Yogavaasishta – A Review


Excellent new modern translation of Yoga Vasishta, September 9, 2015
Amazon Customer (AM)

DSCN7289This review is from: Musings on Yogavaasishta Part VI – Book II of Nirvana (out of the Set of 6 Volumes) by K. V, Krishna Murthy, Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Ooty Road, Mysore 570025, India , English rendering by Ramesam Vemuri, 2013 (Paperback)

The Yogavasishta is a work attributed to the ancient Indian sage Valmiki, in which the sage Vasishta teaches his pupil Prince Rama and others how one may come to the immutable reality that is veiled by the fleeting world of sensory impressions. It has a pride of place in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta comparable to the Bhagavad Gita (the Indian gospel) and the Mandukya Upanishad. The reading of this monumental work on the rigorous advaitist (non-dual) doctrine and its profound philosophical thought is quite pleasurable as it is punctuated by entertaining and imaginative stories or tales that sound like real-life examples. One can dip into the narrative repeatedly and at leisure in order to regain that pleasure and edification – nay, real wisdom that it is.

The present new translation into English uses a modern idiom which, when the text permits, is consistent with present cultural (Western as well as Eastern) ideas and experiences, but without detracting from the overall intent and even style of the work. The actual flavour comes from the exchanges between the master and the disciple, and also from the stories themselves. I highly recommend this excellent translation of the classic that the Yogavasishta, by its own merits, is.


Rama: Agreeing that the world is nothing but a phantasmagoria, can’t we help a person to avoid the troubles in the world using some clues from the world itself?

Vasishta: No, that is not possible. Will any amount of hammering by us here break the mountains in the dream of another? Any clue, any method, is a part of your imagination. Misery is part of his imagination. The two imaginations cannot meet in the same place. Hence each man has to get rid of his sorrow on his own through Self-Knowledge.’

What is Death – part 6 and final (metaphysics or spirituality – non- duality)




‘There is doubt concerning a man who has departed. Some say, “He is”, and others say, “He is not”. Taught by you [Yama, god of death], I would know this. This is the third of my boons’.

‘Do not, do not insist: release me from this’…. Choose a hundred years, sons and grand sons… elephants, gold, horses… Naciketas, enter a great realm of desires: I will make you the enjoyer of your desires… but do not ask me about dying’.

Naciketas, the young seeker, will have none of that.

‘Since you, Death, tell me it is not easily understood, and no one else can be found who can teach this as you can, there is no boon to equal this’.


‘Yama continues: ‘The wise one [inner self] is not born, nor does it die. [Hidden in all beings] it is not from anywhere, nor was it anyone. Unborn, everlasting, eternal, primeval, it is not slain when the body is slain.’  Continue reading