In our lives we are all like Siddhartha the young Brahman boy. In a quest for the self, for true happiness. Just like Siddhartha embraces the life of a Samana we too set out in life to bring more meaning to it to find our purpose.
The Life of a Samana
Siddhartha found meditation, breathing, fasting and waiting to be an escape from one’s self which is similar when we do things to escape reality. Siddhartha doesn’t find peace in being a Samana nor is swayed by the teachings of Gotama the exalted one. He leaves his dear friend Govinda behind. His pilgrimage continues throughout the book with the skills he learns to be able to think, to wait and to fast.
We go through endless trial and tribulations in life often bending into different roles and characters to survive. Siddhartha learns to become a merchant while in the heart he stays very much a Samana. He learns the art of love through Kamala. He often views this life from the outside everything seeming to be child like to him while he stayed relaxed and content. In time the greed and sloth of making money, gambling and losing it led him to a kind of despair and death which he bade goodbye to.
He finds himself at a coconut tree where through the weight of his feelings he thinks of suicide but is rejuvenated by the spoken word Om. It was a long meditative recitation of Om, a thinking of Om, a submergence and complete entering into Om, into the nameless, the perfected. He is once again like a new born ready to start again. Don’t we all face a kind of death at some point in our lives only to feel renewed again? What brought about that feeling of renewal for you?
To Siddhartha it was the deep love for the rushing waters of the rivers that he decided not to leave too soon. There he found the ferryman Vasudeva who was close to the river and knew its ways and led a simple life. The rivers spoke to Vasudeva as it did Siddhartha. Siddhartha came to live with Vasudeva.
Here Siddhartha met Kamala again only to lose her and he realizes he is a parent to a boy. Vasudeva wisely advises him that he can not stop his son from reclaiming his own destiny and that he too will make his mistakes. Often as parents because of love we often want to shape the lives of our children so they don’t tread on the same obstacles but they too like Siddhartha, setting out as a Samana have to be set free to reach their own destinies.
Songs of the River
The most beautiful passage is how Vasudeva urges Siddhartha to listen better to the songs of the river. Siddhartha sees different images merge with each other, turning into the river as for one goal, and the rivers were full of suffering and unsatisfiable desire. The waters were hurrying towards their goals ; waterfalls, the lake, the sea, the goal reached and turning into vapor and falling back into a stream. All the voices and goals were entangled into one the good and evil all flowed into one which was the world. It was the music of life. All the voices consisted of a single word Om. Om the agreement to a hymn to the laws of nature. Both Vasudeva and Siddhartha’s face shone brightly with their smiles after hearing the songs of the river.
At the end of Siddhartha- Hermann Hesse, Govinda sees in Siddhartha a holy man. Siddhartha has his own wise words, his own bizarre thoughts about life which are equally profound to the exalted one. Don’t we all have our own wisdom about life and what it means to us?
Siddhartha- Hermann Hesse
In the heart of the passage I have found Siddhartha- Hermann Hesse, a book with complex meanings that I must understand more fully, a journey of young Siddhartha, his quest for his truest self, searching but never finding and the life he came to have led through all of it.