The Sanskrit term Pratibha means vision, insight, intuition, inner understanding, unconditioned knowledge, inner wisdom, awareness, awakening.
It is also known as Pratibha-Shakti: the Power of Illumination.
In The Pathless Path to Immortality, Shri Gurudev Mahendranath wrote:
- "Patanjali in his wonderful theoretical textbook of varied yoga practices known as the Yoga Sutras, sees Pratibha as the spiritual illumination which is attained through yoga discipline to enable the disciple to know all else.
- "It is then the insight or illumination which is the open gateway to the final goal. It is the inner transformation which enables the aspirant to distinguish Reality from the sham. In some way, it can be visualized as a bridge between the mind and the Real Self. It produces changed people and clarity of thinking, as well as being an infallible guide in all undertakings.
- "Some few people are born with it, but seldom to more than a small degree. Even this can eventually be obscured by social life and its conditioning. It cannot thrive in a world where we permit others to do our thinking for us. The more it is used, the more it increases in intensity.
- "Pratibha is not related to careful thought or deliberation. It is instant in operation, and spontaneous in manifestation. For the average Zen student, this was regarded as sufficient attainment. Only those who seek Buddhahood and Enlightenment go further. But this is also a stage, which if once reached, requires no further guidance from a guru or master. Sometimes it is even spoken of as Pratibha-Shakti—the power of illumination. It is most easily developed by meditation or contemplation, and it independent of all religious patterns.
- "Pratibha is not even exclusively a spiritual concept. Those who have developed this faculty are more likely to succeed in the material world than the other. Modern Japan claims that most of the big names in industry and commerce today were once successful Zen students. Datta uses the word frequently in the Avadhuta Gita to show that the difficult ideas and the puzzles not easy to understand are cleared away instantly for that disciple who has developed the inner faculty of insight illumination known as Pratibha.
- "Pratibha is the real Divya Cakshus—the Third Eye which has so much captivated the mystical aspirations of the West. It is not really an 'eye' so much as a miraculous vision or knowledge capable of plucking the gems of mystery and wisdom from the immaculate universe. It is the Philosopher's Stone which has the divine power to transmute the sordid world of base lead into a molten mass of wonder and harmony."
- Mahendranath, Shri Gurudev. The Pathless Path to Immortality (http://www.mahendranath.org/pathlesspath.mhtml). Retrieved Oct. 21, 2004.