The Mokṣopāya or Mokṣopāyaśāstra is a Sanskrit philosophical text on salvation for non-ascetics (mokṣa-upāya: ‘means to release’), written on the Pradyumna hill in Śrīnagar in the 10th century AD. It has the form of a public sermon and claims human authorship and contains about 30,000 śloka (making it longer than the Rāmāyaṇa). The main part of the text forms a dialogue between Vasiṣṭha and Rāma, interchanged with numerous short stories and anecdotes to illustrate the content. This text was later (11th to the 14th century AD) expanded and romanticized, which resulted in the Yogavāsiṣṭha.
The text of the Mokṣopāya shows that a unique philosophy has been created by the author. It taught a monism (‘advaita’) that is different from Advaita Vedanta. It makes use of other Darśanas in an inclusive way. The text teaches that the recognition that cognitive objects are non-existent, leads to ultimate detachment, which causes an attitude of “dispassion and non-involvement with worldly things and matters”, though still fulfilling one’s daily duties and activities. This liberation is available for everyone, no matter their sex, caste, or education, as long as one uses reason and maintains an active life in this world. To reach this liberation, one has to go through three stages:
1. rational thinking (vicāra),
2. true understanding (jñāna)
3. and detachment (vairāgya).