Intuition

The functioning of the Higher Mind and that of the Illumined Mind, one actualising the power of thought, the other of vision, both find their foundation in yet another, higher, gradation of consciousness, which may be called Intuition. Intuition is actually an approach in consciousness to what we have defined earlier as “knowledge by identity”. There is an intimate connection between the perceiving consciousness and the object of consciousness which, when intuition is active, immediately provides a recognition and understanding of what is being perceived. Sri Aurobindo explains: “It is when the consciousness of the subject meets with the consciousness in the object, penetrates it and sees, feels or vibrates with the truth of what it contacts, that the intuition leaps out like a spark or lightning-flash from the shock of the meeting; or when the consciousness, even without any such meeting, looks into itself and feels directly and intimately the truth or the truths that are there or so contacts the hidden forces behind appearances, then also there is the outbreak of an intuitive light; or, again, when the consciousness meets the Supreme Reality or the spiritual reality of things and beings and has a contactual union with it, then the spark, the flash or the blaze of intimate truth-perception is lit in its depths. This close perception is more than sight, more than conception: it is the result of a penetrating and revealing touch which carries in it sight and conception as part of itself or as its natural consequence. A concealed or slumbering identity, not yet recovering itself, still remembers or conveys by the intuition its own contents and the intimacy of its self-feeling and self-vision of things, its light of truth, its overwhelming and automatic certitude.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 26, “The Ascent Towards Supermind”

The Illumined Mind of the Seer

In the Isha Upanishad, a distinction is made between “The Seer” and “The Thinker”. Sri Aurobindo comments on this distinction: “There is a clear distinction in Vedic thought between kavi, the seer and manisi the thinker. The former indicates the divine supra-intellectual Knowledge which by direct vision and illumination sees the reality, the principles and the forms of things in their true relations, the latter, the labouring mentality, which works from the divided consciousness through the possibilities of things downward to the actual manifestation in form and upward to their reality in the self-existent Brahman.”

The power of the Illumined Mind is one of “vision” not “thought”. Sri Aurobindo describes it in this way: “A consciousness that proceeds by sight, the consciousness of the seer, is a greater power for knowledge than the consciousness of the thinker. The perceptual power of the inner sight is greater and more direct than the perceptual power of thought: it is a spiritual sense that seizes something of the substance of Truth and not only her figure; but it outlines the figure also and at the same time catches the significance of the figure, and it can embody her with a finer and bolder revealing outline and a larger comprehension and power of totality than thought-conception can manage.”

The characteristic action of the Illumined Mind is therefore not a higher power of the thinking mind or organised, logical sequenced verbalisation, but rather an action of “Truth-sight” and “Truth-light” “It can effect a more powerful and dynamic integration, it illumines the thought-mind with a direct inner vision and inspiratino, brings a spiritual sight into the heart and a spiritual light and energy into its feeling and emotino, imparts to the life-force a spiritual urge, a truth inspiration that dynamises the action and exalts the life-movements; it infuses into the sense a direct and total power of spiritual sensation so that our vital and physical being can contact and meet concretely, quite as intensely as the mind and emotion can conceive and perceive and feel, the Divine in all things; it throws on the physical mind a transforming light that breaks its limitations, its conservative inertia, replaces its narrow thought-power and its doubts by sight and pours luminosity and consciousness into the very cells of the body.” This is in fact the fulfillment of the seer, the spiritual mystic.
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 26, “The Ascent Towards Supermind”