prabhu kahe,--"kon vidyā vidyā-madhye sāra?"
rāya kahe,--"kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā vidyā nāhi āra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord inquired; kon—what; vidyā—knowledge; vidyā-madhye—in the midst of knowledge; sāra—the most important; rāya kahe—Rāmānanda Rāya answered; kṛṣṇa-bhakti—devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; vinā—except; vidyā—education; nāhi—there is not; āra—any other.
On one occasion the Lord inquired, "Of all types of education, which is the most important?" Rāmānanda Rāya replied, "No education is important other than the transcendental devotional service of Kṛṣṇa."
Texts 245 to 257 are all questions and answers between Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya. In these exchanges there is an attempt to show the difference between material and spiritual existence. Education in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always transcendental and is the best of all forms of education. Material education aims at increasing the activities of material sense gratification. Beyond material sense gratification is another negative form of knowledge called brahma-vidyā, or transcendental knowledge. But beyond that brahma-vidyā, or knowledge of the impersonal Brahman, is knowledge of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. This knowledge is higher. And higher still is devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa, which is the topmost form of education. According to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.29.49): tat karma hari-toṣaṁ yat sā vidyā tan-matir yayā: "Work meant for pleasing the Supreme Lord is the best, and education that enhances one's Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the best."
śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyam
iti puṁsārpitā viṣṇau
bhaktiś cen nava-lakṣaṇā
kriyeta bhagavaty addhā
tan manye 'dhītam uttamam
This is a statement given by Prahlāda Mahārāja in answer to a question raised by his father. Prahlāda Mahārāja said, "To hear or chant about Lord Viṣṇu, to remember Him, to serve His lotus feet, to worship Him, to offer prayers to Him, to become His servant and His friend, to sacrifice everything for His service-all these are varieties of devotional service. One who is engaged in such activities is understood to be educated to the topmost perfection."
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