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Summary Book

Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

Siddharta is a book written by Hermann Hesse, published in 1922. It is a well-known work in the East, where epic and lyrical elements are mixed, and topics related to spirituality are addressed, with a different lifestyle such as Buddhism and a reflection is made about the meaning of life.


Characters from “Siddharta”

The main character in the story is Siddharta, who was a prince who gave up everything to find the meaning of life, enlightenment. We also find other characters like Govinda, who is very close to the protagonist; Siddhartha’s father, who was a Brahmin who was unable to fully please his son, despite the luxuries he offered him.

Similarly there are the Śramaṇas who are the travelers who speak to Siddhartha about the path to enlightenment. Another of the characters of great importance is Gotama, the Buddha, but his philosophy is not widely accepted, and yet Siddhartha does recognize and admire him.

Also within the story play an important role such as Kamala, who is a damsel and sensual preceptor of Siddhartha, and also has a son named Kamaswami, a merchant who educates Siddhartha regarding business; Vasudeva is a spiritual guide to Siddhartha. There is also the son of Siddhartha and Kamala, named after his father Siddhartha.

Summary of the work

The story of the book takes place in a place called Nepal, where Siddhartha makes the difficult decision to leave his home to attain spiritual enlightenment. So he becomes a wandering beggar of the Shramanas, in the company of his great friend, Govinda. Siddhartha fasts and finds himself homeless, leaves everything he has and meditates deeply. At the end, he personally speaks with Gautama, the Buddha or also called Enlightened. After this meeting, he and his friend Govinda both have great respect for the Buddha’s teachings.

Despite the fact that Govinda quickly joins the order of the Buddha, Siddhartha does not continue, since he considers that the person individually and uniquely seeks a meaning and meaning that cannot be exposed by a teacher. So he prefers to just go his way. The protagonist crosses a river and a cordial boatman whom he cannot pay augurs that he would return to the river to pay him in one way or another.

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Kamala, who is a courtesan, visualizes the beautiful aspect of Siddhartha and tells him that he must become rich in order to obtain his affection and thus be able to transmit the art of love to her. Although Siddhartha rejects materialistic activities like Shramana, he accepts Kamala’s proposal. Siddhartha begins to succeed very quickly, and manages to become a man with a lot of money, and a lover of Kamala, despite the fact that in his middle age he realizes that the luxurious lifestyle he has chosen is just a game that he does not own the spiritual fulfillment that he requires.

In this way, he sets aside the fast pace of the city, and Siddhartha returns to the river. The next day, Siddhartha contacts Govinda, who considers himself an erratic Buddhist. So Siddhartha decides to live the rest of his life near the river, and he meets the boatman named Vasudeva again and begins a more humble new lifestyle.

Later, Kamala had become a Buddhist and travels to see the Buddha in his last days of life, and he is accompanied by a boy. But it was bitten by a poisonous snake near the river, and it dies. Siddhartha immediately realizes that this boy was his own son, so he tries to comfort the little boy and decides to raise him. But the latter was very reluctant and one day manages to escape, Siddhartha searches for a way to find the boy, but Vasudeva tells him to let him go so that he can find his own way.

When Siddhartha listens to the river together with Vasudeva, he reflects on time, which is only an illusion, where all his experiences and feelings are intimately linked with the very nature of being, including suffering. After this instant of enlightenment, Vasudeva recognizes that his goal had been accomplished, so he goes off into the forest and leaves Siddhartha in his inner peace until the end of his days.

Analysis of the book

In this book it can be seen that the author exposes Siddhartha’s life in the incessant search for his enlightenment, where he would find the absolute and perfect peace that he had been searching for. After leaving everything he had, he isolates himself from everything to find himself and achieve the desired illumination.

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This character with his friend Govinda experiences a very harmonious relationship with his environment, seeking the truth to understand the universe in general. To achieve this, they must achieve Nirvana, far from everything. In this way

Siddharta, realizing that a path can lead him to a dead end, seeks to quickly change his course. So he abandons the Brahmins and seeks his own path to meet himself and find the illumination he so badly desires.

In this sense, in this novel, the protagonist anxiously pursues lighting and searches for it in different ways. But at first he acts rashly and realizes that there must be a balance and that being alone he could meditate better and meet nature, with the river.

Siddharta quotes

Siddhartha said, why are you waiting? -You know why. “Will you continue to stand and wait until it is day, noon, or night?” -You will get tired, Siddhartha. -I’m going to get tired. -You will fall asleep, Siddhartha. -I won’t sleep. -You will die, Siddhartha. -I will die.”

Siddhartha learned a lot from the Samanas; He learned many ways to lose the Self. He traveled the path of self-denial through pain, through voluntary suffering and the conquest of pain, through hunger, thirst and fatigue. He traveled the path of self-denial through meditation, by emptying the mind through all the images. ”

“Along these and other roads he learned to travel. He dissipated his Being a thousand times and for days insisted on not being. But, although the roads took him away from it, in the end they always took him back to him. ”

“Here is one thing that this clear and dignified instruction does not contain; it does not contain the secret of what the illustrious himself experienced, alone among hundreds of thousands. That is what I thought and understood when I heard your teachings. That is why I follow my path, not to seek another doctrine, because I know that there is none, but to leave all doctrines and all teachers and reach my goal alone, or die “