Om Namasivaya nama:
Clarifications and discussion on the Questions asked:
The questions you have asked are excellent, accepted by those well versed in Sastraas, aphoristic, full of hidden meaning and such that they are fit to be known by all seekers. Instead of answering your questions directly, i would like to give you an exhaustive discourse to make yourself comfortable to so that you attain Mukthi by listening to the points correctly and follow the steps behind in receiving the knowledge from an experienced Guru.
Listen at-tentatively, on learned one (al though he is a Sishya, yet called him you are a learned one...since the Sishya raised rare questions to attain liberation...that is why the Guru addressed him as learned one!. Wow, what a compassion of Adi Sankara Guru) to what i shall tell you now. By listening to this itself, you will attain liberation from all your bondage / samsara. All i need from you to carefully listening to this (not hear but listen!).
Please follow the given link to download full discourse.