The first spiritual emergence may be passive in its nature, more of a witness than an active participant and controller of the nature. As the spiritual transformations expand and deepen, however, there are additional stages that can bring about what Sri Aurobindo calls the psychic transformation and eventually the supramental transformation of the nature. These represent qualitative widening of the sphere of influence of the spiritual consciousness within the framework of mind, life and body, and eventually, the development of a completely new gradation of consciousness which exercises transformative control over the previously developed gradations.
“…the nature may obey the psychic entity’s intimations, move in an inner light, follow an inner guidance. This is already a considerable evolution and amounts to a beginning at least of a psychic and spiritual transformation. But it is possible to go farther; for the spiritual being, once inwardly liberated, can develop in mind the higher states of being that are its own natural atmosphere and bring down a supramental energy and action which are proper to the Truth-Consciousness; the ordinary mental instrumentation, life-instrumentation, physical instrumentation even, could then be entirely transformed and become parts no longer of an ignorance however much illumined, but of a supramental creation which would be the true action of a spiritual Truth-Consciousness and Knowledge.”
It should be noted here that all of these signs are inward, what one may call “psychological” manifestations, not outer forms of religiosity, piety, or philosophy, although individuals exhibiting those traits may also be undergoing the required inner transformations. The Bhagavad Gita addressed a similar question when Arjuna asked Sri Krishna how one could tell the evolved soul, how does he sit, how does he walk, how does he speak, what does he do. Sri Krishna points out that it is not in these outward signs that one can recognize the spiritually awakened soul.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 24, “The Evolution of the Spiritual Man”