Yoga Vasishtha also known as Vasishtha Maha Ramayana is one of the greatest classics in Advaita Vedanta. Its importance and greatness have been extolled by many a scholar like Swami Ramtirtha, Dr. Ganganath Jha, Bhagavan Das etc. Many of the verses in Upanishads like Maha Upanishad, Annapuma Upanishad etc. are found repeated in Yoga Vasishtha. This is one of the best scriptures on Self-knowledge. It is said that whatever is not found in this book cannot be found elsewhere and whatever is contained in other texts is all to be found in this book.
This text has been divided into six prakaranas (parts) called Vairagya, Mumukshu, Utpatti, Sthiti, Upasana and Nirvana respectively and is supposed to contain in all 32,000 verses (Actually the total as available is only about 28,000). The author of this text is Valmiki, the author of 'Ramayana'. The book is mainly in the form of instructions from Vasishtha to Sri Rama who was disgusted with his normal life of a prince and was prepared to end his life by fasting. In this cunent booklet, an attempt has been made to summarise the subject matter of the first three prakaranas only highlighting the Sadhanas prescribed for a seeker. In addition, a gist of the story of Chudala & Sikhidhwaja from the last prakarana (Nirvana Prakarana) has been included as it is a remarkable story containing certain essential teachings. But this summary can be.held to be a representative brief presentation of the subject matter of the entire original text (i.e. 6 prakaranas), as the balance three parts contain only a repetition of the theme covered in the first three parts by elaborately illustrating them with various parable-like stories and examples.