Siddhartha and Govinda
Siddhartha, written by Herman Heese, is a book about a man’s journey to find his inner self beginning when he is young and ending when he is of old age. Siddhartha, while on this quest, searched for different mentors to teach him what they know, hoping to find truth and balance in and of the universe. At the end of the novel, Siddhartha reaches the enlightenment through many teachings.
Govinda, Siddhartha dearest friend and confident, is often viewed as his Siddhartha’s follower, or as his shadow. In the beginning, Siddhartha goes with Gotama to hear the teachings of the Buddha, and Govinda remains with Buddha to become his disciple. Siddhartha believes that each person must find his or her own way to salvation and does not stay with Buddha. He says, “That is why I am going on my way-not to seek another and better doctrine, for I know there is none, but to leave all doctrines and all teachers and to reach my goal alone-or die. (28)” This quote is the underlying message portrayed for the rest of Siddhartha’s quest. This tells that life experience is the best teacher, which in turn is the core of Buddhism. As the two friends part to go their separate ways, Siddhartha again voices the central idea of the novel: he reminds the Buddha that the process of enlightenment which he underwent is unteachable, and that there is no way of communicating first-hand experience to the disciples.
As the last part begins, Govinda has arrived to cross the river, meeting Siddhartha, who is now an old man. Immediately upon being reunited, Govinda knows that Siddhartha has found his own way and then realizes that he did it without the formal system of the Buddha. After being asked how he was able to reach enlightenment, Siddhartha draws the distinction between knowledge and wisdom. He says, “ No, I am telling you what I discovered. Knowledge can be...