Since all delusion come to an end, since the mind ceases to be and all evil thoughts vanish, I rest peacefully in my own self - Sage Vasishta (Yoga Vasishta)
Yoga Vashishta, or Yoga Vasishta Maha Ramayan, is a religious text narrated by sage Vashishta and written by Valmiki. It consists of about 32,000 Sanskrit couplets recounting a discourse of the sage Vasistha to the young Prince Ram, when Ram was in a dejected state. This discourse took place in the court of king Dasarath lasting for several days. Herein the Advaita (the doctrine of non-duality) in its pure form of ajatavada (theory of non-origination) is expounded, with illustrative stories in between.
The answer to Ram’s questions forms the entire scripture that is Yoga Vashishta. Yoga Vashishta is the teachings of Sage Vashishta to Sri Ram, to enlighten him.
Vasistha’s teaching to Sri Ram is associated with Advaita Vedanta, the illusory nature of the manifest world and the principle of non-duality. Many mantras are stunning.
The Yoga Vashishta or Vashishta sudha explains that knowledge is the only means to eternity and enlightenment. All the other means lead one to heaven and after a predetermined time, they are destined to fall back to earth in a human body according to their own desires.
When Ram becomes disinterested in worldly enjoyments, he feels lonely and dejected in spite of all the comforts around him. Sage Vashishta feels it is the proper time to make him understand the deeper meaning of life and he starts his narration of the origin and maintenance of this world by similes and wonderful stories. Then he describes him the worlds beyond and the definitions of space, time, effort, the reality of gods, godheads, and the ultimate supreme consciousness.
Reading Yoga Vashishta is essential for a spiritual aspirant who never wanted to or would believe at any cost the supremacy of any mind, power or consciousness over our own will power; as there are no scriptures in this present world which describes the real truth like Yoga Vashishta. It is written for a seeker who is totally knowledge oriented and it minces words to tell you that you are nothing in this world or you have to bend down to God to be on the top of things. It instead encourages you to be yourself and to become armed with knowledge and knowledge only; as Jnanayoga (Knowledge pathway of union with self) is the only real way for spiritual realization.
All the other scriptures including vedas, upanishads, sacred documents of the east, hieroglyphics or cuneiform writings distributed all over the world would only give you an incomplete idea about the origin, maintenance and creation of the world by seeing directly from the supreme consciousness, but Yoga Vashishta is a special writing by some one who is seeing all this from the ultimate point, and so he describes it as ‘nothing and everything’- as the words really shine away from it.
The writing is perfect for those who are not willing to bend down in front of anything, as the scripture gives pure and raw knowledge and never advises an individual to worship or believe in it; if he cannot make his mind do it. Rather, the individual is asked to believe hundred per cent in whatever he wants but first he is asked to know about the reality of the things he can see and he cannot see in this universe. The logic of perfection even by lack of belief in the supreme consciousness is by the fact that even if an individual believes in the supreme power or not, it still continues to reside in his heart and as the mind with which the individual thinks is directly derived from the supreme consciousness only, the thoughts would make suitable worlds like the one we are presently living or would live, for the individual mind; so that it can enjoy the fruits of its effort in a Nirākara Brahman (Supreme Consciousness without any qualities).
The conversation between Vasistha and Prince Ram is that between a great, enlightened sage and a seeker who is about to reach wholeness. This is said to be among those rare conversations which directly leads to Truth.
The scripture provides understanding, scientific ideas and philosophy; it explains consciousness, the creation of the world, the multiple universes in this world, our perception of the world, its ultimate dissolution, the liberation of the soul and the non-dual approach to creation.
An oft-repeated verse in the text is that relating to Kakathaliya, (‘coincidence’).
The story is that a crow alights on a palm tree, and that very moment the ripe palm fruit falls on the ground. The two events are apparently related, yet the crow never intended the palm fruit to fall; nor did the palm fruit fall because the crow sat on the tree. The intellect mistakes the two events as causally related, though in reality they are not.