Nisargadatta Maharaja :- If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all backgrounds, of all cultures, of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being man or woman, or even human should be discarded.
The duality is present in the form of ‘I’. ‘I’ is present in the form of mind. Mind is present in the form of universe. Universe appears as waking or dream (duality) and disappears as deep sleep (non-duality). The formless substance and witness of the appearance and disappearance of the Mind is the formless soul. The soul is present in the form of consciousness. Consciousness is ultimate truth because the mind or universe ceases to exist without the consciousness. Thus consciousness is ultimate truth or Brahman.
"Consciousness” is the only reality and there is no second thing exist other than consciousness. That consciousness through its illusory nature appears as the whole universe. But this is just the play of consciousness, even as an actor in a drama remains unchanged throughout although consciousness plays different roles.
The seemingly obvious duality between consciousness (soul) and universe (mind) does not actually exist because both are one in essence. If only one transcend this phenomenal illusion and experience of duality with consciousness, he would then be not the individual with his experience of the world but one with it--the Absolute, infinite Reality.
When the soul is in its formless true nature, misery, suffering, fear, desire and hatred --none of these would bind it. If it is in ignorance, then of course he is bound by shackles of experiencing, the illusory “birth, life, death and the world as reality "but actually there is nothing other than the soul or consciousness, the innermost "SELF'.
So in absence of any such thing as dual, who binds whom and what is this bondage itself? When one is delivered from this bondage he attains self-awareness. In self-awareness is complete freedom from experiencing illusory duality as reality.
He who has realized the ultimate truth or Brahman transcends the duality or mind where he sees no second thing other than consciousness. Yogi who sees the universe as reality may try to deny it because he thinks thoughtlessness is Brahman. The yogi sees the universe as a second thing and he wants to banish the universe in Samadhi, because he does not know that in non-duality there is no need to deny the universe. But he has to realize the fact that, universe is not something different from the self, which consciousness. Those who cannot grasp and realize this position, misunderstand it, and wrongly hold it be yogic Samadhi where there is only blankness.
The presence of the universe is no obstacle to Gnani‘s realization; he does not need yogic Samadhi. But yogi has imagined Brahman as blankness or thoughtlessness thus he is still in the grip of duality. Thus Yogis Brahman is but a thought. Brahman is not a thought but Brahman is prior to any mind or universe. Thus one has to know what is prior to waking experience.
The yogi who wrongly thinks there is Brahman to be got ,may attempt to do so, and may think he sees it, but all the time he under the delusion of duality because he bases his- self on physical body, thinking Brahman to be something different from the soul, which is the true self.
When one becomes aware of the fact all the experiences of the three states and all the thoughts and words are Mind and mind in turn is consciousness then he has transcended thinking faculty.