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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Final Results of MSF of killing the Ravana within

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 / Published in Reports / 3,939 views

By Sri Krishna Purusottama das

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

On behalf of Team ISV, we have gathered here for the very first time at ISCKON OF SILCON Valley Mountain View location , on the most auspicious occasion to offer the results of Rama Navami MSF which is “The Monthly Sankirtana Festival (MSF) of MSF of killing the Ravana within”, conducted over two weekends to honor Lord Sri Ramachandra .

suro ‘suro vāpy atha vānaro naraḥ
sarvātmanā yaḥ sukṛtajñam uttamam
bhajeta rāmaḿ manujākṛtiḿ hariḿ
ya uttarān anayat kosalān divam iti

Therefore, whether one is a demigod or a demon, a man or a creature other than man, such as a beast or bird, everyone should worship Lord Rāmacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears on this earth just like a human being. There is no need of great austerities or penances to worship the Lord, for He accepts even a small service offered by His devotee. Thus He is satisfied, and as soon as He is satisfied, the devotee is successful. Indeed, Lord Śrī Rāmacandra brought all the devotees of Ayodhyā back home, back to Godhead [Vaikuṇṭha].
– S.B 5.19.8

The best purpose of human life can be fulfilled by worshiping the ṣaḍ-bhūja-mūrti, the form of the Lord with six arms — two arms of Rāmacandra, two arms of Kṛṣṇa and two arms of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (SB 5.19.8 – purport)

Srila Prabhupada, our beloved Acarya mentions in one of his letter about Door to Door book distribution:
“I have also heard that you are making plans for a very large order of my books from the BBT to be sold on a door to door basis on the style of the encyclopedia sales. If you can do this it will revolutionize our book distribution and afford greater spreading of Krsna consciousness than any book distribution thus far. I want that every respectable person has a full set of Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrta in his home. I have given some suggestions how this book distribution in the homes can be done to one of my secretaries, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami and you can consult further with him as well as with Ramesvara and Tamala Krsna Maharajas.”

Taking this instruction from Srila Prabhupada, and following in his footsteps, Team ISV organized this MSF of killing the Ravana within to spread Krishna consciousness throughout the Bay Area.

Goals of this MSF were:

Recite the entire Ramayana by Lord Rama’s appearance day
Distribute books at an event

To realize these goals, devotees participated in reading and discussing sections of Ramayan
Retold by Krishna Dharma Prabhu. These readings were led by HG Vaisesika Prabhu , Gandharvika Mataji and Sraddha Mataji over phone conferences and temple programs.

Team ISV spread the vibration of the holy names during the Harinaam Sankirtan at Palo Alto and did massive book distribution door to door distributing Srimad Bhagavatam sets and also installed at homes.

Highlights of this MSF are:

· Both Adults (including Motel Gita team) as well as kids from Sunday school participated in this MSF. In addition, books were also distributed by the Smart-box team through smart boxes placed in various locations in the Bay Area.

· Team ISV participated at Cherry blossom festival in Japan town, San Francisco and distributed many books

· Team ISV also participated in South Indian music festival at Palo Alto and also distributed books in bay area hospital.

· Team ISV broke the record by distributing 6 SB Sets going house to house in 5 hours. They not only distributed, but installed Srimad Bhagavatam book set deities in those houses.

· Team also participated in travelling sankirtan on Interstate 5 distributing books motel to motel.

· ISV Sankirtan devotees performed a skit on Srimad Bhagavatam at Sunday feast program with the theme of skit and Sell

As we make this offering of the MSF results, we were pleased to report that all the goals had been successfully met and surpassed.

In all:

• More than 30 devotees participated in book distribution
• Team ISV distributed 5451 in book points, including 17 Srimad Bhagavavatam sets
• Team ISV raised $ 4637 in Laxmi (including donations and sponsorships)


We thank all participating devotees, donors and Sankirtana leaders who contributed to this MSF, and last but not least we express our deepest gratitude to HG Vaisesika Prabhu for inspiring and guiding us at every step of our Sankirtana!

We pray at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and the Lordships Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan and Sri Sri Laxmi Narasimha dev to continue to shower their mercy upon us. Remembering Voice of ISV H.G Rasika-sekhar Prabhu.

MSF of killing the Ravana within Ki Jay!

Jay Sita rama Lakshmana and Bhakta Hanuman Ki jai

Thank you very much

-Sri Krishna Purusottama das
ISV Sankirtan team.

WSN March 2013 - World Sankirtan Newsletter
SRI SRI RADHA-SHYAMSUNDAR Temple of Sri Shyamananda Prabhu, Vrindavana

11 Responses to “Final Results of MSF of killing the Ravana within”

  1. Akruranatha says :

    It is so heart-warming to watch the video and see how these sets of Srila Prabhupada’s books are being received so lovingly and installed within the homes of the people who bought them. Please take some time to look at the video.

    These devotees like Sri Krishna Purusottama and Malini and Damodar Vamsidhari and the whole ISV sankirtan team are doing such wonderful service for Srila Prabhupada, and they are showing that this can be done. I hope it will be replicated elsewhere.

    There are selling these sets not only to receptive Hindu families but also to Christians and Muslims. I saw one group of photos of Sraddha dasi and Mukharavinda Das selling sets to a Muslim man and a Christian.

    The children in these households will surely at least look at the pictures and read the captions. I remember how I used to read our encyclopedias out of curiosity as a child. I wish I had had a Srimad Bhagavatam or Caitanya Caritamrta.

    Devotees who spent hours trying to distribute one book at a time in parking lots and finding later that some people had thrown the books away will be moved to tears by these videos and stories.

  2. gourgopal.brs says :

    Amazing Results!
    All glories to your sincerity and dedication to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books which are saving millions of lives everyday.
    Thank you for sharing such inspirational videos and photos.

  3. pustakrishna says :

    This is a small but important criticism, as I also am a small part of ISV. First, the distribution of transcendental books is beyond any criticism. The use, however, of the concept of “Killing the Ravana Within”, in my view, should not be used on several grounds. There are some who have taken the writings of the Bhagavad Gita, or of Krishna’s pastimes, as something “allegorical”. That is to say, they try to relate that Arjuna means “such and such” and Krishna means “such and such”. Different demons mean “such and such”. They do not take it literally or AS IT IS. Srila Prabhupad warned us not to think in those terms. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead plays or fights, it is always extraordinary. I recall, as I have previously mentioned in Dandavats, how Srila Prabhupad said that Vyasadeva, the great philosopher empowered compiler of the Vedas, was not telling children’s stories, eg when speaking about Bakasura. Vyasadeva is not giving us children’s stories. Vyasadeva would not waste his or our time with that. “One weak link and the whole thing is placed into question!” These words of Srila Prabhupad are sufficient.
    Now, from another point of view, Ravana also (a ten-headed demon) was extraordinary and an appropriate opponent for Lord Ramachandra to fight with. So, one should not place this into the realm of “allegory” by saying that one must “kill the Ravana within”. Further, it is a negative. Killing the darkness does not assure that there will be light, whereas Godhead is light and darkness is nescience, ignorance.
    I recommend we take the view that the soul is hungering for love and happiness that is beyond the capacity for the material world to provide. The positive reality is “Bhidyante hrdaya grantis…” simply by hearing about the topics of the Srimad Bhagavatam, the “knot within the heart is cut”, opening the door to the eternal love and joy that awaits all jiva souls potentially. No allegory…just REAL reality. Humbly submitted, Pusta Krishna das

  4. Akruranatha says :

    Pusta Krishna Prabhu, Dandavats.

    I do not think the ISV sankirtan festival organizers in any way meant to diminish the fact that the Lord really did advent Himself as Ramacandra and fought with actual raksasas in Lanka.

    The fact that Ravana was an actual demon (one of the three lives of Jaya and Vijaya as demons, or four if you count Jagai and Madhai) does not detract from the idea that we do have demoniac mentalities within our subtle bodies, whom we pray for Krishna to kill, and that our sankirtan activities are meant for killing such subtle demons in the minds of atheistic and materialistic people of this age.

    You are of course aware that in “Sri Krishna Samhita”, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur identified 18 anarthas which he compared to different demons who attacked Lord Krishna in Vraja. That does not mean they are mere “allegories” or symbolic literary devices, but God can use the real, historical activities of this world to also teach us valuable lessons.

    When Vaisesika and Malini and others on the team choose these names, they refer to Srila Prabhupada’s writings. In this case I think it was a good name, supported by statements such as:

    “Let people chant the Hare Krsna mantra constantly. Then their demoniac tendencies will be killed, and they will become first-class devotees, happy in this life and in the next.” (See, SB 10.1.65-66)

    “In this age Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission is also like that: to deliver the devotees and to annihilate the nondevotees, the demons. But in this age He has a different weapon. That weapon is not a club or disc or lethal weapon—His weapon is the sankirtana movement. He killed the demoniac mentality of the people by introducing the sankirtana movement.” (SSR)

    “He killed so many demons, so in this age of demoniac tendency, we may not kill the demons like Krsna did it, but we can kill the demoniac tendency. How is that? By this sankirtana weapon. That is the specific contribution by Lord Caitanya, Krsna Himself, in this Kali-yuga. So I am informed that you are the sankirtana leader for Laguna Beach temple, so you should very enthusiastically lead the sankirtana party, and in this way you will very successfully kill the demoniac tendency of the rascals.” (SPL to Doug Russell, 18th April, 1973)

    But your point that we should not think of Krsna-lila or Rama-lila as imaginary, fictional stories is well taken.

  5. pustakrishna says :

    I appreciate this discussion. At least from my own paltry experience, when I first came into the association of devotees, I would not say it was because someone told me to chant the Holy Names in order to kill the demoniac tendencies within my self. Rather, I was positively attracted to the ideal that we are searching for love that is endless. That can be provided only by relationship with Krishna. The “All-attractive” nature of Krishna was definitely the impetus to go further. Then, when chanting the Holy Names, the sublime and unparalleled joy that I tasted confirmed the hypothesis: Relationship with Krishna is full of bliss.

    I think that we should invite people to experiment with the process. Not to accept it blindly. If they will, then they will discover for themselves the Truth that exists within the Holy Names. That is a positive process. We are appealing to people with some sukriti, some piety, even if it has taken many lifetimes to accumulate. These souls are ripe for planting the seed of bhakti.

    When you view the opposite ploy, that you will kill the demoniac tendencies within by chanting the Holy Names, it would not appeal in the same way. People in the material world are being rewarded by the masses for being gross sensualists…movie stars, popular singers, and the list goes on and on. Krishna consciousness is available to everyone, but will be accepted by the very few: manusyanam sahasresu, and so on.

    There is no doubt that the good qualities can manifest by associating with the Supreme Pure (Pavitram paramam bhavam). Pious souls are looking for higher purity and they will gladly be led to that. And, a rejection of the modes of ignorance and passion will not necessarily bless one with the mode of goodness, which is also part of the illusory energy. It is the choice of the jiva soul to surrender to Krishna, or to come under the clutches of maya (His illusory energy). And, particularly in preaching Krishna consciousness in America, if you tell one that the 10 headed demon Ravana lies within you, they will not be likely to appreciate your analysis. Christians are always preaching that the devil is the dark force that keeps one engaged in material ways. That is not our philosophy. We hold that the individual soul has minute independence at every moment. That is the work of yoga. To take shelter of Krishna is the culmination is the means and end.
    Pusta Krishna das

  6. pustakrishna says :

    We need to follow in the footsteps of the acharyas. Our ontological understanding of reality is that there is the jiva soul (with minute independence), the three modes of nature under higher control, and the Supersoul as Witness and Permitter/Controller. We are not in a tradition where “exorcism” is being done, ie killing the Ravana within? It is wonderful that the ISV bhaktas are inspired by holidays to make a push to distribute books, such as Lord Rama’s appearance day, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur’s birthday, and the like. It is really fine to use novel approached to distribute books (dressing up as Santa at Christmas and the like). But, the philosophical basis of teaching must remain sound. There is always the potential for the KC movement to deviate in unyet recognized ways, and we do not want to see yoga-nasta in our time. The means and the end are theoretically one in Krishna consciousness. Bhakti is the means, bhakti is the end…like the thickening of sugar cane juice into rock candy. But, I would caution against using the idea of “exorcism” within this context. The philosophical discrimination of Krishna consciousness differentiates our spiritual line from other emotional religious traditions that involve ideas such as the “devil”. That is not part of the Vedic philosophy. While there are divine and demoniac natures, we know, these are due to the attachment of the jiva soul to higher or lower modes of nature. Desires do not disappear in Krishna consciousness, but the yogi can tolerate and remain unattached to lower modes, and later even to the higher modes of nature, dovetailing desires ultimately to please Krishna to the exclusion of all else. I would not want to introduce this idea of “exorcism” into the Krishna consciousness movement. Neither do I think that this will appeal to intelligensia if those are the people to whom you are trying to sell the books. Pusta Krishna das

  7. krsnaLH says :

    Pusta krsna prabhu,

    I have not met these innovative glorious book distributors, but i should believe you have since you live close by ?? –”I also am a small part of ISV.” Therefore, i am confused by your comments. My understanding of their MSFs is that each one is named differently to give some added inspiration to and meditation for the devotees doing the distributing . They are not telling the people to whom they are distributing books anything about the name of the festival–so no mention of ravana to them.

    I have seen monthly titles as: “Monthly Sankirtana Festival of Anartha-nivritti” (during a festival dedicated to Lord Nrsimhadeva), “MSF of Abundant Bhajans” (gaura purnima), “MSF of Krsna’s Most Dearest Servant,” “MSF of Steady Improvement,” “MSF of Loving Exchanges.” For this last one, i read that the devotees distributing the books concentrated on giving gifts to each other and projecting that loving mood when giving books to people on the street. So it seems to me the name of each festival is an insider thing– in this ravana case i can only imagine that while they were being as pleasant and loving as possible on the exterior, they were internally meditating on how book distribution is an opportunity to uproot any desire they may have in their heart to try to accumulate fortune/ wealth and use it for their own sense gratification, as ravana did. Being a householder forces you to deal with money and things so one must always be on one’s guard– therefore, it seems an excellent meditation.

    Prabhupada said that if one wants to enjoy laksmi (sita) the way ravana did, he will be vanquished by the laws of nature, so Prabhupada accepted that you can have ravana like propensities. He also said that there was only one ravana in lord rama’s time, but now there are many ravanas…”but the ravana is always there, ravana-class men.”

    We must have some faith in such wonderful devotees…they know what they are doing. We must all of us become more swanlike.

    P.S. here’s a nice thing one of those MSFers said: “One of our mottos is “Encourage the heck out of everybody.” Nothing’s too small. We go out of our way to notice whatever service anybody does, and acknowledge it.” Since you live close, i think, have you ever gone out with them? I’d love to hear your explanation of the experience as you are such a nice writer.

    Your servant, klh

  8. pustakrishna says :

    “Encourage the heck out of everybody”…but proper adjustment and philosophical scrutiny is a necessary component. We have never been encouraged to accept everything blindly. Rather than go into details of my own book distribution (which does take place regularly by me when I freely give the Bhagavad Gita As It Is to people when they show a spark of spiritual interest) and helping to make others into bhaktas which I have had the privilege to do even while a physician over the past 23 years), I give get praise to the San Jose devotees who are following the determined and steady example of Sripad Vaisesika Prabhu. He has made book distribution the cornerstone of his practicing life, and his joy in doing so is infectious in the best way.
    The issue I have brought up is a simple philosophical perspective. Is Krishna Consciousness involved with exorcism or not? When Jagai and Madhai were converted by the grace of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, no spirit of evil swept out of their bodies. Rather, their’s was a change of heart. That is our conception! We must not deviate from the principle that individuals have the burden of choice through their minute free will.
    I do understand the fervor that many of our East Indian godbrothers and godsisters encounter amongst the Indian community in the West. Many of the Indian people who have migrated to the West take up meat-eating, even beef, and other aspects of western life that may represent the worst aspects of Western materialistic culture. I can understand how they might view this behavior amongst their Indian community counterparts as being “demoniac”, rakshasa-like, and their compassion is to awaken their neighbors to a higher form of consciousness. What I have highlighted by my comments is by no means criticism of their enthusiasm for book distribution, but rather a simple request to re-think this expression of ‘Killing the Ravana Within.’ I strongly urge that we place the urgent need for change before others in a more rational and less emotional manner. That too, is ‘encouraging the heck out of everyone”, but without distorting the conception into one that involves exorcism…since in Krishna conscious philosophy there is no exorcism. There is no devil. These concepts belong to other religious conceptions and other scriptures, but if you truly believe that Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth, one does not need to read or subscribe to other scriptures. Pusta Krishna das

  9. Akruranatha says :

    Dear Pusta Krishna Prabhu,

    I think Krishna LH is correct. You have made a good point but I do not see any actual problem at ISV.

    The book distributors at ISV are learned devotees. They do not have any strange ideas about “exorcisms” or chasing ghosts and evil spirits form people’s bodies (not that it cannot happen: I have heard stories about Narottam Das Thakur exorcising a demon from a bandit king, and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada chasing a ghost away from a building with harinama kirtan, or a young girl devotee-scholar chasing a ghostly spirit from a tree by reciting Srimad Bhagavatam; even devotees chanting at John Lennon’s house).

    But basically the idea is simple. When we chant regularly, we find ourselves able to give up bad habits. We feel happier and “lighter”, we get a higher taste. Some bad habits are gross, like drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, eating too much or watching too much TV. Others are more subtle such as being ambitious for honor, or criticizing others.

    Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita that the senses, mind and intelligence are sitting places for lust, which covers our real knowledge and bewilders us. By chanting and engaging in book distribution, we feel we are gradually cleaning such dirty things from our hearts, so that it becomes easier to regulate our senses and engage steadily in devotional service, avoiding offenses.

    As Krishna LH says, these are just names we give to the different Monthly Sankirtan festivals to inspire the devotees. It is not generally something we talk about to the people we meet on book distribution, but a poster is made and hundg in the temple to encourage the sankirtan devotees, and when we read the scores to the Deities we also identify the name of that month’s festival.

    I do not think there is anything philosophically “off” about this particular name. It is based on many statements within Srila Prabhupada’s books. All these names are selected by consultation with Srila Prabhupada’s books and lectures.

    You seem to be making too much of it. The sankirtan devotees at ISV know what they mean by “killing the Ravana within” and are not prone to think we will perform exorcisms to chase away ghosts and demons from “possessed” people (as some Christian faith-healers may do). Really, they are very well educated, thoughtful devotees who not only distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books but regularly read and discuss them, too.

  10. krsnaLH says :


    As per your instructions, i want to rethink the expression “killing the ravava within.” I want to especially consider your inclusion of the idea of exorcism.

    An exorcist kicks out a real living entity who has decided to enter your body. Now, I know that i do not believe that the living entity who was temporarily manifested some many years ago as the many-headed-killed-by-rama ravana has personally entered my body, as a ghost. That would be preposterous–for one thing, ravana is, i’m assuming, now back at his post in vaikuntha serving the Lord… and even if he were to personally leave vaikuntha and choose me to haunt, i’d guess it would be to my benefit due to his devotional attitude. So all talk of the exorcism of Ravana himself is stupid.

    Therefore, when i say ravana is within, i must be being metaphorical. There’s nothing wrong with being metaphorical. What was ravana’s big fault?–wanting to enjoy what belongs to the Lord. So being poetic, i can use ravana’s name to represent the tendency to want to enjoy what rightfully belongs to the Lord. Do i have that tendency? You bet. Is that tendency within my heart? Yes, absolutely. Do i want to get rid of that tendency? Yes, i really do. What is another way of saying “get rid of”? Wipe out, do away with, destroy…kill. Yes, indeed i want to kill the ravana within–that is, i want to get rid of the tendency-to-take-what-belongs-to-krsna-and-try-to-enjoy-it-myself that lives within my heart.

    So i’ve rethought it, and where is the fault?

    Does book distribution help me to uproot bad tendencies. Of course. Can i focus my meditation for 2 weeks on the power of book distribution to uproot the demonic tendencies within my own heart, as i distribute books? Great. Is it easier for me to meditate on “the Monthly Sankirtana Festival of Getting Rid of the Tendency to Take What Belongs to God and Try to Enjoy It Myself, Which Lives Within My Heart,” or on “the Monthly Sankirtana Festival of Killing the Ravana Within”? They do mean the same thing, just one is poetic, the other is cumbersome.

    And why do you hold onto “before others”? Are they telling those getting books something about the ravana within? I don’t think so.

    What all this talk is doing is waking me up to the fact that i better get out there and distribute more books, so thank you for that pkp. And again: It would be great if you went out with them once and wrote on it…i’d love it!

    ys, klh

  11. pustakrishna says :

    Dear Akruranath and LHKrishna,
    Dandavats and Hare Krishna. All Glories to Srila Prabhupad. I am happy to receive inspiration when genuinely offered. I am engaged as best I can be at present. Krishna consciousness is not usually a splint but rather a marathon, for me going on 44 years now. One has to persist and remain determined to the last breath. Still, agree or not agree, I believe it is wiser to use factual philosophical inspiration rather than metaphorical ideas. I understand well the relationship of Sri Ramachandra’s Appearance Celebration with the use of the Ravana reference. We are trying, I hope, to appeal to the rational introspective mentality of the public. Many Indians even have rejected the Indian tradition unfortunately because of their inability to conceive of the pastimes and cosmology of Vedic tradition. Such thinkers may be more attracted to the logic of the Bhagavad Gita, and the responsibility of the individual to take responsibility for their choices. The practice of yoga is dependent upon the jiva soul’s capacity to discriminate, and so by choices made, transfer the attachment away from lording over matter toward service to Krishna. It is the work of human life and the challenge is that we can inspire others to both experience this and through preaching inspire others to undertake the same. I fully accept that others will have different approaches, but through my years of personal practice, and years associating closely with Srila Prabhupad, that is what I can share. When others even senior in our mission would propose other things, and if I would in some way subscribe to these and informed Srila Prabhupad of this, His Divine Grace would chastise me personally (more than once) and say: “Why are you listening to ‘so and so’, he is not your guru. I am your Guru!” Despite the growth of the movement, he did not want to allow his disciples to divert to a communal guru concept. He did not want, at least in my experience, that I accept sometimes divergent or whimsical instructions, even if they could be rationalized away. That is the foundation that I stand upon in my life at least, and I am not better than any one else for that, but I know where I stand. I realize the potential for differing opinions, but in my time at least…Srila Prabhupad is my gurudeva. Pusta Krishna das