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According to the īśā Upaniṣad and the latter Śrī Śaṅkarācārya (of Advaita) commentary:

अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽविद्यामुपासते । ततो भूय इव ते तमो य उ विद्यायां रताः ॥

andhaṃ tamaḥ praviśanti ye'vidyāmupāsate | tato bhūya iva te tamo ya u vidyāyāṃ ratāḥ ||

(Isha-Upanishad, 9th Mantra)

‘They enter into blinding darkness who worship avidya(rites); into still greater darkness, as it were, do they enter who delight in vidya(meditation).’`

It goes on to say in commentary:

Who? Ye they on the other hand who giving up rites; vidyayam u ratah, are engaged only in vidya are always bent on the meditation (and worship) of gods.

Please also explain what the darkness is. I would preface to say I have an understanding of Advaita and the concept of liberation in this lifetime but it was from my previous understanding that liberation is the goal of Hinduism in its entirety including all sects; please forgive me if wrong and please forgive my sanskrit as am quoting from a book on the second block quote.

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The Isha Upanishad is very cryptic and not easy to understand.

The Isha Upanishad verse you quoted :

‘They enter into blinding darkness who worship avidya(rites); into still greater darkness, as it were, do they enter who delight in vidya(meditation).’

Means that those who only perform rites without doing meditation enter into "blinding darkness," or hell, and those who only do meditation without performing rites, enter into even greater "blinding darkness."

This is why Shankaracharya's commentary for that verse uses the word "only:"

Who? Ye they on the other hand who giving up rites; vidyayam u ratah, are engaged only in vidya are always bent on the meditation (and worship) of gods.

Sri Vaishnava commentator Ranga Ramanuja says the same thing:

Those who are devoted to mere karma (performance of rites) or mere knowledge (meditation) are here censured and it is declared that only through knowledge of the form of meditation, supported by the performance of Varnashrama Dharma, one gains liberation. "avidyA" [in the Upanishad's verse] means karma.

...

Tamah - ignorance or darkness of Naraka.

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