Isa Upanishads indicates that: 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.
The soul, the innermost self has to be free from experiencing the duality as reality. To overcome the duality, the waking entity has to know it itself is not the self but the self is the soul, which witnesses coming and going of the three states. Thus self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is necessary to realize ‘what is truth’ and ‘what is untruth’ to reject the untruth by accepting the truth.
The Self is 'that which is at first known as the soul in the human experience, but which, in the end, is found to be identical with the supreme Reality.
The pursuit of truth or spirituality is discovering the truth of the true existence as its goal the realization of one's identity with the Ultimate Truth or Brahman.
The Seekers goal is always a spiritual one. In fact, a true knowledge is said to be a science which shows the way of approach, or rather of return, to the spirit, which is the true Self.
There are no other paths, other than the formless path (path of wisdom) by which a seeker may realize the ultimate truth.
When one is in the realm of inner equilibrium - that is, perfect co-ordination between the Spirit (soul) and the Matter (mind). In this balance lies the secret. When the seeker of truth has learnt to view and judge the three states, on the standpoint of the soul, the innermost self than the ignorance vanishes and the truth will start revealing on its own. . This is a very difficult thing to achieve, but it is an important aspect of the pursuit of truth, inasmuch as it paves the way to detachment and gives freedom from the burden of experiencing the duality as reality.
The three states are external to the soul, the innermost self. The three states are an object to the formless soul, which is the subject. The three states are dependent and the soul or consciousness. The formless soul, which present in the form of consciousness is independent.
The Unconsciousness can only be a consciousness without objects; otherwise it has no meaning. Therefore it is really consciousness, which can exist with or without the objective awareness. The formless soul without the objects remains in its own awareness.
That which one knows best in the world, that which is nearest to him, that of which he can never be free, the existence of which is certain, is his consciousness. He may doubt anything else but he directly perceives his- self, which is consciousness.
No one so far has even been able to define the meaning of 'mind' and 'consciousness. Only through soul-centric reasoning he realizes the three states are mental states. The truth is hidden within waking, dream and sleep--which come and go.
Before any of the states come in, there must have been the soul or consciousness, the innermost self. Before one could know that God created the world, there must be the soul or consciousness, the innermost self to witness the waking experience.
The man, god and the world are reality within the waking experience. Without the waking experience they are non-existent. Illustration is a dream, the dream contains the dream world, dream entity, god. Similarly the waking experience contains the waking entity, and waking world and god etc.
By inquiring WHO AM I? it unfold the fallacy of the form thus only half the truth is revealed. The ignorant who fail to apprehend the ‘self’ are caught in the web of illusion experience, the birth, life, death and world as reality. The people who think the ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ as self are caught up in the web of duality experiences the pain and pleasure as reality.
As the waking entity or ego becomes more and more inward turned, it becomes gradually free from experiencing the duality as reality. When the soul, the innermost self becomes freed from all the obstruction by fully eliminating the ignorance it remains in its own awareness. When the soul, remains in its own awareness in the midst of duality then the duality is mere illusion created out of the soul, which is present in the form of consciousness.
So long the soul, the innermost self identifies itself with the waking entity it remains in ignorance of its formless non-dual true nature. Therefore it is necessary to realize the fact that, the ‘self’ is neither the waking entity nor the ‘self’ is dream entity but the self is the formless soul, which witnesses the coming and going of the three states.
Just as the sun is the direct cause of the daylight, so without the Self-knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana no emancipation can be had. Compared to all other forms discipline self-knowledge is the only direct means for freedom from experiencing the illusion as reality.
Only when the wisdom dawns the soul, the innermost self can remain in its own awareness in the midst of duality.
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 nondual true nature.