True Story: My wife answered the phone at Gita-nagari last week and one Indian man was speaking very excitedly about the notice posted at his place of employment. He said, ‚ÄúIs it true that you are burning Ravana?‚ÄĚ My wife replied yes and started telling him about the whole festival. He interrupted and said that he was very offended. He was from South India and explained that, in his community, Ravana was god and thought that we were very offensive to burn his worshippable deity. After a few more angry words and empty threats, he hung up.
A couple of devotees were disturbed and worried about offending the ‚ÄúRavana-bhakta‚ÄĚ contingent but, needless to say, we went ahead and had the festival. It turned out a grand success, beyond our expectations. This was the second annual Rama-vijaya festival at the farm. The first one was nice and fairly well attended but this year was huge. Ravana was huge (at least 13 feet tall). The fire works were huge. The feast was huge, and the attendance was huge, second only to our Ratha-yatra in size. Actually, we later heard that the controversy with the Ravana followers actually increased interest and attendance in the festival. All of the Gita-nagari vasis were thrilled and enlivened by the successful festival and are looking forward to an even bigger and better festival next year.