From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pratyabhijñā literally means ‘knowledge got by facing it’.

This is a technical term used by Kāśmīr Śaivism. When we see a person whom we had seen earlier maybe in a different place and circumstances, we recognize him as ‘He is that person’. Īśvara[1] and the jīva[2] are similar in nature. They both have jñānaśakti and kriyāśakti.[3] This is known from the scriptures and the teachings of the spiritual preceptors.

Keeping this in mind, when the sādhaka[4] meditates on īśvara, he gradually destroys or overcomes māyā[5] and realizes or recognizes that he is the same as īśvara. This is called as pratyabhijñā.


  1. Īśvara means God.
  2. Jīva means the individual soul.
  3. Kriyāśakti means the power to know and act.
  4. Sādhaka means the one who is practicing spiritual disciplines.
  5. Māyā means ignorance as the veil.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore