Namaste! I was given this e-mail address by Mr Thakur to write about my introduction and experiences within Hinduism. I am more than happy to do this for you. My name is Max Roberts (my Sanskrit name is Narun Rama). I was raised in Baptist environment, and then I converted to neo-paganism, then Hinduism. I have been a Hindu for nearly 2 in a half years, which is filled with many types of experiences. I was introduced to Hinduism by my own cultural curiosity. I used to live in Rogers, Arkansas, which is near Bentonville, Arkansas, which had a large population of Indian immigrants. I had looked into the Indian culture and history and it had changed my life. I began reading on Hinduism, who's non-dual theology, and means and practicality to attain 'moksha' touched me. I decided to begin a vegetarian diet (upholding ahimsa), and began devotional practices to Sri Siva (at that stage I was chanting Om Namah Shivaya, or the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra). Just a couple months of practicing meditations and mantra japas, I began to feel his Ananda. My devotion to Shiva and the gods grew very much from that day on. As I developed along the Sanatana Dharma, I adopted a satguru, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (or Amma). Being under her guidance, I have learned to practice the Yoga’s (Bhakti, Karma, etc.), and further my spiritual development. I still yet have to meet her body and receive a Guru Mantra from her. One experience that I've had that has moved me is a particular moment when I was chanting the Sri Lalita Sahasranama Stotram (1008 names of Lalita). The third time I had attempted it, half way though, a descent of what I can call Ananda (Bliss) decended on me. I was so much in tears, that I couldn't continue the Stotram for nearly 5 minutes. I'm not sure how often these experiences happen with other Bhaktas, but my faith in the Goddess and Shiva had multiplied thousands of times! Today, I am learning the pujas for Shiva (writen by Swami Satyananda Saraswati) and another Puja for my Satguru Amma. I am developing a practice I can have every day that won't disrupt school and study, while improving my spiritual being. I pray to God and the guru to aid my being into Shiva, and to help me to help others. I wish to be an asset to the world, in science, education, spirituality, and even religion. My feelings for Hinduism are very fond. I have built a love for the gods, the yoga’s, the sages, and saints. I love the people, the rituals, the symbolism, the idealism, the effort people make to reach this idealism. What's surprising is that this idealism is reached! There are hundreds of saints, sages, yogis, and sadhus who experience this idealism, who express it (depending on the shakti they emit). This idealism is becoming recognized by the West as Vedanta, and the theologies derived from it, are being varified by modern science, the spread of the Bhakti Movement, and the practices of Asana/Pranayama/Dhyana. Perhaps this is evidence the Kali Yuga is closing. My journey through the Sanatana Dharma has been short, but very moving. So much has happened in 2 1/2 years. I hope much, much more will happened in 80 years! Perhaps even 400 if I keep up with Asanas and Pranayamas. Om sarva devibhyo namah, om sarva devebhyo namah!