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.
There are three kinds of aspirants: ~
1. The ordinary ones who desire the transitory heaven and other pleasures obtained as a result of ritual sacrifices follow religion.
2. Middling intelct who desire peace and weill being follow yogic path or meditaion.
3. The more advanced seeker who seeks to know the ultimate truth follow the Atmaimc path. The Atmic path with its emphasis on the Advaitic wisdom is meant for those who wish to go beyond the form, time and space.
Only through deeper self-search beginners and intermediates gradually become aware ‘what is what’. Only after they have realzed the fact that the ‘Self’ is not ‘I’ but the ‘Self’ is the Soul, which is present in the form of the conscusness, they ready for the inner journey towards the reality , which is beyond the form,time and space.
Upanishad:~ They alone in this world are endowed with the highest wisdom who are firm in their conviction of the sameness and birthlessness of Atman. The ordinary man does not understand their way. (Chapter IV — Alatasanti Prakarana 95-P-188 in Upanishads by Nikilanada)
If you are seeking truth you have to know the ‘Self’ is not you but the ‘Self’ is the Soul, which is present in the form of the consciousness.
Sage Sri, Sankara says the world is an illusion, it includes birth, life and death, which happens within the world. Thus, the seekers main aim is to mentally trace the formless substance of the illusion, which is also the witness of the illusion.
Sage Sri Sankara, 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.
Thus, it proves that religion is not the means to ‘Self’-knowledge or Bramha Gnana or Atma Gnana. Because Self’-knowledge or Bramha Gnana or Atma Gnan is universal knowledge ment for the humanity. Self’-knowledge or Bramha Gnana or Atma Gnan is does not belogs to any relgion.
On the standpoint of the Soul, the innermost Self, whatever you have seen known and believed and experienced as a person becomes unreal (illusion). To realize the world in which you exist is an illusion you have to realize the fact that the ‘Self is not the ‘I’ but the Self is the Soul, the witness of the ‘I’. Unless you realize the Self as the Soul, you are all blinded by the dualistic illusion.
The experience of the birth, life, death and the world is as a reality within the waking experience. The waking experience is a parallel dream and dream is a parallel waking experience. The waking experience is the dualistic illusion.
To overcome the dualistic illusion you have to get rid of the ignorance by realizing the Self, is not the ‘I’. until you hold the’ I’ as ‘Self’, the ignorance will not vanish. So, there is a need to realize ‘what is this ‘I’?
You must realize the fact that, the ‘I’ is not the ‘Self’, but the ‘Self’ is the formless Soul the Soul is present in the form of consciousness. Since ‘I’ is the inborn conditioning and it will not vanish by inquiring ‘Who AM ‘I’? Or just saying ‘I AM THAT’ the ignorance will not vanish. There is a need of deeper understanding of the nature of the ‘I’.
Deeper self-search reveals the fact that, the world in which you exist, is a dualistic illusion created by the Soul, which is present in the form of the consciousness. And thus the existence of the world in which you exist is negated, where is then any room to say that the ‘I’ is the Self. Without the ‘I’ the world, in which you exist cease to exist.
The Soul is the innermost Self. The Soul is present in the form of the consciousness. The Soul is the substance and witness of the dualistic illusion. The Soul is within the dualistic illusion and it is always apart from the dualistic illusion. The Soul is within the dualistic illusion as its formless substance and it is without the dualistic illusion as its witness. in reality the substance and witness of the illusion are one, in essence. That essence is the consciousness. Thus, the Soul, the consciousness alone is the ultimate truth or Brahman.
Upanishads: ~ Fools dwelling in darkness, but thinking they wise and erudite, go round and round, by various tortuous paths, like the blind led by the blind. (Upanishads Nikilanada - Ch II-5 P-14)
No one can teach anybody. The wisdom is hidden within the world in which you exist. A Gnani can only show the way that much is the work of a Gnani. A Gnani only guides the seekers to apply their own reason and realize the truth, which is beyond the form, time, and space. When the seeker learns to view and judge and reason the three states on the base of the Soul, the truth will start unfolding on its own. First the seeker may find it difficult to use soulcentric reason but gradually it will become easy.
The ‘Self-inquiry’ is finding out the ‘Self’ which is hidden within the world, in which we exist. By inquiring ‘Who am I?’, the ignorance will not vanish. Without getting rid of the ignorance, the Advaitic wisdom will not dawn. Without the Advaitic wisdom, it is not possible to realize the truth, which is hidden within the world in which we exist.
That is why Sage Sri Sankara Says: ~ 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.What is the use of saying ‘I AM THAT’ without knowing what the ‘Self’ is in actuality. Without knowing the truth of the Self, without realizing the truth of the world in which you exist it is impossible to realize the truth beyond the form, time, and space. By a mere utterance of the word ‘I AM THAT', the truth will not be revealed.