The secret of Action is in Knowledge, and that is why Sri Krishna tells Arjuna again and again: “Knowledge if far superior to Action; Buddhi is far more important than Action.” And this is what confuses Arjuna; his argument is that “If Knowledge is far superior to Action, then that means we settle in Knowledge: why do you throw me into this action? If Buddhi is far superior to Action, that way we settle in Buddhi and that means we settle in Jnana, why do you throw me into a ghora karma (III, 1), terrible action, why do you enjoin me into it?”
Sri Krishna’s answer is that there is a kind of a hierarchy; the basic hierarchy starts with the first statement, which is “eternal existence”. If you are not settled into that, that other intermediate stages can never be mastered. Action is never primary: if Action was primary Sri Krishna would have said that Action is far superior. And Sri Krishna says that, “Action is not far superior. What is superior is Knowledge. And if you say that I want Knowledge, I am congratulating you, you must be in Knowledge. Only you are speaking the words of the wise without being wise: that was the only objection I have. I have no objection to wisdom; but you were speaking the words of wisdom so I am setting you right. Words of wisdom starts with this statement: that which is, “is”, and you are constantly talking of “that which is ─ which is not”. Therefore, to contradict the statement, first of all start with the right proposition!”
The secret of Karmayoga, Jnanayoga and Bhaktiyoga can be properly understood if you really know what Reality is. The entire Bhagavad Gita ultimately rests on this: “Attain to the supreme Knowledge! When you will have attained to the supreme Knowledge then you will have mastery over action. And when there is mastery over action there is nothing but ‘Joy’. Where there is Joy there is no grief.” And Arjuna his whole state was a state of grief, and he says to Sri Krishna: “Please remove grief from me.” That is why Sri Krishna takes the argument of Arjuna, shows the inconsistency in the argument, shows the deficiencies in his propositions and says that “In these propositions, in which you are living, there is bound to be grief; the grief disappears where there is highest action; and highest action is possible only when there is highest Knowledge.”
This is the hierarchical relationship. Action is never supreme. What is supreme is Knowledge, and Knowledge is always about “that-which-is”. Therefore unless you are established in “that-which-is”, you can never be a master of action. You must be so established in your being that you can never perish, and you must see that nothing really perishes in the world. When you see “that-which-is”, according to Sri Krishna that is a real seeing. Even when things are fleeting, see the Eternal which is in the fleeting, then you will have really seen. So long only as you see only that which is fleeting you are not seeing; it is all running away. Only when you see that which is “stable” in movement, then only you have really seen. The Reality is sat, cit, ānanda.
In the Bhagavad Gita the word Sat-Chit-Ananda does not occur, but the entire idea of Sri Krishna is that the Supreme Reality, Purushottama, is stable, that which is always present; that this Reality is capable of manifestation. In other words there is a distinction between ‘the Stable, the Eternal’ and ‘the manifestation’. And ‘manifestation’ can be rightly grasped only when you have seen the ‘Stable’, when you can master the Stability. That is why the Bhagavad Gita constantly emphasises one word: sthira; sthitaprājña; samatvaṁ: ‘be absolutely stable’.
On the basis of sat, cit rests. The Reality “Sat-Chit- Ananda”, three words: Sat, Chit, and Ananda, but Chit is secondary, Ananda is tertiary. Primary is Sat. This is the relationship in ‘Reality’. Reality is complex and the complexity of Reality is that there is a primary and basic stuff that which “is” always and that never disappears: that is “Sat”. The Chit is an activity of two kinds: activity of Knowledge and activity of Will. That is why in India, Chit is always used as Chit-Shakti; activity of Knowledge and activity of Will.
Even between Knowledge and Will, there is an inter-relationship. Primary is Knowledge. Will is secondary. You can never have the Will without the basic stuff of Knowledge. Even ignorant people who do not have the Knowledge, if you examine their will, their will, will have been established on wrong knowledge; but knowledge is the basis. There is no will anywhere, which has not behind it some kind of a consciousness, some kind of knowledge. It may be wrong knowledge, false knowledge, erroneous knowledge, illusory knowledge, anything, but unless there is knowledge, there cannot be any will. That is the relationship between the two.
If you make something primary, which is not primary, everything will go topsy-turvy. That is why Sri Krishna puts all the things in the hierarchy. Karmayoga is always secondary; primary is Jnanayoga. Without Jnanayoga you cannot have a true Karmayoga. And Ananda, which is the result of what is called Bhakti, devotion, is always tertiary, is always a crown. Bhakti is always a crown. Therefore, in the Bhagavad Gita, what is primary is Jnanayoga; what is crown is Bhakti; in the middle is Karmayoga. Even Karma yoga ends in a crown of Bhakti. Even Jnana ends; his crown ends into Bhakti. As Sri Krishna will tell us that the highest Bhakta is Jnani. One who has known, only he can really be the highest Bhakta.