“Siddhartha” Analysis

“Siddhartha” is a fiction story written in 1992 by the novelist Hermann Hesse. As such, the novel describes a tale of a man pursuing a spiritual journey in discovering himself. This comes at the time of Gautama Buddha where the author examines the Buddhist philosophy and Indian culture which are well expressed in his final epiphany.

The story is set in a small district of Kapilavatsu in Nepal where the protagonist decides to leave behind his home and search for spiritual growth. In the process, he becomes a beggar of Shramanas in a new environment (Hermann n.p). Remaining true to his goal he renounces all the earthly possessions, meditates intensely and fasts a lot while still homeless.

Religion is the main theme which outlines the desire to understand one’s spirituality and enlightenment. As such, spiritual nourishment is void of earthly possessions and materialist desires. Even though Siddhartha is a pious man, he is influenced by a friend he meets who inspires him with Buddhist philosophies, but despite the wisdom in them, he acknowledges that true spiritual understanding cannot be sought by intellectual understanding. Also, the protagonist is known to immerse himself in a scriptural study of both Buddhist and Hindu scripture (Hermann n.p).

There is a similarity between the life of Buddha and that of the protagonist. As such, the author uses a similar analogy to show the hunger for spiritual growth by Siddhartha. In the bible, a man named Abraham had to leave the comfort of his family to an unknown land. Similarly, Siddhartha imitates such an experience in search of spiritual nourishment.

The theme of love is pivotal to this story as the protagonist denies himself comfort to please his believer. Self-sacrifice and total devotion to a godlike power is an expression of love.

Works Cited

Hesse, Hermann. “”Siddhartha, trans.”” Hilda Rosner. New Delhi: Rupa and Co (1922).

Siddhartha Gautama

The feeling of having a full understanding of oneself and who you are is something that everyone strives for. Being able to avoid pleasures and laziness to reach self fulfillment and clarity is achieving enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama, a prince from the Shakya Kingdom, went on a journey to discover himself and the reasons for human suffering.

Siddhartha led a very interesting life, starting with his younger years. As he aged, he became more significant because of his theories and religion development. Today, he is still a very important historical figure because of his discoveries, and many people worship him. Siddhartha’s quest to enlightenment shaped an entirely new way of thinking, and he should always be remembered for his legacy.

Around 536 BC in the Himalayan mountain region in a city called Lumbini, Siddhartha Gautama was born into wealth. His father, Suddhodana, and his mother, Mahamaya game him his name because it meant wish fulfiller or he who has attained his goals (Pearson, 2). It is said that his parents predicted him to become a Buddha at birth, therefore they named him a name with such a meaning (Pearson, 4). Two days after he was born, his mother died, leaving him in the care of his sister, Mahapajapati because his father was a very busy ruling king for the Shakya kingdom.

Growing up, Siddhartha lived in comfort and luxury because of his father, however, he was very sheltered so that he would age only experiencing wealth, and follow in the footsteps of his father. While living in royalty, he was given a very high level of education, and was taught philosophy, literature, and even martial arts. At age sixteen he was arranged to marry Yasodhara, and they had a child when he was twenty nine. From the time he was married up until his son was born, Siddhartha began questioning his life and what was going on around him. He noticed a lot of suffering going on from the common people of where he lived. All of this exposure made him get very anxious and paranoid. The thought of him being susceptible to old age, disease, death, and many other types of suffering sent him into a crisis.

Ascetics were very self disciplined and avoided all forms of self indulgence. This way of life intrigued Siddhartha, which is why he became so disgusted with the people in his village. He was also influenced by exposure to ascetics, men who had renounced all worldly goods in the belief that practicing self-denial as spiritual discipline could bring enlightenment,( Pearson, 6). He first became a monk, then slowly transitioned to full asceticism because he thought that way of life was the only path that would lead him to enlightenment. He gave up everything for this journey; his family, his home, and all his material goods. He was determined to discover something that he considered very important.

He experienced many hardships on his quest, and had to reevaluate what he was doing many times in order to be successful.
As a monk he started to practice yoga and meditation often. He wanted to start to get in touch with his mind and his body. Arada Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra were his leaders, and they tried to teach him, but Siddhartha was not satisfied (Violatte, 14). He turned to asceticism for a more severe and tasking method to reach enlightenment. According to Pearson, ascetics would, practice severe deprivation of food and sleep, along with other self-induced physical hardship. They would use yogic meditation to relieve pain and conserve energy, There was a forest that was of importance to the Hindus, a common religion for the people in the area, where Siddhartha went to live as an ascetic.
The trials that Siddhartha had to face were physical, mental, and spiritual.

He experienced a lot of struggle and hardships during the six year time period he was living in the forest. Sometimes, his own thoughts and ideas lead him to danger. Fasting was a common thing for monks to practice, and Siddhartha thought that if he fasted for an extended amount of time, he could get a better grasp on his consciousness and attain enlightenment. A woman that was traveling through and noticed Siddhartha came over and offered him food, and it was not until that point that Siddhartha realized that enlightenment wouldn’t come from deprivation. He then decided to focus on a concept called The Middle Path(Pettinger). The middle path is something that would be taught by Siddhartha in the future. After living in starvation for years, he came to the conclusion that he should avoiding excesses of both fasting and feasting, (Pettinger). After this realization he began to focus harder and became more determined.

According to John Pearson, who wrote a biography on Siddhartha Gautama for EBSCO, he is said to have experienced the death of his former being. This means going beyond the experience of life as a cycle of birth, death and rebirth (known as samsara), to instead experience nirvana, what he called ?the utter extinction of aging and dying.’ It took him six years to attain this enlightenment, and it would end up being one of the most important days in history. After Siddhartha attained nirvana, he became known as the Buddha, which means enlightened one.

The concept of enlightenment is very interesting and complicated. It is very self oriented and it is something that cannot be taught. Nirvana is a state that a person is in while the event of enlightenment takes place- nirvana also happens at death. According to Immanuel Kant from Columbia University, Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage.

Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. This means that enlightenment is something that is personal and the feeling of being in nirvana will become apparent and all of a person’s suffering will end. It is the idea that doing things for yourself and not waiting for others to tell you to do it, and stepping forward in your life instead of staying back. Nirvana is described as blissful consciousness by Pettinger. Enlightenment is a completely new outlook on life, and Siddhartha was able to find that, and keep it with him for the rest of his life on earth.

After experiencing nirvana, he continued to meditate for weeks after because he wanted to enhance his learning and experience more of his new reality. Of enlightenment. Buddha decided that he wanted to teach others about his wisdom, and spread his new ideologies to everyone. He then made the choice to go back to samsara the physical world, and begin to educate. Buddha wanted people to understand The Four Noble Truths, which was something he composed while in enlightenment.

They were: Human existence is suffering, suffering is caused by desire, only by ending desire can humans end suffering, the Buddha’s eightfold path can end desire, (Pearson). The Eightfold Path is the track to enlightenment. He also taught a concept called the Middle Way. These three ideologies became the foundation for Buddhism.

The Four Noble Truths are the basic thoughts of Buddha on suffering and are the essence of Buddhism. They spread the idea that suffering is inevitable, but that suffering can come to an end. According to PBS, the notion of suffering is not intended to convey a negative world view, but rather, a pragmatic perspective that deals with the world as it is, and attempts to rectify it, Each Truth was carefully thought out and determined by the Buddha in efforts to explain life on earth and why there is suffering. He composed these ideas based off his own experiences seeking enlightenment. They provide guidance through the physical world and let people know that enlightenment is attainable. The last Truth describes the Buddha’s Eightfold path, and how it can lead people to live a life without earthly desires. All the elements of Buddhism link together and were created by The Buddha.

The Eightfold Path is like the practices or morals that, according to Buddha, should be followed to ensure enlightenment. The eight aspects are, The correct understanding the correct way of thinking the correct way of speaking the correct livelihood the correct effort the correct mindfulness and the correct concentration, (Gale Resource). These things can be taught and explained, however, part of the Buddhist religion is about thinking for oneself and discovering what a concept means to an individual. These practices encourage people to be respectable and do what they know is right. Buddha chose these specific principles because they all lead to a well rounded person that is more likely to be able to reach enlightenment.

The Middle Way simply is the Buddha’s view on life. Soka Gakkai International says that it is, the way or path that transcends and reconciles the duality that characterizes most thinking. The middle way is the perfect balance between having too much and too little. Buddha discovered this when he first had a lot of luxury, and then had almost nothing in the forest. He came to the conclusion that indulgence or not enough indulgence wouldn’t lead to enlightenment, but somewhere in the middle would. Some even interchange the phrase The Middle Way and Buddhism because the concept of the middle way completely grasps the basis of Buddhism. Buddha thought that all of these ideas and notions should be formed into a religious belief. Buddha assumed that people would follow what he was saying and commit to this new belief system of enlightenment. He wanted others to have the same liberating experience as he had (Hallisey, 13).

Buddha returned back to his homeland to talk about his experiences and to teach others in and around India. He gave his first religious talk- or sermon- called Turning the Wheel of Truth, in a place called Sarnath. He gave many more talks for the remainder of his life. His goal was to spread the Four Noble Truths, his thought on enlightenment and nirvana, and the Middle Way. When creating this belief system, he made efforts to not have it become an organized religion with a church and hierarchy (Pearson). He believed that his teachings could be used for guidance to further oneself but not to rely on fully.

It is said that Buddha experienced three changes of heart during his life. They were when he gave up his life as a prince, the day he attained enlightenment, and the day he made his decision to teach his findings. These changes of heart influenced his teaching style and impacted what kind of teacher he was. He wanted to be motivational yet practical and never tried to force his thoughts upon people. In order to adhere to multiple types of listeners, the Buddha gave his message in various ways, adjusting what he had to say according to the capabilities and predispositions of his audience, (Hallisey). He avoided all incidences of rules coming about as he gained more followers- he wanted Buddhism to remain as personal to the individual as possible.

As Buddha became more established as a teacher, he gained some committed followers called sangha, who became Buddhist monks (Berkley). He had to grant him the right to teach his philosophies correctly because he didn’t want any of his oral lessons to be altered or misinterpreted. Buddha continued to teach for forty five more years until he died of dysentery at age eighty. He passed in 483 BC in his home town Kushinagara where his legacy carried on and his ideologies stuck with many people. Some say that he left his physical body and continued on to reach parinirvana, which was where enlightened people went when they died (Berkley). The sangha continued to teach Buddhism and established it as a religion so that more people could join the following if they wanted to. It spread all around India and Nepal, and eventually made its way to China.

So many people were infatuated with the concept of becoming enlightened and experiencing nirvana.
Buddhism is one of the most vastly spread religions in the modern world, and it is because of Siddhartha Gautama. He had a vision and did not give up until he succeeded with goal of realization in the physical world. He is as important to Buddhist as Jesus Christ is to Christians (Violatti).

It has many similarities and differences with Hinduism, which was the predominant religion before buddhism came about. Jainism is another religion that branched off from Buddhism, and it is far more intense and consumes people’s lives. Most Jainists are acestics or live a comparable life to an ascetic. This religion developed after Buddha’s passing and it is said that he would not have liked it because during his time in the forest, he realized that acestics would never reach enlightenment because they give up too much. Since all of Buddha’s teachings were oral, there is some argument on what the core of Buddhism is. Some say its non- violence while others believe that it is humanity. (Violatti).

Buddha never saw himself as a religion leader, but just as a teacher. He thought that ceremonies and rituals that consumed people’s lives was unnecessary and thought that people should be able to worship as much or as little as they felt was crucial. Violatti says that he feels it’s ironic how Buddha ended up being worshipped like a god after his death, and was viewed as a hierarchical being.

Indian traditions started associating with Buddhist lifestyles and so gods and goddesses that represented different aspects of Buddhism started to be worshipped. Buddha did not want this to happen but he also created Buddhism to be celebrated however an individual wished.
Siddhartha Gautama was a very insightful person who made a monumental change in his life for the betterment of himself and others.

His realization of suffering and the fact that he had been blind to it for his younger years gave him this change of heart. His achievements in creating a new religion, which has 488 million followers today. 7% of the world’s population follows the faith of the Buddha in hopes of reaching enlightenment. Buddhists go on their own personal journey of finding themselves and what is important to them.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a religious and philosophical book about the teachings of successfully finding eternal happiness. The classic story of a man lost in his own world of cycles begins to realize his suffering due to his purposeless practices and resolves to follow others in order to find himself spiritually. Siddhartha displays the different ways of two major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, in the story and its time.

As the story progresses, the audience will start to understand more about the constants and contrasts between Buddhism and Hinduism, and as to how people can end their suffering, reach enlightenment, and overcome sorrow.

The main character Siddhartha goes through several forms of trying to reach nirvana or everlasting peace. He puts himself through pain of all sorts: physical, emotional, and mental. His physical pain derived from his following of the Ascetics. A dead jackal was lying on the sandy bank, and Siddhartha’s soul slipped inside the body, was the dead jackal, lay on the banks, got bloated, stank, decayed, was dismembered by hyaenas, was skinned by vultures, turned into a skeleton, turned to dust, was blown across the fields,(Hesse, 7).

Siddhartha compared himself to a dead animal because it accurately explains how he feels and the sacrifices he’s making in order to achieve nirvana, an important notion in the society of the 6th Century BCE. People in this time believed suffering was caused by selfish desires, and tried to perform in ways in order to overcome it. In both religions, the only way to end one’s suffering was to reach nirvana or moksha, which means an understanding of the body and self in Buddhism, while moksha requires a true understanding of the universe and everything inside of it that is a key part in Hinduism

The conclusion of the book demonstrated Siddhartha’s overcoming of his selfish desires and reaching enlightenment after a great amount of time. Reaching enlightenment resembles finally achieving a lifelong goal a person has been working on since the day they were born. Many people believe they reach enlightenment when something favorable happens to them, but in reality, it’s two different types of understanding of enlightenment. For Hindus, enlightenment or moksha is understanding life and one’s self. For Buddhism, enlightenment or nirvana is understanding life and how to reach nirvana without any attachments to the physical world. Buddhism teachings disclose that materialism and greed are preventing one’s self from reaching nirvana.

An example of this would be Christianity, with one of the Covenants with God, the Cycle of Redemption, how the people break the Covenant with God due to their own selfish desires, but soon realize He is their nirvana. Christianity is more similar to Buddhism because it is universal, and ultimately a religion meant for the people, not for the higher society.

Overcoming sorrow can be quite difficult if not known how to execute precisely and effectively. Thus were Siddhartha’s thoughts, this was his thirst, this was his suffering,(Hesse, 3). Near the beginning of the novel, Siddhartha comes to an awareness that he will never be happy if he follows his father’s path as a known Brahmin.Silent and motionless stood the son with his arms folded, silent and motionless sat the father on the mat,(Hesse, 4). In modern society, this would usually be a father passing down his company to his son whom he’s groomed for, and just like Siddhartha’s father, is disappointed when the son refuses the family legacy.

As time grows older and older, so do the ways of people and how they live their lives. Siddhartha and modern society are not different in many forms due to the remaining culture around parts of the world such as India. Hinduism and Buddhism, while they conflict each other in some areas, they still support each other in ways that most religions do not; they share definite similarities but also contrast each other in ways that make them their own religions.

Buddhism was created out of inequality from Hinduism for people who were not as fortunate as the elites of their society were. The newfound religion gave the lower class an opportunity to believe in happiness and eternal peace. While the main character struggles to reach but finally achieves his goal, many today remain in conflict with themselves and life itself. With all of the problems people face today, Siddhartha displays humanity’s lack of support, acceptance, and utter joy.

Siddhartha Demonstrates an Eastern Pantheistic Monism

Siddhartha wants to find wisdom as a monk. He leaves his family and travels with Govinda to learn from wise monks who are in the forest over time Siddhartha dislikes the teachings and wants to learn more on his own. So he leaves Govinda behind who stays and learns from Gotama the buddha in the forest.

Siddhartha then meets Kamala but she wants a man who is wealthy but because Siddhartha knows nothing about business he seeks advice and information from a local merchant who trains him. Siddhartha then wins over Kamala but soon loses pleasure and loses focus on Gambling and other women.

Siddhartha then leaves and meets Vasudeva who has found peace on the river who helps Siddhartha find inner peace. In the end, Siddhartha found enlightenment and shared it with Govinda. Siddhartha demonstrates an Eastern Pantheistic Monism worldview due to the way they acquire knowledge through meditating. This took place when Siddhartha was with Vasudeva who taught Siddhartha how to meditate and find inner peace at the river and basically escape what is going on around him like the facts he left Kamala with his kid. Siddhartha basically practices through yoga as well as good works like meditating.

The whole book references Brahman which is the Eastern Pantheistic Monism definition of inner peace.He also spends majority of the book finding his inner self. In EPM the person dying helped helped growth into who the person needed to be. Just like how a butterfly changes from a caterpillar to a butterfly after the cocoon stage. Which would then cause the new being to think completely different about previous situations.

Sadly, this took Siddhartha his whole life to figure out and after he had experienced life. In order to achieve true enlightenment, Siddhartha would have had to forget all of the lessons he once learned through Kamaswami as a merchant and through that became greedy of everything he had. It took him the whole book to understand that this would only come if he became another person which falls into the category of man in Eastern Pantheistic Monism because being only an observer of the body means it isn’t your life and that means for Siddhartha he would then need to die and become a new being and that took him his whole life to figure out.

The Name Of Siddhartha

Growing up with no knowledge of suffering until seeing it with my own eyes, I wanted to find a cure for it. My birth name is Bodhisattva, but I was given the name of Siddhartha, he who has accomplished his aim. I was born 563 BCE in Lumbini, Nepal into a Kshatriyan family, I was a prince.

My father, Suddhodana, was the king of Nepal, chief of the Shakya clan. My mother was queen Mahamaya, but I do not know much about her since she died a few days after I was born. So, I was raised in the palace by her sister, Mahapajapati. I lived a luxurious life. When I had come of age and reached sixteen years old, I was married to the beautiful princess, Yasodhara, and once our child was born, he was named Rahula.

One day, when I was twenty-nine years old, I was curious about the world outside of the palace walls. I wanted to see the land and the people. I told my charioteer that I wanted to go out to the park. As usual, my father ordered his ministers to keep watch of me. The charioteer drove the carriage out towards the park. When we arrived at the park, I saw a man. Not just any man: he was old, aged and advanced in years, white-haired, his body marked with spots, broken, bent forward, leaning on a staff, and going with tottering limbs. I asked my charioteer who the man was. He told me the man is called old, exhausted by age. I then question my charioteer if I, too, am subjected to old age, he tells me that everyone is. He said that we are all of a kind that grows old.

I could not believe what I had seen. The man looked so old, I had never seen anything or anyone that advanced in years. I requested my charioteer to drive me back to the palace immediately. What I had seen that day led me to question myself: What is this? What is the cause of this? Is there a cure? These questions ran through my mind the rest of the day.

A few days later I decided to go out to the park once again. Will I find another man of old age? Or is there a different kind of man this time? Just as before, my charioteer drives out to the park. Then I saw an ill man, his eyes and voice unlike other men. I asked my charioteer the same question from the other day. He said I, too, am subjected to fall ill. Days after I saw a man who has ended his days. I learned that this was death and I, too, am subjected to death. We are all subjected to illness and death.

That night, after learning of old age, illness, and death, I decided to leave the palace. I had to find out the cause of this old age, this suffering, and find a cure. I left the palace with my squire, Chandaka, and my favorite horse, Kanthaka, very late at night. As we were about to leave the city, I ordered Chandaka to return to the palace with Kanthaka. Finding the cure to suffering was something I needed to do myself. I cut my hair off and change my robes for yellow ones, which was given to me by the gods of the Pure Abode, going forth from a home to a homeless life.

Going on a search for a way to release this suffering took me about six years. I had gone eastwards and I might have passed by Sakyas, Koliyas, and Mallas. My first first teacher was Alara Kalama. I had told him that I wanted to practice the religious life in this doctrine and discipline. He told the the practice was attainment of the state of nothingness. Then I a bit later I realized this doctrine is ineffective to attain cessation of suffering, and so I abandoned it.

When I continued my search for a cure, I came across this spot in Magadhas. It seemed to be a fit place for striving, and so I sat down in that spot. Then suddenly, I wondered if I could practice without breathing. I restrained breathing in and out multiple times, about three. Just then, I wondered if I could also restrain myself from food, and so I did. There were divinities that had seen me and offered to feed me food. I declined. So then I thought about just taking small amounts of food. Going on with little foods to eat, I became thinner. I started to eat solid food, rice, and sour milk that was given to me by the five monks attending me.

When I recovered after eating solid food, I was able to regain my strength. I had no sensual desires or evil ideas and that allowed me to attain the first trance of joy and pleasure with reasoning and investigation. Then without reasoning and investigation, I was able to attain the second trance. Being able to dwell with equanimity, mindful, and happily allowed me to attain the third trance. Lastly, abandoning pleasures and pain allowed me to attain the fourth trance.

I had travelled to the town of Bodh Gaya and decide to sit under a fig tree, hoping it would help me find the answer to solving suffering. I sat under that tree for many days. Firstly concentrating to clear my mind of all distractions, then mindfully meditating to open up to the truth. I then started thinking about my previous life and everything going on in the universe. Then on the full moon, with the rising of the morning sun, I understood the answer of suffering and became Buddha, he who is awake.

A man, who goes by the name Mara, tried to prevent me from becoming Buddha. One of the things he did was assemble a fourfold army and roared at them to slay me. He also had three of his daughters try to tempt me, but I conquered all temptations. I remain seated under the tree, (which is called the bodhi tree).

Then I went to Sarnath near Benares and I was able to preach my very first sermon at a deer-park. I explained the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to the five monks that I met. I told them the Four Noble Truths: The truth is that life is suffering, it is solely caused by desire, the only way to ending suffering is to end desire, and finally, the way to end desire is to avoid the extremes in life. To put it short; take the Middle Path. The Middle Path is the Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right effort, right action, right livelihood, right speech, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

The purpose of the Eightfold Path is to produce insight, tend to calm, and lead to disgust, absence of passion, cessation, to the state of ascetic, to enlightenment, then to Nirvana. I became enlightened when I was thirty-five years old.
Then King Bimbisara of Magadha granted me a monastery near his capital, Rajagriha. This, along with other generous donations, permitted the community of converts to continue their practices throughout the years. This also gave many people an opportunity to hear and learn about my teachings.

Ever since then, I dedicated my life to this: going to places and being able to teach the practices to people. My daily routine was to wander around, beg my own meal, and spend the days meditating, but after my second meal, I go teach. It did not matter what a person’s status in the world is, or what their background or wealth or nationality might be. All were capable of enlightenment. That is how I, Siddhartha Gautama, was able to reach enlightenment and find the cure for suffering.

From Prince to Buddha Siddhartha

Siddhartha Gautama was born in the 6th century BC into the Shakya clan of modern day Nepal. Gautama’s father was the king of the tribe and young Siddhartha enjoyed a lavish life despite his mother’s death just seven days after his birth. As a child, Siddhartha lived in a palace built for him by his father and he hardly ever left the complex even after he married at sixteen.

One day at 29, he decided to go outside of the palace walls and saw an old man on the brink of death. Siddhartha had never seen an old person before and his chauffeur explained that aging is a part of human life. Siddhartha was intrigued and desired the answer to other existential questions. Following that, he encountered a sick man and a corpse.

The charioteer explained that sickness and death are also a part of life. On his way back to the palace, Siddhartha witnessed an ascetic wearing simple clothes and looking at peace. These encounters prompted Gautama in his search for the ultimate release from suffering. Siddhartha began by listening to the philosophies of others but nothing resonated with him. However, he learned how to discipline and concentrate his mind. Next, he turned to poverty and wore meager clothes and ate next to nothing while traveling with 5 companions. Eventually, he decided that asceticism was ineffective as well and his companions abandoned him. Upon arriving at a village, a woman fed him milk and honey, and he bathed in the river.

Afterwards, he sat underneath a Bodhi tree and meditated there for six days. On the sixth, he finally opened his eyes and realized that what he desired was non-existent and the struggle to reach it was the root of suffering. Afterwards, Gautama, now The Buddha or The Enlightened One, originally intended to keep it to himself but allegedly, Brahma, a Hindu God, asked him to share it as some people needed guidance. The Buddha came up with 4 Noble Truths: suffering is a part of life, suffering is caused by desire, you must stop wanting to end suffering, and to remove desire, you must follow the Eightfold Path. The Buddha first told the 5 ascetics who he had traveled with of his knowledge and they formed the basis of his religious following of monks, or bhikshus.

Each monk lived a life of poverty, owning only a bowl, robe, a needle, and a razor, to shave their heads. Though his following started small, the Buddha’s fame quickly grew throughout India and into Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Indonesia, and the Middle East through the Silk Road. Regardless of his notoriety, the Buddha continued his nomadic lifestyle. Everyday, he held a gathering for discussion in which he taught or answered spiritual questions, often using metaphors to convey his meaning in an easier to understand way. None of these meetings or the Buddhas teachings were recorded until after his death when 500 elders met and wrote down the Buddha’s teaching and rules into three documents called the Three Baskets. The Buddha died at eighty years old in Kushinagara surrounded by several monks

A Man Named Siddhartha

A man named Siddhartha wants to find wisdom as a monk. He leaves his family and travels with his friend Govinda to learn from wise monks who are in the forest over time Siddhartha dislikes the teachings and wants to learn more on his own. So he leaves Govinda behind who stays and learns from Gotama the buddha in the forest.

Siddhartha then meets Kamala but she wants a man who is wealthy but because Siddhartha knows nothing about business he seeks advice and information from a local merchant who trains him. Siddhartha then wins over Kamala but soon loses pleasure and loses focus on Gambling and other women.

Siddhartha then leaves and meets Vasudeva who has found peace on the river who helps Siddhartha find inner peace. In the end, Siddhartha found enlightenment and shared it with Govinda. Siddhartha demonstrates an Eastern Pantheistic Monism worldview due to the way they acquire knowledge through meditating. This took place when Siddhartha was with Vasudeva who taught Siddhartha how to meditate and find inner peace at the river and basically escape what is going on around him like the facts he left Kamala with his kid. Siddhartha basically practices through yoga as well as good works like meditating.

Throughout the whole book it also references Brahman. That is the Eastern Pantheistic Monism definition of inner peace.He also spends majority of the book finding his inner self. In EPM the person dying helped helped growth into who the person needed to be. Just like how a butterfly changes from a caterpillar to a butterfly after the cocoon stage. Which would then cause the new being to think completely different about previous situations. Sadly, this took Siddhartha his whole life to figure out and after he had experienced life. In order to achieve true enlightenment, Siddhartha would have had to forget all of the lessons he once learned through Kamaswami as a merchant and through that became greedy of everything he had.

It took him the whole book to understand that this would only come if he became another person which falls into the category of man in Eastern Pantheistic Monism because being only an observer of the body means it isn’t your life and that means for Siddhartha he would then need to die and become a new being and that took him his whole life to figure out.

In Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

“If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.” (Frankl). Life consists of happiness and sadness, success and failure, good fortune and tragedy, all of which contributes to understanding the meaning of life. Often difficulties in life are the most enlightening and illuminating experiences of self-discovery.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, developed a theory that illustrates the human response to the difficulty of loss. Known as the Kubler-Ross Model, people who deal with grief go through a cycle of stages that fall into five groups. According to Kubler-Ross, the five stages of grief are categorized as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

In Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, the stages of grief depict Siddhartha’s journey towards enlightenment as evident by Siddhartha experiencing times of denial of self and possessions, moments of depression and despair, and ultimately achieving acceptance.
Denial, the first stage of grief, is visible throughout Siddhartha’s journey as seen by the rejection of self and possessions. Siddhartha decides to leave the comforts of home to follow the Samanas. Siddhartha asks his father, “With your permission, my father. I have come to tell you that it is my wish to leave your house tomorrow and join the ascetics.

I must become a Samana.” (Hesse 9). For Siddhartha asks for his father’s blessing to leave his house, to study a different path, and to live a more austere life. By requesting to follow the Samanas, Siddhartha is denying his father’s wishes and in a sense rejecting his religious upbringing. Furthermore, when Siddhartha and Govinda start their journey with the Samanas, they give away their clothes and participate in fasting. The narrator states, “Siddhartha saw a single goal: to become empty, empty of thirst, empty of want, empty of dream, empty of joy and sorrow.” (Hesse 13).

To live a life as a Samana, Siddhartha and Govinda must seek spirituality through denial of possessions and emotions. Siddhartha deprives himself not only of luxuries in life but of all necessities, only consuming the bare minimum to survive. Moreover, Siddhartha the merchant lives a comfortable life in the city with Kamala but leaves it all behind as the narrator explains, “The very same hour that night, Siddhartha left his garden, left the city, and never returned.” (Hesse 72). Even though Siddhartha has access to food and conveniences, he realizes his life is still empty and his spirit is hungry. Siddhartha leaves behind his wealth, and like his past teachers, leaves Kamala too, denying yet again another path towards self-discovery. Denial is a key component throughout Siddhartha’s Journey as he rejects teachings, possessions, and sustenance.

Furthermore, Siddhartha experiences another stage of grief as he encounters occasions of depression and despair during his journey. As a new member of the Samanas, Siddhartha travels through a town observing citizens going about their daily business and thinks to himself, ¦all gave the illusion of meaning and happiness and beauty, and all of it was just putrefaction that no one would admit to. Bitter was the taste of the world. Life was a torment.” (Hesse 12-13). Siddhartha’s depression manifests itself as hostility towards the town’s people and shows his distaste for their ordinary lives. He believes their happiness and beauty is not reality, but it is a fantasy that will eventually rot. Moreover, after Govinda’s second departing, Siddhartha realizes his life is losing meaning as the narrator states, “He noticed only that the bright and certain inner voice that once had awoken within him and accompanied him unceasingly in his days of glory had fallen silent. The world had captured him” (Hesse 67).

Siddhartha’s life revolves around money and gambling that suffocates his spiritual life. He no longer can hear his inner voice as the material world consumes him and has lost his attachment to life. Additionally, Siddhartha’s life is in a destructive cycle as the narrator observes, ¦fled further, seeking to escape in more gambling, seeking to numb himself with sensuality and wine, and then hurled himself back into the grind of hoarding and acquisition.” (Hesse 68). Siddhartha is a successful merchant who gambles away his money to show his defiance for wealth. Siddhartha’s addiction to playing dice is a toxic cycle that wears him down both physically and spiritually.

Lastly, in a moment of despair after leaving his life with Kamala, alone and down by the river’s edge Siddhartha, ¦he released his arm from around the tree trunk and rotated his body a little so as to let himself fall vertically, sink at last into the depths. With closed eyes, he sank toward death.” (Hesse 74). Hopelessness overcame Siddhartha and he thought the only way to find peace is to die. As he prepared to drown himself, he totally let’s go of his life. Similar to Kubler-Ross’ stages of depression, Siddhartha, experiences despair and hopelessness.

Finally, the most important reason the stages of grief are applicable to Siddhartha’s journey is his achievement of acceptance. Down by the river Siddhartha awakens from a deep sleep after he speaks the word Om, for the first time he has a new awareness about life. Siddhartha reminiscing about his past thinks to himself, “I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the most foolish of all thoughts, the thought of suicide, to be able to experience grace, to hear Om again, to be able to sleep well and awaken well.” (Hesse 81). Siddhartha realizes the difficulties and suffering he went through are necessary to achieve a greater understanding of life. Siddhartha comes to the conclusion in order for him to experience grace and Om he must also have experience the lesser side of foolishness and suicide. In addition, Siddhartha masters the art of listening.

The narrator says, “And when Siddhartha listened attentively to his river, to this thousand-voiced songheard all of them, heard the whole, the oneness-then the great song of the thousand voices consisted only of a single word: Om, perfection.” (Hesse 114). At this moment Siddhartha enlightenment. All the voices join together as one and Siddhartha encounters oneness with the world. Consequently, Siddhartha shares with Govinda what he learns from his enlightenment.

Siddhartha says, “I am saying what I have found. One can pass on knowledge but not wisdom. One can find wisdom, one can live it, one can be supported by it, one can work wonders with it, but one cannot speak it or teach it.” (Hesse 119). Siddhartha figures out that inner wisdom cannot be learned or studied. In fact, following other teachings or studying can get in the way of obtaining wisdom. comes from one’s experiences rather than being passed on as knowledge. Siddhartha has always had wisdom but ultimately found that he must create his own path and look within to obtain enlightenment. The final stage of the Kubler-Ross model, acceptance is evident in Siddhartha’s journey as he found a new awareness, thus a new life.


Restate Thesis: The process of Siddhartha’s journey toward enlightenment mirrors Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ cycle of grief, specifically the stages of denial, depression, and acceptance.

During Siddhartha’s Time

When you want to achieve a goal, there are often obstacles that can prevent you from reaching the level of expectation you have for yourself. However, a setback doesn’t mean you won’t ever reach your goal. In fact, you often learn a lot from your setbacks that can help you in the future.

In Hermann Hesse’s allegorical novel of spiritual self-discovery, Siddhartha, the author’s depiction of the Om and its ability to guide someone through their setbacks is portrayed through Siddhartha’s turning point, when he experiences the cleansing effects of the Om at the river. During Siddhartha’s time with the wealthy merchant, Kamaswami, his riches turn him greedy and unhappy.

He turns to gambling and binge-drinking to temporarily satisfy him but his high stakes and love for the fear that comes with them drives him to hate himself and grow restless. One night in particular, after he had spent the night with dancing girls and drinking wine, Siddhartha is disgusted with himself and wishes he could rid himself of his pointless life. When he falls asleep that night, he has a vivid dream. In his dream, [Kamala’s] little bird was dead, and lay rigid on the floor of the cage. He took it out, …and threw it away, out into the lane; and, at the same moment, he received a terrible fright, and his heart ached as if he had cast away everything valuable and good from himself together with that dead bird. (44) Siddhartha interprets the dream as a symbol of the death of all that was good in his soul. Siddhartha realizes that his soul is empty and his life is meaningless.

It dawns upon him that he has fallen into samsara, the cyclical pattern of living, suffering, and dying. He leaves the city in despair and heads to the river. In a state of hopelessness, Siddhartha nearly commits suicide. His eyes closed, he was dropping to his death. Just then, from remote regions of his soul, from past periods of his tired life, a sound ran through his mind like a flash. It was a word, a syllable, that he spoke to himself involuntarily in a slurred voice, …the sacred om. (47) Siddhartha is stopped by the recognition of the “Om” from the river. The inner voice that told him to become a samana and to not follow the Buddha has been dormant but is finally awakened. After a deep sleep, Siddhartha is reborn and ready to set out on a new course. With a new outlook on his life, Siddhartha meets Vasudeva, the ferryman, and asks to stay in his hut to learn from the river. While Siddhartha stays with Vasudeva to find the Om at the river, Kamala passes away from a fatal snake bite, and his son is left with him. Siddhartha struggles to form a relationship with Young Siddhartha and looks to the Om to teach him patience. ?You put no pressure on him, you do not hit him, you give him no orders, because you know that softness is stronger than hardness, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than physical force.’ (64) When Siddhartha finds that he has a son, he is immediately overcome by the blind love a parent feels for their child.

As a result he dismisses his son’s behavior as the result of Kamala’s death. Siddhartha tries to win his son over through friendliness and patience and to show him how to live a good life. He tries to groom his son in his own image, but Young Siddhartha realizes it and resents Siddhartha for doing so. Even though Vasudeva reminds Siddhartha that everyone must follow their own voice to enlightenment, Siddhartha is blinded by love, and he ignores it. Eventually, Young Siddhartha leaves the hut in the middle of the night to go back to the town and Siddhartha comes after him the next morning. He saw Kamaswami, he saw the servants, the banquets, the dice players, the musicians; he saw Kamala’s songbird in its cage; he relived all this, he breathed the air of samsara; again he was old and tired, again he felt the disgust, again he felt the wish to obliterate himself, again he recovered, thanks to the sacred omSiddhartha realizedthat he could not help his son.(68) As Siddhartha looks around the city, he has flashbacks of his life there. Through the om, Siddhartha acknowledges he must let his son go and that no amount of reasoning will convince him to stay.

Tho om reminds Siddhartha that no one can teach enlightenment, and that enlightenment must be found within. After his son leaves, Siddhartha dives into learning from the river and Vasudeva. He…Siddhartha listenedit was all one, it was all interwoven and knotted together, interconnected in a thousand ways. And all of this together, all the voices, all the goals, all the longing, all the suffering, all the pleasure, all the good and evil, all of this together was the worldthe great song of a thousand voices consisted of a single word, which was om, the absolute. (73) Siddhartha ceases to struggle with his destiny, he ceases to suffer. His soul merges into the unity of the great perfection that is all of the voices in the world speaking together.

No longer knowing whether time existed, whether that vision had lasted a second or a hundred years; no longer knowing whether a Siddhartha, a Gotama, an I or a you existed; wounded in his inmost recesses as if by a divine arrow, the wound from which tastes sweet; enchanted and dissolved in his inmost being, Govinda stood there a little while longer, leaning over Siddhartha’s quiet face, which had just been kissed, which had just been the theatre of all formations, of all becoming, of all being. (81) Siddhartha’s face is the epitome of enlightenment which, in the past, was known solely by Gotama. However, after Govinda’s years of following the Sublime One, finally tasted the Nirvana that Siddhartha emanates. After Govinda experiences this great transcendence, he admits that the path and approach to Nirvana used by Siddhartha was indeed the key to reaching it.

This path that Siddhartha exemplified proved to be the more successful route, despite Govinda’s attempts at believing he could reach Nirvana by alternative means. Govinda ultimately realized reaching enlightenment was not something that could be transferred to students by their teachers, but instead, had to come from within that individual. In Hermann Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, the author conveys through Siddartha’s experiences of trying to reach Om, that likewise, when any individual has a goal that they are trying to reach, it is a process. There can be setbacks while trying to achieve the goal and oftentimes we learn a great deal from those setbacks and obstacles that we encounter.

Family in Siddhartha

“Your soul is the whole world” (Hesse 7). While the value of a soul is something that cannot be understated, the belief that it is the whole world does not leave room for many other people. In Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha the titular character spends his life searching for answers from the world, only to discover that the answers were inside him the entire time. By the time Siddhartha reaches this conclusion however, he has abandoned everyone who has ever loved him, and he has done so in what he calls the justifiable name of the soul. Siddhartha finds his happiness, his peace of body, mind, and soul, but at an expense that is hardly his alone. He abandons his parents in favor of the Samanas; he abandons the Samanas and his best friend Govinda in favor of city life; he abandons city life and the relationships he has forged in it in favor of the unknown, only to find what he considers to be his place in the world, a life as a ferryman. Siddhartha throws his family away whenever he becomes struck by a bout of restlessness, and in doing so, he makes family seem irrelevant, unimportant and ultimately unnecessary. Siddhartha is immensely selfish, and does not deserve the contentment he finds living as a ferryman; rather, he deserves to eternally suffer the agony of abandonment he has impressed upon his mother and father, his friend Govinda, but most especially his child and the woman that gave birth to him.

In his first act of desertion, Siddhartha leaves behind his mother and father in order to find the way to fulfillment through the ascetic Samanas. With this departure from his idyllic village life, he sets a precedent he will continue to follow throughout his life. While leaving his parents is not incomprehensible, for he truly believes there is something more to the world than the ritualistic mantras and meditation of the Brahmins, it is the fact that it was done in vain that makes it awful to behold. ‘“When someone seeks…then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal”’ (140). Siddhartha only sees his own desire of answers, regarding his soul and the world in its entirety, but he never stops to actually see what he does as a result. He wants to see the world, to learn from it, to get what he wants from it, but as a Samana he learns only to be disgusted by it. This is what he leaves his family for: to become bitter, and to empty himself of any actual self, for this is what he and his fellow Samanas believe to be the path to “enlightenment”. As he feels himself learn to loath the same world he asks for the utmost of privileges from, to grant him wisdom and understanding, he recognizes that ultimately, he has accomplished little. Still, Siddhartha never stops to think that he might have been wrong, that maybe abandoning his mother and father was not the way to enlightenment. Siddhartha fails to grasp the unequivocal value of a family that loves him unrestrainedly, as he fails to fully appraise the value of the same kind of love from his friend Govinda. Govinda, who also leaves behind his home and family, his whole life, out of loyalty to Siddhartha, is also left behind by the once again absconding ungrateful narcissist. In an act that seems to just come naturally to him, Siddhartha leaves Govinda behind when he chooses to follow the Buddha, the so-called “illustrious one”, because he finds what he considers to be a flaw in Buddha’s preaching, proving both Siddhartha’s unrivaled arrogance and his inability to return the love and devotion that his friend bestows upon him unreservedly.

While Siddhartha’s wasting of the love given to him by Govinda and his parents is in its own right a tragedy, it is not nearly as revolting as his absolute annihilation of the love given to him by Kamala, but especially the love his son, his only child, his namesake, is never given the right to feel for him. Shockingly, disgustingly, Siddhartha later has the awe-inspiring audacity to say to Govinda that ‘“It seems to me…that love is the most important thing in the world”’ (147). Siddhartha finds his peace with nature, with the river, with the world he initially felt such repugnance for, but ultimately, this cannot possibly matter a single iota when it comes only from the deliberate, repeated forsaking of those that love and sacrifice for him. Siddhartha’s happiness comes at the expense of his child, and this is inexcusable. A parent is supposed to love his or her child more than anything and everything in the world combined, but Siddhartha loves nothing and no one more than he loves himself, however confounding such may be. Siddhartha never gives his son, the young Siddhartha, any reason to trust him; rather, he gives him every reason to doubt him. He is never there for him or Kamala, and all the blame for Kamala’s death and young Siddhartha’s callous sense of entitlement traces back to Siddhartha. It is his abandonment of Kamala that causes her to be in the woods when she is bitten by the venomous snake, as it his abandonment that leaves his son to be raised without any sort of acknowledgement or understanding of a world where everything is not provided upon any given whim of desire.

Therefore, it is Siddhartha’s own fault that his son leaves him, as he himself left his own parents. This, finally, brings about the pain that he has so long been deserving of, but Siddhartha quickly unburdens himself of the guilt and shame, the torment of abandonment, because he believes it to be in his best interest, when in actuality, the only thing in his best interest is for him to finally, however belatedly, realize exactly what it is he has done and to repent, to beg forgiveness from his son. ‘“Not in his speech or thought do I regard him as a great man, but in his deeds and life”’ (148). Siddhartha’s life and the deeds that define it do not point to greatness. His selfishness kills the mother of his child, and it steals in the most egregious manner his son’s absolute right, not privilege, to his father. This is unforgivable. At no point in his life, throughout all his searching and wandering, his fasting and meditating, or any of his supposed “awakenings” does Siddhartha realize the unparalleled value of a loving family.

Siddhartha consistently exchanges his family and the love it offers, the very emotion he considers to be “the most important thing in the world” for himself and his own narcissistic tendencies. Ironically, he blunders in this too. He fails to accurately appraise the value of the self because he sees himself and his soul as the most important thing when the most important thing is family, when the most important thing truly is love, but not love of the self. ‘“You show the world as a complete, unbroken chain, an eternal chain, linked together by cause and effect”’ (32), says Siddhartha to Buddha, the so-called “illustrious one.” Siddhartha says he understands what this means, but he is unable to realize that he is the cause of the effect of so much devastation. Ultimately, Siddhartha finds his peace and happiness as a ferryman, but he does not deserve to. The only thing he is deserving of is the understanding of what it means to abandon someone, and to realize that is what he has done time and time again, most horrifically to his own child, if according to biology alone.