If we see the mental acquisition of knowledge as a seeking, as a development from ignorance and darkness that gropes for facts and tries to organize them and thereby to gain understanding, we may recognize the difference with regard to the intuitive knowledge. The mind starts from darkness, fragmentation and separation while the intuition starts from light, unity and wholeness. The intuition may trigger an insight based on some mental focus or sense impression, but by its nature, it is independent of these things and may arise spontaneously from its own native ranges.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “…there is always an element of self-existent truth and a sense of absoluteness of origination suggestive of its proceeding from the spirit’s knowledge by identity. It is the disclosing of a knowledge that is secret but already existent in the being: it is not an acquisition, but something that was always there and revealable. It sees the truth from within and illumines with that inner vision the outsides and it harmonises, too, readily–provided we keep intuitively awake–with whatever fresh truth has yet to arrive. These characteristics become more pronounced and intense in the higher, the proper supramental ranges: in the intuitive mind they may not be always recognisable in their purity and completeness because of the mixture of mental stuff and its accretion, but in the divine reason and greater supramental action they become free and absolute.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 21, The Gradations of the Supermind, pp. 784-785