Following is an excerpt from an Audio Class on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5 – Verse 27 to 29.
Krishna is talking about breath control that is Pranayam which is again explained in a great detail in chapter 6. Pranayam is also bona-fide but it may not be applicable now days because of so many reasons as we don’t have a place to perform such aasana. Pranayam has got many benefits and it has its utility. Just like when we go to dentist for dental problems, similarly if you want relaxation and something that will help you in devotional service. Therefore Pranayam is good if it is going to help in Bhakti Yoga. As we have a hectic lifestyle so we actually don’t have time to breathe, so take some time out, click on the pause button of your hectic life and breathe. Pranayam is an Aid and not an end as it has its purpose. The Sadhus who stayed in jungles have noticed and seen nature very closely; they lead a life close to nature. They would observe the tree, the ocean, the river etc. Observing the nature and leading non-judgmental life and doing Pranayam, they experience lots of inner natural peace. Being close to nature has its benefits because there is lot of harmony and rhythm in nature. Observing nature helps us become non judge metal and refine and are peaceful. So we cannot dismiss it completely and that is why Krishna has given so much of importance to it in Bhagavad Gita.
But this will help up to a certain stage but it is not the ultimate goal. Chanting Hare Krishna is the highest form but if we can make it better and why not do it? It’s also danger to be misunderstanding this process and that is why we need direction and guidance. In Hare Krishna camp, we will tell you to chant Hare Krishna as it is the best medicine for mind control and for the peace of mind. But because Krishna has spoken about this Bhagavad Gita we don’t criticize Pranayam, we don’t criticize gyan yoga, and we allow people to practice it because Bhakti yoga is at the highest level.
The scriptures are very clear, in every age there are different processes given. So the Gyaan which Krishna talks about in 6th chapter is the process recommended in Satya Yuga and for Kulyuga the process recommended is Hari Kirtan. But as people are still not ready for Hari Kirtan then we tell them to do little Pranayam. Because the very first basic human need is the balance between body and mind for example, food, shelter and cloth. So we cannot ignore the balance between body and mind. You may practice all the Pranayam, you may have the financial security and you may have the perfect balance of body and mind but still you’ll be miserable if there is no spiritual practices of hearing and chanting .
So there are different stages where basic needs comes at the first stage and devotional service comes at the second stage but in this two stages you’re being selfish because you only thinking about yourself. Therefore the third stage is a life centred on selfless service, there are many people who render selfless service and are happy. But you’ll be amazed to see that there are people who do selfless service and there are still miserable because service alone will not give happiness. As balancing body and mind, spiritual nourishment and selfless service, all three can be external and can be superficial. So the fourth stage is also needed that is introspection, understanding who am I? What are my goals? Why am I giving so much service? One has to understand what is he doing and why is he doing what he is doing in life. Living our life on sacred principles and internalize everything that we’ve read and heard. Which means practicing qualities like humility, gratitude, forgiveness, kindness, appreciation and love, and then you will see people are happy.
For those who are already on this stage will not get that taste which they are expecting. Therefore they will go to the next stage which wants to actually please Krishna, having only one goal in life and whatever happens in every situation, I will only give pleasure to Krishna, my whole existence is for Krishna, Krishna is my life and soul, I want nothing but i want to please Krishna. This is the highest and the most fulfilling stage, any person at this stage who only thinks of pleasing Krishna is the happiest person.
Krishna in the last verse of 5th chapter says that having full consciousness of knowing me as enjoyer, I’m the Lord and I’m the best friend and well-wisher of all the living entities. One who lives and act on this platform while knowing this then we will actually be peaceful. So the conclusion is being Krishna consciousness and doing everything for Krishna’s pleasure is the secret of happiness.