This article discusses Tantric practices and meditation. The goal of these practices is singular: to fulfill human destiny. But it can be described in various ways: to attain infinite happiness, to know oneself, to know God, to realize higher consciousness, to become the highest perfection, to achieve liberation, and so on. These practices are called meditation lessons. There are only 6 of them, and each lesson has a Sanskrit name, but often they are simply referred to by numbers: lesson 1, ..., lesson 6.

This article may be useful for those who aspire to study the science of Tantra and for those who are already practitioners. It may help them to perceive the significance of the lessons anew, which will contribute to the increased effectiveness of the practices.


Lesson 1 Ishvara Pranidhana
Lesson 2 Madhuvidya
Lesson 3 Tattva Dharana
Lesson 4 Pranayama
Lesson 5 Chakra Shodhana
Lesson 6 Dhyana
Lesson 1
Ishvara Pranidhana

The first lesson is called Ishvara Pranidhana (Ishvara - He Who Controls the Universe, Pranidhana - seeking refuge). The essence of this practice is seeking refuge in the Supreme, in the highest Consciousness. It indicates where to seek the ultimate Truth. The following Sanskrit shlokas elaborate on the idea of Ishvara Pranidhana.

"People of tamasic nature wander from one place of pilgrimage to another; they will never attain liberation without finding the true place of pilgrimage - within their own soul."

"One who, neglecting God, or the higher Truth within themselves, seeks it in the external world, in external worship, behaves just like a person who holds rice in their hands but throws it away and goes from one door to another begging for alms."
The idea is that one should direct all attention inward and seek this higher Truth within oneself, turning to their innermost "self-feeling".
In Sanskrit, this is called guha - existential "self". That is, the essence of spirituality lies in the depths of our "self". One must delve into this innermost "self" to know the higher Truth.

The first tantric practice, the first lesson, Ishvara Pranidhana, leads the practitioner to the point of concentration. Becoming this point, the seeker is already on the path to realizing the Truth. It is impossible to know it with the help of gross intellect. Ishvara Pranidhana is a special process that refines the intellect and redirects it from the external world to the internal.

During the practice of Ishvara Pranidhana, a mantra is used. It has the ability to liberate the mind from ignorance.

To make the mantra effective, three tantric processes are needed:

1) mantra dipani or light of the mantra

2) mantra ghat or impact of the mantra

3) mantra caetanya or energy of the mantra

Mantra dipani - light of the mantra (dipa - light, torch). This is the process where a person brings a torch into the dark sphere of their mind and illuminates it.

To refine the mind, it is necessary to free it from attachment to gross or matter-based objects. One of the shlokas says that the mind is the cause of slavery and the cause of liberation. If the mind is attached to external objects, it is gross and dependent on them. If the mind does not incline towards gross objects, it is subtle and moves towards liberation. Gross objects of the external world include our body and thoughts. By freeing oneself from attachment to these objects, the mind becomes light and bright. This is enlightenment of the mind and explains the concept of mantra dipani.

The concept of mantra dipani is also called shuddhi, which means purification. In the technique of the first lesson, three shuddhis are performed:
1) Bhuta Shuddhi (purification of the mind from the influence of the external world)
2) Asana Shuddhi (purification of the mind from attachment to the body)
3) Chitta Shuddhi (Chitta - substance of the mind, i.e., purification of the Chitta)

A spiritual seeker is given a special technique, which is explained during the process of initiation by the meditation teacher. In general terms, it looks like this:

The first process. Sitting in a meditation posture, one needs to withdraw the mind from the external world. This is Bhuta Shuddhi. If the task is performed diligently, meditation will be easier as there are no external distractions.

The second process (Asana Shuddhi): One needs to bring the mind to a "sacred place." In our body, there are three types of energy. The force of goodness, or the force of awareness (sattva guna), is located between the anahata chakra and the ajina chakra (pronounced agya). Rajoguna, the force of dynamism, resides in the area of the manipura chakra. Tamoguna occupies the two lower chakras - muladhara and svadhishthana. The "sacred place" is the area from the anahata chakra to the ajina chakra. That is, the mind must be concentrated in this area, specifically in a point from which one can control the conscious, subconscious, and superconscious mind. Such a point exists in everyone. The acharya indicates it during initiation. By meditating, you will develop qualities in yourself that will help you understand the higher reality more quickly. In this point lies the most efficient access to the higher Truth. By concentrating on this point, you will achieve the most effective meditation. The "sacred place" is the inner temple of the body.

The next (third) process is Chitta Shuddhi. It is very subtle. Completing Chitta Shuddhi leads to the cessation of all vrittis, to the peak of Raja Yoga (royal yoga). After this, Rajadhiraja Yoga begins, which means "the yoga of kings of yoga."

Raja Yoga defines yoga as the cessation of all vrittis - tendencies of the mind. Rajadhiraja Yoga explains yoga as the union of the individual soul and the higher Soul. It starts from where Raja Yoga ends. That is, when the properties of the mind are halted, they should be directed towards the higher Goal.

How can vrittis be stopped? At the moment when our attention is directed towards the inner sacred "self," thoughts cannot exist because there is no energy to sustain them. Any thought is supported by energy coming from the existential core. And through this energy, attention directed towards an object materializes images within our Chitta. If this attention is directed inward, towards our perceiving ability, towards our "self-feeling," all thoughts disappear. And this is the essence of Chitta Shuddhi. After completing Chitta Shuddhi, mantra repetition begins.

There are three types of mantra repetition: vachanika - repetition aloud; upanshu - the sound is heard only by the utterer, but not by the surroundings; manasika - mental repetition.

If you use beads and recite the mantra vachanika or upanshu, the conscious mind is activated. In this case, the repetition remains superficial because mantra dipani has not occurred, there has been no penetration into the superconscious. Therefore, manasika is preferable, meaning the mantra is repeated exclusively within our mind, not aloud.

Furthermore, a mantra is not just a sound but a living energy transmitted from the guru, from the spiritual guide. Such a mantra is called mantra caetanya. This living energy is very delicate and can easily be destroyed. If the mantra is recited aloud, this energy weakens. Therefore, one must be very careful and always repeat the mantra mentally (manasika). The mantra should be pronounced with respect, with reverence. This is holy pure energy.

Mantra ghat is a specific vibration of the mantra that permeates all layers of the mind and purifies them. The mantra acts on the divine energy sleeping at the base of the spine - kulakundalini. Kula is the lower point of the spine, kundalini is the spiritual energy coiled in three and a half clockwise turns, it is compared to a coiled snake. Kundalini is also called jivabhava - the mental stream of the microcosm. Everyone has a different jivabhava. Due to righteous living, service, and the practice of spiritual disciplines, jivabhava awakens. Then it just needs a little push to rise upwards. People with such abilities are called spiritual geniuses. The vibrational effect of the mantra embeds a benevolent wave inside the jivabhava and uplifts it.
The mantra has a very strong effect. On the one hand, it has a sound that activates kundalini - the spiritual element. On the other hand, it contains energy that comes with the mantra at the time of initiation, that is, it comes from the guru.

And the third aspect is mantra caetanya. The mantra has a meaning that can only be understood when one is in the sacred place within one's mind, in the pure inner "self-feeling." Then one gains mantra siddhi, or perfection in mantra repetition. Repetition of the mantra gives a tremendous surge of energy. Understanding the deep meaning of the mantra must occur through intuition.

Therefore, meditation is considered an intuitive practice, not an intellectual one. The mantra is a resonator that allows access to the universal energy present in the entire cosmos. But to achieve resonance, one must be harmonious oneself. And for this, one must adhere to moral laws - the principles of yama and niyama (principles of harmonious living).

We constantly make mistakes because our instincts, desires, and emotions drive us to do wrong actions. We may sincerely want to do everything right, but it is difficult to cope with the tendencies of the mind. Performing asanas helps maintain inner harmony. In our system, 40 asanas are selected, recommended for spiritual seekers. The set of asanas is compiled by the acharya for a specific person, taking into account the psychological structure and needs of the body. Performing these asanas involves consuming sattvic, wholesome foods. Otherwise, only a few simple basic asanas can be done. All these factors - moral principles, asanas, sattvic diet - contribute to good meditation.

You can be sure that these practices, when performed systematically and sincerely, will lead to progress. The result will be the realization of the divine within one's "self-feeling" - savikalpa samadhi. This is the first high realization on the spiritual path.
Lesson 2
To ensure that the mind always remains connected with the spiritual reality, avoiding coarseness in its interaction with the external world, it is necessary to practice the second lesson of meditation – Madhuvidya (Honey-knowledge). Our task is to see the manifestation of the divine everywhere around us, realizing that everything surrounding us is a manifestation of the divine. Madhuvidya involves micro-meditation before each action. For example, when leaving the house, one must ideate that everything one sees, hears, and touches is nothing but absolute reality. The mantra for the second lesson is given by the meditation teacher during personal contact. It is called the guru mantra. Its repetition illuminates consciousness, making it subtle and sacred at that moment. And with this energy, the action is performed. Therefore, the practitioner should cultivate the habit of micro-meditation before any action. Signs can be placed around your home to remind you of this. By practicing the second lesson, the mind grasps the idea of unity: there is one supreme perfect beauty, one ultimate reality. And then it acts not as a separate mind but as an instrument of the higher divine reality. Then you can perform an action without worrying about its consequences in the future. If a person sincerely practices the second lesson of meditation, samskaras (reactive impulses to previous actions) will not be created.

In the second lesson of meditation, ideation is paramount. Those who achieve perfection in the second lesson become Siddhas – perfected individuals. All their actions are impeccable because they come from the absolute source.

The Bhagavad Gita explains the process of Madhuvidya. Actions performed out of greed bind us, creating samskaras as reactions to such actions. Some believe that one should completely abstain from actions, withdraw from the world, and engage only in spiritual practice. The teaching of the Gita states that one can remain in the world, fulfill one's duties, and yet not create samskaras. This approach to actions is called Karma Yoga. This principle is embedded in the practice of Madhuvidya. If an action is performed with the feeling that you are not its author, but the Supreme is, then that action does not bind, and the person is free from the results of the action. The action itself is God, the Absolute. The result of the action, the one for whom it is performed, the one who performs the action, is also the absolute Essence. When the realization comes that actions are performed by God, not by the individual, samskara is not created. When actions are performed properly, the microcosm and the Macrocosm merge into one Essence. And this is the process of Madhuvidya.

A state of ignorance indicates that we see differences between objects. As a result, complexes arise: of inferiority, fear, superiority. To see unity is true knowledge, and in this state, there is no fear, shame, or complexes. This state is the state of flawless realization - the human mind reaches the Ajina Chakra, all energy and attention are there. If you "rise" with the help of your sadhana to the Ajina Chakra, you will feel unity and become spiritually perfect.

The second lesson, essentially, is the highest Tantric practice. One verse says that the highest practice is the realization of God. Therefore, our task throughout the day is to ideate on the spiritual, which will illuminate the path, maintain awareness. It is necessary to enter a state of unity and then act. The deeper we feel and understand our inner spiritual flow, the more opportunities we have to express it in the external world. The second lesson is the foundation of genius.

Lesson 3
Tattva Dharana
The next lesson is "Tattva Dharana" (tattva - essence; dharana - concentration). The microcosm body consists of five fundamental factors, including the mind and consciousness. The fundamental factors are controlled by the five lower chakras. The Ajina chakra controls the mind, while the Sahasrara controls consciousness.

"Tattva Dharana" is the practice of influencing the five lower chakras. It is performed in the yogic posture "Virasana" or the Hero pose. This practice provides a tremendous amount of psychic energy. Energy and specific mantras for each chakra strengthen and harmonize these chakras. This practice alone cannot lead to liberation or realization of the ultimate Truth since it involves fundamental factors. The ultimate Truth is transcendent. However, such practice can free one from the influence of these factors. The less influence on the physical body, the higher one can ascend in meditation. When mentally touching the controlling centers of the chakras, a calm and comfortable state, known as "sthira sukham," is achieved, and inner restlessness dissipates.

Chakras are like lotus flowers with a center surrounded by petals. Each of these petals represents specific emotions. For example, in the Anahata chakra, there are representations of love, hope, vanity, hypocrisy, conscience, and willpower. These are different inclinations of our mind. Controlling the chakras implies controlling these qualities as well. Chakras are usually dormant and closed, but when they become strong, they open up like a flower bud. All the petals unfold, reflecting a degree of personality manifestation. A person becomes charismatic because their emotions are in an ideally balanced state. Emotions consume a lot of energy. They simply "eat up" our energy if not controlled. This especially applies to the lower centers. If, at some point, the emotions of the lower centers start to rage, a lot of energy is spent. After this, it becomes very difficult to meditate because you are dealing with "digesting" low thoughts. Control over the chakras allows for the accumulation of psychic strength, which remains within. Accumulating a lot of psychic strength activates "Aeshvarya" – the superpower of the mind. This is a tempting moment for any yogi, and one must be able to overcome it. If one gets carried away with occult powers, the main prize - mukti and moksha, liberation and salvation – will never be attained.

There are three channels in the spine – Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna, which start in the Muladhara. The first two channels rise upwards in a wavy pattern and end in the nostrils: the right – Pingala – the solar channel, and the left – Ida – the lunar channel. When we digest food, perform physical work, the right, solar channel works. It warms the body and gives physical strength. For intellectual activities, meditation, and asanas, the left channel is ideal. It cools the body and enhances concentration. These channels are coarse and thick. The central channel, Sushumna Nadi, is very subtle and delicate. It goes directly from the Muladhara chakra to the Sahasrara. At the base of this channel lies "Jivabhava" or Kundalini. If it rises even half a centimeter upwards, the spiritual seeker feels divine presence, bliss. The higher Kundalini rises, the deeper the feeling of bliss and realization of Truth. When it reaches Sahasrara, complete spiritual realization occurs. Unity awareness is achieved, individual essence merges with the cosmic, and they become one whole. Now all the knowledge possessed by the Higher is also available to the realized spiritual seeker, who exists not as a separate personality but as a superpersonality, the highest Being. But to reach Sahasrara, Kundalini must pass through all the chakras. Ida and Pingala channels intersect in the chakras, creating a knot that Kundalini cannot pass. For this, the knot must weaken, which happens if the chakra is under control. Chakras open either through perseverance in the first lesson of meditation or through the practice of the third lesson, which strengthens the chakras.

So, the effects of the third lesson of meditation are as follows: 1) the mind is freed from the influence of fundamental factors, reducing attachment to the physical world, body, and thoughts, and improving concentration. 2) Emotions are brought under control. 3) knots in the chakras weaken, improving spiritual practice.
Lesson 4
The fourth lesson of meditation is Pranayama (prana – life force, yama – control). In our body, there are many channels through which prana (life force) moves. There are 10 types of so-called vital winds. They form a special organ called Pranendriya, which pulsates faster when our mind is restless. When Pranendriya stops, the mind becomes calm. Therefore, to achieve samadhi, the cessation of prana is necessary. The slower the breath, the deeper the process of realization. In the practice of pranayama, we perform certain breathing exercises with specific ideation. This leads to the purification of all channels of life energy, robust health, and enhanced concentration. Additionally, pranayama strengthens the intellect and improves memory.

Spiritual ideation is introduced into the practice of pranayama, which purifies prana – life force. If negative thoughts were present during pranayama practice, the absorbed prana will be coarse. It will flow through all channels, polluting the body. Therefore, for the next few days, you will be tormented by the emotion with which the mind was colored during pranayama. Conversely, when practicing in a very high state of mind, in deep ideation, high-quality prana is absorbed, which will move through all channels and purify the body. Therefore, the practice of pranayama must be performed with great caution, and it should never be given to unprepared individuals. In terms of subtlety, pranayama is similar to the first lesson of meditation, so it is advisable to meditate deeply before it. During pranayama, Pranendriya stops, and heightened perception occurs. When Pranendriya is paused, great ideas can be perceived, which are inaccessible in the ordinary state. Pranayama is the foundation for higher meditation lessons, which purifies, promotes intellectual development, strengthens memory, and concentration.

Lesson 5
Chakra Shodhana
The fifth lesson of meditation is Chakra Shodhana. If the third lesson was aimed at strengthening the chakras, in the fifth lesson, we cleanse them. Just as the body is influenced by the gunas, so are our mental and psycho-spiritual spheres: tamas, the force of ignorance, rajas, the force of dynamism, and sattva, the force of goodness, consciousness.

If, in the mind, rajas and tamas are present in addition to sattva, it means there is a kind of pollution of the mind. Tamas energy causes drowsiness, a feeling of fatigue, and heaviness. Rajas energy makes us restless. These forces cause diseases and suffering on physical and mental levels.

Chakras are terminals where all nadis (channels of subtle energy) converge. Life force is distributed throughout the body from the chakras. When benevolent ideas are introduced into the chakra centers, the chakras are freed from the influence of tamas and rajas, and pure energy spreads throughout the structure, cleansing the entire body.

The result of practicing Chakra Shodhana is lightness; during meditation, there is a desire to linger in this infinite beautiful feeling of existence. This effect arises from sincere practice of the fifth lesson. The mind and body are cleansed, acquiring a pleasant fragrance. The mind finds it difficult to forget burdensome life situations, and it becomes heavy. When performing the fifth lesson, this state disappears, lightness appears, and the force of goodness begins to dominate. Additionally, practicing the fifth lesson strengthens the chakras and contributes to better control over emotions.

When there is lightness and you are under the influence of the force of goodness, you can "reach out" to the highest lesson of meditation. The sixth lesson brings pure positive energy. But if the mind and body are at a very low energy level, it feels like a conflict of energies. That is, the body, accustomed to being in the mode of tamas and rajas, perceives spiritual energy painfully, and there is an immediate desire to stop this high meditation lesson under any pretext. The fifth lesson prepares the mind and body and removes negative energy from them. As a result, the state becomes perfect for practicing the sixth lesson.
Lesson 6
The sixth lesson is Dhyana – the highest lesson of meditation, where mantra and yantra are used – both image and sound. This lesson is quite difficult. The goal of the sixth lesson is an image, almost incomprehensible to the human mind; it disappears instantly, lost in attempts of the mind to "grasp" it. This lesson requires perfect stability of mind and emotions. It provides a tremendous amount of energy that deeply transforms your personality. It takes just 10 seconds to enter samadhi in this lesson. But to achieve this result, one must practice for a long time to attain stability of mind. When performed correctly, the sixth lesson inevitably leads to samadhi, but performing it correctly is very difficult: you need to fit the entire Cosmos inside your microcosm. This is called Dhyana – direct meditation. Before Dhyana, it is necessary to carefully perform the previous five lessons. If you feel progress in Dhyana and "breakthrough," it does not mean that now you will always be able to perform Dhyana properly. If all six lessons are not practiced sincerely and diligently, the ability to perform Dhyana will disappear.

Therefore, spiritual practice is a delicate balance of all internal energies, a combination of perfect tuning of the body, purity of mind, determination, and divine energy permeating all described lessons.
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