Ish Upanishad declares:- Those people who have neglected the attainment of Self-knowledge and have thus committed suicide
Those people who have neglected the attainment of Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana and have thus committed suicide, as it were, are doomed to enter those worlds after death.
This is a condemnation of people who do not try to attain Self-knowledge. They are, in a real sense, committing suicide, for what can be worse than being a slave to sense enjoyment, completely oblivious of the real purpose of life, which is to be your own master? In order to be your own master you have to realize that you are identical with Atman, the true Self, that you are Pure Consciousness, ever free, without name and form, and unconditioned.
You are not subject to any modification, without beginning and end, beyond thought and speech. You are Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute. When you know this you are free. You no longer swing between birth and death. If you do not try to know who you really are, you are indeed committing suicide. You are inviting the ignominy of a slave's life in this world and a similarly unfortunate fate after death. The Self, is one without a second, complete in itself.
It never moves. It is always still, always the same, yet it moves faster than the mind. It is the power that moves everything, and it makes the whole world go the way it does. It gives those who mechanically perform sacrifices [avidya] go into darkness that is like being blind. But those who merely worship gods and goddesses [vidya] go into a deeper darkness. [IX]
"Blinding darkness' here implies ignorance. And those who worship gods and goddesses go into a deeper darkness because they seek rewards for their worship. As long as there is the sense of "I' and "mine' within us, there can be no Self-knowledge. When you say "me' and "mine' you automatically identify yourself with your body-mind complex. This shows that you are ignorant of your real Self, which is Pure Consciousness and which is also the Self of all. The sign of an ignorant person is in the way he uses the words "I' and "mine'. He says: "I am so and so. I own this much property,' and so on.
An ignorant person has many desires in his mind, and because of these desires he is born again and again. He has to have a body; otherwise he cannot satisfy his desires. But the more he tries to satisfy them, the more they grip his mind. This goes on endlessly. But it is given to a human being to think, reason, and discriminate. Thus he soon comes to realize that the path he has been following cannot give him peace of mind. He understands that he has to choose another path the path of renunciation. As long as he does not practice renunciation, he gropes in the dark like a blind man and he suffers.
There are two types of such people who grope in the dark. One type worships avidya (ignorance) that is, they mechanically perform the prescribed sacrifices without any thought as to why they are doing them. No wonder they grope in the dark. They are doomed unless someday the truth dawns on them that to save themselves they must seek Self-knowledge.
Worse, however, is the situation of the other type those who worship vidya. The word vidya ¸ usually means "knowledge', but here it is used to mean "gods and goddesses'. Some people worship gods and goddesses so that they may someday attain the same status. They may get their desire fulfilled, but this will only delay their liberation. That is why the Upanisad says that they will be in deeper darkness.
Scholars say that the path of avidya [performing aganihotra and other sacrifices] and the path of vidya [worshipping gods and goddesses] produce different results. Wise men confirm this. [X]
Vidya and avidya both are hindrances to Self-knowledge, but vidya is even worse than avidya. The word vidya is used here in a special sense; here it means worshipping gods and goddesses. By worshipping gods and goddesses you will go after death to the world of gods and goddesses. But will that help you? The time you spend there is wasted, because if you were not there you could have spent that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is your goal. In the world of gods and goddesses you cannot do that, and thus you go deeper and deeper into darkness.
Avidya is karma and therefore a hindrance. You perform avidya - i.e., you perform Agnihotra and other sacrifices. This is a roundabout way of purifying the mind, and it is also groping in the dark. But it may not have as heavy a toll on your time and energy as the other.
Even in Mundaka Upanishad:- The rituals and the sacrifices described in the Vedas deal with lower knowledge. The sages ignored these rituals and went in search of higher knowledge. ... Such rituals are unsafe rafts for crossing The sea of samsara, of birth and death. Doomed to shipwreck are those who try to cross The sea of samsara on these poor rafts. Ignorant of their own ignorance, yet wise In their own esteem, these deluded men Proud of their vain learning go round and round Like the blind led by the blind.
Sri, Gaudapada’s rational exposition of Advaita: - that whatever is seen, whether external or internal, whether by the ordinary persons or yogis, is unreal.
The essence of Mandukya's is: Do not be satisfied with rituals, yoga etc. which are good in their own way, but inquire. Inquire in to the nature of the mind. ? Brahman and Atman are things one can never see. So seeker should not inquire into them. He has to inquire into the world around him, which he can see. Analysis tells him it is passing away every second. Everything is dying repeatedly. Where is it going? Thus he follows up his investigation into what he can lay hands on. How can he inquire into Atman which he cannot see? So first he must deal with the known and seen, this inquiry leads up to the unknown in the end.
Mediocre minds waste their time on arguing about unimportant matters. Accumulation of scriptural knowledge is dangerous in pursuit of truth. Seeker has to establish in the truth of Non-duality by sheer reasoning alone. Seeker has to begin by defining "What is real?" "What is unreal?" etc, because that is the right way to discuss, understand and assimilate Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana .
Thus seeker has to remove all the hindrance in order to acquire Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana .