Renee Lynn Alias Pooja from New Jersey (US) : Christian by Birth...Hindu by Heart: My Story and Journey of Transformation into Sanatan Dharma - By: Renee Lynn How I fell in love with India, Her culture, and of course Sanatan Dharma. My first trip to India in February 2009 is indescribable. I’ve fallen head over heels in love with India. I felt a sense of connection with India and her beautiful cows. The great love India has for her sacred cows is moving. As a Westerner, India’s care and protection of the cow strikes me as not only heart-touching tradition, but logical. The Vedas describe the cow as “mother” as she provides valuable nutrients so essential for health. Cow protection is not a relic from the ancient past, it’s the heart of Dharma. We should be following in the same footsteps as Lord Krishna, and hold the same upmost respect for cows. In Vedic times it was the duty of everyone to protect the cows at all cost, and it should be our duty today. I love going to cow farms when in India, it makes me feel so happy inside when I see all the precious cows. I have been to India 10 times now since my very first visit, and fortunate enough to come to India twice a year. I was missing the piece of the puzzle in my life. Did you ever feel like a piece of the puzzle was missing from your life? I had been feeling this way my whole life until several years ago. Now, when I look back and reflect on my life, my journey of self-transformation amazes even me, and I am tempted to conclude that yes, I have finally discovered the piece my heart and soul seem to have been missing. This journey began with growing up in a Christian home where 'fanatical' beliefs about religion were taught. Having anxiety attacks and anxiousness practically my entire life, and continuing to get worse. I began to suffer from tremendous anxiety, including panic attacks, heart palpitations, and an overall gripping feelings of fear and distress, which seemed to come out of no where and which lasted for years. Witnessing my struggles, as well as my desperation to feel better, my family, as well as Church Pastors, did their best they could to support me which mainly came in the form of “religious counsel”, preaching to me about the devil, the devil, the devil, "watch what you do and say because you opened the door for the devil, you better not do this and do not do that". Although well meaning, the unending preaching exaggerated the problem and made it worse. In my case, religious innuendos only exacerbated my situation, causing feelings of guilt, shame, depression, more anxiety, and a list of other symptoms. To engrain in one's mind that human suffering can be solved via philosophies which include "everything is the devil, repent of your sins, and be perfect or burn in hell for eternity" is enough to cause psychological damage, but on top of it all, it's illogical. But still, desperate to feel better, I strove to become the “perfect Christian” and during this time, made a daily commitment to keep practicing all my fanatical religious chores, but life perfect from sin, is totally impossible and totally unrealistic. I felt pressure to be worthy, and tried to lead a “perfectly impossible” Christian lifestyle, or be condemned in hell forever. Feeling unrelenting guilt of what I viewed nonetheless, as insane religious fanaticism, I suffered the next round of anxiety attacks, heart palpations, and found myself in the office of a heart specialist, undergoing all these heart test, and later on an EKG machine. It was at that moment that I told myself there is nothing wrong with my heart, or maybe there was, maybe I needed a heart transplant, metaphorically speaking --- a change of religious heart ! The divine encounter that transformed my life forever. Several years back, my life took an unexpected 360 degree turn. Something I never thought possible, was about to happen, “the beginning of my transformation” ! None of the radical religious remedies were working, but desperate for an antidote, I made an appointment to see a psychologist, but unlike the other psychologists I had seen in the past, this was an Indian Psychologist. After a few visits, I did not feel like myself, did the gods of the universe direct me to a path where I was suppose to be ? What was going on with me, what was happening to me, what is this esoteric psychology, is this “ Hindu Magic”. Was this the real me slowing coming to the surface that was dormant my whole entire life. I told myself, wait……this is a new me emerging, a new and improved me, the real me that has been sleeping my whole entire life, has now awoken, and came out of this bottle that I have been stored in. Slowly I was getting better, and for the first time in my life I felt FREE, FREE, FREE ! My anxiety and heart palpations were slowly diminishing. I started learning all about Indian Philosophies and Hinduism and purchased the Bhagavad Gita, and was intrigued reading about Lord Krishna and Arjun. My India journey and freedom. Now, my journey to India begins. I have always been a traveler and enjoy traveling to different places around the world. Throughout my life I have always felt a connection with India, her children, and her beautiful cows, but I didn't know why. It would appear that my transformation with an Indian therapist, a reincarnation of sorts, has lead me to a place that has always been in my heart and soul. And not surprising, I felt immediately connected and in love with India during my very first trip ! Now visiting India for the 11th time, the impact this beautiful country has had on me is no less awe inspiring and I keep falling more and more in love with this beautiful country, among which I have found some of my best friends. As for religion, my former Christian beliefs have now been replaced by Indian philosophies and Hinduism, which I personally find very logical. Such literature and teachings have helped me greatly, and with my anxiety as well. My love for India and Her culture may seem obsessive to some, but to me it is a love affair that continues to grow and grow. All these encounters that came about in my life was divinely orchestrated I believe. It was this universal orchestration that was the catalyst that catapulted me into this amazing journey and my life has never been the same. There is no looking back now, I have been reincarnated. I have since wrote several articles about Hinduism and Lord Krishna, and I have my own FB page dedicated towards my love for India and Lord Krishna, titled, “Renee Lynn’s Love for India and Cows. I am Hindu in my heart and soul, and am proud of it.