Mental Representations of the Higher Intuitive and Spiritual Faculties of Knowledge

The intuitions and inspirations that take place at the mental level are representations or imitations of the motions of the higher spiritual consciousness in its native plane. The mind’s action, raised up to its highest potentiality, is nevertheless hampered by the limitations of mental consciousness. Sri Aurobindo distinguishes between the mind’s action and that of the higher forms of conscious awareness.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “It would perhaps be accurate to say that these latter activities are mental representations of the higher movements, attempts of the ordinary mind to do the same things or the best possible imitations the intellect can offer of the functionings of the higher nature. The true intuitions differ fro these effective but insufficient counterfeits in their substance of light, their operation, their method of knowledge. The intellectual rapidities are depending on awakenings of the basic mental ignorance to mental figures and representations of truth that may be quite valid in their own field and for their own purpose but are not necessarily and by their very nature reliable. They are dependent for their emergence on the suggestions given by mental and sense data or on the accumulation of past mental knowledge. They search for the truth as a thing outside, an object to be found and looked at and stored as an acquisition and, when found, scrutinise its surfaces, suggestions or aspects. This scrutiny can never give a quite complete and adequate truth idea. However positive they may seem at the time, they may at any moment have to be passed over, rejected and found inconsistent with fresh knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 21, The Gradations of the Supermind, pp. 783-784