Author: Hermann Hesse
Bookhad Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”
The biggest mistake people make immediately when they pick this book is to believe that it’s on Gautama Buddha. The mistake is legitimate; after all, even Buddha was named Siddhartha and any reader who isn’t aware of Hesse’s powerful book would naturally believe it to be so.
That said, the book does have a lot to do with Buddha. Siddhartha, our protagonist is also, very much like Buddha, a being in search of Salvation. The two even cross paths halfway through the book, and Buddha does play a strong hand in the basic structure of the novel.
Siddhartha is a Brahmin who is looking for a deeper meaning to life. Atman, or the Soul. Despite the procedural and regularity of his daily practices Siddhartha does not experience the Emptiness inside of him. He decides that the life of daily ablutions and meditation is not the path that he would like to go on. He decides to join the the group of wandering ascetics, The Samanas much against the wishes of his father. Govinda, his friend and follower joins him on the path that they believe will lead them to become empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasures and sorrow – to let the Self die!
“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.”
One fine day, the two friends hear that The Enlightened One, who calls himself Buddha has shown himself and has gathered a large following. Govinda and Siddhartha take permission from the elder Samana and leave for further learning. They meet Buddha and accept the elegance and far reaching philosophy of his teachings, but Siddhartha has doubts about its path. Govinda decides to part ways with Siddhartha when the latter respectfully disagrees that teachings from another being, no matter how great, can quench the thirst of his life’s mission.
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