Years ago, I used to visit Watkins Books, whenever I came to London. I liked this bookshop, and still like it, for the great collection of books on many of my favorite topics.
I always enjoyed visiting Watkins Books, and used to spend time browsing the books, reading, and of course, buying more than a few books.
Watkins Books is situated near Leicester Square, at 19-21 Cecil Court. It specializes in books about esoteric subjects, spirituality, meditation, Indian philosophies and spiritual masters, mysticism, astrology, various methods of divination, magic and the occult, and self-improvement.
Watkins Books is probably the oldest bookstore on these topics, having been founded more than 100 years ago.
Unique Experience with Watkins Books
On one of my visits to Watkins Books, many years ago, I discovered a book, which I liked very much. The words in the book spoke directly to my inner consciousness, and brought me a great sense of inner peace and inner happiness.
The book had a hard cover and contained many pages. I wanted to buy it, but it was a bit too expensive. I had already bought several books and did some shopping, and I did not want to have overweight luggage when flying back home.
However, since the book was very intriguing, I said to myself that I will come back to the bookshop at the end of my stay in London, and maybe I will buy it then.
On the last day of my visit, I happened to be at Charing Cross Road, quite near Watkins Books, but as I was with friends, and the flight back was due in just a few hours later, I decided not to go to the bookstore.
After flying and arriving home, I kept thinking about that book. There was something in it that spoke right to the soul, so I decided to write a letter to Watkins Books. I did not remember the title of the book or the name of the author. However, in my letter, I described exactly where I saw the book, on which shelf it was placed, how it looked like, and the color of its cover. I also mentioned that I remembered its title included the word “I”.
This was in the days before we had Internet and emails, and we used to send letters through the post, what was called “snail mail”, and sometimes took weeks to arrive.
A few weeks later, I was surprised and thrilled to receive a letter from Watkins Books, informing me that they found the book I was looking for, and that its title was “I Am That”. The book was about the teachings of the Indian sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, with whom I was not familiar until then, and contained transcribed conversations with him.
This was the exact book, for which I was looking. Of course, I immediately sent money to Watkins Books to purchase it.
Reading the Book “I Am That”
I was excited to receive the book in the mail, a few weeks later. After reading it once, I read it over and again, several times, since it contained a lot of wisdom and insight, and was on a topic, about which I read many books at that time.
The full title of the book is, I Am That – Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. It was translated from Marathi tape recording, by Maurice Frydman. This book is still available in bookstores.
Reading just a few lines from the book, brought me a great sense of inner peace and made my mind quiet. It was just like entering a state of deep meditation.
For some time, I used to read a few lines from the book, just before starting the day and going to work. This transported my mind to higher levels, and set a peaceful and happy mood for the whole day.
It was through this book, “I Am That”, that I became acquainted with the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Later, I searched for other books about his teachings, most of them being transcriptions of his talks.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was born in 1897 in India. He was a non-dualistic spiritual teacher, his teachings being very similar to the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, having the same aim of inner awakening.
I warmly recommend the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj to anyone who is seeking spiritual growth and enlightenment.
Here are two quotes from the book:
“A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness inner energies wake up and work miracles without effort on your part.”
“Put your awareness to work, not your mind. The mind is not the right instrument for this task. The timeless can be reached only by the timeless. Your body and your mind are born subject to time; only awareness is timeless, even in the now.”
If you happen to be in London, and wish to visit Watkins Books, here is their address:
19-21 Cecil Court, London
Website: Watkins Books
I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Image Attribution: User:Ethan Doyle White