Sage Sri, Sankara's commentary to Brahma Sutras [Chap.3.4.50] shows that the Gnani "should pass through life", not run away from life and should take a middle course between seeking worldly honor and worldly abasement.
Sri, Sankara varied his practical advice and doctrinal teaching according to the people he was amongst. He never advised them to give up their particular religion or beliefs or metaphysics completely; he only told them to give up the worst features of abuse: at the same time he showed just one step forward towards the truth. Sri, Sankara was extremely precise and careful in his choice of words.
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.
Sri, Sankara says in Brahma Sutras: that Brahman is the cause of the world, whereas in Mandukya he denies it. This is because he says that at the lower stage of understanding, the former teaching must be given, for people will get frightened as they cannot understand how the world can be without a cause, but to those in a higher stage, the truth of non-causality can be revealed.
Thus those who are frightened to accept the world is mere illusion should never indulge path of wisdom.
Sage Sri, Sankara believed that those of superior intelligence, have no need of this idea of divine causality, and can therefore dispense with Sruti and arrive at the truth of Non-Dualism by pure reason.
Sage Sri, Sankara says :- VC-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.
Without the scriptures one has to move ahead in his pursuit of truth.
Sri, Sankara says :- VC-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.
The world is both real and unreal. It is real because it is a manifestation of consciousness, but is unreal, in the sense, that it is not absolute and eternal like consciousness itself.
Peoples approach is more practical, and they stuck with the reality of the world, they take it as real. That is why all the confusion.
In self-awareness-- the witness and witnessed are one in essence. That essence is consciousness. There is no second thing exists other than consciousness.
Thus whatever seen, known, believed and experienced as a person is reality within the waking experience but waking experience itself is mere illusion.
The soul, which is present in the form of consciousness, is the innermost self. Consciousness is the witness that experiences the action, the actor, and the world of separate things. It is like a light that illuminates everything in a theatre, revealing the master of ceremonies, the guests, and the dancers with complete impartiality. Even when they all depart, the light shines to reveal their absence.
What is not consciousness (formless) in the experience of diversity [waking or universe]? The waking and the dream cease to exist without consciousness. The seeker, seeking and his destination all are one in essence.
There is only need to realize the whole universe in which we exist is created out of consciousness (soul or Atman), the innermost self. On the standpoint innermost self, the universe is mere illusion created out of consciousness. Thus, on the ultimate standpoint no second thing exists other than consciousness. Thus consciousness is ultimate truth or Brahman.