One can reach the Brahman through the means of rituals, etc and go to the Heaven. But they are re-born. You continue to stay with the Brahman as long as your karmic account permits. Please understand that staying with the Brahman means living in the Heaven and this is different and inferior to self-realization. This means that you continue to be controlled by the karmas even in the Heaven. Your cycle of birth and death stops only when your karmic account becomes nil balance which is possible only through self-realization. Yama beautifully explains about the atma to Naciketa. Yama says that atma is like a rider (the one who sits inside) in a chariot, physical body is the chariot, knowledge is the driver of the chariot and mind is the rein. What the rider does? He does nothing but simply witnessing. But without the rider, the chariot does not run. When the chariot does not run there is no work for the driver and reins. So rider or the master is the base upon whose action others function. So the master only decides where to go. Yama said that the great sages compared this master to the Brahman. Our senses are compared to the horses that pull the chariot.
Worldly attachments are compared to the road in which the chariot travels. The master with his body, senses and the mind merely enjoys his travel. This master is compared to the Brahman, who does not get involved in any of the activities of the chariot, except by merely sitting and witnessing. For the one who’s knowledge if afflicted with indiscrimination and for the one who is not able to control his mind, his senses go astray like the horses. This statement of Yama clearly indicates that senses can be controlled only by knowledge and mind. What is the indiscrimination here? Indiscrimination here means good and bad for the spiritual progress. Such objects that cause distraction to the spiritual progress are to be left alone. Yama says that objects that attract our senses are more powerful than the senses themselves. Mind is more powerful than these objects. Intellect is more powerful than the mind. But the atman is more powerful of all. This atman in the form of pure consciousness, un-afflicted by anything and remains pure always, self illuminating and found in a cave in the heart chakra is the most powerful. This is what we are looking for. But this pure atman or Brahman is surrounded by the veil of maya. Unless this veil is removed, you cannot realize the Brahman.
Since the Brahman is located deep inside and does not have form or any other qualities to recognize, we find it difficult to realize it. This can be realized by only by internal quizzing and exploration. Yama says that one who has desire to realize the Brahman has to integrate his speech into his mind, his mind into intellect, intellect into soul and soul into the Brahman who is also called the Supreme Self. God has created our sense organs with intent to explore our inner self. But these organs are used to recognize and get associated with the external objects. The one who turns his consciousness away from the external objects and instead concentrates within and realizes the Brahman becomes free from births and deaths. Those who do not have intellect get involved in worldly activities and get trapped in the cycle of birth and death.