In non-dual self-awareness there is only unicity and wholeness. There is no second thing exists other than consciousness. The experience of birth, life, death and the world are mere mirage created out of single clay. That clay is the soul, which is present in the form of the consciousness. Due to ignorance the experience of birth, life, death and the world are experienced as reality. Thus Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is necessary in order to get freedom from experiencing illusory duality as reality.
All the scriptures indicate that Ataman is Brahman, and Brahman is ultimate truth. Therefore the soul, which is in the form of consciousness, is ultimate truth. Thus to realize the ultimate truth is the prime goal. A well-directed inquiry, analysis and reasoning will lead one to his nondual destination.
Sage Sri, Sankara said: - VC-56. Neither by Yoga, nor by Sankhya, nor by work, nor by learning, but by the realisation of one's identity with Brahman is Liberation possible, and by no other means.
58. Loud speech consisting of a shower of words, the skill in expounding the Scriptures, and likewise erudition - these merely bring on a little personal enjoyment to the scholar, but are no good for Liberation.
59. The study of the Scriptures is useless so long as the highest Truth is unknown, and it is equally useless when the highest Truth has already been known.
60. The Scriptures consisting of many words are a dense forest which merely causes the mind to ramble. Hence men of wisdom should earnestly set about knowing the true nature of the Self.
61. For one who has been bitten by the serpent of Ignorance, the only remedy is the knowledge of Brahman. Of what avail are the Vedas and (other) Scriptures, Mantras (sacred formulae) and medicines to such a one?
62. A disease does not leave off if one simply utters the name of the medicine, without taking it; (similarly) without direct realization one cannot be liberated by the mere utterance of the word Brahman.
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.
64. Without killing one’s enemies, and possessing oneself of the splendor of the entire surrounding region, one cannot claim to be an emperor by merely saying, ‘I am an emperor’.
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.
66. Therefore the wise should, as in the case of disease and the like, personally strive by all the means in their power to be free from the bondage of repeated births and deaths.
67. The question that thou hast asked today is excellent, approved by those versed in the Scriptures, aphoristic, pregnant with meaning and fit to be known by the seekers after Liberation.
Sage Sri, Sankara goes on to say:- A sickness of not cured by saying the word “medicine.” You must take the medicine. Liberation does not come by merely saying the word “Brahman.” Brahman must be experienced. Until you allow this apparent universe to dissolve from your consciousness, until you have experienced Brahman, how can you find liberation just by saying the word Brahman? The result is merely a noise. Until a man has destroyed his enemies and taken possession of the splendor and wealth of the kingdom, he cannot become a king by simply saying “I am a king.”
A buried treasure is not uncovered by merely uttering the words: “Come forth.” You must follow the right directions, dig, remove the stones and earth from above it, and then make it your own. In the same way, the pure truth of the Atman, which is buried under Maya and the effects of Maya, can be reached by meditation, contemplation, and other spiritual disciplines but never by subtle arguments.
Isa Upanishads indicates that: By worshipping 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 or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana, which is the main goal. One cannot reach the non-dual 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 or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana