Devotee: I was wondering how much should a devotee know about the Vedic culture?

Maharaja: Yeah, I think in the first instance, we should really learn what Srila Prabhupada gave in his books, and understand that the essence is all there, and study it very thoroughly. Later when we get more experienced, and we really know these books thoroughly, then it maybe interesting to sometimes look at other scriptures. Just like when you read the Bhagavad Gita and then you want to read the Mahabharat, because you get all these names from the first chapter, which is nice to know a little more about them. Or you know there is a verse in the Bhagavad Gita:

dharmāviruddho bhūteṣu
kāmo ‘smi bharatarṣabha

Sexual activity according to the religious principle – but what is that? Then when we look in the Manu Samhita and there it is spelled out to the letter.

So, once we become more experienced, then all that becomes relevant, but if we start to do that in a premature or at a early stage when we don’t know Prabhupada’s books very thoroughly, then all this Vedic knowledge will start to kind of mix with Prabhupada’s teachings and we don’t get the priorities right. So, therefore it is important first to really focus on Prabhupada’s teachings and absorb whatever he stresses – whatever he establishes as important, and then we can look sometimes a little bit on Vedic background information.

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Stockholm, February 2011)

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