Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Journeys in Siddhartha
In Hesse's novel, Siddhartha the title character, Siddhartha leaves the Brahmins in search of Nirvana - spiritual peace. The journey he endures focuses on two main goals - to find peace and the right path (http://www.ic.ucsb.edu/~ggotts/hesse/life/jennifer/html). Joseph Mileck, the author of Hermann Hesse: Life and Art, asserts that Siddhartha focuses on a sense of unity developed through Siddhartha's mind, body, and soul (Baumer). Hesse's Siddhartha revolves around three central journeys - a physical, a mental, and a spiritual journey.
Siddhartha's journey begins with his physical journey. This journey begins in Siddhartha's hometown. At home, Siddhartha focuses his religious involvement in Brahmin rituals. These rituals do not allow him to reach Nirvana so he decides to leave his village and follow the teachings of the Samanas. The Samanas are men who believe that temporary life is only an illusion, and they practice extreme self-denial and meditation (Welch 58). Siddhartha's journey with the Samanas begins as he pulls himself away from the structure of everyday life. However, Siddhartha finds this life to be unfulfilling and wasteful. When Siddhartha decides to leave the Samanas, he hypnotizes the leader in order to convince him to let Siddhartha move away (http://www.imsa.edu/~trasched/siddhartha/phys.html).
Eventually, Siddhartha decides to attempt the teachings of Buddha. However, this lifestyle leaves him unsatisfied as well. Even though Siddhartha decides not to follow the teachings of Buddha, he says, "I have seen one man, one man only, before whom I must lower my eyes. I will never lower my eyes before any other man. No other teachings will attract me, since this man's teachings have not done so," (Hesse 35). Buddha does, however, attract Siddhartha's friend, Govinda. After leaving Buddha, Siddhartha moves to a village. In the village, Siddhartha meets a woman named Kamala. Kamala influences Siddhartha to change the lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed (http://www.imsa.edu/~trasched/siddhartha/phys.html.
Siddhartha becomes a rich man and soon loses his desire to search for Nirvana. Along with Kamala, a man named Kamaswami influences Siddhartha. He convinces Siddhartha that material possessions can "fill" his life. Siddhartha takes the advice, and he begins to live his life for money. He starts to gamble and to compromise his true beliefs for material pleasure. While living in the village, Siddhartha slips into a deep depression. He feels that he has lost a part of his soul, and he attempts to commit suicide. However, during this attempt, Siddhartha becomes reborn and longs once again for Nirvana (http://splavc.spjc.cc.fl.us/hooks/ew/SmithSidd.html). At this time, Siddhartha meets a ferryman named Vasudeva. Vasudeva fascinates Siddhartha the way Buddha did (Welch 71). Vasudeva tells Siddhartha that the way...