My Journey To Hinduism : Steven Plount (Satya Vana Anand)

Discussion in 'Conversion Stories' started by Hindu, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. Hindu

    Hindu Member Staff Member

    My name is Steven Plount. I am a Vaisnava and devotee of Sri Radhe Krishna.Not being initiated by a spiritual master, I do not have a spiritual name. Though a friend on Facebook from India gave me the name Satya Vana Anand. I think that means keeper
    of the forest? I couldn’t find his post that told me what it meant. I am vanaprasthin/bramachari.

    My journey into Hindu/Santanan Dharma was a long and winding one that has taken a lifetime. I’ve studied and practiced many religions and spiritualties. I am purifying my heart gradually under the guidance of devotees, Vaisnava Literature, Puja Practice and
    the intelligent, clear and truthful writings of Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktivnoda Thakur.

    At this time I consider Srila Prabhupada as my spiritual master.
    In 1995 I attempted to become an Athiest. After 2 years trying to achieve a completely Atheistic viewpoint based in material culture, science and Western Philosophy I begin to re-establish a connection with nature and my soul. I became interested in the Dalai Lama’s Philosophy of Compassion, became a vegetarian and began practicing Mahayana Buddhism. Through that practice I was able to begin purifying my karma by chanting mantras, meditating and perfoming pujas related to Avelokitsvara , the Thousand Armed Buddha Of Compassion in the Tibetan Buddhist Pantheon. I also began performing the 35 Buddhas sadhana daily and memorizing and chanting Sanskrit mantras for morning
    and evening poojas. After 3 years as a Buddhist and a few visits to monasteries and temples in my part of the
    country, I found my interest waning because of lack of a deeper emotional connection to the universe. Also, because many Tibetan/Mahayana Buddhists continue to eat nonvegetarian
    foods and I found this discouraging and contradictory despite the regional conditions in Tibet that force the use of non-vegetarian.
    My own path to vegetarian diet was very long and while I am only 4.5 years into it. I am very pleased with it. I feel ecstatic mentally and physically from taking Prasad every day.
    I was a sous-chef (under chef) in restaurants for many years and cooked and ate many an animal because of my Western Cultural upbringing. It took a patience, research, the Buddha, The Bhagadva Gita As It Is and much chanting and meditation to enable me to
    give up non-vegetarian food. But I have been successful and everyday I feel my soul expanding and growing in compassion, love and understanding simply because I no longer participate in that form of killing necessary for meat consumption. This gives me
    great joy! I hope and pray that all Hindus, worldwide, will give up non-vegetarian foods and focus on their souls, God and his expansions. This will bring about a revolution for
    Hindus everywhere. We are not this body. God is in everything. The Lord is in every animal, every stone and every cloud….

    My life in Santanan Dharma began with a FB conversation. A Hindu friend and I were discussing spirituality{the Upanishads of Swami Nikilananda an impersonalist of the Sanckarcharya School who wrote a translation published in the United States in 1956}
    and my friend suggested I read the Bhagadva Gita As It Is.
    Upon my friends suggestion and considering that Tibetan Buddhism, as well as most Buddhist thought, was born out of the Santanan Dharma/Vedic thought and scripture, I
    purchased a copy of the Bhagadva Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada. I opened it up on a Monday evening and finished it by Friday afternoon. In that amazing book I found what I had been searching for all of
    my life—a complete, simple and precise explanation of what it means to be human, why we are bound in this material nature and how to work towards spiritual liberation in order to return to our natural, true condition as spirit souls “part and parcel” of the Supreme, the same yet different, in spiritual world. Between the Upanishads and The Bagahdva Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada I found many answers and many realizations during that week of study. It was an amazing and
    wonderful time and that energy continues in me to this very moment.

    In January of this year (2013) I attended my first Sunday Feast and Lecture at the Portland Vedic Center/ ISKCON and I have been attending every weekend since, offering service, studying the Bhagadva Gita, learning about the history of ISKCON and
    making friends and associates with many wonderful Devotees and their families.

    I’m content now in life now, being connected to India through Vaisnavism, the Vedic Shastras and through the ancient culture, beauty in the arts, and spirituality of India.
    My life at this time is about spiritual progress on the path of Bhakti Yoga, one of the four kinds of Yoga described and approved of by Lord Krishna in Bhagadva Gita for those on the Platform of Goodness trying to achieve the Transcendental Platform and return to the Spiritual World. I use my skills as an artist and cook in service to the Lord now, like Vaisnavas since time immemorial, and I chant, perform puja, paint and read from the Bhagadva Gita every day. I’m not always successful but I refuse to give up even if I fall
    down some days.

    The gifts India, specifically Hinduism in all of its myriad forms and magnificence, has given the world are a superior understanding of divine nature in all humans, a rich and deep artistic heritage, and a certain, lovely kind of human being whose capacity for affection, love and friendship is superior to all others in a humble, wonderful, and original manner.

    I wish that all Hindus would bind together and work together to bring about a great spiritual change in the world (and especially in India!) returning to the values of the Shastras, stopping non-vegetarian foods and working together to build a new India, a new
    world, refusing to fall victim to Western Culture and its nihilistic, self-centered aspect.

    It’s great to see so many of the young Indians active in the preservation of their Dharmic Heritage. I hope that Hindus, will give up non-vegetarian food, work towards the sustainability that is so often referred to in the Vedas and the Bhagadva-Gita, and join
    together in bliss, knowledge and consciousness to help change the world and expand the ocean of bliss, individually and collectively.
    I love India very much and I am blessed to have many, many dear friends and associates from that Ancient Country with its superior Dharma and warm and intelligent peoples. I am proud to be associated with the Santanan Hindu Dharma and practicing it as best as I can.

    A recent article on Huffington Post explains a lot of why India and its Dharmic/Spiritual/Scientific history and culture are so very important to the world and to me.

    Title of article in Huffington : "What India Can Teach The Rest Of The World About Living Well"

    Hare Krishna
    Steven Plount (Satya Vana Anand)
    November 2013

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