A Gnani is one who attained the non-dual self-awareness in the midst of duality. A Gnani is in self –awareness and he is fully aware of the fact that the form, time and space are mere mirage created out of consciousness.
They alone in this world are endowed with the highest wisdom who are firm in their conviction of the sameness and birthlessness of Ataman. The ordinary man does not understand their way. (Chapter IV — Alatasanti Prakarana 95-P-188 in Upanishads by Nikilanada)
This passage indicates the fact that everything is Ataman/spirit. The one who views and judges the worldview on the base of his birth /body will not realize the fact that, the man including the world is created sustained and finally dissolves as Ataman. Thus Ataman alone is, and all else is mirage.
Thus self-knowledge 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.
In pursuit of truth the ultimate truth has to be proved, not assumed. Pundits who take scriptures for granted are not Gnanis.
Pundits teach that all is your-self, but none of them can show that this is so, none has analysed it scientifically, and none can prove it. Rational proof is needed, so that one arrive at knowing truth i.e. wisdom; punditry is mere dogma, parrotism, repetition of what they read in scripture. Scripters are not yardstick and scriptural truth is not proof. Pundits take scripters as authority. Authoritarianism merely assumes as true what another says, but what has yet to be proved.
Pundits have to test truth in this world not in the next world. There is no proof other than blind belief based on the scriptures, belief is not truth. So, doctrines are not the means to realize the ultimate truth. There is no need to follow them.
Doubts and Confusions arise when seeker finds the scripters and yoga are inadequate or useless to quench his spiritual thirst. Disappointments in religion or yoga or even science imply error or ignorance.
When serious seeker reaches a stage with all his baggage of accumulate knowledge, then uncertainty haunts him. Whether he is right?" Where is the certainty that he is proceeding on right lines?" Thus doubts arise and the inquiring spirit comes and impels to search elsewhere for truth where it will not be possible even to have doubt. The test is therefore in experience. And only in non-duality, where there are no two to argue about views or to have difference of opinion can such doubtlessness be possible. Belief depends upon unstable bases whereas certainty depends on proof.
Sage Sri, Sankara indicated that:-
VC-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.
Sri Sankara clearly indicated that: - yoga, intellectualism, scriptural mastery is not the means to self-knowledge. But by the realisation of one's identity with consciousness, which is ultimate truth or Brahman, freedom from experiencing the illusion as reality is possible, and by no other means.
Seeker of truth has to get rid of his doubts and confusions through deeper self-search on his own, to realize the fact that, the self is not the form but self is formless. Thus his analysis and reasoning has to be based on the formless not on the form. By simply go on believing and accepting whatever said by the punditry will not lead one towards path of wisdom. All the doubt has to be got rid of "by the sword of Self - Knowledge or Bramha Gnana or Atma Gnana." The scriptures, yoga are not necessary if one follows the inner (formless) path. Religion and yoga are not the means to path of wisdom.