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Siddhartha Essay

1447 words - 6 pages

Siddhartha

In Hermann Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, the main character of the story, Siddhartha, a young Brahman along with his beloved friend, Govinda leaves home to find enlightenment. They join a group of ascetic Samanas and for many years Siddhartha and Govinda deny their body’s pains and senses including the external world. Yet, Siddhartha is not satisfied with the result and fails to find the true path to enlightenment that he is seeking. Furthermore, Siddhartha because of dissatisfaction renounces the life of asceticism and departs with Govinda to visit and hear Gautama Buddha speak and learn from him. However, Buddha’s teaching does not provide Siddhartha with what he needs therefore; he leaves Buddha’s presence and continues his journey to discover the true enlightenment while Govinda stays with Buddha. Siddhartha realizes that Buddha’s teaching will not be enough for him since his thirst is not that of knowledge but rather it is a thirst of feeling and experiencing that moment of attaining the enlightenment. Therefore, he decides to continue with his journey. While on his journey, Siddhartha suddenly realizes that one must seek and attaining enlightenment through living, not through preaching since what he is seeking is not something the outer world but rather it is the inner world, the self. During his journey, Siddhartha meets a Kamala, a beautiful courtesan, who introduces him to the life of wealth and pleasure. However, Siddhartha decides to leave Kamala after realizing that he has gone astray from his real path, from the path of self-discovery, unaware that she is not pregnant with his son. Siddhartha starts living with a Vasudeva, a ferryman who lives by a river. They both believe now that the river can teach them great wisdom. After many years of living with the ferryman by the riverbank, Kamala visits Siddhartha and brings him his son since she is dying from snakebite. Siddhartha realizes that he loves his son desperately but the child is very spoiled and longs to leave the two boatmen and return to the city, which he eventually succeeds in doing. Through his son's departure, Siddhartha experiences first the pain of love and then pure, unselfish devotion, eventually learning the lesson of the river that every emotion, all the senses and everything else make up the universe, they are all connected to each other. When Vasudeva dies, Siddhartha carries on the tradition and knowledge he has been taught by the ferryman and the river. When Govinda passes by, he sees that Siddhartha, like Buddha, has achieved absolute peace and harmony, that he has finally “found the Way.”
Siddhartha had one single goal in his life, to become empty, to become empty of thirst, desire, pleasure and sorrow and to let the Self die. He wanted to experience the peace of an emptied heart, to experience pure thoughts, and to experience the taste of attaining enlightenment, that was his goal and for these vary reason he could not accept Buddha’s doctrine....

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