Siddhartha - Kindle edition by Hermann Hesse. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ senshido.info
But more than all the others he was loved by Govinda, his friend, the son of a Brahman. He loved Siddhartha's eye and sweet voice, he loved his walk and the . Together, Siddhartha and Govinda learn about the Fourfold Way, the . starring India's leading actor, Shashi Kapoor, Lotus Films, Columbia-Warner, ; . Consider the father/son theme in Siddhartha in relation to Hesse's idea of synthesis. This creates an interesting relationship between his desperate quest for Finally , Govinda's passage is rife with foreshadowing of Siddhartha's future. .. “'Is Govinda ever going to take a step on his own, without me, acting from his own heart?.
An undesirable German of questionable literary merits had become a man of insight, foresight, and humanity, an heir to the noblest heritage of the German people, a guide and inspiration for his fellow authors. Yet again, the fickle German literary community switched gears. By the late s, there was a sudden and sharp decrease in scholarly and public interest and by the s, Hesse was virtually dead as a writer of importance in Germany. But still another wave of interest in Hesse began to spread in Germany in the early s.
The occasion of this last revival, in which many of the most discerning studies of his work were done, was in large part the discovery of Hesse in America in the s. When Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize inthe English-speaking world barely knew who he was. His few translated works had not been well received. Demian translated into English in was brushed aside as a "nightmare of abnormality, a crazed dream of a paranoiac. Hesse himself was doubtful that the American public would ever be taken by his inward-directed individualism and, for a time, he seemed correct.
In the s, however, the American public became intrigued by Hesse. Those in middle age were disenchanted and the youth were rebellious. Skepticism and cynicism were widespread. For many, and for its youth in particular, America had become a stifling, excessively materialistic, morally and culturally bankrupt society. Hesse's individualism—his disparagement of modern society but firm faith in the meaningfulness of life—were a welcome antidote to the twentieth century's bleaker view of things.
Hesse became a rallying point for protest and change, a kindred soul, an inspiration for an enthusiastic following of dissidents, seekers, and estranged loners who were drawn from both the establishment and the counterculture. By the time all of Hesse's novels, short stories, essays, poetry, and letters were available in English in the s, the tide that had swept across America in the mids had peaked, but not before almost fifteen million copies of Hesse's works had been sold within a decade—a literary phenomenon without precedent in America.
American Hesse scholarship followed in the wake of the general public's attraction to him. Scholarly activity accelerated in the mids and crested in —74, a few years after the reading community had already begun to lose its interest.
Scholarly activity tapered off to a slow but steady flow. Still, American Hesse scholarship is now second in quantity only to its German counterpart and has outstripped it in quality. Criticism Robert Bennett In the following essay, Bennett, a doctoral student at the University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara, and adjunct instructor in English, explains that while Siddhartha draws heavily from Eastern religions in its themes, Hesse's philosophy diverges in some ways, and the author concludes that one's philosophy is a personal journey for each individual to discover.
Clearly, the most obvious and significant aspect of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha is its use of images, themes, and ideas drawn from Eastern religions. Having both traveled to India and studied extensively about Indian religions, Hesse was able to integrate a substantial understanding of Eastern religious traditions into his novel.
In fact, Siddhartha does such a good job of developing Eastern religious themes that it has been published in India, and Indian critics have generally praised its sensitive understanding of their religious traditions. From beginning to end, virtually every aspect of Siddhartha develops out of Hesse's knowledge of Eastern religions.
For example, many of the characters are named after either Hindu or Buddhist gods: Siddhartha is the personal name of the Buddha, Vasudeva is one of the names of Krishna, and Kamala's name is derived from Kama, the Hindu god of erotic love. In addition, Hesse bases most of the novel's themes on various Hindu or Buddhist principles.
For example, Siddhartha seeks to gain an understanding of both Atman, the individual soul, and Brahma, the universal soul that unifies all beings. In order to achieve this understanding, however, he must experience a vision that reveals to him the true meaning of Om, the sacred word that Hindus chant when meditating upon the cosmic unity of all life.
The vast majority of Siddhartha's philosophical and religious questions develops out of his attempt to understand these religious principles or other themes drawn from Eastern religions such as meditation, fasting, renunciation, timelessness, transcending suffering, etc.
While it would take an entire book to explain all of the religious ideas that Hesse develops in his novel, he generally presents at least a basic description of these ideas within the book itself.
Consequently, readers can at least get a rudimentary understanding of these ideas even if they do not understand all of the subtle complexities of Eastern religious thought. Not only does Hesse borrow names, themes, and ideas from Eastern religions, but he also bases and structures his narrative on the life of the historical Buddha. Much like Siddhartha in Hesse's novel, the historical Buddha was born into a wealthy family, but he renounced his wealth to live as an ascetic.
After several years of self-denial, however, he came to realize the errors of asceticism. After leaving behind his austere life, he meditated under a Bodhi tree until he received Nirvana or complete Enlightenmentand then he spent the rest of his life trying to help others reach Nirvana.
This is very similar to the path that Siddhartha follows in the novel as he passes through similar stages of wealth, renunciation, meditation, enlightenment, and striving to teach others.
In addition to structuring the novel according to the Buddha's life, Hesse also structures the novel according to various principles found in the Buddha's teachings. In fact, several of the chapters are named after specific religious principles. For example, the chapter titled "Awakening" describes how Siddhartha comes to recognize the Buddhist belief that the path to enlightenment must be rooted in the here and now instead of focusing on other distant or transcendent worlds.
In addition, the chapter titled "Samsara" describes how Siddhartha is caught in a continuous cycle of death and rebirth because he has not yet achieved a state of total enlightenment or Nirvana, and the chapter titled "Om" describes how Siddhartha eventually escapes from Samsara to achieve a vision of the essential unity of all things.
These chapter titles accurately describe the spiritual development that Siddhartha undergoes in each chapter, and these stages of spiritual development provide the structure that organizes both the novel's development as a narrative and Siddhartha's development as a character.
Even the chapters that are not titled after a specific religious principle usually represent Siddhartha's progress toward understanding some religious prin-ciple, and many of these principles are taken directly from the Buddha's teachings about the Four Noble Truths or the Eightfold Path.
What Do I Read Next? The oldest speculative literature of the Hindus is the Upanishads, composed between b. It is a collection of works on the nature of man and the universe. This discussion on the nature and meaning of life between the god Krishna, who appears as a charioteer, and Arjuna, a warrior about to go into battle, has had substantial impact on Western thought. The writer of Ecclesiastes, a book of the Old Testamentportrays his search for the meaning of life, his sense that all is vanity, and his own conclusions in his old age.
Goethe's Faust, an play based on the legend of a German necromancer, Georg Faust, focuses on an old scholar who yearns to have not so much all knowledge but all experience. In order to do so, he must promise his immortal soul to the destructive tempting spirit, Mephistopheles. A different look at India is provided in E. Forster's novel, A Passage to India. The novel is notable for its strong mystical flavor and its treatment of Indian religions, including Islam and Hinduism.
With the publication in of Peter Camenzind translatedHesse established himself as an important German writer by winning the Bauernfeld Prize of Vienna. Demian was written by Hesse in and translated into English in The novel is a bildungsroman featuring Emil Sinclair, a young man who is troubled by life's conflicting forces. A mysterious boy, Max Demian, tells him of the devil-god Abraxas, who is the embodiment of good and evil. Hesse's novel Steppenwolf was translated into English two years later.
It is a treatment of the artist as an outsider, a common theme in Hesse's fiction. Torn between his own frustrated artistic realism and the inhuman nature of modern reality, Harry Haller thinks of himself as a wolf of the Steppes.
Many of Hesse's works focus on the interaction between characters with opposing temperaments. In his novel, Narcissus and Goldmund translatedthe title characters represent, respectively, spirit and life. Set in a medieval monastery, half of this novel follows the friendship of the introverted, ascetic Narcissus and the extroverted sculptor Goldmund; the other half chronicles the latter's hedonistic adventures outside the cloister. Another Hesse bildungsroman, Magister Ludi: The Glass-Bead Game was written in and was translated in Josef Knecht lives in a utopian society of the twenty-third century that is dominated by a glass-bead game practiced in its highest form by an intellectual elite.
Knecht eventually dies after departing to the outer world, the tragic result of a life dedicated entirely to the world of the spirit.
Nevertheless, even though Hesse develops both his themes and his narrative structure based on Eastern religious principles, there are several ways in which Siddhartha alters these concepts so that it is not simply an accurate description of Hinduism or Buddhism. For example, when the Buddha teaches Siddhartha about his religious beliefs, Siddhartha admires them, but he does not choose to follow them. Similarly, the historical Buddha finds enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, but Siddhartha's dream under the tree only helps him better understand the questions that he is seeking to understand.
It provides him with new issues to con-sider, but it does not give him any final answers. In these respects, Hesse seems to suggest that he considers Eastern religions very useful guides to philosophical and spiritual understanding but ultimately considers knowledge a personal experience that cannot be codified into any religious rituals and dogmas.
The conclusion to the novel makes this clear, when Siddhartha explains his fundamental distrust of all words and beliefs. He still embraces the goal of enlightenment and universal oneness, but he follows his own personal path instead of just following the Buddha's or anyone else's doctrines. In this sense, Hesse's novel develops an individualistic perspective that is perhaps more Western than Eastern. Because of these kinds of western elements, critics such as Mark Boulby, Robert Conrad, and Theodore Ziolkowski argue that Siddhartha advances more Western ideas than it does Eastern ones.
Although Siddhartha explores a wide variety of philosophical and religious themes, it focuses most specifically on three principal themes: From the very beginning of the novel, Siddhartha has a fierce longing to probe beneath the surface of life and discover the deeper layers of the self. Consequently, he refuses to simply follow the paths established by various religions—not because these religions are bad but because they focus on external rather that internal beliefs.
Siddhartha is more interested in understanding his own self than he is in simply following the ideas created by others. As the novel progresses, Siddhartha explores deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the self as he rejects his home, his friend Govinda, all religious dogmas, and everything else that might cause him to compromise his intense personal vision.
As Siddhartha abandons these hindrances to self-knowledge, he comes to understand the essential mysteries of the self. In addition, Siddhartha is deeply concerned with the question of knowledge. Throughout the novel, he asks deep questions about the nature of knowledge: In fact, much of Hesse's interest in the self is intimately connected to his interest in the nature of knowledge since Hesse develops a view of knowledge that makes the self the primary means of discovering knowledge.
Because Hesse locates the origin of knowledge in the self rather than in some set of beliefs, he is distrustful of any attempt to communicate or teach knowledge to others. As Siddhartha explains to the Buddha after listening to his teachings, even if a person has experienced some vision of the essential nature of life, they cannot give that knowledge to someone else because they cannot give someone else the experiences through which they obtained their knowledge.
They can talk about the ideas they have learned and the principles they believe, but they cannot communicate their personal experiences, aspects which Hesse believes are the most important part of knowledge. By the end of the novel, Siddhartha has progressed to a point where the first two questions of the self and knowledge have become less important because he increasingly focuses on understanding the essential unity of all things.
As Siddhartha explains to Govinda at the end of the novel, the self is a transitory being whose ultimate meaning can only be found by understanding its connection to all other beings instead of by exploring its own isolated, transitory, individual existence.
Siddhartha experiences a vision of this oneness of life while he is meditating on the river. During this visionary experience, he comes to realize that endless flowing of the river symbolizes how all of the various forms and aspects of life flow into each other to form a single whole.
The river, like Brahman and Buddha-nature, encompasses the entirety of existence in all of its diverse manifestations, and the meaning of this essential unity is best expressed through the sacred Hindu word, "Om. While some critics see this final epiphany as expressing the essence of Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism, others see it as representing western philosophies such as Christianity or existentialism.
Some even see it as Hesse's own personal religion, made up from an eclectic mixture of all of these traditions. Certainly, a good case can be made for each interpretation, so every reader must ultimately come to his or her own conclusion regarding how to interpret Siddhartha's final epiphany.
In the end, however, it is perhaps less important to decide how to categorize Siddhartha's vision than to listen to it, think about it, and try to learn from it. Whatever its source, it offers profound insights into the human condition. Consequently, regardless of how it is interpreted, Siddhartha's vision presents a remarkable exploration of the deepest philosophical and spiritual dimensions of human existence.
Robert Bennett, in an essay for Novels for Students, Gale, Theodore Ziolkowski In this excerpt, Ziolkowski explores the epiphanies that Siddhartha experiences. Siddhartha's smile … is the best example of the new dimension that we find in this novel. Here, in brief, we have the same story that we encountered in Demian: The new element here is the insistence upon love as the synthesizing agent.
Hesse regards this element as "natural growth and development" from his earlier beliefs, and certainly has no reversal or change of opinion. In the essay "My Faith" he admitted "that my Siddhartha puts not cognition, but love in first place: This is the meaning of Siddhartha's transfiguration at the end of the book.
The passage goes on at length, developing all the images of horizontal breadth in space and vertical depth in time that we have indicated. But the whole vision is encompassed and united by "this smile of unity over the streaming shapes, this smile of simultaneity over the thousands of births and deaths.
As a symbol, it too is developed and anticipated before the final scene in which Govinda sees it in Siddhartha's face. It is the outstanding characteristic of the two other figures in the book who have attained peace: When Siddhartha first sees Gautama he notices immediately that his face reveals neither happiness nor sadness, but seems rather "to smile gently inward.
I have never seen a man gaze and smile, sit and walk like that … truly, I wish that I too might be able to gaze and smile, sit and walk like him…. Only a man who has penetrated into his innermost Self gazes and walks in that way. Very well—I too shall seek to penetrate into my innermost Self. Siddhartha acknowledges in the Buddha a conscious ideal, but it is Buddha's goal and not his path to which the younger man aspires.
The symbol of this goal is the beatific smile behind which, almost like the smile of the Cheshire Cat, the individual disappears. The same smile appears again when Vasudeva is portrayed, and we see it grow on Siddhartha's own face. And gradually his smile became more and more like that of the ferryman; it became almost as radiant, almost as illumined with happiness, similarly glowing from a thousand little wrinkles, just as childlike, just as aged.
Many travelers, when they saw the two ferrymen, took them to be brothers. At the moment of Vasudeva's death the unity of this smile is clearly expressed: The smile is the symbol of inner perfection, but inner perfection for Hesse means the awareness of the unity, totality, and simultaneity of all being. It is thus appropriate that the three men who share this perception should also share the same beatific smile, even though each reached his goal by following a completely different path….
Siddhartha's development to the point of loving affirmation is marked by a technique of modern fiction that James Joyce defined as the epiphany, but which occurs regularly in much prose, German and French as well as English, of the early twentieth century. In the epiphany the protagonist perceives the essence of things that lies hidden behind their empirical reality, and as such the epiphany is another symptom of the modern turn away from realism toward a new mysticism.
The epiphany reveals the essential integral unity of a given object in a burst of radiance what Joyce, in the words of Aquinas, calls the integritas, consonantia, and claritas of the objectand the observer is able to enter into a direct relationship of love with the object thus newly perceived.
It is this element of loving perception, missing in the cooler cognition of Demian, that we find here in passage after passage. The most striking example occurs in the "awakening" scene of Chapter 4 after Siddhartha has made up his mind not to follow Buddha, but to seek his own way in the world of the senses: He looked around as though he were seeing the world for the first time.
Lovely was the world, colorful was the world, strange and mysterious was the world! Here was blue, here was yellow, here was green. The sky flowed and the river, the forest towered up and the mountains, everything lovely, everything mysterious, and magical, and in the midst of it all—he, Siddhartha, the Awakening One, on the way to himself. All this, all this yellow and blue, river and forest, entered Siddhartha for the first time through his eyes, was no longer the magic of Mara, no longer the veil of Maja, no longer the senseless and accidental multiplicity of the world of appearances, contemptible for the deep-thinking Brahman who disparages multiplicity and seeks unity.
Blue was blue, the river was river, and even if the One and the Divine lay hidden in the blue and river within Siddhartha, it was still simply the manner of the Divine to be yellow here, blue here, sky there, forest there, and Siddhartha here.
Sense and Essence were not somewhere behind the things. They were in them—in everything. The points to be noticed in this and other epiphanies including, of course, those written by the young Joyce are, first, the impression of radiance aroused by the entire description, which here is created largely by words such as "blue," "yellow," and "sky. They are radiant and meaningful as manifestations of the One and the Divine, hence as symbols of unity and totality.
A further characteristic of the epiphany—one that is inherent in its very nature but not usually present in the actual epiphany scene—is the subject's feeling that words, phrases, and concepts detract from our ultimate perception of the object, that they lie as a veil between the viewer and true reality.
This is a syndrome that we discussed earlier as the language crisis. In Siddhartha, as well as Hesse's works in general, we find this attitude, which provides the background for the experience of the epiphany. Siddhartha's final interview with Govinda makes it clear that he has been able to attain his affirmation and union with the All only because he eschews the easy way of convenient words and phrases as explanations of reality.
Everything is always slightly distorted when one utters it in words—a little falsified, a little silly. I like things better. In essence, despite all superficial differences, they agree. The final vision, in which Govinda sees totality and simultaneity revealed in his friend's face, is also an epiphany: It is through epiphanies that Siddhartha breaks out of the rigid schematism of Buddhism and Brahminism their "highly bred reformation" quality of which Hesse speaks in the diary of and begins to enter into an immediate contact with the world, though it first leads him to the false extreme of sensualism.
Since love is the new dimension of Siddhartha's world, he must, as his final trial, learn to affirm even the rejection of his love by his own son. Only after he has suffered the torment of rejection can he perceive the final truth, which had hitherto been purely intellectual: When Siddhartha accepts this truth, he perceives with visionary clarity that in the realm of simultaneity and totality even he and his own father are one.
Just as he had once deserted his father, so had his son left him. Siddhartha gazed into the water, and in the flowing water pictures appeared to him: The image of the father, his own image, that of the son flowed together; also Kamala's image appeared and merged with the stream, and the image of Govinda, and other images, and flowed one into the other, becoming one with the river…. Not until he has recognized and then affirmed the loss of his son is Siddhartha ready to enter the state of fulfillment.
Only at this point does he affirm with love the insight which had been purely intellectual cognition when he departed from Buddha. For even in the case of his own son he is forced to concede that each man must find his own way in life, that no man's path can be prescribed. Thus the highest lesson of the novel is a direct contradiction of Buddha's theory of the Eightfold Path, to which … Hesse objected in his diary of ; it is the whole meaning of the book that Siddhartha can attain Buddha's goal without following his path.
If rejection of that doctrine is the essence of the novel, then it is futile to look to Buddhism for clues to the structural organization of the book. Rather, the structural principle is to be found precisely where the meaning of the book lies. Just as Siddhartha learns of the totality, and simultaneity of all being—man and nature alike—so too the development of the soul is expressed in geographical terms and, in turn, the landscape is reflected in the human face.
The book achieves a unity of style, structure and meaning that Hesse never again attained with such perfection after Siddhartha. It would be futile to deny, on the other hand, that this unity has been achieved at the expense of the narrative realism we customarily expect from fiction.
Just as the characters and landscape have been stylized into abstractions by Hesse's poetic vision, likewise the dialogue and action have been reduced—or escalated—to symbolic essentials. As in Demian the action is almost wholly internalized: It is ultimately beside the point to judge this work by the criteria of the traditional realistic novel.
Like Hermann Broch, who insisted that his The Death of Vergil was a "lyrical work" and that it be read and criticized as such, Hesse had good reasons for calling Siddhartha "an Indic poem. Like his heroes, who vacillate between nature and spirit, Hesse as a narrator feels conflicting impulses toward realism and lyricism.
In Siddhartha he reached an extreme of symbolic lyricism. Johannes Malthaner In this excerpt, Malthaner points out the autobiographical nature of Siddhartha and argues that the novel reflects Hesse's emphasis on faith as the only way for man to "penetrate to the source of light" and "find God. They are largely autobiographical and deal with questions of "Weltanschauung", of a philosophy of life.
The plot is used by Hesse to drape his thoughts around it, to have an opportunity to present his innermost thoughts and the struggle for an understanding of the great problems of life. Hesse is, and always has been, a god-seeker; he has a message for his fellow-men, but one must "study" him, read and re-read his works carefully if one wants to get the full benefit of their message. His works are not so much for entertainment but rather want to give food for thought; they have therefore a very strong appeal for the serious minded reader but not for the masses that crave excitement and entertainment instead of beauty and depth.
Herman Hesse's novel Siddhartha is just such a work of literature, and it is of special interest to the student of literature, and of Hesse in particular, because it marks an important step in the development of Hesse and is unique in German literature in its presentation of Eastern philosophy.
The novel is largely auto-biographical and has a long and interesting history. It is no doubt true of all great works of art that they do not just happen, that they are not products of chance. Great works of literature have their roots way back in the life of their writers, they have grown out of life and are part of the life of their creators; great works of literature are not factory products but grow and ripen slowly to full bloom.
This is especially true of Siddhartha. Siddhartha was published in but has its roots in the earliest childhood of Hesse. His parents had been missionaries to India, his mother having been born in India of missionary parents; but on account of the poor health of Hesse's father the family had to return to Europe and came to Calw, a small Black Forest town, to help the maternal grandfather of Hesse, Dr. Gundert, the director of their mission and a famous Indian scholar and linguist.
Indian songs and books, frequent discussions about India with visiting missionaries and scholars, a large library of Indian and Chinese writings, also many objects of Eastern art created great interest and left a deep impression on Hesse ever since his childhood. The first part of Siddhartha, up to the meeting with the courtesan Kamala, was written before and was first published in the literary magazine Neue Rundschau.
Siddhartha is the son of a rich Brahman of India. He is a good obedient son and the joy of his parents, but one day be awakens to the realization that his life is empty, that his soul has been left unsatisfied by his devotion to duty and the strict observance of all religious ordinances.
He wants to find God who so far has been to him only a vague idea, distant and unreal, although he tried to serve him with sincerity of heart to the best of his understanding.
Young Siddhartha realizes that he is at a dead end and that he must break away. So he leaves home leaving behind him all that he so far had loved and treasured, all the comforts, giving up his high social position, and becomes a Samana, an itinerant monk, with no earthly pos-sessions anymore, accompanied by his boyhood friend Govinda who has decided to follow Siddhartha's lead.
By fasting and exposing his body to the rigors of the weather, Siddhartha wants to empty himself completely of all physical desires so that by any chance he may hear the voice of God speaking to his soul, that he may find peace.
Hesse's books are confessions, and the story of Siddhartha is his own story describing his own doubts and struggle. He, too, had rebelled: So he ran away to shape his own life. Self-education is the main theatre of most of the novels of Hesse, especially of the books of his youth.
Self-education has been for centuries a very favorite theme in German literature and men like Luther, Goethe, Kant, and many other leading German writers and philosophers were the inspirers of German youth in their longing for independence. It is significant that Hesse gave to a collection of four stories published inin which he included Siddhartha, the title of Weg nach Innen, Road to Within.
Indeed, Siddhartha turns away from the outside observance of religious rituals and ordinances to a life of contemplation.
So also does Hesse himself after the outbreak of World War I. Up to the war, Hesse had lived a rather quiet and self-satisfied life. After years of hard struggle to win recognition as a poet, he had found first success which brought him not only social recognition and financial security but also many friends and a home.
But the war brought him a rather rude awakening out of his idylic life on the shore of Lake Constance where he had lived a rather happy and retired life. His apparently so secure and well ordered world came crashing down over his head. The vicious attacks by the German press and by many of his former friends for his stand against the war psychosis—Hesse was living at that time in Switzerland although he was still a German citizen—forced him to re-examine the fundamental truths on which he had built his life.
He had become distrustful of religion as he saw it practised, and of education which had not prevented the western world of being plunged into a murderous war.
Where was the truth? On what foundation could a man build his life? All had been found wanting. Siddhartha is Hesse's attempt to restore his faith in mankind, to regain his lost peace of mind, and to find again a harmonious relationship with his world. A new more spiritual orientation takes place. He does no longer believe in the natural goodness of man, he is thrown back unto himself and comes to a new concept of God: No longer does he seek God in nature but, in the words of the Bible, he believed that "the Kingdom of God's is within you".
Hesse confesses that he had been pious only up to his thirteenth year but then had become a skeptic. Now he becomes a believer again, to be sure it is not a return to the orthodox belief of his parents, he wants to include in his new concept of religion not only the teachings of Jesus but also those of Buddha and of the Holy Scriptures of India as well….
Returning to our story, we find that Siddhartha also as a Samana has not come nearer his goal of happiness and peace. It seems to him that his religious fervor had been nothing but self-deception, that all the time he had been in flight from himself. The hardships which he had endured as a Samana had not brought him nearer to God.
At this period of his life, Siddhartha hears of Gotama Buddha of whom it was said that he had attained that blissful state of godliness where the chain of reincarnations had been broken, that he had entered Nirvana. Siddhartha goes to find him, hears him teach the multitude, and then has a private conversation with the Holy One; but it becomes clear to him that the way of salvation can not be taught, that words and creeds are empty sounds, that each man must find the way by himself, the secret of the experience can not be passed on.
So he leaves also Gotama Buddha and all teachers and teachings. Govinda, his friend, stays with Gotama and so Siddhartha cuts the last link with his past. He is now all alone. And he comes to the sudden realization that all through the years so far he has lived a separate life, that he actually never had sought a real understanding of his fellow men, that he knew very little of the world and of life all about him. For the first time in many years he really looks about him and perceives the beauty of the world.
The world about him, from which he had fled, he now finds attractive and good. He must not seek to escape life but face it, live it. This is the startling new discovery Siddhartha makes and so he decides to leave the wilderness. He comes to the big city where he sees at the gate the beautiful Kamala, the courtesan. He finds her favor and she teaches him the ways of the world. He discards his beggar's clothes and becomes in short time a very successful merchant. But his heart is neither in his love nor in his business; all the pleasures of the world can not still the hunger of his soul.
He finds the world wanting, too, and, moreover, he must realize after a few years that the worldly things, the acquiring of money, have gradually taken possession of his life, that he is being enslaved and harassed by the necessity of making money in order to satisfy his extravagant tastes, that he has become a busy and unfree man whose thoughts dwell less and less on the eternal things.
So he cuts himself loose from all that he had acquired, leaves once again everything behind him, and goes back to the river which he had crossed when he gave up his life as a Samana. At this point there is a long interruption in the writing of Siddhartha. Hesse realized that his knowledge of Eastern philosophy was not sufficient; he devoted himself therefore to a very thorough study of Indian philosophy and religion.
After a year and a half he takes up the writing of the story again. It is quite evident, however, that the emphasis has shifted. Description from now on is practically absent, and the tone is lighter, the language, too, is not so heavy, not so mystic but transparent and more elevated.
The whole concentration is on the spiritual element. Instead of long discussions of philosophies and systems, we find the emphasis now on Faith. He perceives that only through faith, not by doing or by teaching, can man penetrate to the source of light, can he find God. He can think, he can wait, and he can fast. He can compose poetry, he can sing sacrificial songs, and he can read and write. When Siddhartha receives his first kiss, the style changes.
After the kiss, Siddhartha was no longer a Samana. He was overwhelmed with a feeling of pride. He gave any food he had to anyone around him. He is the richest merchant in the town. Siddhartha compares himself to a stone. How is this so? Page 60 "When you throw a stone into the water, it finds the quickest way to the bottom of the water. It is the same when Siddhartha has an aim, a goal.
Siddhartha does nothing; he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he goes through the affairs of the world like the stone through the water, without doing anything, without bestirring himself;" Chapter 6 — Amongst the People 1. How does Siddhartha take control of the interview? He reverses each question on Kamaswami, making him think instead of Siddhartha.
He also proves himself through the talents that he has. For all of his holy skills, in the end, why does Kamaswami hire him? He hires him because he is able to read and write very well, and not a lot of people in the town are able to do that.
In your own words and thoughtfully, what did Kamala teach him?
Kamala taught him about love. Through each touch, gesture, caress, glance, and pleasure she taught him that one cannot have pleasure without giving it. She taught him that lovers should not be separated from each other.
What makes Siddhartha good at business? Why might he be an excellent partner for Kamaswami?
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He will be a great partner for Kamaswami because he is not a business man, but he has the secret of those people whom success comes by itself. What does his four day trip to the village show about Siddhartha?
How could that be good business? It shows that Siddhartha stayed for his own pleasure, but he could be good at business because he knows the people in that village now and has made connections.
Life is flowing past him because he was doing things that were only a game, that was cheerful and sometimes experienced pleasure, but the real life was passing by him. What do you suppose a Samana heart is? Page 70, "He saw people living in a childish or animal-like way, which he both loved and dispised. He saw them toiling, saw them suffer and grow gray about things that to him did not seem worth the price- for money, small pleasures and trivial honors.
He saw them scold and hurt each other; he saw them lament over pains at which the Samana laguhs, and suffer at deprivations which a Samana does not feel. How are Siddhartha and Kamala similar? He compares himself and Kamala because they are both not like other people.
They are themselves and no one else and within them is a stillness and sanctuary which they can retreat at any time and be themselves. Chapter 7 — Samsara 1. Does Siddhartha have a bad life? What is good about it? Siddhartha does not have a bad life. He has his own money, his own house, servants, a garden by the river and a lover Kamala. Siddhartha had learned about money, love, envy, desire, and a world as a Brahmin, not a Samana.
What happened when the property finally became chain and a burden? He realized that he was acting foolishm and they were no longer a game or a toy; they had become a chain and a burden. How does his dice playing echo his real life? He had given into desire. He told himself that he only played it to take part in a custom of the ordinary people, but really he ended up winning money and jewels. What was his Kamala dream about? Kamala told Siddhartha that she would follow his teachings of the Buddha.
He realized the weariness on Kamala's beauty and the fear of the autumn life, fear of old age, and fear of death that he once had. What was the Bird dream about? What does it mean? He had a bird that usually sang in the morning, but one morning he woke up and the bird was dead. This means that this is a sign to Siddhartha that he has given into envy and desire and forgotten about enlightenment and the cause to suffering.
Why does he feel dead? Page 82, "It seemed to him that he had spent his life in a worthless and senseless manner; he retained nothing vital, nothing in any way precious or worth while.
He stood alone, like a ship-wrecked man on the shore. Why is it important that Kamala is pregnant? Why out of that last trip? It is important because Siddhartha has now realized that he has spent a worthless life and he needs to leave in order to continue the path to enlightenment, but now Kamala is pregnant. Chapter 8 — By the River 1. Why does Siddhartha wish to kill himself? He felt full of ennui, full of misery, full of death and there was nothing left in the world that could attract him and give him pleasure and solace.
What is the tone of this section. The beginning of the section is very serious because Siddhartha wants to kill himself, but when he encounters Govinda the tone begins to lighten a little bit.
What sound does he here? How does he react? He heard one sound and it was an Om. Immediately his body awakened and he recognized the folly of his action. How is he different when he wakes up? Who is sitting with him?
It seemed to him as if ten years had passed, and now Govinda was sitting with him. What does Siddhartha start lecturing his friend about?
He starts lecturing his friend about appearances. Chapter 9 — The Ferryman 1. What does Siddhartha learn from the Ferryman? Siddhartha learned to operate the boat, work in the rice-field, gather wood, pluck fruit, to build an oar, to mend a boat, to weave baskets, and he learned from the river.
How are the skills he is learning now important to him for life? They allow him to be more experienced, beyond just reading and writing. What do people say about Siddhartha and the Ferryman? They say that they are brothers, they are wise, they have good stories, and they evens stayed over night sometimes to hear their stories.
How are they becoming alike? Is this a good thing? They are both connected to the river, and yes this is a good thing, but also a bad thing for Siddhartha because he is not suppose to be attached to anything in life but yet he is attached to the river and to the Ferryman. Kamala and her son were on their way to see Gotama, who is now dead. Kamala grew tired and began to rest. Suddenly she screamed and her son ran over, she had been bitten by a snake.
Little Siddhartha ran to get help and ended up at Siddhartha. How has Siddhartha changed since their last meeting? How has Kamala changed? They have both grown old, both poor, and moving from place to place. What happens to Kamala? How does this effect Siddhartha? Kamala died, and Siddhartha begins to have flash backs to when he was with her.
He remembers every detail about her and begins to grieve. Chapter 10 — The Son 1. What about Siddhartha would make him a lousy father? Siddhartha is not strict with him, does not punish him, does not command him, he is too gentle, and does not educated his son, and teach him to be obedient.
How does young Siddhartha take advantage of the father? He displays his anger towards Siddhartha admitting how he hates him. What does he try and do for his son? Siddhartha tries to let the boy adjust on his own, he does not teach him fearing that young Siddhartha will act out.
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This will not work because young Siddhartha will not learn anything and will continue to act irrationally. He does not punish the boy fearing that it will only make the situation worse. He believes that young Siddhartha will learn to love and obey just like Siddhartha did. Why is the river laughing? The river is laughing because it knows Siddhartha is having trouble and has gotten his own person to teach his ways too. Love is a part of life, and almost every will experience it at some point in their life along with all of the other things that Siddhartha practices.
Why does the son hate the father? He doesn't want to be like his father. He says, "You want me to become like you, so pious, so gentle, so wise, but just to spite you, I would rather become a thief and a murderer and go to hell, than be like you. I hate you; you are not my father even if you have been my mother's lover a dozen times!
Why did he break the oar? In losing his son, what might Siddhartha have gained? Siddhartha had gained desire. Desire to see his son again, also he gained back his old life, not having to worry about his son anymore no matter how bad or sad it is. Chapter 11 — Om 1. What is the different light that he sees people in? He has the wound of missing his son. He sees a different light in people, a light of happiness that he does not have. They all also have someone to love and Siddhartha does not.
He says, " not very clever, not very proud and therefore all the more warm, curious and sympathetic" page What has been his biggest change since becoming a ferryman? As a result, how does the tone of the book change? He had become mature, and the book became more depressing because Siddhartha realizes what he has missed. What does the river do when Siddhartha goes to see his son?
Whose reflection does he see? The river is laughing at him.