The ‘I’ or ‘I Am’ are mere words. The reality is beyond thoughts and words. The words have meaning in duality. Duality exists until mind exists. Mind exists where there is division of form, time and space. If there is no division of form, time and space, than there is no mind. Words are used as a tool to name individual objects and feelings within the duality. The words become meaningless when one becomes aware of the formless substance of the mind, which is consciousness. Consciousness is our inner most self. From the standpoint of our inner most self, the mind is mere mirage. If mind is mere mirage then the form, time and space are mere mirage. If form, time and space are mere mirage than the thoughts and words which rises within the scope of form, time and space are also part and parcel of that mirage. Thus body, ego, words, thoughts, and whatever the contents of the universe are within the mirage created out of single stuff that is consciousness. Thus it is necessary to know 'What is mind?' and 'What is the substance of the mind?' and 'What is the source of the mind?', in order to realize the words are meaningless in the realm of truth.
But deeper self-search revels the fact that 'I' is not the self because it appears and disappears. the formless substance and witness of the 'I' ,which is formless consciousness is the true self. If the self is form[I] than the evolution theory holds water. If the self is formless [soul] than all the theories based on the form is of no value. Until one thinks 'I' or I AM' as self all these theories cannot transport anyone beyond form, time and space. the theory of evolution is based on individuality ,whereas the self, pervades in everything and everywhere in the universe. Individuality is reality within the falsehood. Thus all the theory based on individuality is bound to be falsehood. Thus our judgment and reason and conclusion has to be based on formless self not on the form(I) as self.
Freedom is becoming free from experiencing the illusion or duality as reality by realizing the fact that, the self is not the form but self is formless. It is possible to realize this without realizing the fact that, the individual self or ego is reality within the false experience. Thus all the knowledge accumulated by judging on the base of false self, is false knowledge.
The ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ is physical prison.
If ‘I’ is not the physical body, what is it?
Since the sense of ‘I’ is present only when the mind is present and it disappears along with mind. The seeker will come to conclusion after thoroughly verifying this fact through inquiry, analysis and reasoning and then come to firm conviction that ‘I’ is mind.
If ‘I’ is mind and mind is universe and universe appears as waking or dream are one and the same thing.
It is wrong to identify the self as he or she because it refers to physicality. The self is genderless because it is formless. Identifying “Self” as he or she, leads to all sorts’ of doubts and confusion. When the self is identified as he or she it becomes physical self /ego.
When the ego is not the self, it is erroneous to judge the truth on the base of ego/physical self and come to some conclusion of finality on the physical base is erroneous because the truth is prior appearance of the physical existence. Thus, the truth has to be judged on the ultimate point of view, not on the base of what appeared later on.
Man has been conditioned to think and be and behave and believe and live as an individual separate from the world. Therefore, the self has been identified with physical body with the name within the waking experience.
The ‘mind’ is the Waking or dream experience. The Waking or dream is not the experience of the physical body but of the Soul/Self. The man and his world are within the mind; therefore mind is not within the brain. This has to be understood to assimilate the self-knowledge. Without understanding this fact the assimilation is impossibility.
The nature of the Self is formless non-dual. The nature of the mind is duality or diversity. The self is the formless substance of the mind or duality or universe. Therefore, the whole experience of the diversity created out of single stuff. Therefore, there is no division in ultimate standpoint is the self ,which in the form of consciousness. Viewing the worldview on the base of the physical self is the cause of division and separation.
When the seekers become aware of the fact that the true self is not physical but the soul, he becomes aware of the fact that the mind is mere illusion. The one who is ignorant of the true self experiences the duality as reality.
A person perceives the world within the mind. Absent of mind is absent of waking or dream. Thus waking or dream is mind.
One thinks he is an individual separate from the world within the mind. He is unaware of the fact that the mind is not within his brain, but he and his experience of the world are within the mind. Thus, he thinks he is born in this world and world existed prior to him. Thus this conviction makes him believe the birth, life and death as reality. Until this conviction is thee he will views and judges the world-view on the physical base, which is the cause of ignorance of the fact that, the true self is the soul.
This ignorance of the true self is the main hurdle in pursuit of truth. Therefore, it is very much necessary to rectify the seeking base from physical [form] to spirit [formless] before proceeding further in pursuit of truth.
If the seeking base is not rectified it will lead one towards hallucination. When the mind itself is myth then the man and his experience of the world is bound to be myth. Therefore perfect understanding of the mind will help one to unfold the mystery of the mind. It is impossible to unfold the truth on the base of false self within the false experience, because the truth is prior to the appearance of the falsehood. And falsehood creates ignorance.
Seeker has to burn down the ignorance by rectifying the base of reasoning by realizing the fact that self is not physical but it is the formless consciousness.
THE ‘I’ OR ‘I AM’ IS CAUSE OF THE IGNORANCE. Thus one has to get rid of the ignorance by overcoming the intoxication of ‘I’ or I AM which intoxication stuff in pursuit of truth is.
That is why Sri, Sankara says in Viveka Chudamani :-
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.
People who are yearning for spiritual truth will not find it through intellectual speculation and assumption. Intellectual truth is individual truth. Love implies duality and love is individual feelings within the falsehood. Love is necessary and valuable in the stated of ignorance but it is not the means to acquire wisdom. Love is religious tool to lead life in practical world. And Religious truth is individual truth and it is not universal truth because the religion is based on individuality.