The popular idea about intuition is tied to some kind of unexplainable process of "knowing" that people go through. If it is purely based in the type of extrapolation from past experience, or some sense that drives the decision without careful and logical analysis, it is still based in the normal activity of the mind, life and body, using memory, instinct, and trained responses as a foundation for fast and unthinking response. Yet, we also see that creative geniuses describe a different process of intuition, one that obtains its knowledge through an entirely separate process that starts outside the normal operations we are used to. Sri Aurobindo provides insight to the basis for a larger and higher sense for the power of intuition, as a form of the process of 'knowledge by identity' and a connection to the spiritual levels of consciousness where 'knowledge by identity' is the standard, not the exception.

Dr. Dalal notes: "Ordinarily, intuition means the power of understanding things immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. In this ordinary sense, intuition may be based on a feeling, or it may be a rapid 'subconscious reasoning' based on subtle cues which are not consciously apprehended. But as employed by Sri Aurobindo to refer to the superconscient plane above the Illumined Mind, the term has a much deeper connotation."

In The Secret of the Veda, Sri Aurobindo describes how the powers of intuition were symbolically represented by the Vedic Rishis: "At this time there began to arise in my mind an arrangement of symbolic names attached to certain psychological experiences which had begun to regularise themselves;and among them there came the figures of three female
energies, Ila, Saraswati, Sarama, representing severally three out of the four faculties of the intuitive reason, -- revelation, inspiration and intuition. ... When once the clue is found, the clue of the physical Light imaging the subjective, it is easy to see that the hound of heaven may be the intuition entering into the dark caverns of the subconscious mind to prepare the delivery and out-flashing of the bright illuminations of knowledge which have there been imprisoned. ... These are the two essential characteristics of Sarama; the knowledge
comes to her beforehand, before vision, springs up instinctively at the least indication and with that knowledge she guides the rest of the faculties and divine powers that seek. And she leads to that seat, sadanam, the home of the Destroyers, which is at the other pole of existence to the seat of the Truth, sadanam rtasya, in the cave or secret place of darkness, guhayam, just as the home of the gods is in the cave or secrecy of light. In other words, she is a power descended from the superconscient Truth which leads us to the light that is hidden in ourselves, in the subconscient. All these characteristics apply exactly to the

Sri Aurobindo writes: "Intuition is a power of consciousness nearer and more intimate to the original knowledge by identity; for it is always something that leaps out direct from a concealed identity. It is when the consciousness of the subject meets with the consciousness in the object, penetrates it and sees, feels or vibrates with the truth of what it contacts, that the intuition leaps out like a spark or lightning-flash from the shock of the meeting; or when the consciousness, even without any such meeting, looks into itself and feels directly and intimately the truth or the truths that are there or so contacts the hidden forces behind appearances, then also there is the outbreak of an intuitive light; or, again, when the consciousness meets the Supreme Reality or the spiritual reality of things and beings and has a contactual union with it, then the spark, the flash or the blaze of intimate truth-perception is lit in its depths."

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Introduction, Sri Aurobindo on Our Many Selves, Planes and Parts of the Being, pg. xxix-xxx

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.