Transcend knowledge and ignorance

Transcend knowledge and ignorance

The opposites of knowledge and ignorance belong to the relative world of duality. Lakshmana once lamented the fact that even a spiritual master of the stature of Vasishtha bemoaned the loss of his sons and was overcome with grief.

Lord Rama at once replied by saying, “Brother, whoever has knowledge also has ignorance. Whoever is conscious of light is also conscious of darkness. Therefore, go beyond knowledge and ignorance.”

That state can be attained only through an intimate knowledge of God. Sri Ramakrishna is called such knowledge vijnana: “When a thorn enters the sole of your foot, you have to get another thorn. You then remove the first thorn with the help of the second. Afterwards you throw away both. Likewise after removing the thorn of ignorance with the thorn of knowledge, you should throw away both the thorns of knowledge and ignorance.”

The Master would say that people conceive of God according to the state of their minds but when butter is heated it sizzles and crackles. But all sounds come to a stop when it is thoroughly boiled.

It is often asked whether perfect knowledge is at all attainable and are there signs of perfect knowledge. Sri Ramakrishna would say that one sure sign of perfect knowledge is when all reasoning comes to an end. It is in the ensuing silence that God is experienced.

ri Ramakrishna would explain this phenomenon in any number of ways. He said that when you go near God, you begin to see less and less of His attributes. But there comes a point where the seeker, when confronted with his deity, sees only light without attributes.

Lord Krishna said Sri Ramakrishna once said to Arjuna that he always spoke of Him as a divine incarnation. One day the Lord took Arjuna aside and asked him what he saw in the distance. Arjuna said black berries. Lord Krishna said they were not berries and to go nearer. When Arjuna went near all he saw was Krishnas hanging in bunches. Brahman is everywhere.

“But,” the Master warned, “it is not easy to get rid of illusion. It lingers even after the attainment of knowledge. A man dreamt of a tiger. He then woke up and his dream vanished. But his heart continued to palpitate.”

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