Jesus said:- "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. (THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS- Saying 5)
It means one has to know the world which confronts him confronts to realize his body and world are made of the same essence and that essence is Spirit (father).Sri, Sankara says: one must first know what is before him. If he cannot know that, what else can he know or understand? If he gives up the external world in his inquiry, he cannot get the whole truth.
[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.( Sri, Sankara says in Viveka Chudamani)
The witness is, different from the witnessed that Consciousness is distinguished as not being the same; from the lifeless universe, which is in the form of the mind. The lifeless universe has no real existence without the consciousness. The consciousness gives sentient to the insentient universe, which is in the form of mind. The universe exists as reality, when on the standpoint of the matter as self.
Man cannot live without the physical world; it is the basis of his life, so it must be the starting point of his inquiry. Things, not imaginations, must be the seekers material.
The one who knows ultimate truth or Brahman knows the world because uses his soul centric reason.
One who loses touch with the external world and gives himself over to his thoughts alone takes his illusions to be realities and remains in the realm of perverted intellectualism. Perverted intellectuality is nothing but egoic exhibition.
Both sides of experiences have to be inquired into--the duality [waking or dream or universe] and Non -duality [deep sleep], i.e. matter and spirit if one wants to find truth of his true existence.
People avoid inquiry into the world, hence cannot find the truth. If they think they do not see the world by shutting their eyes and omitting it from their thought, he is still a ignorant and not a Gnani. If there is nothing to be seen, if mere absence of the external world from cognition gave ultimate truth or Brahman, then every living creature would attain Gnana or wisdom because it loses the world in deep sleep.
Seeker must begin Inquiry with duality, i.e. with a universe to inquire into. It will end with unity. People try to avoid this duality by ignoring the world. Hence they get a false unity based on the ego. Whatever is based on ego is mere hallucination based on the imagination.
There is a need to indulge in deeper self-search in order to explore the causes, characteristics and nature of the universe. There is no need to go to run to the mountain or a monastery or lead a religious regulated life in order to get ultimate truth or Brahman.
There is no running away from consciousness, which is the innermost self. It is the only reality. Hence running away from world is not only illogical but also foolishness because without the consciousness the world ceases to exist. Thus it is necessary to know the universe as whole in order to understand the whole universe is formless consciousness.
Gnana cannot come if world confronts one is left out. The whole universe must be included. Only when all is known can all be known to be but ideation. Hence yogis blotting all out in Samadhi cannot lead to Gnana. And yogic Samadhi is not wisdom. And it is foolish to accept the thoughtlessness is Gnana because in deep sleep is the state of thoughtlessness but it is not considered as Gnana or non- dual wisdom.
The ‘I’-thought, the ego, belongs to the duality as does the universe thought. Intellectuals may get the knowledge that the witness is separate from witnessed , but they will never know ultimate truth or Brahman without inquiring into the universe , because they are giving up the universe , and hence cannot discover their unity with the universe . The Gnani regards everything in the universe as consciousness; the intellectuals reject the universe because intellectuals base themselves on individuality. The individuality is the greatest hindrance in pursuit of truth because they base themselves on ‘I’ as a witness, which is not a witness but ‘I’ is mere an object to the formless witness.
Consciousness cannot be known in the sense in which one knows objects of thought. It can be known only to the extent to which he knows them, he can only think of the knower when he is in the presence of the known, i.e. objects, for the latter make him aware that a knower must exist. Thus duality makes him think of the knower, but it cannot make him know the knower. The knower is known in the world of duality only by implication, as he cannot think without him. The knower is a concept, and cannot be known in itself.
Consciousness is known only in the negative way. One cannot make it an object of knowledge. One can know that he cannot have an idea of an object unless he posit a knower, unless the knower is implied already. The Formless witness itself is Gnana, that is, it knows everything else.