Pratibha It means vision, insight, intuition, inner understanding, unconditioned knowledge, inner wisdom, awareness, awakening. In Zen they use the word satori. It should not be confused with enlightenment or realisation. Patanjali in his wonderful theoretical textbook of varied yoga practices known as the Yoga Aphorisms or 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 visualised 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 a 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 is independent of all religious patterns.