Bhagavagd Gita - Session 12- Track 1205

That is why, if you see the very first sentence:

jyāyasī cet karmaṇas te matā buddhir janārdana |
tat kiṁ karmaṇi ghore māṁ niyojayasi keśava
||1|| (III)

He says: “If You think, that buddhi is greater than Karma, then why do you throw me into this terrible action?” ghore karmaṇi māṁ niyojayasi: why do you throw me into this ghore action?”

Arjuna is impressed by the fact that buddhi is to be settled in Brahman. And therefore, he says that, “buddhi according to you is more important than Karma”. That is why the 3rd chapter starts with this question: “If according to you buddhi is more important than Karma, than why do you throw me into action, and in that terrible action?”

And therefore he complains, he says:

vyāmiśreṇeva vākyena buddhiṁ mohayasīva me |
tad ekaṁ vada niścitya yena śreyo ’ham āpnuyām
||2|| (III)

“You are mohayasī buddhiṁ, my intelligence is bewildered, vyāmiśreṇeva vākyena such sentences which are ambiguous, sometimes it gives one kind of meaning, sometimes it gives another kind of meaning, therefore: tad ekaṁ vada niścitya, decide one thing”, (as if Krishna was not decisive!), so he says “tad ekaṁ vada niścitya yena śreyo’ham āpnuyām , therefore you tell me one thing having firmly decided as to means by which śreyo ’ham āpnuyām, so that my highest welfare is secured”

The whole point is that the teaching is complex. Sri Krishna has got to say that Knowledge is far superior to Action, because that is the natural relationship between Action and Knowledge. He therefore doesn’t mean that action has no place, and that is a subtle thing that Arjuna is not able to grasp: because Knowledge is superior to Action, it does not mean therefore that you have to give up Action. Sri Krishna has never said that Karma is less important than Akarma. Knowledge is more important than Karma, that is right, that is the starting point; but Sri Krishna does not say that Karma is less important than Akarma. In fact Sri Krishna will say that, “Karma is superior to inaction”, that will be later on, Sri Krishna will explain that, “I have told you that Knowledge is superior to Action, but Action is superior to Inaction”: it is the relationship.

Arjuna only wants to say, “What is the best? Only one thing you tell me”, but the real thing is that, the world is not absolutely black and white. The world is that complex Reality, and there are complexities of relationships, therefore even it is not correct to say, “Do this and nothing else, and even when I am telling you this, you are not accepting it, when I tell you, ‘look, fight’, even that you are not accepting, why? Your ideas are coming into the picture; your knowledge comes into the picture; therefore, I must settle your knowledge first”.

That is why, the relationship between Knowledge and Action, and between Action and Inaction has to be understood. And then at a later stage, we have still to come to the real Action, the real motive of Action in Bhakti. That also has to be seen; but for the moment, we have only these two terms: Knowledge and Action. This is the complaint that Arjuna makes.