All Paths Lead to Love
The path which one chooses to follow is unique and often idiosyncratic in comparison to those around them. In the novel, Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, the young protagonist quickly separated himself from the path of his brethren in search of his own destiny. Much is similar in Geshe Michael Roach’s Meditation and Jess Row’s For You, where the main characters of both short stories escape their comfort zones in search for answers to their own eternal questions. Throughout the three pieces, it is observed that the characters had trouble finding their paths. With the guidance and wisdom of each person they encountered, the protagonists were able to discover their own destiny, learn from their mistakes, and realize that their questions can be answered with an understanding of love. Through each journey, a common theme arises in the practice of meditation which leads the reader to understand that, regardless of the question, the answer is always love. Through the unconditional appreciation of all things, the questions begin to answer themselves.
In Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, the protagonist is introduced to many people who had an influence on his growth; the two individuals having the largest impact on Siddhartha being Kamala and Vasudeva. Both of these characters taught him about the importance of love, first with the act of it, and finally with the feeling of love.
Kamala spent years teaching Siddhartha about the art of love. After many years of being together, Siddhartha admits to her, “I am like you. You, too, do not love – how else could you practice love as an art? Perhaps people of our sort are incapable of love. The child people can love; that is their secret” (Hesse 63). At this point in his life, Siddhartha believes that he is incapable of love, which is what prevents him from truly understanding the world. Kamala, in confessing her love for Siddhartha, understood love, and was able to reach her own peace; which is seen in her death many years later.
After many years and many more failures, Siddhartha was able to learn more about himself through the teachings of Vasudeva. Through listening to the river and listening to the words of the ferryman, Siddhartha learned much about love. In his final meeting with Govinda he says “Let the things be semblances or not; then I too am only semblance, and so they will always be like me. This is what makes them so dear to me, makes me admire them: They are like me. This is why I can love them. And here now is a bit of doctrine that will make you laugh: Love, O Govinda, appears to me more important than all other matters. To see through the world, to explain it, to scorn it – this may be the business of great thinkers. But what interests me is being able to love the world, not scorn it, not hate it and hate myself, but to look at it and myself and all beings with love and admiration and reverence” (Hesse 123). This shows a complete shift from the style of thinking...