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.
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 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.
There is nothing more rational, more intelligible and more un-dogmatic insights of Sri, Sankara, is to drop all the theistic non-duality or Advaita which is meant for those who are incapable and not receptive to realize the ultimate truth or Brahman.
Swami Vivekananda said: - “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
It is difficult to understand assimilate within a framework of some teaching or holding some philosophy as a yardstick. We have to drop all our accumulated dross to understand and assimilate and realize the non-dualistic truth. I am highlighting some scriptural citation only to show the seeker that the non-dual sages themselves declare that scriptures, religion and idea of god are unimportant in pursuit of truth. It is easier to understand, assimilate and realize the ultimate truth or non-dualistic truth by rationalizing our views and understanding:- There is only mind which is present as the universe. Thus we have to investigate the world that confronts us.
The soul or consciousness is that which knows everything, that which sees. Consciousness alone remains after one gets rid of all thoughts and ideas by identification with self. Consciousness is only the seer; it is not Brahman that is an error. It becomes Brahman only after an inquiry and reasoning.
Firstly, we have to realize the mind is not within the body but the body and world are within the mind. Therefore all our practical life within the practical world is within the mind, which is in the form of the universe. The universe appears as waking or dream (duality or mind) and disappears as deep sleep (Nonduality or no mind). Thus the waking entity is not the self. The self is that which witnesses the coming and going of the three states. The self is not an individual because it pervades everything and everywhere in all the three states. Therefore our practical life within the practical world, which is based on individuality, is nothing to do with the self, which is ever formless.
One becomes aware of the fact that, the universe or mind, which appears and disappears, is the only form and shape created out of consciousness and nothing else. The consciousness alone is positive proof and on the standpoint of the consciousness or soul as self, one becomes aware of the falsity of this universe or mind, which is mere appearance. The one which appears as mind (universe) and disappears as no mind (soul) is consciousness alone. Therefore, the mind and soul are one in essence. Without consciousness, which is the innermost self, the universe ceases to exist.
Mental analysis shows that, the existences of the formless witness, which witnesses the three states coming and going without a break. This, on closer analysis, is found to be that changeless, soul or consciousness itself.
Thus we have to focus our attention only on the three states. The mind, which appears as waking or dream is duality and deep sleep is nonduality. Therefore we have to find out what is it that becomes duality (waking or dream as a whole) and nonduality (deep sleep). The individual experience happening within the waking and dream is nothing to with the consciousness, which is the innermost self.
Identifying consciousness as innermost self is necessary to realize the unreal nature of the mind. The mind cannot be destroyed but when one overcomes the ignorance through wisdom than he realizes his body, his ego and his experience of the world to be consciousness. Thus for Gnani the body is not body , the ego is not ego , the world is not the world but everything is consciousness even though he is in the midst of illusion knowing and realizing the ultimate truth in the midst of illusion is called wisdom. It becomes very easy to assimilate non-dualistic or Advaitic truth, if one is able to drop his accumulated knowledge and inborn samskara. Only one has to realize his body and his experience of the universe are one in essence to bring unity in diversity in our understanding and in turn it leads to self-awareness.
Dualists could not distinguish between ‘I’ and ‘formless witness.’ They take ‘I’ as the self and witness. Their highest was the Jiva.
People are so much attached to the 'I' that they do not want to think that 'I' itself is mere illusion. Thus it is necessary to know the fact that “I’ is mind. And the mind is universe. And the universe is the waking experience. And the waking experience is the illusion. Thus they are unable to detach the ‘I’ from the Real witness.
The dualists and intellectuals keep on objecting: - If everything else is false, your statement that self is Brahman is itself false. But when one says consciousness is false, there must be the awareness, consciousness, behind the very statement. The duality (mind or universe) disappears as non-duality (deep sleep). One has to rely upon that which is permanent. Formless witness or consciousness alone is permanent. Anything that one say is a he is saying within the illusion, but there is consciousness (formless witness) before any statement could be made.
Again as a step leading to formless witness, the arguments, the three states avails. But if one knows the existence of the formless witness of the three states, nothing else remains to be known.