In order to appreciate Ramesam’s question “What happens after Self-realisation?”, I think we need to first understand who is it that has ignorance, and therefore who attains Knowledge / Brahman.
Surevara in his introduction to Chapter 3 of Naiskarmya Siddhi concludes that:
“The not-Self is neither the locus of ignorance nor the object concealed by ignorance. Hence we conclude, as the only remaining alternative, that it is the Self alone which is both the locus of and the object concealed by ignorance”
He further writes at 4.14:
“Discrimination belongs to the intellect alone, for it is only because the intellect is not-self that distinctions arise at all. Finally discrimination destroys the intellect as the plantain-fruit destroys the parent tree.”
Then, couple this with Guadapada’s Mandukyakarika 2.16:
“First of all is imagined the Jiva, and then are imagined the various entities, objective and subjective, that are perceived”
From this, we can conclude that avidya does not simply pertain to the mind / intellect of the jiva – because they themselves are products of nescience and hence not-Self – but rather that the locus of ignorance must be the Self.
This conforms with Taittiriya Upanishad 2.8.5 and Sankara bhasya thereon. First the Upanishad:
“He that is here in the human person, and He that is there in the sun, are one. He who know thus attains, after desisting from this world, this self made of food, attains this self made of vital force, attains this self made of mind, attains this self made of intelligence, attains this self made of bliss.”
Sankara’s bhasya on this is lengthy, and first explains that the seeker must go progressively inward, discarding the outer (not-Self) upadhis. Given this discarding, he finally poses the logical question, then who is it that attains the Supreme Self? His answer:
“The attainer must be the supreme Self alone, inasmuch as merger into that state is the idea implied . . . the idea conveyed is that of removal of the identity (with the body etc.) created by ignorance. The attainment of one’s own Self through the knowledge of Brahman, that is taught, is meant to imply the elimination of the distinct selves—such as the food-self, the products of nescience – which are really non-Selves, superimposed as Selves.“
Sankara then poses the question that Dennis no doubt would: non-perception of duality is not a matter of our daily experience, and that duality clearly exists because we perceive it, so this just cannot be a logical position to take. Sankara responds:
“No, for duality is not perceived by those who are deeply absorbed in the Self during sleep . . . The perception of duality that occurs in the dream and waking states is the result of ignorance, because it ceases on the cessation of ignorance . . . The perceptions occurring in the dream and waking states are but modal expressions, for the true state of a thing is that which exists in its own right, and the unreal state is that which depends on others, inasmuch as it ceases with the cessation of others. Hence, unlike what happens in the dream and waking states, no modality occurs in deep sleep, for the non-perception in the latter state is natural.”
So what Sankara and Suresvara are saying is that the world-body-mind, and the waking and dreaming states are all products of ignorance; and that deep sleep is not a product of ignorance, but is the natural state of non-duality.
Further they state that Knowledge is gained first through the mind / intellect, but then this too is eliminated, like the snake sloughing its skin, or more cogently, a wooden stick stoking a fire, that in the process itself gets consumed.
Sw Nikhilananda puts it aptly in his comments on this Taittiriya bhasya:
“When conditioned by the upadhis of the physical body, the senses, etc, the Supreme Self becomes the phenomenal jiva and knower. But free from upadhis, He remains as the Supreme Spirit, the Entity to be known.”
Furthermore the implication of all this is that there cannot logically be a delay between the realisation of knowledge (elimination of ignorance) and moksha – between a jnani and a jivanmukta. This is why Suresvara can write in Naiskarmya Siddhi 1.90:
“Since the fruit of knowledge is immediately experienced and destroys phenomenal existence for ever”