The truth is beyond all philosophies. When we realize all our accumulation of knowledge from outer sources is inadequate and useless in quenching our spiritual thirst,than we will start our inner [mental] journey on our own. The journey is full of obstacles because we have to drop all the accumulated dross and all the conditioning [samskaras] to cross the ocean of duality or samsara.
As one indulges in deeper self-search he will know somewhere he is going wrong, and it is for him to overcome the entire obstacle on his own by knowing what is obstructing his realization. The greatest hindrance is mixing religion, god, scriptures, and yogic theories and intellectual speculations and logical conclusions. Moreover, attachment to scriptures, personal god and religious code of conduct keeps one permanently in the grip of duality.
The Upanishads declare:-
Katha Upanishad 1:2:23 The Soul cannot be realized through hearing scholarly explanation of the discourses, not even by the intellect.
Katha Upanishad 1:3:6 “Through the knowledge of the Soul, God, one is pure and clean constantly.” Neither by reading the book, nor by taking a bath at holy place has one become pure. Inner purity is possible when one remains in constant touch with the Soul. Constant Soul-Consciousness is the real purity.
Kena Upanishad 2:4 When it is known through every state of cognition, it is rightly known, for (by such knowledge) one attains life eternal. Through one's own self one gains power and through wisdom one gains immortality.
Kena Upanishad 2:5
If here one knows it, then there is truth, and if here one knows it not, there is a great loss. Hence, seeing the Real in all beings, wise men become immortal on departing from this world.
Mundaka Upanishad 1:2:8:-
“Remaining in the fold of ignorance and thinking “we are extremely wise and learned,” the fools with boastful nature ramble about like the blind led by the blind alone.”
Mundaka Upanishad 3:2:3:-
“The weak and timid cannot realize the Self. Self-Realization is not possible through intellect or hearing spiritual discourse. One who welcomes God in every activity, through a thorough controlled and disciplined life, to him also the Soul is revealed."
Mundaka Upanishad 3:2:3:-
The Soul cannot be realized by the weak and timid.
RIG VEDA: - The famous utterance of Upanishad that Brahman cannot be attained by duality is in RV (5.12.2). The idea that Brahman cannot be attained by mere action or effort is in RV (8.70.3) and (5.48.5); Brahman cannot be approached by thought (RV.1.170.1 or Kena U., 1.3). [RV=RIG VEDA].
ISH Upanishads: - 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.
It clearly indicates that:-If the human goal is to acquire Self-Knowledge then why one has to indulge in rituals and glorifying the conceptual gods, goddesses and gurus to go in to deeper darkness. Instead spend that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is one’s prime goal.
The scriptures and theories and teaching based on the ego are not the yardstick. Using them as yardstick to understand and assimilate the truth will lead one towards pursuit of arguments. Seeker of truth has to discover on his own, the truth of his true existence by inquiring “what is mind?” and “what is substance of the mind?” and move forward.
That is why Sri, Sankara says in Viveka Chudamani:-
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 splendor of the entire surrounding region, one cannot claim to be an emperor by merely saying, ‘I am an emperor’.
The wisdom consists in knowing the truth, that everything [mind or physical existence] is consciousness. Freedom [truth] is always there yet one does not know it. But to those whose reason is turned away from physicality and who have attained the serenity of the soul/self [consciousness] are quite near to the ultimate truth.
The belief system preaches that God is one and the ways to God are many. It simply tries to lead them to darkness with its dogma and idea of many gods, which is apart from the self.
The eternal truth within the universe [mind] and it is without the universe [mind]. Direct knowledge of self can be acquired by one through the Self while realizing the Self. Self- realization is the essence of human existence. Where there is unity, one without a second; there is world of non-dual reality. The non-dual truth is ultimate truth. And ultimate truth itself is God.
The god and guru are part of the illusory world; therefore the devotee and disciple also are also part of the illusion. Accepting the birth, life and death as reality, is accepting the illusion as reality. Accepting illusion as reality is the cause of the ignorance. Ignorance makes one feel the duality as reality. The duality makes one feel he is an individual separate from the world. This separation makes one feel the birth, life and death as reality. The person who bases on the birth, life and death is trying to find the meaning of life. There is no meaning or purpose of the life, because the life is mere happening within the illusion. Thus the karma based on the physical entity is based on the birth, life and death, which is part and parcel of the illusion.
All appearance has not appeared to the physical entity, but to the soul. Man and the world are mere appearance. That is, the illusion is mere appearance. Thus man cannot be considered as witness, since man and his experience of the world are within the illusion. Thus the witness of the illusion is within the illusion but it is apart from the illusion. It is with is within the illusion as its formless substance and it is apart from the illusion as its formless witness. The formless substance and witness is the soul/spirit. The soul/spirit is the true self. Realizing the soul as self is Self -Realization. Therefore, the soul alone is real and all else is mere illusion. By Learning to view and judge the truth on the base of soul as self will lead one to realize the fact that the man and the world are mere illusion.
Therefore, it is necessary to learn to view and judge the truth on the base of soul, to understand and assimilate the self-knowledge. It is the though the soul one knows himself as a person and perceives the world. It is the soul, which is the author/knower of the three states, not the person who is limited to waking/dream.
A well-directed self- search will lead one to find his non-dual destination. Trying to discover the truth on the false self [ego] is going round and round not reaching anywhere.
One is ignorant and he asserts the blissful, ever-existent consciousness, which exits in all the three states as its formless substance and witness. And it is also apart from the three states. The witness is formless and it is not an entity and identity within the waking or dream.
Once the seeker accepts the fact that, the self is neither the ‘I’, nor the body then realizes the fact that, the consciousness is the true self, and he establishes himself in that conviction. Once this conviction is established the then the waking experience is absolutely non-existent as reality.
Seeker has to try to know the fact that, with the help of inquiry, analysis and reasoning, the true self is not ‘ego’, but the soul, which is in the form of consciousness. Holding the ego [waking entity] as self is cause of ignorance. The consciousness is knower of the body and the universe.
It is very difficult for those who strongly believe the ‘I’, as self to realize the truth. Most of the spiritual paths hold the ‘I’, as self and spin their imagination on the base of ‘I’, which leads them to hallucination. People mistake that self as “I” whereas the gross bodies are many. So ‘I’ cannot be self.
By sentimentally and emotionally getting involved with some teachings or teacher is great hindrance in pursuit of truth. People hold their guru as ultimate authority and drop their pursuit of truth and indulge in their glorifying and worshiping the gurus, which keeps them in the permanently in ignorance.
Self-knowledge is the destroyer of ignorance. The self is the inner guru, god, the all-pervading principle and the cause of all three states.
The serious seeker should constantly reflect on the true self constantly through inquiry, analysis and reasoning, which is in the form of consciousness because it is the only means to acquire Self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the only tool for the acquisition of final freedom from experiencing the illusory duality as reality.
Seeker has to have the indifference mentally to all the three states because the three states are mere mirage created out of consciousness. Holding the three states as reality is great hindrance in pursuit of truth. Thus one has to remove all the obstacles and mental barricade one by one by realizing the self is not the form but the self is formless.
The three states are perishable in their nature because they are mere mirage created out of consciousness. The consciousness, which is the formless substance and witness of the mirage, is real and eternal. Thus the consciousness is the inner most self. And knowing and realizing consciousness as self is the means to the attainment of Self- Realization or Truth Realization.
Consciousness is the true self is the formless substance and witness of the three states is alone real and permanent. The three states are an object opposed to it, which is transient – such a settled conviction is truly known as discrimination.
Turning attention completely from all the three states and concentrating only on consciousness which is the formless substance and the witness of the three states is the only means to acquire non-dual wisdom.
Intense urge to become free from the bonds of this birth, life deaths and world, leads one to indulge in pursuit of truth.
Only serious seekers who have an intense urge to acquire Self- Knowledge should have courage to discard the false-knowledge with a view to attaining non-dualistic wisdom.
Self- Knowledge is not brought about by any other means than inquiry, analysis and reasoning on the true base. Trying to attain self-knowledge through other means is like trying to find fish in the desert sand.