"In gladness, the cowherd men enjoyed the great festival by splashing one another's bodies with a mixture of curd, condensed milk, butter and water. They threw butter on one another and smeared it on one another's bodies.
Purport: From this statement we can understand that five thousand years ago not only was there enough milk, butter and curd to eat, drink and cook with, but when there was a festival it would be thrown about without restriction. There was no limit to how extensively milk, butter, curd and other such products were used in human society. Everyone had an ample stock of milk, and by using it in many varied milk preparations, people would keep good health in natural ways and thus enjoy life in Krsna consciousness."
Srimad Bhagavatam 10:5:14
Krishna Consciousness is sometimes called the 'kitchen religion' because Krsna prasadam is such a central part of our philosophy and spiritual practice. One of the first activities Srila Prabhupada engaged in after arriving in America was to teach his young disciples how to prepare and offer sumptuous foodstuffs to the Lord. By the late 1960’s, ISKCON “love feasts” had become known far and wide for the amazing Indian vegetarian meals the devotees freely shared with all who would come to hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Today, Sunday Feasts are a tradition in temples around the world.
While the weekly Sunday program is a great opportunity to enjoy the Lord’s mercy in the form of fine vegetarian cuisine, the Vaisnava tradition gives us many opportunities for opulent feasting. Janmastami and Radhastami, the appearance days of Sri Krsna and Srimati Radharani, are two of the year’s greatest festival occasions. Gaura Purnima celebrates Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance, and our Vyasapuja honors the disappearance day of His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Many other feasts are prepared for religious observance over the course of the year. The Vaisnava calendar is filled with the appearance and disappearance days of a host of stellar Vaisnavas whom we wish to honor by offering feasts to Sri Krsna on behalf of his pure devotees. While the saints' appearance day feasts are often simpler to prepare than festivals like Janmastami, there are many dates one can observe.
Those who have the good fortune of being close to an ISKCON temple can take advantage of the feasts prepared and offered by members of the temple community. Many other devotees, by choice or circumstance, prepare and offer feasts to Their Lordships in their home as part of the family Deity worship program, or as part of a small nama hatta community program.
Much of the content in this section of the website is presented for the benefit of those who wish to plan and prepare feasts on a small scale, outside of the temple. Putting on a ‘homegrown’ feast can be a fairly challenging experience, particular when you’re doing it for the first time or with little assistance from a seasoned devotee cook. New devotees who have not yet met other Vaisnavas living nearby may face this challenge. On festival days, we often invite a group of people who all know one another, but who are all new to Krsna Consciousness. While it's a great preaching opportunity, essentially all of the feast preparation ends up being done by two of us.
While a temple feast may include hundreds of different preparations prepared by a small army of devotees, a home asrama feast of fifteen or twenty preparations prepared by one or two devotees can be a major production. Planning the menu, gathering all the ingredients and gear, organizing the tasks and actually making the preparations can take several days of focused effort. This is usually going on parallel to cooking for the family, dealing with the day’s regular activities, and keeping up one’s sadhana practice. We hope to offer here both practical suggestions and inspiration that will help you to prepare such sumptuous feasts for offering to Lord Krsna.