One has to realize the fact that, it is not the waking entity (you) which witnesses the three states. The formless soul is the witness of the coming and going of the three states. The soul is immutable. The soul is unaffected by the happening within the three states because the three states are mere mirage created out of the formless soul, which is present in the form of consciousness. The soul or consciousness is the innermost self.
The self is neither the waking entity nor the self is dream entity but the self is the formless soul. The on the standpoint of the soul, the innermost self the three states are non-existent as reality.
Reducing everything to an entirely homogeneous, sole Reality—Atman. The body, ego and the universe, are nothing but mirage, which is in their turn, reducible to pure Consciousness itself, the only Reality.
The "direct road" of non-dualistic wisdom, leads to the realization of this truth. The "cosmological path,” that of religion and yoga, does not leads to Reality, because it considers the birth, life, death and, universe and a personal God as real.
The experience of birth, life and death is an illusion within an illusion! The suffering humanity of a dream does not expect our help, nor does the sage see any service to render to a world within the waking experience which is mere mirage!
When the self is genderless then it is impossible to get enlightenment through sexual intercourse or tantric sex. It is impossible to get freedom by taking sanyasa or renouncing the worldly life which is mere body based theories. When the self is not physical then what value is there to take sanyasa or renouncing the worldly life? One has to renounce the ignorance, which is the cause of experiencing the illusion (body+ universe) as reality.
If one thinks non-dual truth is the ultimate truth, then one has to drop all theories based on the physical body (ego or waking entity) as self, because non-dual truth is based on the consciousness [soul], which is the true self.
By accepting karma theory one is accepting the false self, as real self, and world as reality, therefore there is no need for Self-inquiry “Who am ‘I’ “, because one has accepted the present physical identity and world as reality. Self-inquiry makes one realize the fact that self is not the body. After knowing the fact that self is not the body, then it is erroneous to think again as the body as self, and holding the body based theories as reality. Thus karma theory becomes a biggest obstacle in the path of inquiry and truth, because it does not allow the seeker to cross the threshold of duality.
The physical body and the world which exist only in waking/dream/duality. the three states are impermanent and illusory in nature, because they appear and disappear . The soul which is the formless substance and witness of the duality is permanent. Therefore, whatever is seen known and believed and experienced as real within the waking also is as real as dream.
Sage Sri, Sankara says in Aparokshanubhuti:-
88. When the whole universe, movable and immovable, is known to be Atman, and thus the existence of everything else is negated, where is then any room to say that the body is Atman?
89. O enlightened one; pass your time always contemplating on Atman while you are experiencing all the results of Prarabdha; for it ill becomes you to feel distressed.
90. The theory one hears of from the scripture, that Prarabdha does not lose its hold upon one even after the origination of the knowledge of Atman, is now being refuted.
91. After the origination of the knowledge of Reality, Prarabdha verily ceases to exist, inasmuch as the body and the like become non-existent; just as a dream does not exist on waking.
92. That Karma which is done in a previous life is known as Prarabdha (which produces the present life). But such Karma cannot take the place of Prarabdha (for a man of knowledge), as he has no other birth (being free from ego).
93. Just as the body in a dream is superimposed (and therefore illusory), so is also this body. How could there be any birth of the superimposed (body), and in the absence of birth (of the body) where is the room for that (i.e., Prarabdha) at all?
94. The Vedanta texts declare ignorance to be verily the material (cause) of the phenomenal world just as earth is of a jar. That (ignorance) being destroyed, where can the universe subsist?
95. Just as a person out of confusion perceives only the snake leaving aside the rope, so does an ignorant person see only the phenomenal world without knowing the reality?
96. The real nature of the rope being known, the appearance of the snake no longer persists; so the substratum being known, the phenomenal world disappears completely.
97. The body also being within the phenomenal world (and therefore unreal), how could Prarabdha exist? It is, therefore, for the understanding of the ignorant alone that the Shruti speaks of Prarabdha.
98. “And all the actions of a man perish when he realizes that (Atman) which is both the higher and the lower”. Here the clear use of the plural by the Shruti is to negate Prarabdha as well.
99. If the ignorant still arbitrarily maintain this, they will not only involve themselves into two absurdities but will also run the risk of forgoing the Vedantic conclusion. So one should accept those Shrutis alone from which proceeds true knowledge.
The above proves that the karma is reality only on the base of false self, where one thinks body and the universe as reality. When one becomes aware of the fact that, the true self is formless soul, then the karma becomes part and parcel of illusion. My point is that, if one accepts the karma theory as reality, he will never be able to come out of the ignorance. And ignorance makes him believe the cycle of birth, life and death as reality. Thus the freedom which one is seeking will remain distant dream. For the one who accepts the birth life and death as reality, Self-knowledge is impossible.
Thus it is necessary for the seeker of truth to know the fact that, the body which is born, lives and dies is not the self. Since he is taking the body to be the self, he is experiencing the duality as reality.
As Sage Sri, Sankara says: When the whole universe, movable and immovable, is known to be Atman, and thus the existence of everything else is negated, where is then any room to say that the body is Atman.
If body is not the Atman self, then the karma theory has no meaning on the standpoint of the truth. Thus no second thing exists other than Atman therefore why to view the worldview on the standpoint of the body as self (I) when the body (I) is the false self, and the soul/Atman is the true self.
If body is not the self, then the birth, life, death and the universe are bound to be illusion. If birth, life and death are illusion then all conducts actions and their fruits are mere illusion. If body is not the self, then the existence of god, heaven and hell is mere illusion. If body is not the self then all religious beliefs of god is mere illusion. If body is not the self but the Atman [soul] which is in the form of consciousness is the true self, then there is no scope for second thing other than consciousness, therefore consciousness, which is Atman is Brahman or ultimate truth. The Brahman alone is real and eternal. Thus whatever is real eternal has to be identified as god. To identify the real and eternal, one has to overcome the ignorance caused by the illusion. To overcome the ignorance one has to acquire the Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana.
Essence of Ashtvakara Gita is: - Realizing Atman as self, the liberation is possible in this very life right here and right now, not in the next life /next world.
Religion, theories scriptures and concept of god are created as tool for conditioning the mass mind set, to control their individualized mind, to self-judge, what is good and what is evil, with the fear of conceptual god, who will in turn punish them, or reward them with good or bad life, in life after life which is only illusion. And this fear helps to maintain peace and harmony in the society to some extent. But man and world exist within the mind and mind is myth on the standpoint of the soul as self, thus all the theories based on the false hood, have no relevance in the realm of the non-dualistic truth. Therefore, individual actions and conducts are not the means to acquire Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana.
There cannot be delusion or suffering when oneness is realized. One cannot know Truth if one has not mastered the analysis of the three states of consciousness.
By reading and reflecting, constantly on the subject matter, one understands assimilates the hidden reality.