How to study scriptures


Pamho, AgtSp

As a new aspiring devotee I wandered how best to study scriptures so one can a) memorise verses and purports and b) practically execute?

Its very well reading the scriptures i.e. BG and SB and all other Srila Prabhupada books but how can one remember and apply to daily live? slowly and surely of course, patience i appreciate is key

I have such a bad memory but hopefully with time and effort Krishna will provide his mercy for me to remember.

Your thoughts and recommendations would be most appreciated.



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  • Hare Krishna,

    Please accept my humble obesiances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    I take notes nicely. I make sketches. I have notebooks. After I read one verse or sveral, I take notes of the parts which is very interesting for me. Like little summaries. In that way, I don't forget what I read and when I have to preach I look at that notebooks and remember where this subject was, so that I can quote.

    • Haribol Inci Mutlu mataji,

      Please accept my humble obesiances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

      Thank you for taking time to reply.

      Thanks for your advice, I was reading BG again earlier today but this time thanks to all devotees who responded and mercy of Krishna and devotees I was doing as you suggested "taking notes of all parts that interest or strike a chord with me"

      I am a little worried of having too many notes and not spending enough time to review the notes.

      I am fairly new so not actively preaching unless I go out on book distribution whereby I do not get to involved into philosophy. The only opportunity I have is when I do service at local temple and talk to visitors or devotees when I share what I have been reading.

      I suppose BG and SB are such that as Bhaktin Maral Mataji mentioned above you read and read and read and everytime you always find something new anyways so I presume its like this our knowledge increases which also gives us opportunity to apply to our lives. Its important to me that I apply also what is it I am learning.

      Thanks for the tips in any case.

      Your servant,


      • Hare Krsna!

        Writing and taking notes is not only for preaching purpose. It is the best way to absorb what is written and organizing in your mind. Once you take the note nicely then you don't forget. Just reading may be a technique but things will most probably fly away in a short time from your mind. When you take notes, you turn back and read your short notes and you remember the past verses very easily.

        Also :-) don't say that you are not preaching at the moment and so you don't need to take notes. You will preach someday as you improve and in the future you'll regret that you don't take notes. His grace Aindra Prabhu said that, 'I do really regret that I didn't take notes while reading Srimad Bhagavatam. When I remember certain instances, I can't remember in which canto they were. So, if you are reading Srimad Bhagavatam, take notes.' and that's what I do too actually.

        Also reading over and over again is correct. As you improve everytime you got new realizations and as you change, you get new meanings. It is an infinite process.

        According to my understanding it is not important how much you read but how deep you get into the meaning.

        'The Lord reciprocates with His devotees on the basis of transcendental love.' So I will suggest you to read every sentence very carefully and by giving your love in a servitor and humble mood. It took me 2,5 years to read Bhagavad-Gita ;-)

        • haribol inci mataji

          Please accept my humble obesiances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

          Thank you for your taking out the time to reply and provide even more wonderful advice.

          Can I ask when you take notes, do you write them in a book or do you make notes on a computer? I think one think that is important is to get into the habit of re-reading your notes over and over to ensure what you read remains fresh. I need to get into the habit of this. I must admit its very new to me to read something and make notes, I formly used to read alot of books but never made any notes as they were not spiritual or KC books but such is the potency and depth of what we are reading without making notes the information will as you say be easily forgetten.

          I think your point of reading and re-reading is another excellent useful tip because as you say its very true depending on where you at in your life and what it is you are doing you get new realizations.

          2.5 years to read B.G., did you read 1 verse a day :-) or where you really paying attention to every sentence as you mentioned above? I wonder how long it will take you to read S.B. ? :-)

          At the moment I have a bit of extra time and just pray to all Vaishava for blessings that when I am back at work I can maintain the reading because this is important part of sadhana. Srila Prabhupada said he is always present in his books and I feel so fortunate to be reading them so it would be a waste not too. However I trust you know how difficult it can be maintaining material and spiritual life.

          Thank you

          Your servant,


          • Oh, after you reach a certain consciousness than reading SB is really easy, blissful and  full of pleasure. Things are more difficult when you are very new and learning. Beginning is difficult. That's the difficult part. As the time passes with learning and chanting you get mercy and things gets easier. No worries :-)

            Your servant,

            • Thank you mataji

              Yes beginning is very difficult, Krishna sends so many tests for purification, Maya is also testing and one may not have the intelligence to discriminate correctly.

              I am fortunate I do not live too far from a wonderful ISKCON devotees where I know all the brahmacaris and also some sannyasis and have had some personal time with some sannyasis also. This helps alot especially when Maya can be so crafty and cunning.

              I was listening to a lecture yesterday about how many tests Srila Prabhupada had to endure, losing family, losing business, practically penniless at one stage and how this was when Krishna was testing his resolve. Srila Prabhupada simply laughed and wrote a lovely poem. THAT I KNOW IS NOT TO BE IMITATED THOUGH. I could and would never thing about doing that.

              However its an opportunity to learn from and realise there is danger and difficulty at every step but remaining close to Krishna and his devotees will keep us safe and enable to find out more and more.

              I never even my wildest dreams thought I would get such fantastic feedback from this forum and I feel so lucky and privileged and am mericful for being able to receive this knowledge from fellow devotees like yourself.

              thank you

              your servant,


          • There is no rules like you should read this amount. It is important that, you make sure you read sufficient amount everyday according to your schedule. So that you can contemplate on what you learn that day. So you always keep your mind busy with Krsna, thinking about what he told you.

            To remember nicely it should be hand writing. This is how the memory works. You can see it as a service to the Lord. Writing his words or your comments or your understanding very nicely on a new notebook, with white blank pages, is a pleasure and as the pages are filled, you are filling your mind in reality. It is a nice service for the Lord to understand Him better, so to love Him more and more and when there is an opportunity spreading your knowledge. These are all service made with love without expecting nothing for return from Sri Sri Radha and Lord Krsna. So it is Bhakti yoga

            • another great piece of advice about taken hand written notes, I am so glad and greatful to Krishna and for the mercy of devotees that you are taking time to teach me about note taking and re-reading and reviewing your notes.

              I never thought about note taking to be a service but sure it makes alot of sense that one is taking the time to learn more so that they can share their knowledge with others so therefore this is a also a service, Bhakti Yoga :-)

              Wow!!! feel so fortunate to be learning so much, all glories to your service Mataji and isnt it wonderful to be able to use internet in such a productive manner :-)

          • There is not only Srila Prabhupada exists in scriptures,there is Krsna directly speaking with us, in this scriptues. Such an Amazing Grace!:

            “Once in Bombay Srila Prabhupada ordered me to come to his room and listen to him preach to some life members. I sat there and listened for almost an hour. After they left he started to chastise me. Why are you not coming here everyday to listen to me preach. You are one of my leaders if you do not learn how to preach from me then what will happen? Then he quoted a verse in Sanskrit from Bhagavad Gita and asked me if I knew this verse in English, where it was in the Gita, and what the meaning was. I unfortunately had no answers. Are you reading my books everyday? he asked. I admitted my neglect. If you do not read my books everyday then how will you learn? You are going out to make life members and collect big donations but you are not reading my books. You must read my books every day! Then he said Even I read my books everyday. Do you know why? I proffered no answer and waited for the revelation. Because every time I read these books even I learn something! I sat in stunned silence. Then he asked Do you know why I learn something every time I read these books? Now I was completely bewildered Because I have not written these books. What transpired next was simply amazing. He looked me very intently making strong direct eye contact. He spoke with great authority but with a mystical mood bordering on the ecstatic as he began to describe how His books are written. Everyday He said When I sit down here to write these books He was now looking into space waving His hands in the air His voice filled with Transcendental emotion Krishna personally comes and dictates every word. I got the sense that Krishna was present in the room at that moment but I was too blind to see Him. Now Srila Prabhupada returned His eyes to mine Therefore He said Whenever I read these books even I learn something and if you read my books everyday you will also learn something every time you read them.” (HG Bhagavat Das - Srila Prabhupada disciple)

            • wow that is a lovely powerful story thank you so much very for sharing mataji..

              Yes I agree, Srila Prabhupada has left us this great wisdom and I would feel very foolish for not taking advantage of it.

              I also am aware that is quality and not quantity as when preaching doing books or speaking to people in the temple or even devotees sometimes it can just be saying one sentence that has such a positive effect. Of course Krishna empowers you to do this even however you first need to read the books not just once but many times to get to that stage whereby Krishna has the chance to empower you :-)

              thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge



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