Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You should listen to the complete discourse on the Ishavasya Upanishad, where I have explained this in detail. I have not left out anything.
See, when you fall ill then with the help of Ayurveda, you can take specific medicines and procedures to cure yourself of that disease. That is why it is said that by the science of Avidya one can overcome death and go beyond it. Such sciences are an integral part of Avidya – like Ayurveda, Jyotish and Yoga, etc.
So with the help of Avidya, you can go beyond death, and then by obtaining Vidya (here meaning the subtle transcendental knowledge) you can move towards immortality. Once you become healthy, you are able to go deeper in meditation and discover the subtle underlying truth.
This is why people often practice Yoga and Pranayama first, to be completely free of all diseases. So by knowing Avidya they can overcome death, but many often stop at that very stage and do not progress further. They do not move to the next step – which is to gain Vidya, that is the knowledge of the Self; the transcendental knowledge.
You should listen to Ashtavakra Gita and go deeper into Self-knowledge. Going deeper into Self-knowledge can take you to immortality. This is what is meant. Avidya can help in making the body healthy and bring happiness to the mind, but it is Vidya that gives you this deep and ultimate realization that “I (alone) am everywhere, I am eternal. I am not the body; I am far greater than all this”.
This realization can come only through Vidya and it happens only by sadhana (spiritual practices) and by grace.