July 20, 2024


curled up on the sofa

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is a fable, portrays seagull’s (a bird) story of belief.

Don’t believe what your eyes tell you, all they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know and you’ll see the way to fly

First Part

About Jonathan

Generally Seagulls fly and migrate everywhere for the search of food so that they can survive. They are neither a high aimer nor want to do anything different/unique. Jonathan was not amongst them. He always wanted to fly high and aimed to fly higher and higher.

One day Jonathan’s father caught him practice flying. The father with a stringent attitude ordered him not to do anything extra than asked to do. He reminded his child that “Seagulls should only fly to find food”.


He wanted to make his parents happy but he could not resist doing what he loved to do. Therefore, he continued working on his skills on flying. One fine day, while practicing he slipped his flight and fell on the river. He felt like a failure. This incident disheartened him and decided not to continue his passion anymore.

He thought to himself that he can’t fly like falcon. His wings are too big and he must listen to his parents and live like other seagulls in an ordinary way.


While flying back to home, instantaneously a thought strike into the mind of Jonathan that he can fly better if he imitates the way a falcon (the fastest bird on the planet, flies the highest among all the other birds)  surrounds his wings while flying.

He tries it and at once he could fly up to 2000ft with ease. From the height he dives directly into the water and gets satisfies with his flight. He pushes his limit and goes to 5000ft also.

The Banishment

One day while practicing the dive from 5000ft, he meets with an accident with a bunch of seagulls flying to the opposite direction of him. This accident did not hurt anyone because he controlled the flight. Even though, the flock complained against Jonathan to the chief of seagulls.

The chief called for a council meeting. The chief tapered Jonathan as careless. He made him remember that “Seagulls should only fly to find food”. Flying should not be a part of their passion or interest. Jonathan argued and told them that together they can fly higher and discover different things in their life.

The leader got disappointed by the idea of him and he went through eviction. He was now out of the flock. The banishment made him sad and upset. He had to stay alone without his family. Still he did not lose hope because now he could practice flying without any interjection and anyone’s interference.

Second Part

Into the Heaven

One fine day he was practicing his flight and suddenly he noticed two beautiful seagulls flying with him and could follow the fly same as Jonathan. He got astonished and asked about them. They claimed themselves to be his brothers. They have arrived to accompany him to the heaven. He got startled and asked the reason for him to go to the heaven.

They told them this is the time he needs to go to heaven because the job he had at the earth is over. He has to serve heaven now.

Heavenly in Heaven

He felt amazed at his transformation of his body beautifully in the heaven, could fly more comfortably. He met with an instructor named Sullivan. The instructor told him that he was unique and has achieved more than enough as a seagull in one life. Therefore he is different and special, so he has come to the heaven so soon.

Jonathan enjoyed a lot in the heaven because he has opportunity to learn new tricks and skills that he always wanted to learn. He had other seagulls that did the same and Jonathan was contented.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull Summary by Santwana Mohanty

Chiang’s Lessons in the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The oldest leader of the seagulls named Chiang addressed the seagulls in the heaven. One day Jonathan asked,” What is Heaven”? The Chiang answered,” Heaven is not a physical place; it is a feeling inside you”.

This is the place where one is perfect. Chiang explained him that anyone who does not believe in perfection and do different things in every direction never achieves a particular goal in finesse.

Jonathan is impressed by the talk of Chiang and requests him to be his teacher. Chiang starts his lessons. He first tells him that

If you want to want to achieve something, you need to consider that you are already there.

You need to think that you are an infinite being and you can go anywhere you want to.

Jonathan did not understand about it. He pondered over it for a long time. When he grabbed the idea into mind, he realized he was an infinite entity and could travel anywhere in this universe in fractions of seconds.

Within the time of realization, he and Chiang were in a different place. He realized the TRUTH because he realized the truth deep from his heart.

Then Chiang told him that now you know your freedom, you need to know your control. While he was giving lessons to Jonathan, his whole body brightened up so high that nobody could see him and he disappeared after the moment.

Understand Love

Just the moment before, Chiang taught him about Love. He asked him to understand Love then only you can move forward.

Sitting and pondering over his teacher words made him confused. He then thought his life back in Earth. After sometime of talking with himself, he realized, to understand love he should go back to the Earth and teach other seagulls flying. He was sure that there must be some fellow seagulls like him who might be interested in learn to fly.

Now he was enlightened that if he teaches others flying, this can make him love others and spread love. He understood love and he was clear on his motive to teach seagulls back in earth about the skills he has about flying and how can flying give them an interest and passion to live also a different perspective in living life.

Back to Earth

A Fletcher Land Seagull also was banished from the flock of seagulls because he also wanted to fly high like Jonathan.

Jonathan met with him and offered him to teach flying higher and better. Fletcher learnt and gradually became graceful in it.

Third Part

Fletcher was a good student. He learnt things quickly and absorbed the lessons skillfully. He was highly interested in learning new stuffs.

Gradually, six more banished seagulls joined the class and started learning from Jonathan. After one month Jonathan addressed his students to teach more other students the same skills and enlighten them too.

These seagulls flew above the flock of seagulls so elegantly that the sight was unbelievable. All the small seagulls seeing them got inspired and aspired to fly same as them. Jonathan and his students inspired the little seagulls. All the leaders ordered everyone to ignore these seagulls because all these seagulls are banished from the flock and are the tricksters.

A Plan

Jonathan did not give up on the idea of teaching these seagulls. He did not go and convince everyone to learn rather he made a plan to attract them towards the flying.

He with his students flew above the flock and the teacher gave his lessons there only. They showed their flying skills in the sky above the flocks.

In spite of the leaders orders most of the seagulls reached to Jonathan and started with their lessons. The number increased and the interests grew among the fellow seagulls. This is how he understood the meaning of love and was satisfied with his deeds. He showed his love towards his society and taught them love too.

After few days, While Jonathan was in the middle of teaching to the Fletcher; his body too shined liked Chiang. Suddenly he brightened and disappeared. He also asked Fletcher to understand love and spread love through his teaching to other seagulls.

Following the same path in the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Fletcher too followed the path of his teacher Jonathan in enlightening everyone with the teaching. Now he carried the same work as a teacher and educated hundreds of other seagulls.

Fletcher grabbed the confidence in his mind that he would do things same as his teacher Jonathan and he will be able to meet Jonathan once again. He held up with his duty from then.

He felt a lot of love for his students that Jonathan asked him to feel.

Three Biggest Lessons in the story of Jonathan Livingston


Lesson 1: Society does not want you to think different

The great Astronomer Galileo was put into the house arrest because he had a different idea in his mind. He told that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Nobody believed in the idea because it was different. Because the idea was different, no one accepted the fact which is a truth to the society now.

Likewise Jonathan was also banished from the flocks of seagulls because he thinks differently. Therefore one must think different but need to stand tall without any fear to the society. One day the same people would be proved wrong.

So never lose faith on oneself.

Lesson 2: Do not be afraid to shine

Because society doesn’t like people to think differently, they hide their talents and move one step back in everything just because of the fear to the society.

One must have strength to face anything to shine. Jonathan could inspire other seagulls to fly because he did not get scared and pushed his limits to achieve great. So one can be their own best version and push themselves to be better and successful in their goals.

Gandhiji said;

Be the change what u want to see in the world

Lesson 3: Teach others with humility

If one has achieved a greater height according to them, one must teach it to every other person without ego and heatedness instead teaches them in love so that they can also achieve the same as one has already achieved. In this, love is enhanced, trust is built and humility is beholden.

If you are the person who want to do something different, achieve more or do something different then this story will always inspire you and you can achieve great heights like never before. It’s a book that must be read and applied to one’s life to know and apply things differently. It’s a 100 percent benefit to everyone who read the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

You will face all the above mentioned challenges in your life and you must resolve those by the wits, love, sacrifice, tolerance and understanding.

Great lessons

These all are great lessons and a great understanding to life. But the true essence of this story is much more deeper than that. Very few people will be able to understand to true meaning of this story. This book is about pushing yourself beyond the limits , push yourself towards perfection until you reach a point where your mind and body is free. Book also talks into life ,death and the laws of the universe , and the nature of our existence. It shows us how the soul can go into a state of higher consciousness.

Quality is more important than Quantity
After self realized Jonathan, like swami Vivekananda his guru Rama Krishna Paramahamsa said that Vivekananda came to this world not to only his self realization but he has to make the other persons to help them and make them spiritual and make them self realized soul.

What is a Fable?

Fable: A story with animals as characters in a motive to convey a moral to the readers. It is a fictional story that gives lesson to the readers about a particular topic. It is a teaching for the readers towards helping their own life to be more productive and successful in one’s life.


They are typically a medium to large sea birds who belongs to the family of Laridae.

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