11. One steady disciple is better than thousand wavering ones

We know that King Janaka [see also B.G. 3:20-21 & RRV-7a], even while performing ordinary worldly duties like ruling the kingdom and looking after the needs of the kingdom, found it possible to turn his thoughts completely towards the divine. The great rishi S'uka was once teaching several things to his disciples in a forest quite close to Mithilapura. Janaka learnt about this and wanted himself to become a disciple of S'uka and listen to his teachings. Janaka went to the forest, made obeisances to S'uka and asked that he be accepted as one amongst the numerous disciples S'uka had, and requested for permission to attend the classes. From that day, Janaka was conducting himself as one of the disciples. One day when he did not arrive in time, S'uka did not start his class and waited till Janaka arrived. He further told the other disciples that he was delaying the class for that reason. When the sage told the other disciples to wait till Janaka arrived, they murmured amongst themselves and told each other that they had joined this great sage only because it was believed he attached no special importance to kings and other powerful people. From that day, their faith in the guru started weakening. They also became envious of King Janaka.
As soon as S'uka saw such envy and jealousy among his disciples, he decided to teach them a lesson. At an opportune moment, all the disciples were made to feel that the entire city of Mithilapura was in flames. Then each one of them began to think of the consequences, of the effect it would have on their houses, and ran to the city to salvage what they can. But King Janaka did not waver or move from his place. S'uka told Janaka that the flames appeared to have spread to the palace and he asked Janaka to go and save the inmates of the palace. Janaka was only smiling, thinking that God's will shall be done and no one can change it. The envious students who ran to the city found that there were no flames at all and it was only a make believe. They came back and reported this to S'uka. They expressed surprise at the steady mind of Janaka. S'uka looked at the disciples who were envious and told them that it is better to have one disciplined student rather than many who have no stability of mind.