Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is the aim of every human being. Since everyone thinks the physical body is the self their aim is misdirected and they focus their attention on materiality which makes one feel the duality (waking) as reality.
A man may wish to live for a hundred years, performing his duties as prescribed by the scriptures, but he will not be able to assimilate the Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana. If one does duties in the way prescribed in the scriptures, it may be good for the practical life within the practical of the the waking experience. The results of whatever one do will cling to the duality, which he is experiencing it as reality. There is no other way other then, finding the true self and realizing the fact that ‘I’ is not the self, but the soul is the true self.
There is no point in renouncing the worldly life within the waking experience. There is no point in running after the pleasures the world within the waking experience. These pleasures are momentary, because the waking experience is momentary. If one run after them he will only become the pleasure hunter within the experience of duality and bound to experience suffering.
Not everyone is in a position to acquire the Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana . People want to enjoy life, and to such people the religion, god glorification and yoga are necessary. They must fulfill their desires strictly according to the rules laid down by the religious and yogic scriptures. This will slowly lead to the purification of the mind that is, the hankering for sense pleasures will go, the spirit of discrimination will grow strong, and love for Self-knowledge will develop. When this happens they will no longer be attached to what they have been doing all their lives. The result is that they will be receptive to self-knowledge.
Religion, yoga is for those who are not in the position to grasp the non-dual truth. They need not feel lost. They can take time. However, eventually they have to come to the path of the truth. Until then they must follow their chosen path.
The three states are of the nature of change. There is no permanence in them. However, that which sustains the three states it is never changing. It is always the same. That is the soul/ the true self. On soul as self, everything rests. It is like a movie projected on a screen. The movie changes but the screen is constant. Similarly, the phenomenal waking/dream is projected on the soul. It is a mere superimposition like seeing a snake superimposed on a rope on a dark night.
The snake has no independent existence. It exists because of the rope, and it ceases to exist as soon as a light is brought. The snake then dissolves into the rope. In the same way, when one know the soul as self, the mind merges into it and one realize that mind and soul are one in essence. To attain this knowledge is the goal of the truth seeker. The three states then cannot taint the self.
Thus Gnani’s contact with it is merely like that of a piece of sandalwood, which has long been under water and has thereby come to acquire a bad odour. For a while, the fragrance of the sandalwood is suppressed and the bad odour prevails. But if the sandalwood is rubbed a little, the bad odour disappears and the natural fragrance of the sandalwood becomes predominant.
Similarly, Soul, the innermost self’s attachment to the three states is temporary. It cannot be permanent. Think of the self as Soul or Consciousness. When one thinks intensely and constantly in this way, the attachment to the three states will then go.
One can attain the Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana by the practice of renunciation of the three states. One has to keep reminding himself that the three states, with all its allurements, is not real that is, it is not real in the sense that it is transitory. Only soul is real because it is imperishable. One must renounce these three states and concentrate on soul. Seeker of truth should never run after things that are ephemeral. Never become attached to the three states, which are ephemeral.