The Bajorans believed that the pagh was the spiritual force inherent to all sentient beings. Their belief was that the Prophets replenished the pagh from their Celestial Temple. Bajoran spiritualists were apparently able to assess the strength of an individual's pagh by grasping their ear. (DS9: "Emissary", "Accession") The pagh leaves the body after death, leaving only an "empty shell". (DS9: "Indiscretion", "Ties of Blood and Water")
Kai Opaka told Benjamin Sisko that he needed to locate the Celestial Temple, "for your own pagh" and that his "pagh was strong." Akorem Laan told him the same thing in 2372, and that he could see why Opaka thought Sisko was the Emissary. (DS9: "Emissary", "Accession")
Opaka later told Sisko that his and her pagh will meet again after he was forced to leave her on the penal moon in the Gamma Quadrant because of artificial microbes that had resurrected her and her body was dependent upon. (DS9: "Battle Lines")
In late 2369, Vedek Bareil Antos, familiar with the look that Commander Sisko was telegraphing in preparing to have his ear tightly gripped, related how a monk he knew as a child "could virtually squeeze the pagh right out of you with his thumb and forefinger". He swore that one of his life's goals would be to break with this archaic ritual. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets") Bareil noted that offworlders found this custom offensive. (Primarily due to it being unwanted physical contact and a violation of personal space).
In 2370 while visiting the mirror universe by accident, Kira Nerys was offered by mirror Garak to replace the Intendant, then go on a spiritual journey to discover her pagh, and then let Garak take over the title of the Intendant. (DS9: "Crossover")