People are unaware of the fact that, Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is nothing to do with religion, yoga, and belief of God . people believe in their belief system because of their inherited samskara or conditioning. There is a need to bifurcate spirituality from religion/yoga/paths. Spirituality is path of truth or wisdom. Thus it is necessary to bifurcate religion/yoga to acquire the Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana in lesser time and effort.
People are not aware of the fact that, no God can exist, apart from the self. The soul is the innermost self. The soul is present in the form of consciousness. If there is no consciousness , then there is a body, the world and their belief of God. People imagine that there must be a creator of this universe. If one thinks waking entity as self, then there is a creator but if one thinks the formless soul as the Self, then there is nothing exists other than the soul,which is present in the form of consciousness. And there is no second thing exist other than consciousness because the whole universe along with all its contents are created out of consciousness. Thus everything is consciousness. Thus consciousnesses is ultimate truth or Brahman. Discovering and realizing the soul or consciousness as self is truth realization.
If one objectifies and sees a universe, then he is bound to see many things beside himself and postulate a God, the creator. Body, God and world rise and set together from, and into, the soul, the innermost self. If God is apart from the soul, the innermost self , then He would be selfless, that is, outside existence, that is, non-existent.
All the Advaitins believe in god and goddesses (vidya) and performing rituals and other sacrifices (Avidya) both are hindrance to Self-knowledge according to Ish Upanishds, then why the seeker of truth needs worshiping of god and goddesses, when Advaitins believe Atman is Brahman .
Isa Upanishads indicates that: By worshiping gods and goddesses and going to the world of gods after death is of no use. The time one spends in ritualistic practices is wasted; one can spend same time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is the main goal. One cannot reach the nondual destination by glorifying god and goddesses and by doing that, one goes deeper and deeper into darkness. It surely indicates the fact that, the seeker of truth has to drop the worshiping god and goddess in order to get self-knowledge.
It also indicates that, Religious Rituals (Avidya) is Karma(action) and therefore a hindrance. By performing Agnihotra and other sacrifices [Avidya] is a roundabout way of purifying the mind, and it is also groping in the dark.
In addition, it indicates the karma is limited only to the religious rituals, not on the whole human life. This karma theory based on the human conduct must have been adopted from Buddhism and other theories based on human conducts.
When it says: Perform the obligatory karmas without any attachment to the fruits, and at the same time worship gods and goddesses, again without any desire to go to heaven - then you can get the benefit of both, liberation and bliss. For those who are not yet ready to renounce, this path is recommended, it mean that the religion and its idea of god and goddesses and code of conducts, and its rituals are meant for the mass who are incapable of thinking of the beyond.
In addition, it also speaks of heaven the abode of gods, where one goes after death, and it speaks of rebirth, this contradiction, seeker has to conclude that religion, rituals god and its code of conducts is meant for the mass that is not receptive to self-knowledge.
When the self is not the body (waking entity) whatever one sees, knows, believes, experiences and feels on the base of the body (waking entity) as self is bound to be an illusion. Thus, the karma performed in illusion is bound to be illusion. The birth, life and death is happening within the illusion, therefore it is bound to be illusion. Thus, rebirth and reincarnation theories based on the false self within the false experience are bound to be illusion on the base of the true self. Only the witness of the illusion is real (Brahman). Therefore, everything has to be viewed and judged, on the base of the Formless Witness (soul) in order to overcome the illusion/duality.
Seeker of truth has to know somewhere he is going wrong, and it is for the seeker to go on his own and remove the obstacle. The greatest hindrance is mixing religion, god, scriptures, and yogic theories. Moreover, attachment to scriptures, personal god and religious code of conduct keeps one permanently in the grip of duality.
For the same reason Raman Maharshi said: fortunate are the one who do not lose themselves in the labyrinths of philosophy. Bhagwan says: Take Vedanta, for instance: it speaks of 15 pranas the names and functions of it which the student is asked to commit memory. Will it not be sufficient if he thought, only one prana does the whole work of maintaining the body? Again the antakaran is said to think, to desire, to will, to reason etc. Why all these details? Has anyone seen antakarana, or all these pranas? Do they really exist? They are conceptual divisions invented by teachers of philosophy by their excessive analysis. Where do all these concepts end? Why should confusion created and then explained away? Fortunate is the man who does not lose him self in the labyrinths of philosophy, but goes straight to the source from which they all arise. (GURU RAMANA .By S.S Cohen -vii Danger of philosophy-Page -58-59)
Sage Sri, Sankara made a clear distinction between the Vedas and Upanishads in his commentary on Gita. He stated that the Karma Kand of the Vedas deal with the injunctions relating to the performance of duties and actions. These are for ordinary householders.
The path of religion, path of yoga and the path of wisdom were intended for different classes of people. The wisdom is for the advanced seekers of truth. It deals with the nature of the ultimate Truth and Reality. It is meant for superior aspirants who have an inner urge to know the truth and it is not for those who are immersed in earthly desires.
A permanent view of world as unreal can come only after soul centric reasoning; such knowledge cannot change. Were the seeker who is sufficiently sharpness he could grasp the unreal nature of the world by soul-centric reasoning alone. To know whole truth, one must know the whole universe, otherwise he gets only half-truth.
Renouncing the worldly life and accepting sanyasa or monk-hood means incapacity to think deeper, an impotency to inquire and reason.
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’.
The real Moksha or freedom is to realize the fact that ‘I’ consciousness is mere physical awareness. Physical awareness is not self-awareness. The self –awareness is when the formless soul or consciousness remains aware of its own non-dual true nature. – FORMLESS PATH