The following taken from a traditional vedanta text called Advaita Bodha Deepika (The Lamp of Nondual Knowledge). This text was one of Ramana Maharshi’s favourites and was often recommended by him. This is taken from Chapter 3 which is entitled ‘Sadhana’, or Spiritual Practice, and the bold has been added by myself for emphasis:
Disciple: How is it that even scholars in Vedanta have not succeeded in the pursuit of enquiry?
Master: Though they always study Vedanta and give lessons to others yet in the absence of desirelessness they do not practise what they have learnt.
D.: And what do they do otherwise?
M.: Like a parrot they reproduce the Vedantic jargon but do not put the teachings into practice.
D.: What does Vedanta teach?
M.: The Vedanta teaches a man to know that all but the non-dual Brahman is laden with misery, therefore to leave off all desires for enjoyment, to be free from love or hate, thoroughly to cut the knot of the ego appearing as `I’, you, he, this, that, mine and yours, to rid himself of the notion of `I’ and `mine’, to live unconcerned with the pairs of opposites as heat and cold, pain and pleasure, etc., to remain fixed in the perfect knowledge of the equality of all and making no distinction of any kind, never to be aware of anything but Brahman, and always to be experiencing the Bliss of the nondual Self.
Though Vedanta is read and well understood, if dispassion is not practised, the desire for pleasures will not fade away. There is no dislike for pleasing things and the desire for them cannot leave the person. Because desire is not checked, love, anger, etc., the ego or the `false-I’ in the obnoxious body, the sense of possession represented by `I’ or `mine’ of things agreeable to the body, the pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain, and false values, will not disappear.
However well read one may be, unless the teachings are put into practice, one is not really learned. Only like a parrot the man will be repeating that Brahman alone is real and all else is false.
D.: Why should he be so?
M.: The knowers say that like a dog delighting in offal, this man also delights in external pleasures. Though always busy with Vedanta, reading and teaching it, he is no better than a mean dog.