This universe is common to all of us, therefore one must include the universe his investigation in order to realize the ultimate truth or Brahman. It is only after one has inquired into the nature of the objective universe, that he should inquire into who is the knower. If, however one inquiries into the knower before the inquiry into the universe, then it is mere mysticism. One must have the perfect understanding of what is what.
v “What is the universe?
v What is this ‘I’?
That is why Sage Sri, Sankara indicated in (VC):- 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.
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.
People speak of getting rid of conditioning or samskara but they themselves are unaware of the fact that, the universe in which they exist is product of the inborn samskara or conditioning. The ignorance is cause of the inborn samskara or conditioning which present as ‘I’ or ‘I AM’. I or ‘I AM’ itself is cause of ginormous.
Eradicating the ignorance completely is necessary. And this is possible only through self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana. Thus, there is no other road to freedom other than Gnana. There is no other entrance other than except Gnana. The ignorance will vanish only when the non-dual wisdom dawns.
That is why Sri Sankara, indicated in Bhaja Govindam says: - [Jnana Viheena Sarva Mathena Bajathi na Muktim janma Shatena] - one without knowledge does not obtain liberation even in a hundred births, no matter which religious faith he follows.
Then it is no use going roundabout way, trace the Brahman which is the formless substance and witness of the universe, which is in the form of mind. By tracing the source of the mind or universe one will be able to realize the Brahman.
Thus, self-knowledge is meant only for those who have intense urge, and courage to accept the truth with humility and reject the untruth. Since people start comparing with their scriptural knowledge, it becomes impossible to assimilate and realize the non-dual truth. Therefore, there is no need to convince anyone other than our own-selves to get the firm conviction.