1 Rama asked, “How can it be reasonably shown and established that there is nothing to be known and seen in this world, although we have obvious notions of it supported by sense and right reasoning?”
2 Vasishta answered:—
This endemic of fallacious knowledge (of the reality of the world) has been prevalent for a long time. It is only by true knowledge that this wrong application of the word “world” can be removed from the mind.
3 I will tell you a story, Rama, for your success in this knowledge. If you pay attention to it, you will become both intelligent and liberated. 4 But if the impatience of a brutish creature makes you get up and leave after hearing only half of this story, then you shall reap no benefit from it. 5 Whoever seeks some object and strives after it, he of course succeeds in getting it; but if he becomes tired of it he fails.
6 Rama, if you keep to the company of the good and to the study of good scriptures, then surely you will arrive at your state of perfection in course of a few days or mouths, according to the degree of your diligence.
7 Rama said, “O you, who are best acquainted with the scriptures, tell me which is the best scripture for the attainment of spiritual knowledge, such that its familiarity may release us from the sorrows of this life?”
8 Vasishta replied:—
Know, O high minded Rama, that this work is the best of all others on spiritual knowledge. It is the auspicious (Yoga Vasishta) Great Ramayana, the scripture of scriptures. 9 This Ramayana is the best of histories, and it serves to enlighten understanding. It is known to contain the essence of all histories. 10 But by hearing these doctrines one easily finds his liberation coming of itself to him. This is why it is regarded as the most holy writing.
11 All the existing scenes of the world will vanish upon their mature consideration, just like thoughts in a dream are dispersed after waking and realizing one had been dreaming. 12 Whatever there is in this work can also be found in others, but what is not found here cannot be found elsewhere. Therefore the learned call this the treasury of philosophy. 13 Whoever attends to these lectures every day shall have his excellent understanding undoubtedly stored day by day with transcendent knowledge of divinity. 14 He who finds this scripture to be disagreeable to his polluted taste, may prefer to browse some other scripture that is more wordy and eloquent.
15 One feels himself liberated in this life by listening to these lectures, just as one finds himself healed of a disease by the potion of some effective medicine. 16 The attentive hearer of these lessons perceives their efficacy in himself in the same way as one feels the effects of curses or blessings that always have their full effects in time. 17 All worldly miseries are at an end with he who considers well these spiritual lectures within himself. A similar effect is hard to be produce through charity or austerities, or through performing rituals ordained in the ancient Vedic texts, or through the many hundreds of practices that scriptures describe.