People think that that their practical life within the practical world as reality, because they are ignorant of their true existence. They are charmed, deluded and intoxicated by the illusory experience of birth, life death and the world.
They fail to understand mind, which is in the form of universe is mere an illusion which appears as waking or dream[duality] and disappears as deep sleep[non-duality], on account ignorance of the reality of their true existence.
Due of this ignorance they believe in their experience of birth, life, death and the world experienced on the false self or ego as reality and perish without realizing the true self ,which consciousness.
The three states are unreal on the ultimate standpoint,. If one indulges in deeper self-search, the waking is a long dream and dream is a short waking experience. The dream appears for a short period but does not exist in reality. Similarly the waking also is long dream in man exists. When the waking entity tries to know its true existence through deeper sell- search it becomes aware of the fact that it is neither the waking entity nor it is the dream entity but it is the witness that witnesses the waking and dream. When it is in its formless non-dual true nature it is without the waking or dream. When it is without the waking and dream the ignorant call it as deep sleep. Consciously becoming aware of the true nature of the self /soul in the midst of the waking experience is awakening from the illusion.
For the ignorant the practical life within the particle world are quite real. For the Gnani or those who are endowed with discrimination and deeper self-search they are unreal.
From the ultimate standpoint, whatever one see as a person within the waking or dream is false. There is no doubt in this because the three states are mere mirage created out of consciousness, which is the true self.
The thirsty animal sees water in the mirage when the sun is up and it run towards the mirage for drinking water. It does not find any water there. Similarly when one indulges in deeper self-search one does not find his body, ego and the experience of the universe in self-awareness.
If one shoots his friend in his dream and experiences actual blood but when he wakes up he does not find his friend or his weapon and the dream world. Similarly when the self, wakes up in its formless true nature it will not find the waking entity or waking world.
Consciousness is the true self. Consciousness is the only Reality. Consciousness is eternal Just as a wave arises in the ocean, so also a mind arises as wave in consciousness. That mind is in the form of universe.
The universe is mere illusion. Therefore the individual experience of birth, life and death which take place within the universe also is illusion.
The birth is birth of ignorance. Physical Life is life of ignorance. Death is death of ignorance. Whatever exists without the ignorance is reality.
That which appears through ignorance is universe or mind which gives pain and births and deaths. The source for mind, which is in the form of universe, is soul, which is in the form of consciousness. If there is no mind, there is no universe. There is no mind apart from consciousness. There is no universe apart from mind. If the mind settles down in its source then it is freedom from experiencing the duality [illusion] as reality.
This universe is unreal when compared to consciousness. It is a solid reality for the ignorant who thinks his practical life within the practical world as reality. For Gnani his body, ego and his practical life within the practical world are mere passing show. . It does not exist at all as reality for a Gnani who is above physical consciousness.
A Gnani lives as of the world externally but not of the world internally. Seeker of truth should not try to leave the world and enter into the monastery or take sanyasa and renounce the worldly life. But remain in this world indulging in all worldly life and activities doing well for the society in whatever possible way by always remain soul-centric.
Whole life will be ruined and wasted if one enters monastery or takes sanyasa in order to acquire non-dual wisdom. One should be established in the conviction that the universe, which is in the form of mind, is unreal and soul, which is in the form of consciousness, is real. This will help you to develop dispassion and a strong yearning for freedom from this illusion. One has remain in the practical world but be not worldly. Seeker has to Strive to acquire self-knowledge while leading active life in the practical world.
The seeker of truth has to realize the fact that, Rituals, sacred feasts, intense meditations with the hata yoga, worships, and taking dip in the holy rivers and holy places the self-knowledge cannot be obtained. The self-knowledge can be obtained by deeper self –search and realizing the fact that, all the three states are mere mirage created out consciousness. And consciousness is the inner most self and ultimate truth.
If one is aware of the fact that, the inner most self is god than:
v What is the use of observing fasts?
v What is the use of bathing in the rivers?
v What is the use of bowing their heads to the belief of god?
v What is the use of uttering prayers?
v And what good is it for him to go on pilgrimages?
No one knows god is really there in temple or church but for believers god exist only in the form of belief. That means the god cannot exist without the belief. And belief cannot exist without the believer. It means the god cease to exist without the believer.
That is why BUDDHA SAID: - Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.
Mundaka Upanishad says: - 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.
The soul is the innermost self. The soul is in the form of consciousness. The innermost self is god.
Ish Upanishad declares: - Those people who have neglected the attainment of Self-knowledge and have thus committed suicide. [10/11/12]
Self- Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana wipes out the ignorance. Mind is the product of ignorance. Only in ignorance the mind exits. The mind ceases to exist without ignorance. The ignorance is cause of experiencing the duality as reality. The duality exists only when the mind exists and it ceases to exist without the mind. The mind exists only when the universe exists and it ceases to exist without universe. The universe exists only in waking or dream and it ceases to exist without the waking or dream. The waking or dream exists because of the formless self, which is in the form of consciousness. Without the self the waking or dream are non-existent. Whatever exits without the waking and dream is the inner most self, which is God. The god is within the three states and it is without the three states.
Even if one takes cleansing baths at holy rivers, wanders over the hills and the mountains, and performs all the rituals of purification day and night, still, without the self –knowledge ignorance still prevails.
When the mind is there ignorance is there. If ignorance is there the illusion is there. If illusion is there the duality is experienced as reality. If duality is experienced as reality then the false self-[ego] is identified as real self and false experienced [universe] is considered as reality. Therefore by washing the body, the ignorance will not go. Because of the intoxication of duality the illusion is experienced as reality. Very rare are those who understand this.
What is the use of bathing at sacred rivers or pilgrimages, when the whole universe in man and everything exists is product of ignorance. Stubborn arrogance fueled by religion and its dogmas becomes hindrance in getting rid of the ignorance.
Gaudapada’s rational exposition of Advaita: - that whatever is seen, whether external or internal, whether by the ordinary persons or yogis, is unreal.
Soul or the Inner Self alone exists at all times. It is unchanging. the inner most self itself is god. There is no other god other than the soul,which is in the form of consciousness. The consciousness pervades in everything and everywhere in all the three states. Thus the self is not individual but it is universal.
Why one should bathe at holy rivers or visit pilgrimages, when the waking entity is not the self and the waking world is not reality. When the god is formless, and nameless then what is the use of reciting god’s name. Reciting the name of nameless god means accepting the god with form and attributes and by accepting the god with form with attributes means accepting the duality as reality. By accepting the duality as reality, one remains in ignorance and experiencing the birth, life, death and world as reality. If the birth, life, death and the world are taken as reality then the self in is in intoxication of illusion. Thus by getting rid of the ignorance is the only way to get rid of illusion. Thus realizing the self is not the form but the self is formless consciousness is very much necessary to get rid of the ignorance.
In Isa Upanishad says:-
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.
Until and unless one overcomes physical shackle it is impossible to understand and assimilate the non-dual truth, which is beyond the physical existence or the universe. Consciousness itself is lord of itself though not of the universe. And having nothing it has all.
That is why Sri, Sankara says : - Talk as much philosophy as you like, worship as many gods as you please, observe ceremonies and sing devotional hymns, but liberation will never come, even after a hundred aeons, without realizing the Oneness.
Thus when we identity with our inherited belief system it with diverse belief than it becomes difficult to know the whole humanity is created out of single stuff, which is consciousness. The consciousness is identified by different belief system with different names and forms. Until one goes deeper in search it becomes difficult for anyone to accept anything other than his inherited belief.
Thus following any belief system will not lead one to the inner reality. Thus it is necessary to know the ultimate truth, and the truth will set one free from experiencing the duality as reality."
Sri, Sankara:- “Illness is not cured by saying the word 'medicine,' but by taking medicine. Enlightenment is not achieved by repeating the word 'God' but by directly experiencing God. Talk as much philosophy as you like, worship as many gods as you please, observe as many ceremonies and sing devotional hymns, but liberation will never come, even after a hundred eons, without realizing Oneness, Wholeness."
Yoga Vasishtha: - "Teachers, interpretations of sacred texts, the force of religious merit--none of these lead to the realization of that Ultimate Truth which is revealed in the clear reflection of the heart, engendered from contact with the good."
Sri, Sankara says in VivekaChudamani
56 . Neither by Yoga, nor by Sankhya, nor by work, nor by learning, but by the realisation of one's identity with Brahman is Liberation possible, and by no other means.
58. Loud speech consisting of a shower of words, the skill in expounding the Scriptures, and likewise erudition - these merely bring on a little personal enjoyment to the scholar, but are no good for Liberation.
59. The study of the Scriptures is useless so long as the highest Truth is unknown, and it is equally useless when the highest Truth has already been known.
60. The Scriptures consisting of many words are a dense forest which merely causes the mind to ramble. Hence men of wisdom should earnestly set about knowing the true nature of the Self.
61. For one who has been bitten by the serpent of Ignorance, the only remedy is the knowledge of Brahman. Of what avail are the Vedas and (other) Scriptures, Mantras (sacred formulae) and medicines to such a one?
62. A disease does not leave off if one simply utter the name of the medicine, without taking it; (similarly) without direct realisation one cannot be liberated by the mere utterance of the word Brahman.
63. Without causing the objective universe to vanish and without knowing the truth of the Self, how is one to achieve Liberation by the mere utterance of the word Brahman ? — It would result merely in an effort of speech.
64. Without killing one’s enemies, and possessing oneself of the splendour of the entire surrounding region, one cannot claim to be an emperor by merely saying, ‘I am an emperor’.
65. As a treasure hidden underground requires (for its extraction) competent instruction, excavation, the removal of stones and other such things lying above it and (finally) grasping, but never comes out by being (merely) called out by name, so the transparent Truth of the self, which is hidden by Maya and its effects, is to be attained through the instructions of a knower of Brahman, followed by reflection, meditation and so forth, but not through perverted arguments.
66. Therefore the wise should, as in the case of disease and the like, personally strive by all the means in their power to be free from the bondage of repeated births and deaths.
67. The question that thou hast asked today is excellent, approved by those versed in the Scriptures, aphoristic, pregnant with meaning and fit to be known by the seekers after Liberation.
Seeker of truth has to take the direct path and avoid losing precious time and effort loosing himself in philosophical studies.
Fools dwelling in darkness, but thinking themselves wise and erudite, go round and round, by various tortuous paths, like the blind led by the blind. [Ch II-5 P-14]
Seeker of truth has to avoid getting involved with the guru or teaching if wants acquire Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana because emotionally getting involved with guru or teaching becomes great hindrance and one will permanently remain in the prison of physicality or duality.