That which is crown is always the fundamental motivation. That which is crown is not the foundation, but motivation. Foundation is always “Sat”. Therefore, Jnana is always the foundation. But motivation, when you really want the right motivation it can come only from Bhakti. Therefore, when you are a real Bhakta, then you become the most powerful warrior in the world, the most powerful actor in the world, when you are motivated. That is why it is said that if you really want unfailing motivation, that which never dies, that comes only from highest devotion; and that too a devotion which is irresistible.
Even in ordinary life, the highest motivation comes from love, which is simply for the sake of love, not for this or for that, then that becomes unfailing motivation. Even the ordinary love stories in the world are based on this fundamental point; whether it is ‘Leila - Majnu’ or any other kind of story, the fundamental motivation arises from love that can never fail; and there is no fleeting of that love, it is based upon “Sat”; it is based upon “Chit”, and it is motivated constantly by love that never fails. To put these relationships is the task of the whole of the Gita.
Very often we are baffled by statements of the Gita and we find that here Sri Krishna says that “Jnanayoga is supreme”, here He says, “Karmayoga is supreme”, here He say, “Bhaktiyoga is supreme”, but these words have to be understood in that inter-relationship.
Question: What do you mean by ‘motivation’ in this context?
Motivation is the fundamental reason for action; there is a distinction between ‘intention’ and ‘motive’: I intend to go to the library, but what is the motive? To read a book. If I have no motive to read the book, I may not have intention to go to the library: ‘intention’ is always a kind of intermediary between ‘motive’ and the ‘action’. That which is behind intention is motive, and that which is fulfilled in action is the motive, not intention but the motive.
Therefore, if you ask anybody, how are you motivated? Intentions are many. I may be motivated to learn something: now that learning can come either by going to library, or by contemplation, or by Satsanga, by somebody who knows, I meet him, and discuss with him and gain. These are all intentions: ‘I intend to go to library’, ‘I intend to contemplate’, ‘I intend to sit with somebody’. But what is the motive? Motive is the gaining of knowledge, which is ultimately satisfied, and when it is satisfied, what is the conclusion? Ananda. The real joy.
Question: That is why love comes into it, that Ananda?
That is right. ‘Ananda’ and ‘Love’ are interchangeable. ‘Love’ is nothing but fundamentally a ‘joy of union’, but fundamentally all ‘love’ is ‘joy’: that is Ananda; love is a manifestation of Ananda.
Therefore, Sri Krishna says, “Bhakti is the highest”; highest from what point of view? It is the crown, and it is the motive. If you are considering the question of motive and the crown, Bhakti is the highest, but Bhakti for what? For the Supreme and Supreme is what? That which is the highest object of Knowledge. Therefore, what is the crown here, what is the base foundation, not the crown but foundation? Foundation is the Supreme. Love for the Supreme is the crown, is the highest, but what is the foundation? Foundation is Jnana. Therefore, Jnana is supreme; without that Jnana you cannot have that Bhakti either. Therefore, Sri Krishna says, “Only Jnani can become the supreme Bhakta.” The foundation is Jnana.
If you want to use the words at all, you should say that according to the Bhagavad Gita, Jnanayoga is foundational; Bhakti yoga is the crowning; and Karmayoga is intermediate. That which should be founded in Knowledge; that which should culminate in Bhakti and in the intermediate when you have both Knowledge and Devotion as the supports, that action is the highest. And that which is not manifesting in action is not supreme. Therefore if you want a manifestation, Karmayoga is the highest but in manifestation.
In manifestation one who simply sits quiet, is not in his right position. In action if he simply says, “Well, I will go on loving”, that is not the highest. In foundation, if he simply says, “I want to know, and therefore I am satisfied with Knowledge”, perfectly all right: that is foundational.
The question is: when you consider which is the highest, you should ask these three questions: is it connected with manifestation? If it is connected with manifestation, then Karmayoga is the highest. If it is connected with the crowning experience: Bhaktiyoga. That which is foundational: Jnanayoga. This is the inter-relationship of these three Yogas.
And, that is why Sri Krishna’s teaching is a synthetic teaching: put foundation at the right place, put crowning at the right place, and put action in the middle, in which the highest manifestation can come only by action. That is why Sri Krishna will say that, “Although Knowledge is greater than Action; action is greater than inaction.”