Definition - What does Pratyaksha mean?

Pratyaksha is a Sanskrit term meaning “this which is before one’s eyes," and is interpreted as “perception” in Indian and yogic philosophy.

Patanjali refers to pratyaksha in his Yoga Sutras as meaning direct or immediate perception. As such, in yoga and Vedanta, pratyaksha knowledge is said to be intuitive in nature.

Yogapedia explains Pratyaksha

Pratyaksha is broadly divided into two types: direct perception, or anubhava; and remembered perception, or smriti. It can alternatively be divided into indiscriminate perception, or nirvikalpa, where perception of the object is made without recognizing distinguishing features; and discriminate perception, or savikalpa, where distinguishing features are observed. The indiscriminate perception (nirvikalpa) type of pratyaksha is crucial in Advaita Vedanta because it means that the Ultimate Reality, or Brahman, can be perceived without features when liberation into truth occurs.

There are traditionally said to be four ways of obtaining pratyaksha. They are:

  1. Indriya pratyaksha - sense perception
  2. Manas pratyaksha - mental perception
  3. Svadana pratyaksha - self-consciousness
  4. Yoga pratyaksha - super-normal intuition

This final way of yoga pratyaksha is only accessible once a yogi has practiced the eight-fold path of yoga and removed their impurities, so that they may perceive more fully and purely.

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