The Yoga Vasishtha is a very long poem stating and re-stating the way of progress to inner illumination, or Self-realisation. In the form we have it, it was probably mostly composed in Kashmir in the middle of the tenth century AD, though many regard the last quarter as a later addition. A short selection of key passages was compiled by Hari Prasad Shastri, entitled World within the Mind, and this remains an effective way of approach to these profound and exalting teachings.
The Yoga Vasishtha has a narrative framework. The sage Vasishtha is the Guru of the youthful Prince Rama, revered by Hindus as a divine incarnation. The teachings are given in the royal assembly, with Rama cast as a typical spiritual enquirer. But Vasishtha’s wisdom is universal, bound to no time-spatial situation or sectarian framework. Its theme is life, and how it may be transcended.
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