Yoga Vasishta Sara – Chapter 3

Yoga Vasishta Sara – Chapter Three

[योग-वासिष्ठ – Yoga Vasishta is a dialogue between Sage Vasishta and Lord Sri Rama.]

Marks of a Liberated Person 

(Jivan Mukta)

1. The knowledge of the Brahman is the fire that burns up the dry grass of desire. This indeed is what is called Samadhi, not mere abstention from speech.

2. He who realizes that the whole universe is really nothing but consciousness, remains quite calm and is protected by the armour of Brahman. He is happy.

3. The Yogi who has attained the state which is beyond everything and remains always cool as the full moon is truly the Supreme Lord.

4. He who reflects in his innermost heart upon the purport of the Upanishads dealing with Brahman and is not moved by joy and sorrow, is not tormented by Samsara.

5. Just as birds and beasts do not take shelter on a mountain on fire, so also evil thoughts never occur to a knower of Brahman (Pure Self).

6. Wise men also, like foolish men, occasionally make others angry; but they do so only in order to test their ability to control their innate feelings.

7. Just as the trembling of the body caused by the imaginary snake persists for some time even after realizing that there is no snake, so also the effect of delusion persists for some time even after getting rid of all delusions.

8. Just as a crystal is not stained by what is reflected in it, so also a knower of truth is not really affected by the result o£ his acts.

9. Even while he is intent on outward actions, the knower of Truth always remains introverted and extremely calm like one asleep.

10. Firmly convinced of non-duality and enjoying perfect mental peace, Yogis go about their work seeing the world as if it were a dream.

11. Let death come to him, the knower of Truth, today or at the end of aeons; he remains untarnished like gold buried in mire.

12. He may cast off his body at Kashi (Sacred Benares) or in the house of a debased person. He, the desireless one, is liberated at the very moment he attains knowledge of Brahman.

13. Oh Rama! To one who is desireless, the Earth is as insignificant as the hoof-print of a cow, Mount Meru a mound, Space as much as contained in a casket and the Three Worlds a blade of grass.

14. Like an empty vessel in space, the knower of Truth is empty both within and without, while at the same time he is full within and without like a vessel immersed in the ocean.

15. He who neither likes nor dislikes the objects seen by him and who acts in the world like one asleep, is said to be a liberated person.

16. He who is free from the knots of desires and whose doubts have been set at rest is “liberated even when he is in the body”(Jivan Mukta). Although he may seem to be bound he is free. He remains like a lamp in a picture.

17. He who has easily cast off, as if playing in sport, all his egoistic tendencies and has abandoned even the object of meditation, is said to be liberated even when he is in the body.

18. He who does not, like one blind, leaves behind his relatives, who dreads attachment as he would a serpent, who looks upon sense enjoyments and diseases alike, who disregards the company of women as he would a blade of grass, and who finds no distinction between a friend and a foe, experiences happiness in this world and the next.

19. He who casts away from his mind all objects of perception and, attaining perfect quiescence, remains still as space, unaffected by sorrow, is a liberated man; he is the Supreme Lord.

20. The noble-hearted man whose desires of the heart have come to an end is a liberated man; it does not matter whether does or does not practice meditation or perform action.

21. The idea of Self in the non-Self is bondage. Abandonment of it is liberation. There is neither bondage nor liberation for the ever-free Self.

22. If by perceiving that the objects of perception do not really exist, the mind is completely freed from those objects, and  there ensues the supreme bliss of liberation.

23. Abandonment of all latent tendencies is said to be the best, real liberation by the wise; that is also the faultless method of attaining liberation.

24. Liberation is not on the other side of the sky, nor is it in the nether world, nor on the earth. The extinction of the mind resulting from the eradication of all desires is regarded as liberation.

25. Oh Rama, there is no intellect, no ignorance, no mind and no individual soul (Jiva). They are all imagined in Brahman.

26. To one who is established in what is infinite, pure consciousness, bliss and unqualified non-duality, where is the question of bondage or liberation, seeing that there is no second entity?

27. Oh Rama, by its own activity, the mind has bound itself. When it is calm, it is free.

Yoga Vasishta Sara – Chapter Two

Yoga Vasishta Sara – Chapter Two

[योग-वासिष्ठ – Yoga Vasishta is a dialogue between Sage Vasishta and Lord Sri Rama.]

Unreality of the World

1. Just as the great ocean of milk became still when the Mandara Mountain (with which the milk was churned by the Devas and the Asuras – Gods and Demons) became still, even so the illusion of samsara comes to an end when the mind is stilled.

2. Samsara rises when the mind becomes active and ceases when it is still. Still the mind, therefore, by controlling the breath and the latent desires (latent mental impressions – Vasanas).

3. This worthless samsara is born of one’s imagination and vanishes in the absence of imagination. It is certain that it is absolutely unsubstantial.

4. The idea of a live snake in a picture of a snake ceases to be entertained when the truth is known. Similarly samsara ceases to exist when the Truth is realized, even if it continues to appear.

5. This long-living ghost of a samsara which is the creation of the deluded mind of man and the cause of his sufferings disappears when one ponders over it.

6. Oh Rama, maya is such that it brings delight through its own destruction; its nature is inscrutable ; it ceases to exist even while it is being observed.

7. Dear boy! Wonderful indeed is this maya which deludes the entire world. It is on account of it that the Self is not perceived even though it pervades all the limbs of the body.

8. Whatever is seen does not truly exist. It is like the mythical city of Gandharvas or a mirage.

9. That which is not seen, though within us, is called the eternal and indestructible Self.

10. Just as the trees on the bank of a lake are reflected in the water, so also all these varied objects are reflected in the vast mirror of our consciousness.

11. This creation, which is a mere play of consciousness, rises up, like the delusion of a snake in a rope when there is ignorance and comes to an end when there is right knowledge.

12. Even though bondage does not really exist, it becomes strong through desire for worldly enjoyments; when this desire subsides bondage becomes weak.

13. Like waves rising up from the ocean, the unstable mind rises out of the vast and stable expanse of the Supreme Self.

14. It is because of that which always, of its own accord, imagines everything quickly and freely that this magical show of the world is projected in the waking state.

15. This world, though unreal, appears to exist and is the cause of life-long suffering to an ignorant person, just as a non-existent ghost is the cause of fear to a boy.

16. One who has no idea of gold sees only the bracelet. He does not at all have the idea that it is merely gold.

17. Similarly towns, houses, mountains, serpents, etc. are all in the eyes of the ignorant man, separate objects. From the absolute point of view this objective world is the subject, the Self itself; it is not separate from the Self.

18. The world is full of misery to an ignorant man and full of bliss to a wise man. The world is dark to a blind man and bright to one who has eyes.

19. The bliss of a man of discrimination, who has rejected samsara and discarded all mental concepts, constantly increases.

20. Like clouds which suddenly appear in a clear sky and as suddenly dissolve the entire universe appears in the Self and dissolves in it.

21. He who reckons the rays as non-different from the sun and realizes that they are the sun itself is stated to be nirvikalpa, the unperturbed man.

22. Just as the cloth, when investigated, is seen to be nothing but thread, so also this world, when enquired into, is seen to be merely the Self.

23. This fascinating world rises like a wave in the ambrosial ocean of consciousness and dissolves in it. How then can it be different from the consciousness when it appears in the middle of it?

24. Just as the foam, the waves, the dew and the bubbles are not different from water, even so this world which has come out of the Self is not different from the Self.

25. Just as a tree consisting of fruits, leaves, creepers, flowers, branches, twigs and roots, exists in the seed of the tree, even so this manifest world exists in Brahman.

26. Just as the pot ultimately goes back to mud, waves into water and ornaments into gold, so also this world which has come out of the Self ultimately goes back to the Self.

27. The snake appears when one does not recognize the rope; it disappears when one recognizes the rope. Even so this world appears when the Self is not recognized; it disappears when the Self is recognized.

28. It is only our forgetfulness of the invisible Self which causes the world to appear just as the ignorance of the rope causes the snake to appear.

29. Just as the dream becomes unreal in the waking state and the waking state in the dream, so also death becomes unreal in birth and birth in death.

30. All these are thus neither real nor unreal. They are the effect of delusion, mere impression arising out of some past experiences.

Yoga Vasishta Sara – Chapter One

Yoga Vasishta Sara – Chapter One

[योग-वासिष्ठ – Yoga Vasishta is a dialogue between Sage Vasishta and Lord Sri Rama.]


1. Salutations to that calm effulgence which is endless and unlimited by space, time etc., the pure consciousness which can be known by experience only.

2. Neither one who is totally ignorant nor one who knows the Truth is eligible to study this book. Only he who thinks ‘I am bound ; I must become free’ is entitled to study it.

3. Until one is definitely blessed by the Supreme Lord, he will not find either a proper Guru or the right Scripture.

4. Just as a steady boat, Oh Rama, is obtained from a boatman, so also the method of crossing the ocean of samsara is learnt by associating with great souls.

5. The great remedy for the long lasting disease of samsara is the enquiry, ‘Who am I ?, to whom does this samsara belong ?’, which entirely cures it.

6. Not a day should be spent in a place which does not possess the tree of a wise knower of Truth with its good fruit and cool shade.

7. The sages are to be approached even if they do not teach. Even their talks in a light vein contain wisdom.

8. The company of sages converts emptiness into fullness, death into immortality and adversity into prosperity.

9. If sages were concerned solely with their own happiness with whom could those tormented by the sorrows of samsara seek refuge?

10. That which is imparted, Oh good soul, to a worthy disciple who has become dispassionate, is the real wisdom; it is the real purport of the sacred texts and is also the comprehensive wisdom.

11. Following the customary method of teaching is only for preserving the tradition. Pure awareness results solely from the clarity of the disciple’s understanding.

12. The Self cannot be seen just by the help of the sacred texts or the Guru. The Self is seen by the Self alone with the pure intellect.

13. All the arts acquired by men are lost by lack of practice, but this art of wisdom grows steadily once it rises.

14. Just as an ornament worn round the neck is considered lost through forgetfulness and is gained when the mistake is realized, so also the Self is attained, when the delusion is removed by the words of the Guru.

15. He is indeed an unfortunate person who, not knowing his own Self, takes pleasure in sense-objects, like one who realizes too late that the food eaten by him was poisonous.

16. That perverted man who, even after knowing that worldly objects are deceptive, still thinks of them, is a jackass, not a man.

17. Even the slightest thought immerses a man in sorrow; when devoid of all thoughts he enjoys imperishable bliss.

18. Just as we experience the delusion of hundreds of year in a dream lasting an hour, so also we experience the sport of maya in our waking state.

19. He is a happy man whose mind is inwardly cool and free from attachment and hatred and who looks upon this (world) like a mere spectator.

20. He who has understood well how to abandon all ideas of acceptance and rejection and who has realized the consciousness which is within the innermost heart – his life is illustrious.

21. On the dissolution of the body, only the individual consciousness limited by the Heart ceases to exist. People lament needlessly that the Self is dead.

22. When pots, etc. are broken, the space within them becomes unlimited. So also when bodies cease to exist the Self remains eternal and unattached.

23. Nothing whatever is born or dies anywhere at any time. It is Brahman (Self) alone appearing illusorily in the form of the world.

24. The Self is more extensive than space; it is pure, subtle, undecaying and auspicious. As such how could it be born and how can it die ?

25. All this is the tranquil, One without beginning, middle or end, which cannot be said to be existent or non-existent. Know this and be happy.

26. Oh Rama, it is indeed nobler to wander begging about the streets of the outcasts, an earthen bowl in hand, than to live a life steeped in ignorance.

27. Neither disease nor poison nor adversity nor any other thing in the world, causes more suffering to men than such stupidity engendered in their bodies.


Yoga Vasishta Sara – Introduction

Yoga Vasishta Sara – Introduction


The Brihat (the Great) Yoga Vasishta or Yoga Vaasishtha Maha Ramayana as it is also called, is a work of about 32,000 Sanskrit couplets, traditionally attributed to Valmiki, the author of Srimad Ramayana. It is a dialogue between Sage Vasishtha and Sri Rama, during which Advaita (the doctrine of nonduality) in its pure form of ajatavada (theory of non-origination) is expounded, with illustrative stories in between. This vast work was abridged some centuries ago by Abhinanda Pandita, a Kashmiri scholar, into 6,000 couplets, which go by the name of Laghu Yoga Vasishta. This is a masterpiece in itself, like the original Brihat.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi used to refer to Yoga Vasishta frequently and has even incorporated six couplets from it in His Supplement to Forty Verses (verses 21 to 27).

A further condensation of this work was made long ago, by an unknown author, into about 230 couplets, divided into ten chapters, as Yoga Vasishta Sara (Essence of Yoga Vasishta), of which this translation is presented for the first time. By making this condensation the author has rendered a great service to all sadhaks (seekers). This is indeed a gold mine fit for repeated reading and meditation.

This English version of the Yoga Vasishta Sara, the dialogue between Sage Vasishta and Lord Rama, is based on a translation offered by Swami Sureshananda, an old devotee of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.