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Suggested Reading


What to read first? What to read next? Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (and the author of many of these books), said of Krishna conscious philosophy, “It’s like a sweet. From whichever side you taste it, it’s relishable.” You can begin wherever you like and proceed in any direction you find interesting. That said, here are some suggestions you may find useful:

Try starting with the all-time classic: Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the famous conversation between Krishna and His friend Arjuna about the science of the self, the Supreme Self, and how to think and act transcendentally—spiritually—while in this material world. The first chapter has lots of Sanskrit names that may be unfamiliar to those new to Vedic history, but not to worry—memorizing them is not required to understand the Gita's main message, which begins with Chapter Two.

There are many introductory books that cover various topics, mostly based on the Bhagavad-gita. Readers have recommended The Science of Self-Realization, and Journey of Self Discovery—each compilations of Back to Godhead magazine articles—as broad, clear introductions to Krishna consciousness.

If you’re an undergraduate in Vedic studies, or new to the Vedas and Eastern philosophy, you may find Readings in Vedic Literature to be a helpful, informative guide.

Among the translations and commentaries, the Bhagavad-gita is at the first level, Srimad-Bhagavatam comes next, and Chaitanya-charitamrta is still more advanced.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most important of the Puranas, or histories. The Bhagavatam is the postgraduate, post-Vedic text of spiritual understanding. It has served as the inspiration for countless works of literature, song, drama, painting, and sculpture. Srila Prabhupada considered the translation of the Bhagavatam his life’s work.

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta (9 volumes), the celebrated biography of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is at once a work of poetry, theology, philosophy, and aesthetics. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started the Krishna Consciousness movement in West Bengal 500 years ago.

Here’s a great little introduction to vegetarianism that also contains a few nifty recipes: Higher Taste Cookbook.

We recommend Sri Isopanishad as an illuminating Upanishad that will give you a brief, but excellent, introduction to the philosophy.

The Nectar of Devotion as well as The Nectar of Instruction both give a systematic understanding of Bhakti-yoga. They are excellent guides for understanding the practice of Krishna Consciousness and applying it in your life.

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a summary study of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, presents the relishable, enlightening pastimes of Lord Krishna on earth.

Teachings of Lord Chaitanya is a summary of the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as found in the Chaitanya-charitamrta.