Realization of the truth is the essential thing. Whether you bathe in the
Ganga for a thousand years or
live on vegetable food for a like period, unless it helps towards the
manifestation of the Self, know that it is all of no use.
If on the other hand, any one can realize the Atman, without the observance of outward forms, then that very non-observance of forms is the best means.
But even after the realization of Atman, one should observe outward forms to a certain extent for setting an example to the people.
The thing is you must make the mind steadfast on something. If it is steadfast on one object, it attains to concentration, that is, its other modifications die out and there is a uniform flow in one direction. . . .
The more one has advanced in the realization of the Atman, the less is he dependent on the observances of forms.