Chapter 1 Verse 1
King Janak asks Ashtavakra - "How knowledge, liberation and non-attachment is attained, please tell me ॥1.1॥
First of all lets discuss about the background of the question, and the metaphorical importance of the question asked in this verse. Here, though the question is asked by King Janaka to Astavakra. Here metaphorically we stands in the place of King Janaka and someone who is enlightened enough to teach us these teachings is Astavakra.
The other metaphoric importance of King Janaka is - after spending so much of life in so much of richness and abundance, the king is not happy. He wants to be happy. At least after spending this much of life the king is mature enough to understand that the real happiness lies in Knowledge, liberation and non-attachment. If we could attain this, we will be happy automatically. The king understands this. Therefore instead of asking a simple question -
"How do I get happiness?"
he asks the more mature question
" How do I get Knowledge, Liberation and Non-attachment."
Secondly in the question we could see the king mentality of acquiring things by force or so. So, we see him to apply here the same mentality. But without discouraging him how Astawakra tactfully answers his questions, we will see in detain in the next verse.