In our system of sadhana, our Gurudeva has given several types of meditation lessons depending on the disciple's ability and sam'ska'ras (karmic situation). So we have a very basic yoga called 'Sadharana Yoga', easy yoga, 'Sahaja Yoga', 'Kapalika Sadhana' for the brave at heart, and a special but difficult yoga called 'Vishesha Yoga'. The highest lesson of all yogas is Guru Dhyana, the 6th Lesson of Sahaja Yoga. Now I will outline a general description of each lesson for your common knowledge, and I will also give some special tips for those who are already practicing these lessons. Please note for those who are just beginners that if you want to practice these lessons, you must consult with an a'carya (spiritual instructor) of A'nanda Marga. 1st Lesson: Iishvara Pran'idha'na This lesson is the first step in the practice of meditation. This technique of meditation is very important as it paves the way to higher lessons. If a spiritual aspirant is established in this lesson, the attainment of savikalpa samadhi is a certainty. Iisvara Pranidhana has 4 important steps. The fourth step is the repetition of the Ishta mantra, but before one can do this successfully, you must follow the first 3 steps properly. The general characteristic of this meditation technique is that it is a one-pointed meditation, that is, the mind must be made one-pointed in order to dive deep in the spiritual realization and the attainment of samadhi. The mind usually is always jumping onto different directions, a thousand directions. The restlessness of the mind occurs due to the influence of Avidya Maya, the force of negativity. Therefore, in our sadhana, what we are going to do is withdraw the mind from all negative ideas, all distractive thoughts, all materialistic pursuits, and channel all that energy of the mind towards one point, and then merge that pointed mind into the Effulgent ocean of Consciousness. Now, in order to achieve that task we need to follow the technique of Shuddhis before repeating the ishta mantra. So the Shuddhis are 3: 1) Bhuta Shuddhi - After you are seated in meditation posture, as in the pictures above, you will start withdrawing the mind from all the external influences of the physical world. The detailed technique will be taught to you by an a'carya. However, keep in mind that the first visualization and concentration has to be done slowly, not in a hurry. 2) A'sana Shuddhi - Once you have withdrawn your mind from the physical reality, then you will withdraw your mind from your body, moving your one-pointed mind upwards towards your Ishta cakra or personal point of concentration. Notice that these points of concentration differ from different individuals, and are prescribed in detail by the meditation instructor. When you reach your point of concentration, then you will visualise that point of effulgence only and try to maintain that concentration very steadily. 3) Citta Shuddhi - The ideation that the infinite Divine effulgence is surrounding your pointed mind is called Citta Shuddhi. 4) Now you will repeat the Ishta mantra. The Ishta mantra is only given by the Guru or His physical medium. This mantra is very special because, as it was explained before, it is a siddha mantra, specially empowered by the spiritual vibration of the Sad Guru. This mantra has two syllables, one for inhalation and one for exhalation. The technique of repeating the ishta mantra, is not only concerned with its sound vibration, but its meaning and ideation are of utmost importance. So when you repeat the mantra, you must also feel the meaning. That conscious knowing of the meaning with each and every repetition is called spiritual ideation. Then the mantra will have its full effect. The repetition of Ishta mantra in meditation has three spiritual effects: 1. At the moment of receiving the mantra, the kulakundalinii will awaken from her stupor. This is called Mantra Ghat. 2. When you practice meditation repeating the Ishta mantra with one pointed concentration and ideation, you will attain a psycho-spiritual parallelism with the Supreme Subjectivity or Consciousness, at that point you will realize the meaning of the mantra. That state is called Mantra Caetanya. 3. When as a result of Mantra Caetanya, one attains union with that Supreme Effulgence, it is Mantra Siddhi. TIPS FOR 1ST LESSON 1) When you perform Bhuta Shuddhi, give more time to this process than the other two. The visualization of the object (by object you know what I mean) instructed by your acarya should be pictured in your mind clearly, and if your mind wanders, return again to the visualization, until the disappearance of the object goes gradually and without interruptions. 2) If at the time of meditation or when performing the shuddhis, you are assailed by too many disturbing thoughts, use your Guru Mantra (2nd Lesson) to cool your mind. Use your 2nd lesson at every instance of disturbing thoughts. 3) Visualize your pointed mind clearly at the time of performing A'sana Shuddhi. And move your point slowly, do not hurry. 4) When you have performed the first three processes correctly, your mind will automatically become one-pointed. Now, the ideation is very important: when you are repeating your mantra with full ideation, the subjective feeling behind the ideation should be that "Parama Purus'a is always looking at me" So remember that He is not your object, although you think that He is your object of adoration and love, but also He is watching you and that you want to please Him by loving Him; He is your Supreme Subjectivity, and you are His little child. 2nd Lesson: Guru Mantra (Madhuvidya) In this universe, every action has a reaction, sometimes equal and opposite, but at times, if the period is delayed, then the reaction will come with interest. That is the law of Karma or Sam'skara. Sam'skaras are those reactions in potential that remain to be expressed; the resultant of our every good or bad actions. So due to this law of sam'skara we take rebirth, life after life. Sometimes we come in human form, and sometimes we may come as animals, depending whether we have performed virtuous actions, or degenerating actions that have brought our level of mind to degrading levels or upgrading levels. In fact human life is very rare, and when we have the chance to have a human body we have to utilize it to the maximum to attain our goal. You do not know if your next life will be human, or perhaps human but not with a chance to do spiritual practices. By the grace of Marga Gurudeva Shrii A'nandamu'rtijii, He gave us the Guru Mantra or Madhuvidya Lesson. Madhuvidya means the nectarean knowledge. When we repeat this mantra before any physical or mental activity, we ascribe the ideation that "Everything is Brahma, all is the divine manifestation of the Supreme, All is He" When you are able to apply 2dn lesson before every action you perform, Shrii A'nandamurti guaranteed that one will attain the experience of Dharma Megha'nanda Samadhi. In this samadhi you will realize that the Lord is everywhere and in everything, and you will see an effulgent cloud at your anahata cakra, and experience incredible intoxicating bliss at all times. You will also feel that the whole world has become full of sweetness. This samadhi is the result of repeating Ishta Mantra and Guru Mantra at all times during 24 hours, during waking or sleeping hours. Now the other great benefit of Guru Mantra is that when your ideation is that everything is being performed by the will of the Supreme, then the reaction does not go to you, but to the Supreme Lord. So you will be freed from accumulating new sam'skaras but you will only burn the sam'skaras from this life and your past lives. TIPS FOR 2ND LESSON 1) Repeat the mantra before a main action. For example, before you enter the building of your place of work, repeat the Guru Mantra, while you go inside and walk keep on repeating the Ishta Mantra. However, if you are going to talk with someone then, as the action has changed, you have to repeat the Guru Mantra again. However, you should repeat your second lesson without fail before sadhana, eating, taking a bath, and sleeping. 2) If at some time you forget to repeat the Guru Mantra before the action, repeat it after the completion of the action. 3) If you are in a dangerous situation, do not forget to repeat your Guru Mantra; it will protect you without fail. 4) If you are going to do something negative, repeat the Guru Mantra and it will make you see and understand everything with clarity.