Sri Ramakrishna would describe to his devotees in glowing terms the state of mind of a true jnani or the knower of Brahman. He would say that such a mind is of an extraordinary nature and does not recognise distinction. To illustrate the idea he used to narrate an incident from the Puranas.

Sukadeva was the son of Vyasa, the author of the Bhagavata Purana. Vyasa sent him to King Janaka to acquire the knowledge of Brahman. Janaka instantly knew that it won’t take long for Sukadeva to grasp the inner meaning of the instructions and reach the Ultimate Goal of life.

As in other traditions, in the Advaitik tradition too, the Guru has a unique place and is recognised and revered by the disciples. Since the knowledge of Brahman is not gained easily and demands sustained and serious Sadhana for a long period, the reverential relationship between the disciple and the Guru is also sustained for a long period.

During the period of Sadhana, the disciple is taught to negate constantly that which is not Brahman by the technique of Neti Neti, meaning not this, not this. By this method what is not Brahman is constantly discarded. There is recognition or awareness of duality in the mind of the aspirant because Sadhana takes place in the realm of the senses.

Finally, he realises the knowledge of Brahman or unitary consciousness and then all distinctions vanish. At that time, there exists no difference between the Guru and the disciple. Hence, King Janaka wanted Sukadeva to give the Guru Dakshina or offering to the teacher at the beginning of the period of instruction itself although normally it is customary to give the Guru Dakshina at the completion of the instructions. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that the knower of Brahman lives in the realm of the transcendental where no distinction exists.

-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 21st Dec 2013

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