Title: Seagull on the Ganges

Author: Julie Stafford

Publishing House: Notion Press

Pages: 290

Price: Rs. 350

Writing on an esoteric theme is not just challenging, it’s also a matter of creative adaptability to appeal to a whole spectrum of readers with varying degrees of spiritual prescience, profundity and pragmatism. Julie Stafford has passed this test pretty well, though her leapfrog from culinary to cosmic consciousness leaves some lacunae. Dwelling upon the missing links right in the beginning of a review is not considered to be a good and gentle practice in the realms of book and cinema reviews, but an insightful reviewer will certainly point out that the author should have explained the phenomena of Synchronicity and patterns of collective unconscious because the book is based on the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principles and Universal Patterns of Collective Unconscious. Both need an explanation for the benefit of an uninitiated reader into these terra incognita.

The book is an autobiographical saga of cosmic connectivity and meaningful coincidences (Arthpoorna Sanyogam by Vachaspati Mishra of Eastern Philosophy or Consciousness). Agreed, the great Carl Jung, student and friend of Sigmund Freud, propounded the theory of Universal Connectivity or Unknown/Uncanny Togetherness, the Eastern masters of Metaphysics like Vachaspati Mishra, Kumaril Bhatt (Brahma Sutram), Yogishwar Ritish etc. also talked about this phenomenon centuries ago in their philosophical treatises. Ellie and Michael’s soul connexion reminds one of Brian Weiss’ best-selling Many Lives, Many Masters. That ‘souls in love are souls above’ (from metaphysical poet John Donne’s The Silk Veil).

We’re all still clueless about the whole caboodle of how souls connect and reconnect even when the mortal remains are no longer there. Love transcends time, space, mortality and physicality. To quote Jalaluddin Rumi (surprisingly, Jung quoted Rumi a number of times in both the tomes), ‘Meet me on a different plane, come back for me in a formless form, for, I loved you and you loved me…’ Or, ‘My sighs from earth warm your soul in the heaven’ (Aah choon ast istam aa’shud vaazif un firdaus).

The presence of the loved one(s) can be felt and perceived with the intensity of cosmic magnetism, just like the protagonists of this book. There’re subtle and at times, clear indications of the departed person’s presence in this life. It’s known in esoteric parlance as The Beckoning from the Universe. Julie Stafford has captured this recurrent beckoning from the Universe in this otherwise interesting book that speaks of Dimensional Existence. She should have mentioned the Four Dimensions of human existence: Earthly, airy, cosmic and trans-cosmic, the 4th dimension, where the soul is believed to exist in a desirable state of limbo.

Michael (in the book) and Bruce Stafford (in real life) lived in that sphere (4th dimension) to be in touch with Ellie (the female protagonist) and Julie (the author). This is known as Spiritual Love-Dynamism in mysticism. It’s eternal and perennial. ‘Woh jaake bhi mere qareeb raha/Meri rooh ko iska yaqeen raha’ (Though he went away, he remained near to me/My soul felt it palpably).
The idea of a soulmate is beautifully woven into the contents of this book. We often use the word ‘soulmate’ pretty casually, nay nonchalantly. Soulmate is a profound term. It’s the immortality of a bond that produces soulmates and is always invariably reciprocal.
The emblem of seagull is a beautiful incorporation because a seagull is often seen as the carrier of love between earthly and heavenly souls. Remember the lines of the Irish poet and Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats, ‘The sea-gulls of my soul flew away to carry my message to the beloved, hidden behind the veils of snow-white clouds.’

The book needs a different kind of mindset to be wholeheartedly appreciated because intangible ideas, especially, esoteric flights and conceits of imaginations, need empathy and equal level of sensitivity. Only those, who’ve felt love in such a sublime form and manner can understand Stafford’s celestial togetherness with her soulmate Bruce or Michael’s longings and cravings for Ellie. Here love reaches divinity.

In a nutshell, it’s a good book with a streak of exclusivity and sublimity to it. Those who make a fetish of their spiritual idiosyncrasies will latch onto it.