1 Valmiki said:—
O most intelligent Bharadwaja, the chief of my students, now you have heard how the great Rama and others came to the knowledge of the knowable One. They passed across this vale of misery and sorrow by attending to these lectures.
2 Fix your sight upon the light of Brahman and conduct yourself gladly by abandoning all your affections and cares of this world and by remaining brave with your living liberation and tranquility of mind. 3 O you sinless one, know that the learned and the humble do not mix with worldly men but remain steady as Rama and others in their right principles. They are never liable to be deluded although they are troubled by temptations on all sides. 4 Thus these men of great natures such as King Dasharata, Prince Rama and his brothers, together with their companions, all attained the state of the living liberated.
5 Now, my son Bharadwaja who naturally is of a liberal mind, you have become more liberated by hearing these sermons on the salvation of souls. 6 It is possible even for children to obtain liberation by attention to those holy lectures. They are the most evident and surest means to salvation. Therefore they cannot fail to convince you of their truth. 7 The high minded, sinless and sorrow-less sons of Raghu’s race attained the holy state of perfection and self-liberation. So you also obtain that best and highest state by attending upon the lectures of the divine sage Vasishta. 8 Weak men of good understanding can know the knowable though the advice of the good and service under the great, and by humble questions and the explanations of the learned, just as the Raghavas and others did under Vasishta.
9 The ties of greed and affection that have tightly bound the hearts of the ignorant all tend to prevent them, like playful children, from inquiring into the means of their liberation, until they become too old to benefit by their knowledge. 10 Only those who can discern the minds of high minded men can come to the knowledge of truth. Only such men no longer return to this world of sorrow. This is the substance of all that I can speak to you. 11 Having first received your instruction from the teacher, you must weigh well and digest its meaning in yourself. Then communicate its sense to the most sensible and intelligent student. Sages and saints say that this constitutes the three liberal arts of science. Know this and you need no more to become wise when your boyhood is over.
12 Whoever read this book with some understanding of its meaning, and whoever copies it without expectation of getting a fee, and whoever recites or causes it to be recited either with or without any desire of reward, shall have his ample reward in the land of the Aryas. 13 These men receive the same reward as performing a rajasuya sacrifice. They are entitled to heavenly seats in their pure essence as often as they ascend after their death on earth, and until they attain final liberation.
14 The god Brahma of unknowable form first composed this work in his excellent diction. Considering it to be the only means to liberate mankind, Brahma had revealed it to the assembly of saints. Therefore let nobody take the truth of this saying to be an untruth.
15 At the close of reciting these lectures on the way to attain human salvation, it is suitable for every sensible man to honor brahmins with diligence and serve them with desirable gifts of food and drink and furnish them with good houses for their lodging. 16 They should also be rewarded with gifts and payments and supplied with money to their hearts’ desire and to the utmost capacity of the donor. Then the giver or master of the ceremony should rest assured of having discharge his duty and reaped the merit according to the intent of the scriptures.
17 Thus I have repeated to you this great scripture which explains divine knowledge and pure truth with many great tales and stories that serve as examples and illustrations so that you may clearly understand these concealed doctrines. May your hearing these serve to lead you to utter indifference of this world and to desire your liberation while you are alive in this world. May this also tend to your continued prosperity and engage your attention towards perfection of your knowledge and devotion, and to the discharge of the duties of your station in life without fail.