When exploring the dynamics of Unity and devotion, there’s a key concept in the Vedas known as Lesha Avidya, the faint remains of ignorance. They use the analogy of a ball of butter. After you’ve handled the butter, there is still a thin film on your hands. There’s a few ways the phrase is used but in this case I note that a small separation is required for flow, for attention to move, for love to be given, and so forth.
Because no division exists in wholeness and because this is not fully known until we recognize ourselves as that wholeness, it is called the remains of ignorance, a break in wholeness. For a devotee, they will choose to retain a small division from their beloved – be it guru, God, mate, or whatever form that takes. Ramana was famously devoted to a hill named Arunachala.
In Unity, many of the former distinctions such as “Self and Other” fall away, leading to a profound intimacy with all things. But that intimacy still requires the intellect differentiating, creating a small separation.
When even that subtle division ends in the initial shift into Brahman, that sense of intimacy with all things is lost. That can be a major shift for many people.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described a choice with God Realization at the threshold of Brahman. To merge with the divine or to retain that small devotional division. It would seem the second is not a barrier to Brahman but I’ve not had the chance to speak with anyone who has made that second kind of shift. So I don’t know the form that takes. But for the first the relationship with the personal God ends as we merge with That. That becomes the doorway to Brahman.
This is not to say that’s the end of the divine. Only that in merging, the relationship changes significantly and now must be rediscovered in this new scenario.
Somewhat ironically, real Oneness doesn’t dawn until we surrender even Oneness and go beyond being and consciousness. Even being requires non-being, a duality, a division.