Pratyaya is a key concept in
Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga. On the path to union with the Divine, the yogi first begins with many thoughts or impressions, which are gradually reduced to a single pratyaya or thought. At this point, the yogi has reached the state of meditative awareness. In this context, pratyaya is the object of meditation.
In dharana (concentration and
perceptual awareness), the sixth of Patanjali's eight limbs, the
yogi learns to prevent other thoughts from intruding on his/her efforts
to focus on the pratyaya. In dhyana (contemplation
and meditation of the Divine), the seventh limb, the yogi
learns to sustain awareness of only the pratyaya. The eighth limb,
samadhi (union with the Divine), is achieved and the yogi becomes one with the pratyaya.