Re: Auspicious Good Fortune
- May I first of all offer my congratulations to Sumangali for the mammoth mountain which she has climbed in writing her first and very special book, Auspicious Good Fortune. I myself one day hope to be able to climb a few foothills in the world of writing, but what Sumangali has done, both in completing a novel and getting it published -- the summit she has scaled -- is simply unimaginable!
Still, impossible dreams of mountain climbing and Himalayan heights aside, one small that is within my reach is the writing of a review -- glowing of course -- and which has just been published in the online magazine Blog Critics:
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Book Review: Auspicious Good Fortune: One Woman's Inspirational Journey from Western Disillusionment to Eastern Spiritual Fulfilment by Sumangali Morhall
Auspicious Good Fortune is English writer Sumangali Morhall's first published work, a novice author and student of an Indian spiritual master writing more than adeptly of her lifelong journey from spiritual novice to adept. Or as such things are put on lush, inviting book covers, "One woman's inspirational journey from Western disillusionment to Eastern spiritual fulfilment." For once you really can judge a book by its attractively designed, accurately described cover.
Morhall is from an arguably unique generation in history, a generation which grew up taking the fruits and freedoms of feminism for granted. Coming of age in the late 1980s, she literally had the world at her feet, and like few women before her, was able to study, travel and work in almost any field of her choosing. In the pages of her autobiography, she literally does.
To borrow the mantra of Joseph Campbell, completely unhindered in the ability to follow her personal bliss, Morhall seeks happiness and satisfaction in multiple jobs, countries, relationships and experiences: gaining an art degree, lead singer of a band, teaching English in Thailand, partying in London, scuba diving and nearly marriage in Mexico, shoplifting and retail store manager, business degree from a prestigious university, job in a London fashion house; she tries it all and willingly walks away from it all, including a model-musician boyfriend, to wear a sari and join what is traditionally one of the most patriarchal, male dominated realms a spiritual community where by her own compelling account, she undeniably blossoms.
Amongst the near horizonless flotsam and jetsam of our internet age, the sea of world-weariness, cheap cynicism, aimlessly drifting intellectualism and obscure speculation, the sincere, affecting, beautiful words with which Morhall describes her sometimes stumbling, sometimes running search for enlightenment are like a life-raft floating far beyond, and the depth of wisdom on board, pearls from deep beneath.
Auspicious Good Fortune is potentially an instant classic of the world of spiritual literature. Like the writing of Christopher Isherwood, an English author better known as the father of modern gay writing, but also a lifelong member of the Ramakrishna Order, and author of several seminal works on spirituality, Morhall's book possesses the rare distinction of being the product not just of an authentic devotee and spiritual insider Morhall a student with a rare close access to the recently belated New York guru Sri Chinmoy but a genuinely talented writer as well. Also like Isherwood, Auspicious Good Fortune surprises with its candour and willingness to throw back the cloister curtains, the search for inner truth speckled equally with tears of frustration and jewels of bliss.
Heart on sleeve and on page, Morhall writes directly from the heart, with endearing honesty and captivating charm. Hers is the pure, unaffected voice of child, but a child who has meditated for over two decades, and whom possesses piercing insight and depth of both spiritual and worldly experience. Morhall may be a novice author, but in Auspicious Good Fortune she is no novice of the spiritual realm. If Eat, Pray, Love were to become serialised, this would be concluding edition.
A subtly emotive, poetic writer, with a keen eye for the delicate and minute, so well written and metaphorically masterful is Auspicious Good Fortune, it is as if Emily Dickinson herself has entered the realm of biographical prose. By her own admission more adept at poetry than prose, Morhall is at her lyrical and transcendent best when discussing her genuinely inspiring and at times genuinely miraculous experiences with Indian meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy, whom on the basis of this heart-felt account, one can't help but want to know better.
Morhall presents us with a conclusion that echoes the wisdom of ancient sages quoted within her very pages: to find a spiritual master and to follow the life of inner truth is the most auspicious path of all. Auspicious Good Fortune is the highly recommended tale of that search, and furthermore, the tale of what is found.
- Jaitra, any amount of thanks from me would seem insufficient. Your review is extremely generous. I know at the end of the day your offering of words is for the collective good â" a gift for the Divine â" so it is not for me to thank you. But since I am naturally invested in this project to the point where I cannot separate myself from it, I am personally extremely grateful. That goes for any reviews submitted on Amazon or Goodreads, or private messages of support. Thank you to all those who have understood my intentions in writing, and who have seen past the countless imperfections in the book's creation.