The Vijnana or Gnosis, also called the Supramental consciousness in Sri Aurobindo’s terminology, occupies a zone beyond the mental action of the mind, and has several powers which uniquely codify the difference in working between Mind and Supermind. Sri Aurobindo has enumerated three such characteristic powers of the Vijnana:
“Its supreme power knows and receives into it from above all the infinite existence, consciousness and bliss of the Ishwara; it is in its highest height the absolute knowledge and force of eternal Sachchidananda. Its second power concentrates the Infinite into a dense luminous consciousness…, the seed-state of the divine consciousness in which are contained living and concrete all the immutable principles of the divine being and all the inviolable truths of the divine conscious-idea and nature. Its third power brings or looses out these things by effective ideation, vision, authentic identities of the divine knowledge, movement of the divine will-force, vibration of the divine delight-intensities into a universal harmony, an illimitable diversity, a manifold rhythm of their powers, forms and interplay of living consequences.”
The Supermind, therefore acts as a concentrating and transforming plane of consciousness which allows the divine intention as found in the unity and oneness of the Absolute as Sat-Chit-Ananda to manifest itself in the sequential, linear extension through Time and Space of a diversity of names and forms which, while seeming to be separate and fragmented, still originate and maintain their inherent original oneness.
The action of mind, which focuses on the separate forms and divisions, rather than the oneness of all existence, must be transformed completely in order to shift to the divine standpoint of the Vijnana. This process is described by Sri Aurobindo with reference to the terms used by the seer of the Isha Upanishad.
“The mental Purusha rising into the vijnanamaya must ascend into these three powers. It must turn by conversion of its movements into the movements of the gnosis, its mental perception, ideation, will, pleasure into radiances of the divine knowledge, pulsations of the divine will-force, waves and floods of the divine delight-seas. It must convert its conscious stuff of mental nature into…dense self-luminous consciousness. It must transform its conscious substance into a gnostic self or Truth-self of infinite Sachchidananda. These three movements are described in the Isha Upanishad…the marshalling of the rays of the Sun of gnosis in the order of the Truth-consciousness, the second,…the gathering together of the rays into the body of the Sun of gnosis, the third as the vision of that Sun’s fairest form of all in which the soul most intimately possesses its oneness with the infinite Purusha. The Supreme above, in him, around, everywhere and the soul dwelling in the Supreme and one with it,–the infinite power and truth of the Divine concentrated in his own concentrated luminous soul nature,–a radiant activity of the divine knowledge, will and joy perfect in the natural action of the Prakriti,–this is the fundamental experience of the mental being transformed and fulfilled and sublimated in the perfection of the gnosis.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 22, Vijnana or Gnosis, pp. 466-467