Absent of duality is emptiness. Emptiness is not Self-Awareness or Brahmic-Awareness. Duality or mind rises from emptiness and dissolves as emptiness(soul or consciousness). Thus, emptiness is nothing but soul or consciousness, the innermost self. The nature of the soul is emptiness or non-duality. Self-awareness or Brahmic-Awareness is awareness of the non-dual nature of the soul(consciousness) in the midst of duality(waking) .
One has to grow from the inside out. None can teach him, none can make him spiritual. There is no other guru but his own soul.”
Self-Knowledge or Atma Gnana or Brahma Gnana cannot be attained by one who is without strength or earnestness or without the receptiveness and courage to accept the truth and reject the untruth. If a serious seeker strives sincerely by means of inquiry, analysis and soul-centric reasoning, he will be able to realize it.
It is only seekers sincerity and earnestness in his spiritual pursuit, the knowledge started revealing on its own. Anyone who has humility and patience and is sincere and ready to drop their accumulated dross and receptive to accept the truth will enter non-dual Self-Awareness when his conviction becomes firm.
Sage Sri, Sankara was criticized for his views on Maya (illusion) without understanding him. He said that (1) Brahman (the Self) is real (2) the universe is unreal, and (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 that
(1) Consciousness [the Self] is real
(2) The universe or mind is unreal, and
(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.
In Self-Awareness the witness and witnessed are one in essence. That essence is consciousness. There is no second thing exists other than consciousness.
Soul or consciousness is our innermost self is the witness that experiences the action, the actor, and the world of separate things. It is like a light that illuminates everything in a theatre, revealing the master of ceremonies, the guests, and the dancers with complete impartiality. Even when they all depart, the light shines to reveal their absence.
What is not consciousness (formless) in the experience of diversity (waking)? The waking and the dream cease to exist without consciousness. The seeker, seeking and his destination all are one in essence.