janaka, how strange that you have continued to sit in the satsang for an hour
knowing full well that all your kith and kin and the
palace were in danger of being consumed fire !
How was it possible?’’

Janaka’s famous reply was:

‘‘I possess nothing and nothing is mine. But I may
say that the INFINITE is my wealth. So even if the
entire Mithila city is to be burnt to ashes nothing of mine will be destroyed.’’

The other monks hung their head in shame.

अनन्तं बत मे वित्तं यस्य मे नास्ति किंचन
मिथिलायां परदीप्तायां न मे दह्यति किंचन
anantaṃ bata me vittaṃ yasya me nāsti kiṃcana mithilāyāṃ pradīptāyāṃ na me dahyati kiṃcana

(Mahabharata 12.171.56)