"Giving classes and holding feasts is our preaching. We should hold sankirtana as much as possible and distribute prasadam. Gradually when their heart is softened, then we will talk of philosophy, not in the beginning."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Tusta Krsna, 08-23-76
Krsna Prasadam can be used as the centerpiece of an endless number of opportunities for preaching Krsna Consciousness, both in the temple and the home. Nama hatta means that you transform your home and family into an asrama wherein Krsna becomes the center and the Holy Name of the Lord is chanted regularly, Krsna prasadam is offered, and the Deities are served. Dovetailing prasadam distribution with a home preaching program is easy and enjoyable, and allows the whole family to participate in spreading Krsna Consciousness. Whatever your personal circumstances, you can creatively adapt some level of preaching around your own program of offering and taking Krsna prasadam.
Many pages in the Prasadam section of the website describe recipes -- and whole menus -- for feasts that celebrate Vaisnava holy days. Inviting guests to festival events is a great way to share Krsna culture. But secular and Christian holidays can also provide an opportunity for prasadam preaching. Devotees can find it quite difficult to deal with family holidays that are surcharged with passionate activity, meat eating and imbibing. You can sometimes find middle ground by offering to host these get-togethers, providing the main meal which can be made up of Krsna prasadam creatively adapted to suit the holiday. While curry isn’t likely to please many palates on Thanksgiving, there are many meat substitute products available today that can be offered, and endless vegetarian side dishes to please even the fussiest eaters. While describing the various vegetarian dishes, you can emphasize the merits of Krsna Consciousness without offending others.
Indian food and culture in itself provides a unique opportunity for preaching. Dinner parties or other get-togethers that feature delicious banquets of traditional Vedic preparations create an excellent environment for sharing Krsna Consciousness. This is also a great way to expose newcomers -- many of whom might be hesitant about being ‘preached to’ - to Krsna culture. Simply by offering guests a detailed description of each of the foodstuffs, a lot of preaching can take place. Guests love to hear the stories Sri Krsna/Caitanya pastimes associated with various dishes, or the temples where preparations were made famous.
We like to use the travelogue approach to prasadam preaching by inviting guests to a Krsna prasadam feast that’s focused on a particular regional Indian cuisine. No matter what area of India you choose, Krsna's Name, Fame and Pastimes can be found there! We've found this format to be a particularly successful way to expose business associates to the philosophy. Even guests who express little interest in Krsna Consciousness can’t help but be attracted to the nectar prasadam. Try giving them a repeat experience by hosting several different regional feast get-togethers. Not only will they look forward to the next sumptuous meal, their minds will slowly get attuned to the pleasures of hearing about Krsna as part of the eating celebration. Reading aloud from Krsna Book, or reading about Lord Caitanya’s prasadam pastimes, is a nice tie-in to the food theme, and gives guests a great dose of nectar. End the evening with a rousing game of India Mission, which lets you organize various spiritual events across a beautiful map of India. "
Cooking classes are another excellent way to simultaneously share Krsna Conscious culture and distribute prasadam to new folks. A great trend has unfolded with the upsurge of natural and organic supermarkets. Many of these markets have a small kitchen built-in where gourmet and whole foods cooking classes are held. Try signing-up to teach a Krsna prasadam cooking class. No one but the devotees are trained up to teach the remarkable art of cooking to please Lord Krsna! You’ll have a rapt audience.
Prabhupada: “.... If halava is made nicely, actually it is best. So prepare all these things. Offer to Krsna and devotees, and at last you take. Don't take first. Give all, as much as you like, then you take. Susukham kartum avyayam. It is such a nice movement. It is simply pleasing. To execute, it is simply pleasing. And avyayam. Whatever you do is permanent. Whatever little service you have given. It will never be lost. Avyayam. Therefore Narada Muni says, bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi. Even if he's not fully matured and falls down, kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim. Where is loss? Whatever he has done, that is permanent. Because that will grow. If the seed is permanently sown, then it will naturally grow. It may take some time, but it will grow. So he's not loser. If he's little careful, then it will grow. Mali hana sei bija kare aropana, sravana-kirtana-jale karaye... Then the creeper goes, grows, and at last takes shelter of Krsna. These are described in the Caitanya-caritamrta.
Vipramukhya: When we prepare a feast we should give and give and give, and when no one wants any more then...
Prabhupada: Up until he comes to this point. Not only this point, but up to this point. Eat as much as you like. We are not miser. You eat. As much you want I shall supply. But don't waste. Eat. Don't waste.
Hari-sauri: This morning you were saying that fasting is very good. (laughter)
Harikesa: I was just thinking about that.
Prabhupada: No. Not prasadam. I never said. No, those who want to eat... Fasting... One who has not developed Krsna consciousness, for him fasting. And one who takes pleasure, "Oh, it is Krsna's pleasure, or Krsna's food. I'll take." This is the idea. So we are not devotees, therefore we should first fast. And those who are devotees, they'll take as much as they like. I was telling fasting because I am not a devotee. (laughs) For me fasting is good. If I eat more--atyaharah. Atyaharah prayasas ca, sadbhir bhaktir pranasyati.
Hari-sauri: If you can appreciate krsna-prasadam without filling up to the neck...
Prabhupada: Yes. It is for the devotee. A devotee can eat. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu was eating. Govinda, his servant complained, "Sir, so many things are lying here and everyone asks, 'Whether Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taken my preparation.' 'Oh yes, He has taken.' So I have to speak so many lies. You don't take. What can I do?" He said, "All right, bring it. Bring it." So He began to eat for one hundred men's foodstuff stocked. He finished. Then He asked, "Any more?" So, now only the bags are there. Everything finished. (laughs) So He ate. Everything, one after another, one after another, one after another. "All right. Bring, bring, bring." So He can eat. We cannot.”
Srila Prabhupada Garden Conversation, 09-06-76Vrindaban