The self- realization is the prime goal. Seeker has to know the Atman or consciousness as self, to have actual realization. Thus seeker has to drop religious, ritual or dogmatic instruction if he has chosen the Gnana Marga or path of wisdom.
Sri, Sankara' gave religious, ritual or dogmatic instruction to the mass but pure philosophy only to the few who could rise to it. Hence the interpretation of his writings by commentators is often confusing because they mix up the two viewpoints. Thus they may assert that ritual is a means of realizing Brahman, which is absurd.
Sri Sankara definitely says that Yoga is not the means of liberation on page 132-133 of his commentary on Brihadaranyakopanishad.
What happens when thoughts are stilled? It is not the Self that is found. It is only mind. Therefore, through yoga, it is not possible to acquire non-dual wisdom. Therefore the yogi does not know ultimate t truth. Yoga is good to give peace and concentration, but only in order to start reasoning, i.e. thinking again to find truth.
It is not enough to see a mere blank, in meditation. One has to see the body, ego and the universe as consciousness. One is free from ignorance not when he sees nothing at all, as in meditation but only when he sees the entire universe as consciousness. Hence one must know “What is mind, which appeared as universe?” in order to unfold the mystery of the mind.
Yogic Samadhi are not the goal but a means to an end, i.e. wisdom. Yogic Samadhi in itself is useless, because the mind is withdrawn and there is no memory of it until after it is over and one returns to waking state. Yogi who attains mind control: it is only sleep.
When Yogi comes out of Samadhi and immediately duality confronts him again. His peace goes, it was depended Samadhi-sleep. Hence no yogi attains true peace, but he imagines it.
It is not possible know that a Yogi is self-realized because the yogic Samadhi is not self-realization. One must first find out that what he has got is Samadhi or wisdom. Only through non-dual wisdom one gets self-realization. The yogic Samadhi cannot be considered as non-dual wisdom. Therefore there is need to verify the facts.
If a god men claims “I am god “No one can disapprove. Similarly with all other yogis who assert they know Brahman in Samadhi. There is no possibility of proof or disproof. Hence these yogis assume or imagine they are god and they cheat themselves or others without knowing what god is in reality.
When one cannot know the world in front of him then how can he know the God? He will only know his imagination of a God. How can he say his God is all-merciful, when the god is formless and cannot be perceivable from physical eyes?
Sanyasins are enjoined not to accept anything or ask for anything in order to get established in Atman. Religion propagates that only Sanyasis can have Atma Gnana, but it is not so, anyone who trains himself to reason on the base of the true self will be able to acquire non-dual wisdom. Blessings are religious fable. Only pretenders give blessings. A Gnani neither blesses nor curses.
The yogi fail to see non-duality in Samadhi, because he believes there is bliss to come to him from Samadhi. That shows he does not know truth, but still seeks bliss as something apart from himself.
It is no use seeing God everywhere. One must see Atman, the same consciousness, the same self, everywhere, and then he will be able to accept all the three states alike[as consciousness], with sameness.
Inquiry, analysis and reasoning must begin with the mind, which is in the form of universe to inquire into. It will end with unity. The yogi tries to avoid this duality by ignoring the world. Hence he gets a false unity only.
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.
Kabeer, some buy idols and worship them; In their stubborn- mindedness, they make pilgrimages to sacred shrines. They look at one another, and wear religious robes, but they are deluded and lost.
Kabeer, someone sets up a stone idol and the entire world worships it as the Lord. Those who hold to this belief will be drowned in the river of darkness.
Kabeer, the paper is the prison, and the ink of rituals are the bars on the windows.
The stone idols have drowned the world, and the pundits, the religious scholars, have plundered it on the way.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Shaloks Of Kabeer Jee:, p. 1371.)