In his extraordinary book Guru and Disciple, Swami Abhishiktananda gives a vivid and magnificent account of his meeting with Sri Gnanananda Giri, an Advaitic sage whom he met at his ashram in Tamil Nadu. He regarded this encounter as one of the high points of his life in India, for it was at that time that he recognised Sri Gnanananda as his guru. He spoke of his retreat with him as days of grace, “days of peace and fulfilment … when one was conscious of living at a spiritual depth in which the whole world of outward appearance has been left behind and one has come close to what is Real.” Indeed, he received from his guru the purest teaching of a jnani—which was none other than the timeless message of the Upanishads: Behind the appearance of the phenomenal ego is the Ultimate Reality, the eternal Self of All, which can be directly realised.
Adopt whichever tendency seems good to you. Since nothing but Atma exists, why do you seek for yourself the ghost or the illusion of the being of the universe, and why are you making yourself miserable by considering the universe a reality ? My advice to you is that you maintain the spirit of Brahmam in what is manifest as the universe, i.e. the universe is Brahmam, and Brahmam itself is the universe. With this firm faith, you should be established in the Atmic state. Do not consider yourself a human being; in case you do, you will sink to a low state. But in case you maintain the Brahmam-spirit in yourself, then you will be liberated.