Everyone is ignorant and the only solution to the ignorance is knowledge given in the scriptures. Sometimes people are engaged in spiritual practice half-heartedly because they do not understand, that we are in serious trouble. Our consciousness is deeply ignorant.
The first substance that covers our consciousness is tamas. This is the general avidya, or total bewilderment, the condition of the mind, which can not discriminate between the truth and the falsity in this world. Because of general ignorance we develop a very elaborate conception of who I am. Tamas creates moha, avidya creates asmita, then from asmita there comes raga. Moha or the desire to enjoy very quickly creates maha-moha, when one is totally bewildered. From maha-moha comes tamisra or total frustration, then comes andha-tamisra or fear of death. Dvesa comes from raga.
Our situation in this material world is very precarious. We are spirit souls, we have nothing to do with this material body, but in reality we are very attached to it. While chanting we think about ourselves therefore our practice is very weak. We have to be very serious about sadhana.
To control the mind for proper sadhana three things are recommended: 1) tapas, or regulation on the level of the body; 2) svadhyaya or the studying of the scriptures and chanting japa; 3) isvara pranidhan or surrender to God.
Studying the scriptures is the integral part of bhakti-yoga, because scriptures are talking about us. We are studying the scriptures for the sake of proper chanting japa. When we study the scriptures deeply, we create new ways of thinking. When we interact with this world the way we used to, we only reinforce our wrong understanding of reality. To change our conditioned personality and to facilitate proper chanting of the Holy name, we have to study the scriptures. We will see the world through the eyes of sastra.
Studying the scriptures means reading it and then thinking about it, it should not be done mechanically. The real result of svadhyaya or studying the scriptures is your close connection with Krisna.
How can we balance between studying the scriptures and listening to others' realizations?