There is no second thing exists other then the soul, which is present in the form of consciousness. The soul is the innermost self. . We are discussing and trying to understand, assimilate and realize the truth within the myth. Until we find the source of the myth, we will not be able to assimilate Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana .
When the experience of diversity is created out the soul, which is in the form of spirit or consciousness then no second thing exists other then the soul, which is the true self. On the standpoint of the soul, the innermost self the experience of diversity (waking or dream) is mere illusion.
It is erroneous to say the man and his experience of the world as illusion on the base of ego or waking entity , because man and his experience of the world is reality on the base of the ego. Only when one becomes mentally aware of the formless substance and witness of the three states, then only one becomes aware of the existence of the formless faculty, which is the formless source of the myth(three states) from where it rises and subsides.
Dream becomes unreal when waking takes place. Similarly the waking becomes unreal when one becomes aware of the fact that, the ego is not the self, but the soul is the true self.
The “Self” simply means that the non-dual Source which is the soul. The source is also known as - Primal Energy, Consciousness, Awareness, Plenitude, God - is Unicity, Oneness, and Non-duality.
Consciousness is the one behind the many (universe). If one becomes aware of the soul or consciousness, the innermost self, then the universe in which we exist is mere illusion. Thus our existence as an individual separate from the world is mere illusion created out of single stuff, which consciousness.
When viewed as waking entity or ego, the waking world seems to be real. Deeper self-search reveals the fact that, the waking entity is false self within the false experience and the self is neither the waking entity nor the self is the dream entity but the self is the formless soul or consciousness, which witnesses the coming and going of the three states.
Without knowing the nature of the mind or the universe, it is impossible to know the truth. It is of no use of trying to find the truth before one understands the nature of the universe. The world which confronts one is also consciousness itself therefore the world in which man exists is a mere mirage created out of consciousness, which is the innermost self.
If one does not make his induction from facts from the world before him, the world of the five senses, he only draws on his imaginations. Then he says “The ‘Self’ is like this, or like that." but it will be only his imagination within the waking experience, which is mere illusion from ultimate standpoint.
What are these three states? Consciousness never experienced in the plural, only singular of which plural is unknown; that there is only thing and what seems to be plurality is merely diverse aspect this one thing, produced by a deception, which Advaitin sages called it as Maya.
First seeker must inquire into the nature of the physical body i.e. matter. Second he must inquire into the nature of the mind to realize, the mind is in the form of universe and the universe appears as waking or dream and disappears as deep sleep. That is, mind (waking or dream) becomes the soul (consciousness) and soul (consciousness) becomes mind (waking or dream). Or form( waking or dream) becomes formless(consciousness) or formless(consciousness) becomes form(waking or dream) .
The consciousness, the innermost self-pervades in everything and everywhere in all the three states therefore the consciousness is not limited to waking entity and waking world. Thus all the three states have to be taken into account. WHO AM ‘I’? An inquiry which exposes the false nature of the waking entity reveals only half truth. Therefore one has to indulge in deeper self-search to realize ‘I’ itself is not the self in order to unfold the mystery of the mind or the universe.
Know that which has form to be unreal and the formless to be permanent. One has to look at everything in the world because in everything there is Consciousness because world is created out of consciousness. One should not avoid the world and shut himself away from the world that confronts him like yogi and meditator because the world which is as much consciousness, as his body. It is very much necessary to realize the body and the world are one in essence.