Two Initial Powers of the Intuitive Mind

There are a number of distinct powers of action that come with the full operation of the intuitive mind. Early in the process, the action tends to be dominated by two of them. The first of these is what Sri Aurobindo terms the “suggestive intuition” while the second is called “intuitive discrimination”. He explains the action of each of these two as follows:

“The suggestive intuition acting on the mental level suggests a direct and illumining inner idea of the truth, an idea that is its true image and index, not as yet the entirely present and whole sight, but rather of the nature of a bright memory of some truth, a recognition of a secret of the self’s knowledge. It is a representation, but a living representation, not an ideative symbol, a reflection, but a reflection that is lit up with something of the truth’s real substance.”

Whereas the symbolism used by the mind tends to be abstract and disassociated from specific real experience, the suggestive intuition is actually anchored in a real experience and carries some of the energy of that experience into the representation it provides.

“The intuitive discrimination is a secondary action setting this idea of the truth in its right place and its relation to other ideas. And so long as there is the habit of mental interference and accretion it works also to separate the mental from the higher seeing, to discrete the inferior mental stuff that embarrasses with its alloy the pure truth substance, and labours to unravel the mingled skein of ignorance and knowledge, falsehood and error.”

“As the intuition is of the nature of a memory, a luminous remembering of the self-existent truth, so the inspiration is of the nature of truth hearing: it is an immediate reception of the very voice of the truth, it readily brings the word that perfectly embodies it and it carries something more than the light of its idea; there is seized some stream of its inner reality and vivid arriving movement of its substance. The revelation is of the nature of direct sight…, and makes evident to a present vision the thing in itself of which the idea is the representation. It brings out the very spirit and being and reality of the truth and makes it part of the consciousness and the experience.”

When an individual experiences the action of these powers of the intuition, there is an inner certitude that arises based on the presence and power of the experience and energy that accompanies it. This is not a matter of philosophical symbolism, but of ideation, speech and hearing being seized by a force of knowing that goes beyond the normal mental framework within which the human being tends to operate.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 21, The Gradations of the Supermind, pg. 785


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