Once King Janaka was sitting on the bank of a river, repeating 'SOHAM' mantra at the top of his voice.
Sage Astavakra was passing by. The sage was a knower of truth and an enlightened being. He was surprised why king Janaka was chanting the mantra in this loud fashion.
Astavakra wanted to instruct King Janaka the proper way of chanting a mantra. So, he sat down near King Janaka and chanting loudly, :' "This is my Alms Bowl and this is my Yoga Stick " so much so that Astavakra's chanting drowned the chanting of Janaka's chanting!
Now, King Janaka , not to be left behind starting chanting his 'SOHAM' mantra even louder --- this went on for some time -both vyeing with each other in this 'mantra recitation'. ...
Now, King Janaka got really annoyed and asked Asthavakra what the sage was doing. The sage replied "I am repeating - this is my Alms bowl, this is my yoga stick".
King Janaka replied, " Have you lost your mind? Who told you that the Alms bowl and the stick do not belong to you ? Why do you have to keep shouting about it.?"
Sage Astavakra replied , " O Mighty King ! It seems to me you are the one who lacks understanding. who told you that you are not 'THAT '? Why do you to go on shouting that 'I AM THAT' ? 'SOHAM' ?
When king Janaka heard this, he suddenly realized the trut. He understood that he need not go on repeating 'SoHam' mantra , he only needed to understand it and practice 'living' it!
'You are really unbound and actionless, self-illuminating and spotless already. The cause of your bondage is that you are still resorting to stilling the mind.' -- Ashtavakra Gita 1.15