If one thinks Advaitic truth is the ultimate truth, then he has to drop all theories based on the physical body (ego or waking entity) as self, because Advaitic truth is based on the formless soul, which is present in the form of consciousness. the soul or consciousness is the innermost 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 neither the waking entity nor the self is dream entity but the self is formless soul or consciousness,which witnesses the coming and going of the three state. After knowing the fact that, the self is not the waking entity, then it is erroneous to think again as the waking entity ,which is the false self within the false experience. Thus holding the body(waking entity) based theories as reality is erroneous. 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 waking entity and the waking world, which exist only in waking is impermanent and illusory in nature, because it appear as mind and disappears as no- mind. 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 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 indicates that, the karma is reality only on the base of false self, where one thinks body and the universes 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 said: When the whole universe, movable and immovable, is known to be Atman, which is in the form of consciousness, and thus the existence of everything else is negated, where is then any room to say that the body is Atman or self.
If body is not the Atman or soul, the innermost self, then the karma theory has no meaning on the standpoint of the truth. Thus no second thing exists other than Atman or consciousness, therefore why to view the worldview on the standpoint of the body as self (ego or waking entity) when the body (ego or waking entity) is the false self, and the soul or Atman or consciousness is the innermost self.
Essence of Ashtvakara is: Realizing Atman or soul as self, the liberation is possible in this very life right here and right now, not in the next life or 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-dual truth.
Brahma Sutras, i.e. "Vedanta Sutras" by Badarayana, are intended for those of middling intellects, not for those who have the best brains: it is a semi-theological, semi-philosophical work; it starts with the assumption that Brahman exists.
The opening sentence is "All this is Brahman.” But nobody knows or has seen Brahman. If one say "All this is mountain” and show the mountain, the words are understandable. Suppose he has never seen mountain, then what is the use of such a sentence? It becomes meaningless when the object indicated is seen by none. Hence the Brahma Sutra opening is equivalent to "All this is X". Both have no meaning so long as they are not understood, if we take them as the data to start from. Thus the bookish knowledge is intended for theological minds, because it begins with dogma although its reasoning is close. For it starts with something imagined.
Since people negate the self along with mind when they are to - Neti, Neti- they does not know that this is applied only to the witnessed(universe or mind) , pundits ignorantly believes that it is also applied to the formless witness (soul or consciousness) . But one should never negates the formless witness, only the witnessed (universe or mind). Thus, all bookish knowledge based on egocentric non-dualism is mere playing with ornamental words not truth.