If what I wish is the realisation of the Self, which alone is true freedom, then Sri Adi Sankara’s advice is to shun all kinds of discourses, dialogues and arguments on the Self. He calls it a web of sound and it spreads as far and wide, unseen, like a very big forest. That web can delude the intellect.
It is not just staying away from verbose conversations, the Acharya says. With great effort, one should strive to know the Self from those who know it. He gives an example to show how important knowledge is. For the one who has been bitten by the snake called ignorance, inertia, laziness or Tamas, the only potion that is an antidote is knowledge of the Brahman. Without this medicine, what is the use of studying the Vedas and Shastras—the books of knowledge and injunctions? What indeed is the benefit of chanting mantras or applying other medicines?
For a person with a disease, the problem does not go away by just chanting the name of the medicine, without taking the medicine. Without the personal experience of the Brahman, what is the use of chanting the name of the Brahman, the Acharya asks.
Even to realise that truth, one should have mentally allowed the merger of all names and forms into one consciousness. Without doing this that causes the whole world to be just a shining mass of consciousness, without knowing the knowledge of the self, what is the use of just chanting the name of Brahman? If there is some benefit of concentration that comes from repeating any name, then only that is experienced and not that liberated state of existence.
If a king has not conquered in a war and has not collected large amounts of wealth, by just saying that he is the king and desires to be respected as a king, then it does not happen.
The individual seeker should dig into the words of the teacher. Once the digging is done, he should remove that stone which hides the treasure. In the same way, the seeker should go past the thought layers covering the mind and body, and know and realise the self. All this amounts to hard physical work and not by just talking and discussing.
Therefore, the individual should put in all efforts to get himself liberated from this bondage of existence by one’s own effort as a man with disease would search for and take the right medicines.