Sri Ramakrishna would extol his devotees to go beyond both, knowledge and ignorance and would say that only then can one realize the highest or the Ultimate Truth. He would explain that the things which are normally considered as within the domain of knowledge are in reality within the domain of ignorance. The knowledge or awareness of many, pride of scholarship, all these are manifestations of ignorance. The unwavering conviction that God alone dwells in all beings is Jnana or Knowledge and to know God intimately is Vijnana, a deeper or profound knowledge. If a thorn gets embedded in one’s foot, a second thorn is needed to take it out, after which both the thorns are thrown away. In the same way, one has to acquire or take the help of the thorn of knowledge to remove the thorn of ignorance and then both must be set aside i.e. both knowledge and ignorance. God or Ultimate Reality is beyond both knowledge and ignorance.
To illustrate this point Sri Ramakrishna would quote an incident from the Ramayana. Once, Lakshmana said to Rama, “How amazing it is that such a wise man as Vashishtha wept bitterly at the death of his son !”. Rama replied, “Brother, he who has knowledge must also have ignorance.” He who has awareness of one thing must also be aware of many things. One who is aware of light is also aware of darkness.
All the above discussions centre around experiences which are within the domain of the senses. Hence, they are transient or impermanent and anything which is perishable comes under the domain or definition of ignorance. But, true knowledge is super-sensuous experience, beyond body, mind, etc. That is why Brahman is described as beyond knowledge and ignorance, virtue and vice, merit and demerit and so on i.e. beyond all the pairs of opposites.