<= THIS QUESTION IS NOT UNUSUAL. Some may ask, some may not, but it is a common question in the minds of seekers.
No person can define their own states. If anyone does, it is the ego speaking. It is not really necessary to define states nor is there a definitive defined step by step evolution.
Every single soul is different and not two souls are alike, hence it is impossible to compare one’s journey with the other. Moreover, state of one person has never in history been defined by oneself, but it is others who define the states of other, that too may not be correct, for it is their assumptions, that has come from their limited intelligence. Even a self-realized being will never self-proclaim they are self-realized, it is mostly others who state that. Self-proclamation is questionable always. We can never know the exact state of others, however advanced we may be, nor will the person himself know his own state. Anything that is definable by the mind doesnt come from purity, for purity is silent and unclaiming.
However, it may be possible for a great Master to identify the state of another, but yet they prefer to be silent on it. Such is the path.
i strongly feel that seekers on the path should not keep other person’s soul journey as the yardstick to one’s own journey. It is good to be inspired by the journey of others, but it is impossible that another will have exact same journey as of that person. Hence the comparison or rating is of no value to one’s journey.
Even when one looks upon another soul that may be an elevated soul in society, please know that not everyone will feel so. Few may feel he/she is elevated, few may feel it is all hoax. Even great Masters who were fully liberated were also critisized even to the point of persecution, while others revered them. It is thus more of what we feel and relate with. It is all our own inner consciousness that reflects everything outside of us. Hence, more importance must be given to our inner state than the level of other’s state, simply because it is easier for one to know oneself than others. My conscience will tell me more about myself. It will tell me honestly if complete purity has been attained or not, and that is the measure. We will never know if others have attained complete purity, even if they claim they have, what is the surety of it all. If the mind is asking such a question to know whether to follow that person’s words or life, then connect with the inner self and see if your conscience is relating to, if not, best not to relate with. But asking another about their state so as to authenticate their trueness, is funny. A crook will undoubtedly say he is at a higher state or that anything of such. Even if someone tells you their state, your state will never be stable, because then it will start judging as to compare everything of that person to what that person has claimed. Thus, it is all a big waste of time and energy for one. It is all the unwanted tricks of the mind. I have seen people being exploited when someone approaches them with such questions or inquisitiveness. It clearly shows a a vulnerability of the person asking such and they are easily misled or manipulated by ones who claim to be higher. So please be wary of this.
I believe your question is a very genuine and honest one, so i felt i must put things as they are, so as to discourage you and also others who have similar inquisitiveness, all for you higher good. Stay blessed.