Vasishta Yoga Samhita (Sanskrit: योग-वासिष्ठ, IAST: Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha; also known as Maha-Ramayana, Arsha Ramayana, Vasiṣṭha Ramayana, Yogavasistha-Ramayana and Jnanavasistha

) is a historically popular and influential syncretic philosophical text of Hinduism, dated to the 6th CE or 7th CE — 14th CE or 15th CE

It is attributed to Maharishi Valmiki, but the real author is unknown

The complete text contains over 29,000 verses

The short version of the text is called Laghu Yogavasistha and contains 6,000 verses

The text is named after sage Vasistha who is mentioned and revered in the seventh book of the Rigveda, and who was called as the first sage of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy by Adi Shankara

The text is structured as a discourse of sage Vasistha to Prince Rama

The text consists of six books

The first book presents Rama’s frustration with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world

The second describes, through the character of Rama, the desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation

The third and fourth books assert that liberation comes through a spiritual life, one that requires self-effort, and present cosmology and metaphysical theories of existence embedded in stories

These two books are known for emphasizing free will and human creative power

The fifth book discusses meditation and its powers in liberating the individual, while the last book describes the state of an enlightened and blissful Rama

Yoga Vasistha teachings are structured as stories and fables, with a philosophical foundation similar to those found in Advaita Vedanta, is particularly associated with drsti-srsti subschool of Advaita which holds that the “whole world of things is the object of mind”

The text is notable for expounding the principles of Maya and Brahman, as well as the principles of non-duality, and its discussion of Yoga

The short form of the text was translated into Persian by the 15th-century