With our physical eyesight, we can see things in a concrete way that are conceptual to the mind. We can think about an ocean, and try to envision what an ocean is, but only when we actually stand on the shore and view the ocean do we experience the sight in a very real and memorable way. For the most part, the “mind’s eye” can only see things that have been seen previously with the physical sight, and thus can be recalled to memory; even this however is a pale imitation of actual visual sight with the physical senses.
There are those individuals who are known as “visionaries” who are able to imagine or visualize something that they have not specifically seen with the physical eyesight. In many instances, what they “see” are incremental advancements. But there is no doubt that some may get a glimpse or vision of something entirely of a different order of experience through some flash of insight, intuition or spiritual vision.
When we come to the supramental awareness, an entirely different understanding applies to that of the mind and the physical senses. Here there is an awareness, a consciousness of oneness and this brings to the supramental sense the ability to see what is not physically before one, and which may represent some future realization or reality.
The Vedic and Upanishadic sages spoke of the “seer” and this epithet was intended for those who had a spiritual vision of reality that transcended the boundaries of the mental capabilities.
Sri Aurobindo describes it thus, as he describes the supramental vision “…that needs the support of no image, can concretise what is to the mind abstract and has the character of sight though its object may be the invisible truth of that which has form or the truth of the formless. This vision can come before there is any identity, as a sort of previous emanation of light from it, or may act detached from it as a separate power.”
“The truth or the thing known is then not altogether or not yet one with myself, but an object of my knowledge: but still it is an object subjectively seen in the self or at least, even if it is still farther separated and objectivised to the knower, by the self, not through any intermediate process, but by a direct inner seizing or a penetrating and enveloping luminous contact of the spiritual consciousness with its object. It is this luminous seizing and contact that is the spiritual vision, drsti….”
“It is to the spirit what the eyes are to the physical mind and one has the sense of having passed through a subtly analogous process. As the physical sight can present to us the actual body of things of which the thought had only possessed an indication or mental description and they become to us at once real and evident…, so the spiritual sight surpasses the indications or representations of thought and can make the self and truth of all things present to us and directly evident….”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 22, The Supramental Thought and Knowledge, pp. 802-803