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I was born into a fundamentalist Christian cult. I never felt right with it but when I was a small child I knew nothing else. By the time I was fifteen I couldn’t stand to be a part of it any more so I told my parents how I felt. I was shunned.

Still believing in God, I researched world religions for three years and found myhself drawn to nature based beliefs like those of Native Americans. But one day, while on the beaches of Lake Erie, God appeared to me and spoke the Pranava (OM). From my research I knew this was used in Buddhism and Hinduism and so I looked more in depth into these. It wasn’t long before I found Hinduism is what spoke to me and felt greatly drawn to Radha-Krishna and also to Lord Shiva.



I was however still having issues in my life from being raised in the cult and from my strained relationship with my family after rejecting it. I began using hard drugs and eventually got to a very low place ending up in a jail treatment program. Once I got out I stayed sober and began reading the major Upanishads and became convinced of thier Advaita philosophy. Also I felt drawn to Lord Kumara at this time (and also still to Lord Shiva).

After this I spent much time reading advaitic works including those attributed to Adi Shankaracarya. After reading his Saundarya-Lahari I felt Tripura Sundari welling up in my heart. A short time later when I was visiting friends in Buffalo, NY I decided to make the hour trip from there and visit the Rajarajeshwari (Tripura) Peetham near Rochester. I met the Sri Vidya guru who founded the temple who the called Aiya (Sri Chaitanyananda Natha Sarawati) and, though I am a great skeptic of religious leaders, I immediately knew I had found a great guru. Asking him to be intiated he pointed to Rajarajeshwari murti in the sactum and said “Go ask Ma.”, so I did. When I came back out he explained the rules of initiation told me to return on the next full moon. I couldn’t make it on that day so I came on the full moon after that. Aiya told me to go sit in the sanctum where Puja was being done by devotees.

I soon felt a Great heat come over me and Rajarajeshwari came alive. She didn’t move or do anything, but I felt she was alive, that there was a being existing in the stone. I went back to Aiya afterward and he gave me mantras to chant daily. Ever since, for about seven years now, I have been practicing this, and once I have been blessed by the goddess apearing to me in the form of Bala Tripura during my more intense sadhana.

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