A jivatma might have gained proficiency in scriptures by listening to the instruction of learned preceptors and sages. He might have thorough knowledge of the universe and its workings. But it is likely that he too is disturbed and feels an inner longing for something permanent.
It is through the practice of ‘sravana,’ ‘manana’ and ‘nidhidyasa’ that a jivatma realises in due course that this happiness is not to be found in the evanescent objects of the world and that it is already within oneself. Realised souls such as Narada or Janaka are shown to be repeatedly engaged in this exercise of trying to experience this truth and often seek instruction from realised sages, said Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a discourse.
Narada, son of Brahma, is a realised soul, a staunch devotee who is most knowledgeable and endowed with the power to travel at will to all the worlds including Brahmaloka, Vaikunta and Kailasa. But he is affected by a restlessness and wishes to be instructed by Sage Sanatkumara.
Likewise, Janaka often seeks Yagnyavalkya for instruction on esoteric matters. “The highest knowledge is also the highest happiness,” says Yagnyavalkya to Janaka implying that permanent happiness is rooted in atma jnana. It is by the power of atma jnana that one can understand that the self is already liberated.
This idea is stressed at the very outset in the Viveka Chudamani. The argument runs thus: ‘A jivatma’s self is always aligned to the Supreme but due to one’s association with ignorance he finds himself under the bondage of all that is not the Self. This is the sole cause of the cycle of birth. All the effects of ignorance, root and branch, are burnt down by the fire of knowledge.’