Sri Aurobindo describes three elements or gradations of thought that develop at the mental level, at the level of the intuitive mind and at the supramental level. While the basic characteristic may be represented, the actual working is modified to the specific level of consciousness within which it manifests. Sri Aurobindo emphasizes the importance of this recognition so that the seeker does not confuse the higher development at one level as a realisation of a different order taking place at the next stage of conscious evolutionary development.
“The supramental thought, as has already been indicated, has three elevations of its intensity, one of direct thought vision, another of interpretative vision pointing to and preparing the greater revelatory idea-sight, a third of representative vision recalling as it were to the spirit’s knowledge the truth that is called out more directly by the higher powers.”
“In the mind these things take the form of the three ordinary powers of the intuitive mentality,–the suggestive and discriminating intuition, the inspiration and the thought that is of the nature of revelation. Above they correspond to three elevations of the supramental being and consciousness and, as we ascend, the lower first calls down into itself and is then taken up into the higher, so that on each level all the three elevations are reproduced, but always there predominates in the thought essence the character that belongs to that level’s proper form of consciousness and spiritual substance.”
“It is necessary to bear this in mind; for otherwise the mentality, looking up to the ranges of the supermind as they reveal themselves, may think it has got the vision of the highest heights when it is only the highest range of the lower ascent that is being presented to its experience. At each height … the powers of the supermind increase in intensity, range and completeness.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 22, The Supramental Thought and Knowledge, pp. 805-806