Brahma-jijñāsā means this human form of life is meant for inquiring about the Absolute Truth, brahma-jijñāsā. This is human life. Unless one is jijñāsu . . . just like Sanātana Gosvāmī went to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and he inquired . . . His first inquiry was, "What I am?" His first inquiry was. Ke āmi, kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya (CC Madhya 20.102)? He said, grāmya-vyavahāre paṇḍita, tāi satya māni (CC Madhya 20.100). He was a brāhmaṇa. So brāhmaṇas are addressed as paṇḍitjī. He was paṇḍita. He was very learned scholar in Sanskrit and Parsi, Urdu. But he admitted his fault, that "Everyone calls me as paṇḍitjī, but I am such a paṇḍita that I do not know what I am.
This is my 'paṇḍitjī.' Therefore I have come to inquire from You what I am." That is brahma-jijñāsā. Nobody knows in this material world what he is. Everyone is thinking, "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am brāhmaṇa," "I am woman," "I am man." This is their . . . they do not know. Brahma-jijñāsā. Brahma-jijñāsā means first to know one's self, self-realization, "What I am." And in the Bhagavad-gītā the first reply is given there, this brahma-jijñāsā. Because Arjuna was puzzled. He was thinking that, "My kinsmen, my grandfather, my brothers, they are this skin, this body." So he was thinking, "If I kill my grandfather, my brother on the other side, what is the use of this fight? I do not like." But he was thinking in bodily concept of life. This is the position of everyone. Everyone is in the bodily concept of life. Therefore the first instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā is dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13). The asmin dehe, in this body, there is the soul. He is the proprietor.
So this life should be . . . education means one should be advanced in education to inquire about himself. That is brahma-jijñāsā. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. And as soon as there is question of jijñāsā, then there must be somebody else from whom to inquire. Therefore śāstra says that when you are jijñāsu, when you are inquisitive . . . inquisitive of what? Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. Śreyas. Here we are also jijñāsu. We are going to the market: "What is the rate of this share?" "What is the rate of this commodity?" "What is the rate of rice?" "What is . . .?" We are also jijñāsu. But śāstra says, jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam: "One must be inquiring about the highest perfection of life." That is human life. Śreya uttamam. Śreya means . . . Śreya and preya. Goodness, welfare, good. A small child does not know what is his śreya. If you give a two paisa–worth lozenges, he thinks, "This is my object, end of. I have got now nice sweet lozenges." But as you advance, then this śreya is different. It is preya. Immediately which you like, that is called preya. But what is your ultimate good, that is called śreya. Śreya and preya.
So people are interested in the bodily concept of life. Anything which is immediately pleasing to my senses, we take it, "This is my end of life." Therefore śāstra says, śreya uttamam, not that śreya which is immediately very pleasing to you. What is immediately pleasing to you, it will be a source of great displeasure at the end. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. So uttamam. Uttamam. Ut means transcendental, and tama means this material world. "Beyond this material world." Uttamam. Śreya uttamam. Because we are not this material body, therefore our śreya, our highest perfection of life, is different. Here the perfection of life—you get a comfortable life of the body. That is not possible, however comfortably you may situate. You may be very rich man, you may have very rich connection or good apartment, but still, you cannot be happy because you are not this body. But they do not know. Therefore one should be inquisitiveness, that "I want to be happy. I am arranging for my happiness with so many material paraphernalia, but still I am not happy." This inquiry should be there. That is called jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. And that is brahma-jijñāsā.