Discrimination and its Culmination
In the course of the practice of discrimination between the unchanging Reality, Brahman, and the ever-changing phenomena referred to as "the world," the mind of the aspirant gets clarified and purified and moves through the following perspectives with regard to phenomena and its relation to Reality: first, phenomena is seen as an outright Illusion; then it is seen as a reflection of Reality; then a manifestation of intelligence; and finally, it is seen to be an emanation of The Word. One's understanding then culminates in "Brahman is Real and the world is real too." With this realization, one's mental body is philosophically sound, and one can do whatever one likes.
If the wise ever say that the world is real, they do not mean the conventional world, the world projected by collective minds laboring in ignorance. Unlike benighted minds, the luminaries know Brahman, and that singular revelation turns everything into Brahman. This is the secret.
Everything is a form of knowledge. Initially, one begins to realize higher things via knowledge of one's own ignorance.
Vedanta is a very ennobling philosophy. It is also very sobering. The sobering part is viveka, discrimination between the eternal and the noneternal. But after one has given up the world, and done so properly, one sees the world as God.
Whether you are a householder or monk, you have to renounce the world, why? Because it is not real, and unreal things can never satisfy.
You will never know Who you are until you know What you are not. You can repeat "Who am I" ad nauseum, but you should rather start with the actual practice of "I am not this, not that, etc." When you have done this weeding of the mind garden, then you will come to know that you are the one Unchanging Principle, pure Consciousness.
Once you get qualified, philosophically and spiritually via sadhana (spiritual discipline), the Great Light cannot remain away. You yourself pull away the veils.
Sri Krishna may be the God of Love by popular demand, but He states clearly that there is no purifier like Wisdom. If you purify your mind with jnanam, then you will know what to love and what not to love; what is essential and what is not.
My guru, Swami Aseshananda, would say that light reflects in a dull way off a rock, but better off a leaf. It reflects better still off a lake, and best of all off a mirror. The rock is like the body, made of solid, inert elements. The leaf represents our senses, which allow more of the light of consciousness to shine. The lake signifies our dual mind, which can be either calm or rippled by thoughts. The mirror, then, is our mind, particularly the buddhi, discriminative intelligence, which most clearly reflects the Light of Consciousness.
Just as we make a distinction between brain and mind, we have to make a distinction between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is an upadhi, a container for Intelligence.
Now I'm going to sleep, now I'm waking up. Nonsense! The Soul never wakes nor sleeps. The Soul is blessed with that unique condition called "Yogic Insomnia."
Vedanta wants all to know the relationship between the apparently individualized soul and Brahman, Absolute Reality. This relationship is all about higher Wisdom, and ultimately the realization of "I and my Father are one."