Sage Sri, Sankara says:~ Atman is Brahman. The Atman alone is real is not religious truth. Sage Sri, Sankara declared this Advaitic truth, which the ultimate truth to the whole world, many centuries back is the rational truth, the scientific truth, and ultimate truth.
Lord Krishna confesses that the oldest wisdom of India (our true Advaitic wisdom ) has been lost: people misinterpret and falsify it today as they did then. It is not yoga but the philosophic truth. But nobody knows it. The teachers of philosophy and leaders of mysticism or religion do not want to inquire into the truth and have no time for it. (Gita –Chap- IV-v.2)
In Gita Chap.IV where Lord Krishna says: ~ "This yoga has been lost for ages" the word yoga refers to Gnana yoga, not other yogas: the force of the word this is to point this out.
The religion is meant for the ignorant populace who are incapable treading the Atmic Path. The religion is nothing to do with Sage Sri, Sankara’s Advaitic wisdom.
Sage, Sri, Sankara gave religious, ritual or dogmatic instruction to the mass but pure philosophy only to the few who could rise to it. Hence, the interpretation of his writings by commentators is often confusing because they mix up the two viewpoints. Thus, they may assert that ritual is a means of realizing Brahman, which is absurd.
The rituals mentioned in the karmakanda of the Vedas are sought to be negated in the jnanakanda which is also part of the same scripture. While the karmakanda enjoins upon you the worship of various deities and lays down rules for the same, the jnanakanda constituted by the Upanishads ridicules the worshipper of deities as a dim-witted person no better than a beast.
This seems strange, the latter part of the Vedas contradicting the former part. The first part deals throughout with karma while the second or concluding part is all about jnana. Owing to this difference, people have gone so far as to divide our scripture into two sections: the Vedas (that is the first part) to mean the karmakanda and the Upanishads (Vedanta) to mean the jnanakanda.
This clearly indicates that religion, which is based on individual conduct, prescribes karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, therefore religion is for the lower intellect. And wisdom is for those are capable of inquiring into their own existence to know and realize the ultimate truth, which is Brahman.
Sage Sri,Sankara said:~ Talk as much philosophy as you like, worship as many gods as you please, observe ceremonies and sing devotional hymns, but liberation will never come, even after a hundred aeons, without realizing the Oneness.
Gaudapada says:~ The merciful Veda teaches karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect while Jnana is taught to those of higher intellect.
Mundaka Upanishad:~ The study of the Vedas, linguistics, Rituals, astronomy and all the arts Can be called lower knowledge. The higher Is that which leads to Self-realization. The eye cannot see it; mind cannot grasp it. The deathless Self has neither caste nor race, Neither eyes nor ears nor hands nor feet. Sages say this Self is infinite in the great And in the small, everlasting and changeless, The source of life.
Sri, Sankara’s notion of Maya, the dualistic illusion, must be transcended in order to realize the truth, which is beyond the form, time and space. by realizing the form, time and space are created out of a single clay and that single clay is the Soul, which is present in the form of the of the consciousness. the knowledge of the single clay is Self-knowledge or Bramha Gnana or Atma Gnana.
According to Advaita Vedanta, the Veda addresses itself to two kinds of audiences - the ordinary ones who desire the transitory heaven and other pleasures obtained as a result of ritual sacrifices, and the more advanced seeker who seeks to know Brahman. Thus, the purva mimam.sa, with its emphasis on the karma kanda of the Vedas, is meant for the first audience, to help lead its followers along the way. However, the Vedanta, with its emphasis on the jnana kanda, is meant for those who wish to go beyond such transient pleasures.
Those who lack the intelligence to discriminate between formless witness (subject) and three states (object) will not be able to grasp what is real and what is unreal. Both subject and object are the consciousness, not subject alone.