When Lord Caitanya asked Rāmānanda Rāya what is the most painful experience in human society, Rāmānanda Rāya replied that separation from a pure devotee is the most painful experience. In other words, when there is no devotee of the Lord present, there is great suffering in society, and association with other people becomes painful. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.30.6–7) it is stated that if one who is bereft of the association of a pure devotee tries to become happy through society, friendship and love devoid of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is to be considered in the most distressed condition. In the Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta (1.5.54) it is stated that the association of a pure devotee is more desirable than life itself and that in separation from him one cannot pass even a second happily.
Lord Caitanya then asked Rāmānanda Rāya, "Out of many so-called liberated souls, who is actually liberated?" Rāmānanda replied that one who is completely saturated with devotional love for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is to be considered the best of all liberated persons. Similarly, it is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.14.5) that a devotee of Nārāyaṇa is so rare that only one can be found among millions and millions of liberated people.
"And out of all songs, what song do you think is the best?" Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked. Rāmānanda replied that any song which describes the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is the best song. The conditioned soul is captivated by sex. All literary works of fiction—dramas, novels and so on—describe love between men and women. Since people are so attracted to this kind of literature, Kṛṣṇa appeared in this material world and displayed His transcendental loving affairs with the gopīs. There is an immense literature dealing with the loving exchanges between the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa, and anyone who takes shelter of this literature, or of the stories about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, can enjoy actual happiness. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.36) it is said that the Lord displayed His pastimes in Vṛndāvana in order to reveal His actual life. Any intelligent person who tries to understand the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is most fortunate. The songs that tell of those pastimes are the greatest songs in the world.
Lord Caitanya then inquired, "What is the most profitable thing in the world, the essence of all auspicious events?" Rāmānanda Rāya replied that there is nothing as profitable as the association of pure devotees.
"And what do you recommend a person should think of?" Lord Caitanya asked. Rāmānanda replied that one should always think of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa has multiple activities, and they are described in many Vedic scriptures. One should always think of those pastimes; that is the best meditation and the highest ecstasy. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.2.36) Śukadeva Gosvāmī confirms that one should always think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, one should not only think of Him but also hear and chant His name, fame and glories.
"And what is the best type of meditation?" Lord Caitanya inquired.
"He who always meditates on the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is the best meditator," Rāmānanda Rāya answered. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.14): "It is the Supreme Personality of Godhead alone—He who is the master of all devotees—whose name one should always chant and who should always be meditated upon and worshiped regularly."
"Where should a person live, giving up all other places?" Lord Caitanya next inquired. Rāmānanda replied that one should give up all other places and live in Vṛndāvana, where Lord Kṛṣṇa had so many pastimes. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.61) Uddhava says that it is best to live in Vṛndāvana, even as a plant or creeper. It was in Vṛndāvana that the Supreme Lord lived, and it was there that the gopīs worshiped Him, the ultimate goal of all Vedic knowledge.
"And what is the best subject to hear of?" Caitanya Mahāprabhu next asked.
"The pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa," Rāmānanda replied. Actually, when the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are heard from the right source, one at once attains liberation. Unfortunately, sometimes people are misguided because they do not hear these pastimes from a realized soul. It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.39) that one who hears the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs will attain the highest platform of devotional service and be freed from material lust, which overwhelms everyone's heart in the material world. In other words, the actual result of hearing the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is to get rid of all material lust. One who does not become freed from material lust in this way should not indulge in hearing of the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Unless we hear from the right source, we will misinterpret the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and think they are ordinary affairs between a man and a woman. In this way we shall be misguided.
"Who is the most worshipable Deity?" Caitanya Mahāprabhu next inquired. Rāmānanda Rāya immediately replied that the transcendental couple, Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, is the ultimate object of worship. There are many worshipable objects. For example, the impersonalists worship the brahmajyoti, but by such worship one becomes bereft of life's symptoms and becomes just like a tree or other nonmoving living entity. Those who worship the so-called void also attain such results. Those who are after material enjoyment (bhukti) worship the demigods and achieve their planets and thus enjoy material happiness. Lord Caitanya next inquired about those who are after material happiness and those who are after liberation from material bondage. "Where do they ultimately go?" He asked. Rāmānanda Rāya replied that those who aspire for liberation ultimately turn into trees, and that the others attain the heavenly planets, where they enjoy material happiness.
Rāmānanda Rāya went on to say that those who have no taste for Kṛṣṇa consciousness or spiritual life are just like crows who take pleasure in eating the bitter nimba fruit. It is the poetic cuckoo that eats the buds of the mango tree. The unfortunate transcendentalists simply speculate on dry philosophy, whereas the transcendentalists who are in love with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are just like cuckoos enjoying the buds of the mango tree of love of Godhead. Thus those who are devotees of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are most fortunate. The bitter nimba fruit is not at all eatable; it is simply full of dry speculation and is only fit for crowlike philosophers. Mango buds, however, are very relishable, and those in the devotional service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa enjoy them.