When the darkness of ignorance has been transformed into the light of knowledge, then we are jnanis. It is like extracting gold from ore. Until then it is just rock, but when it has been smelted, the shining metal appears. In the same way, tapasya in the form of meditation extracts the wisdom of the Self from the unrefined ore of our former ignorance.
When needed, the jnani can function perfectly in the world in an extremely practical manner, even accomplishing astonishing things for the benefit of others.
A perfect jnani does not regard anyone as truly, essentially, ignorant, for ignorance is itself a false appearance. Since the jnani “sees true,” he perceives the true nature of all who meet him. His response is one of respect, love and compassion for their unawareness of their eternal, immortal Self. That is why Sivananda usually addressed his correspondents as “Divine Immortal Self” and closed with the words: “Thine own Self.” This was not a pose or an exercise in positive thinking. He spoke as he saw. This was why he could inspire so many to achieve so much in the realm of spirit. He saw and believed absolutely in our divinity, in our perfection. In some wonderful way this was communicated to us and we began to share in his vision. What joy we had! No one felt he was a sinner or unworthy. Depression and discouragement were not possible in his presence; just the opposite.
Dwelling in unity, the jnani knows that duality is only a dream, and he lives accordingly.
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