The Yoga Vasistha is one of the most important books of the Sanathan Dharma.
It is the finest scripture in the world after the Upanishads.
It is a very long book and there are no true versions of the complete text.
One of the versions can be downloaded here.
Many very knowledgeable people have provided excellent interpretations.
My insight into this invaluable scripture is from the works of Swami Venkatesananda and also from Raghunandan.
The Yoga Vasistha is though longer, is a much simpler to understand than the Upanishads, since it is mainly in the form of a dialog and stories.
In fact I think the Yoga Vasistha is the first scripture that should be taught for an introduction into the Sanathan Dharma.
It is mainly in the form of stories given by Maha Rishi Vasistha to Rama to explain the whole mystery of existence, liberation, Dhyan and Brahman.
Its simple but profound description of Brahman and ध्यान (Dhyan) is unparalleled in any scripture of the world, except for the Upanishads.
The entire purpose of the Yoga Vasistha is explained in this couplet:
Neither one who is totally ignorant nor one who knows it (i.e. Truth) is eligible to study this book.
Only he who thinks ‘I am bound; I must become free’ is entitled to study it.
The foundation of the character of Rama was built because of his training by Maha Rishi Vasistha.
An excellent summary of this training has been translated and interpreted by Swami Venkatesananda.
According to Swami Venkatesananda, the foundation of the Yoga Vasistha is clarity of thought and reason.
According to Verse II:18:
The remark of even a child is to be accepted, if it is in accordance with reason; but the remark of even Brahman himself, the creator of the world, is to be rejected like a piece of straw if it does not accord with reason.
The discourse on Brahman is short, but as profound and enlightening as any Mukya Upanishad.
Consciousness is Brahman,
the world is Brahman,
all the elements are Brahman,
I am Brahman, my enemy is Brahman,
my friends and relatives are Brahman,
Brahman is the three periods of time,
for all these are rooted in Brahman.
TO BE CONTINUED