What do I read first? What do I read after that? Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, said of Krishna conscious philosophy, “It’s like a sweet. From whichever side you taste it, it’s relishable.” So you can begin wherever you like and proceed in any direction. That said, here are some suggestions you may find useful.
Try starting with the all-time classic: Bhagavad-gita. Though considered an introduction to the science of the soul, devotion and God, the text is deep and sublime. The first chapter has lots of Sanskrit names that can trip you up. But don’t worry, you won’t need to remember them—just read through them and move on to Chapter Two.
If you’re looking for a truly introductory book, check out the list below. These books cover various topics, mostly based on the Bhagavad-gita. Click on the name to get a short description of each.
If you’re an undergraduate in Vedic studies, or new to the Vedas and Eastern philosophy, there’s no better succinct overview of the Vedic spiritual discipline than Readings in Vedic Literature, The Tradition Speaks for Itself.
Srimad-Bhagavatam, cantos 1-12 (18 volumes), 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 and The Nectar of Instruction will give you 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 Chaitanya-charitamrta.