As the human consciousness progresses from ignorance toward knowledge, it goes through various stages of development. The third stage or condition of consciousness identified by Sri Aurobindo has a basis in knowledge, but, working within the human mentality, it is framed and limited by where the attention is being turned. The focus brings knowledge and illumination forward, while the rest of the universal knowledge is reserved and held in the background. All the knowledge is thus accessible, once the attention is turned in the direction required.
Sri Aurobindo explains: “The third state of consciousness is that of the mind of knowledge in which all things and all truths are perceived and experienced as already present and known and immediately available by merely turning the inner light upon it, as when one turns the eye upon things in a room already known and familiar,– though not always present to the vision because that is not attentive,– and notes them as objects of a pre-existent knowledge. The difference from the second self-forgetful state of consciousness is that there is here no effort or seeking needed but simply a turning or opening of the inner light on whatever field of knowledge, and therefore it is not a recalling of things forgotten and self-hidden from the mind, but a luminous presentation of things already present, ready and available. This last condition is only possible by a partial supramentalising of the intuitive mentality and its full openness to any and every communication from the supramental ranges. This mind of knowledge is in its essentiality a power of potential omnipotence, but in its actual working on the level of mind it is limited in its range and province. The character of limitation applies to the supermind itself when it descends into the mental level and works in the lesser substance of mentality, though inits own manner and body of power and light, and it persists even int he action of the supramental reason. It is only the higher supramental Shakti acting on its own ranges whose will and knowledge work always in a boundless light or with a free capacity of illimitable extension of knowledge subject only to such limitations as are self-imposed for its own purposes and at its own will by the spirit.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 25, Towards the Supramental Time Vision , pg. 856