Maharaja Janaka performed a yagam (a ritual of sacrifices and prayers) with an assembly of rishis and vedic pundits.
Young Ashtavakra wished to participate in the yagam and also engage the redoubtable Vandhi of the royal court.
He was stopped at the entry by the sentries for he appeared too young for a seat in the august assembly. Whereupon, Ashtavakra explained they should not go by his physical appearance, he too was well schooled on veda’s and scriptures to stand up to anyone present in the yagam.
The king going around to oversee the arrangements overheard the conversation which proceeded along the same lines for a few more rounds with Ashtavakra further elaborating on how he was eminently qualified for the occasion to the unyielding sentries.
The king was intrigued by the youngster and his background that he intervened.
‘Young man, don’t you know self-glorification and pride are the seeds of a person’s fall?’
‘Sir, what I said about myself was by way of self-introduction to someone who doesn’t know me. It is not to be construed as idle boast or pride – you’ll know, I’m sure, it’s permitted by our scriptures too.’
Ashtavakra continued with a beautiful analogy: ‘Dark clouds gather to point out and produce imminent rain. If they merely thunder noisily without breaking into rain, that would be more like an idle boast.’
King Janaka impressed with the young lad, invited him into the yagam and honored him appropriately.
Later Ashtavakra proceeded to best Vandhi in debates and establish himself as a rishi to reckon with in his time.