Siddhartha - by Hermann Hesse

Started by SaSirEkha, March 17, 2012, 12:44:53 PM

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Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian man named Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha.
The book, Hesse\'s ninth novel (1922), was written in German, in a simple, powerful, and lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated Siddhartha to Romain Rolland[1] and Wilhelm Gundert.
The word Siddhartha derives from two words in the Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (meaning or wealth). The two words together mean \"he who has found meaning (of existence)\" or \"he who has attained his goals\".[2] The Buddha\'s name, before his renunciation, was Prince Siddhartha Gautama. He was Prince of Kapilvastu, Nepal. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as \"Gotama\".

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The story begins by painting a picture of Siddhartha as a perfect son: smart, athletic, obedient, and handsome. However, he eventually sees the limitations of the Brahmin life, and leaves his home to join the ascetics with his companion Govinda. The two set out in search of enlightenment. After seeing the limitation of asceticism, the two journey to meet the Buddha. Govinda is immediately impressed and takes refuge in the Buddha. Siddhartha respects the Buddha\'s enlightenment, but realizes that no teaching, not even the Buddha\'s, can capture enlightenment.
The second half of the book starts with Siddhartha impressing a beautiful, wealthy courtesan. She sets him up with a job so that he can afford the beautiful things that will impress her. Initially seeing this as a game for children, he eventually finds himself caught up in the trading, drinking, and gambling of a merchant life. He leaves again for the forest. After settling into a nice life sharing ferryman duties with a wise friend, Siddhartha finds out he fathered a son. He attempts to raise the boy in this simple life, but the boy gets frustrated and returns to the city. Siddhartha finally feels the sorrow of love, which leads to a deep compassion for all of his fellow humans.
The story takes place in ancient India around the time of Gotama Buddha (likely between the fourth and seventh centuries BCE[3]).
Experience is the aggregate of conscious events experienced by a human in life – it connotes participation, learning and knowledge. Understanding is deep comprehension and internalization. In Hesse's novel Siddhartha, experience is shown as the best way to approach understanding of reality to attain enlightenment. Hesse's crafting of Siddhartha's journey shows that understanding is attained not through scholastic, mind-dependent methods, nor through immersing oneself in asceticism or love and the carnal pleasures of the world. While these individual events only bring about more samsara, they cannot be considered distractions because it is the totality of these experiences that allow Siddhartha to attain understanding.


interesting book.
i too read it last month.

just proves that there\'re multiple ways to achieve the ultimate goal


just started reading this book yesterday and found it interesting.
is it fiction or real