Hesse proves to have a great understanding for eastern philosophy. It
is a book about finding a path, a place in life, a way to be, a place
where one can fit in and a task to fulfill. It is a long process of
spiritual maturation Siddhartha goes through. He listens to many
teachers, but always moves on. The quest brings him to both extremes
– living as a rich man of the world, and living without earthly
possessions. Hesse creates this complex disposition of Siddhartha to
signify man s confused nature through an extensive journey through
As human beings,
we sometimes cannot synchronize our minds and souls. When we are at
our success of knowledge or intellect, we blind our mind with our
ambition, which comes along in reaching the knowledge or intellect.
As a young Brahmin, Siddhartha has been taught that Brahmin is the
soul of Atman or the Only One. It means that Brahmin is the highest
position beside the Creator. This intellect alienates Siddhartha s
Self . He does not think that his superior s Self will give him
salvation. Siddhartha thinks his Self conquers himself. He wants his
Self to die to find wisdom and spiritual knowledge.
searching for his soul, Siddhartha attempts to destroy his Self
through suffering of Samanic asceticism. He sees that Samana’s
knowledge might lead him to his salvation. We read that Siddhartha
had one single goal to become empty, to become empty of thirst,
desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow — to let the Self die. No
longer to be Self, to experience the peace of an emptied heart, to
experience pure thought . . . Although Siddhartha does the scourge,
he does not find his salvation. He quests his torment, which is only
escaped from the Self for temporarily.
his knowledge quests: Brahminism, Samanic asceticism, and Buddhism.
He turns to the use of his senses in finding his goal. His main goal
is to be his Self. His sense of being is isolated by his knowledge.
He realizes that he does not know his Self which he has spent his
life avoiding. He vows him self to explore the Self. The second step
of Siddhartha s journey is realizing that although he has knowledge,
knowledge is not enough without experience. Experience can be gained
through practicing knowledge. Also he realizes that thought and sense
must be used together to find the way. He meets with Kamala whose
beauty and intelligence overwhelms him. Kamala s observation and
sensitiveness help Siddhartha to develop his sense of love. To pay
for her lecture, he has to use his ability to think, wait, and fast.
With Kamala s help in another lecture, he gains the combination of
the simplicity and intelligence.
As he grows
older, he makes a friend with Vasudeva, the river s man. Their life
is near to the end of the harmonization of the universe. Siddhartha
learns another secret with Vasudeva s help, that if one listens long
enough to the river, he will hear all of the voices of the universe.
Another secret is that if one listens even more carefully, all the
voices blend into one sound Om. He hears the universal within the Om.
When Siddhartha works as a river s man, he learns that Kamala has a
son from him. When Kamala is dying in Siddhartha s hand, he is not
ruined by the sorrow. But love for his son ruins him badly.
Siddhartha learns human experience that his son is resembled of the
love and the brother hood of man. His son rejection is so painful
that it reduces his humanity. Again, we see the difference between
the path of knowledge and wisdom.
In the last part
he finds his true Self. Siddhartha says: I learned through my body,
and soul that it was necessary for me to sin, that I needed lust,
that I had to strive for property and experience nausea and the
depths of despair in order to learn not to resist them, in order to
learn to love the world . . . He discovers that all has been
harmonious and unified. A man who seeks a goal is one who seeks
something in the universe for the Self. Since a man has potential to
be within the universe, he has potential to simulating the good, the
evil and all the morals in between. Wisdom is difficult to speak.
mentioned how sad Siddhartha’s life seemed. Many have wondered of
the purpose of seeking if one does not stop to enjoy every moment of
the journey. Siddhartha
said to Govinda
that he (Govinda) could not find what he was seeking because he was
looking too hard. Siddhartha missed out on many of the very real
wonders and pleasures of this world because he was looking too hard.
Siddhartha did not find lasting enjoyment in the things of the world
because he indulged, became lost in some of the more evil elements ,
things which can
truly twist one’s soul beyond recognition if there is no restraint.
Siddhartha grew dissatisfied with his early journeys into the
spiritual because he neglected the physical. Siddhartha became
consumed and twisted by the physical world because he neglected the
are two very real aspects to the world, the physical and the
spiritual, which are very tightly interwoven. True happiness occurs
when one can strike the balance between the two.
a spiritual teacher in the river, a physical thing that Siddhartha
recognized as having a spiritual aspect. Siddhartha recognized the
illusion of time, but he failed to fully recognize the illusion that
is the false division between the physical and the spiritual.
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