The universe is not just conscious, but it is consciousness, and this consciousness is ultimate truth or Brahman. Consciousness has forgotten its true identity by identifying itself as person perceiving the world.
The only way to realize the truth is through wisdom. the consciousness is not it is not separate from mind ,which appears as waking or dream and disappears as deep sleep. When mind is permanently absorbed into consciousness and become one and the same with it. This is how one forever escapes experiencing the illusion as reality.
Consciousness is without attributes and strictly impersonal. It can be best described as infinite Being, infinite Consciousness and infinite Bliss. It is pure knowledge itself, similar to a source of infinite radiance. Gnanis regard consciousness to be the Ultimate Truth, so in comparison to consciousness, every other thing, including the material universe, its distinctness, the individuality of the living creatures and even the idea of conceptual god itself are all untrue.
Consciousness is the effulgent cause of everything that exists and can possibly exist. Since it is beyond human comprehension, it is without any attributes, for assigning attributes to it would be distorting the true nature of consciousness.
DVI" means two. DVI" connotes dual existence and the non-dual. Which of these two is non-existence? People think that there is God and that the jivas--souls-- like them form the second, other than them. There is no such duality at all.
"Soul”, which is present in the form of consciousness, is the only reality and there is nothing other than this soul or consciousness, which is the innermost self. On the stand point the formless soul or consciousness, innermost self, there is no second thing exists other than consciousness. Because the whole universe in, which we all exist is created out of consciousness. There is no second thing exist other than consciousness. Hence it is non-dual (non-duality). The soul or consciousness is ultimate truth or Brahman or God.
Sage Sri, Sankara was criticized for his views on Maya (illusion)] without understanding him. He said:-
(1) Brahman (the Self) is real
(2) The universe is unreal,
(3) Brahman is the universe.
He did not stop at the second because the third explains the other two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived as the ‘Self’ and unreal if perceived as apart from the Self. Hence Maya or illusion and reality are one and the same.
The realists criticize the concept of illusion without understanding it. He said :-
(1) Consciousness (soul,the innermost self)is real
(2) The universe or mind is unreal,
(3) Consciousness is the mind or universe, because universe or mind is mere illusion created out of consciousness.
One need not stop at the second because the third explains the other two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived as the Self (consciousness) and unreal if perceived as apart from the Self [consciousness]. Hence illusion and reality are one and the same because both are one in essence. Realizing the essence, which is consciousness as the innermost Self, is Self-Realization or Truth- Realization of GOD- Realization. Thus Sage Sri, Sankara‘s declaration is rational truth, scientific truth and also ultimate truth.