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Natural Awakenings New York City

Local Inspiration

unnamedInterview with

Rakesh Samani

Owner of Aum Shanti
226 E. 14th Street

Q: What inspired you to open a spiritual bookshop in NYC?

A: In 2001, my 25 year old nephew died and that same day my Mom had a stroke. She died in 2002. In 2003 my sister-in-law was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. She died that same year. In 2004 my brother died of a massive heart attack and in 2005 my brother in law passed away from a heart attack. Life became very tough after loosing all those family members. I was sad and depressed for a long time. Trying to look for answers of what is life all about. I learned a mediation practice called vipassana meditation. This practice was taught by Buddha. It was a 10-day silence meditation (vipassana) retreat that cured me from my depression. In my practice I was guided to go work for East West Books. I met so many good souls who were humble and spiritual people. Through my suffering I decided that I will serve the community and help fellow human beings who go through this samsara (circle of life). In 2013 my family was hit by another tragedy. My sisters arm was amputated. This incident was very shocking to all of us in our family. Her pain and suffering awakened me to do more for other amputees around the world. Limb loss awareness is very important to family and to amputees. My main purpose in opening Aum Shanti was to raise awareness and help other charities. I wanted to help as many people as I can through self-empowering books, meditation, yoga, crystals and other healing modalities. As Buddha said, "Appo Deeppo Bhava", which means "Be a light unto yourself". I am taking one day at a time and am always in gratitude to the divine for giving me this opportunity.


Q: What is special about your shop?

A: I opened on Dec 9, 2014 and since then, I am adding new stock every week. I charged all my crystals and merchandise with universal energy called "reiki". Since my linage is from a Hindu family I also blessed everything in the shop with vedic mantra and puja rituals. My specialty is teaching people how to program, use and clean/charge crystals with various recommendations and suggestions so they can get the full energy from the crystal they are purchasing. I always believed in quality not quantity. We carry handcrafted and handmade jewelry pieces, oils and candles made by me, Martha and other NY local artists. We also sell charity bracelets that contribute 25% of the profit to amputee, breast cancer, HIV and other foundations. It makes me very happy to be giving something back to the community and raising awareness.


Q: Tell me about the readings, classes and workshop you offer?

A: We have great tarot, psychic, astrology, vortex, meditation and reiki practitioners. I personally interviewed them and had readings with them. They are very good qualified and knowledgeable beings. We always get customers whose family and friends recommended our readers and practitioners to them. We are very thankful to our customers. I have been working with lots of publisher for a while now. My goal is to bring a variety of authors, teachers, healers and presenters to empower the community.