"In the Skanda Purana there is this statement: "A person who is constantly engaged in reading literature enunciating the cultivation of Vaisnava devotional service is always glorious in human society, and certainly Lord Krsna becomes pleased with him. A person who very carefully keeps such literature at home and offers respectful obeisances to it becomes freed from all sinful reactions and ultimately becomes worshipable by the demigods."
Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 12
Devotees often take their breakfast prasadam just after Darsana-arati. One should not eat in front of the Deities, but if the temple room is the only convenient place for the devotees to take prasadam, then the Deity's curtains are closed until the breakfast has been cleared away. Afterwards, the curtain opens for the remainder of the morning, and some devotees may stay to study sastra in the temple. Only quiet personal study should be conducted in front of the Deities. Group discussions should be held outside of the temple room so that others from the congregation who visit the temple during the morning may take darsana of the Deities without interruption.
Srila Prabhupada's program was arranged so that after breakfast prasadam, those devotees who did not have other service requiring their immediate attention could take one to two hours for personal study of the sastra. During Srila Prabhupada's manifest lila, the devotees were kept extremely busy with daily service, and personal study time was greatly savoured by the devotees.
"As far as studying my books is concerned, I have already given the order. One hour in the morning class and one hour in the evening and if there is extra time during the day it may be used for studying but we cannot expect everyone to be studious. If someone has desired to distribute books all day he may do this, but he must always follow the principles of rising early, chanting 16 rounds, etc. Just as some rich men have no inclination for studying, but still he opens many schools for others to study at. Like this, all of my students may not be inclined to study but they are very much eager to give others the opportunity to read my books and this should not be discouraged. All programs must go on but it is a fact that this book distribution program is very very important."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Rupanuga, 02-14-73
"Reading in class for two hours is sufficient and other reading can be done in spare time if one has got it, it is not that one has to be always reading. One hour a morning for Bhagavata class and one hour evening, either Bhagavad-gita or Nectar of Devotion, that is sufficient."
Srila Prabhupada Letter, 09-18-72
Srila Prabhupada did not set down a detailed process for personal study of the sastra. He recommended that one adopt a mood of sincerity and humility, and approach the study of sastra in a methodical way. He recommended that one not jump about from topic to topic, or read about a single topic while jumping from book to book. Rather, he encouraged study from the beginning with the first sloka, reading a book completely from start to finish.
Newcomers to Krsna Consciousness may find the vast scope of Vaisnava literature to be quite daunting, and may wonder where best to begin their studies. We have made a few suggestion on how to consider beginning: The Most Essential Knowledge.