Analysis Of Siddhartha By Herman Hesse

1907 words - 8 pages

Siddhartha Analysis

I think it was interesting how Siddhartha and Buddha were completely different people in this story. I have always learned that Siddhartha had achieved enlightenment and then became Buddha; however this story puts a different perspective onto this. I think the reason behind this may be that it is trying to show the reader the actual battle of a person trying to become enlightened, and they needed someone to exemplify that enlightenment (Buddha) one was trying to achieve. The irony of this book was what really made it an excellent read, because it wasn’t a simple book but a life lesson. It taught the reader that the typical mindset isn’t always the right one; just as ...view middle of the document...

So he and his best friend, Govinda, decide to go along with the Samanas. However, his father didn’t agree with their decision – however Siddhartha protests by standing in the window all night long. In the morning, his father tells Siddhartha that he may join the Samanas. His father also says that if “you find bliss n the forest, you should come back and teach me. If you find disillusionment, come back and we shall again offer sacrifices to the gods together”. So Govinda and Siddhartha begin their journey to become enlightened: to see the meaning of life and how to live. I thought it was quite intriguing to see how a man who was born in a high-caste family could disregard his family’s religious views in such older times. Indian culture evolved, and still evolves, around family life – so to see someone “disobey” their religion and family was quite astonishing and one of a kind.
As Siddhartha and Govinda stay with the Ascetics, they quickly learn the way of the Samanas. The reason behind this was due to their Brahmin origins of patience and discipline. They both learn how to free themselves from the traditional trappings of life, and so lose their desire for all material things: property, clothing, sexuality, and everything else except for basic necessities to live. Siddhartha thought he could attain enlightenment by eliminating himself. However Siddhartha is still dissatisfied – after living the way of the Samanas he still doesn’t see the meaning of life. The goal of a Samanas was to become empty, to shut out joys of life, and just wallow in the sorrow and pain that remains. Siddhartha successfully lived this way, yet still had an “empty bucket”.
The path of self-denial didn’t provide a permanent solution for Siddhartha, he says that the oldest Samanas have lived half-starved and rejecting of all material things, yet they still don’t seem to know the meaning of life, nor have they been enlightened. However, Govinda notices that they have gained considerable moral and spiritual improvement since they have been under the feet of the Samanas. Around this time, Buddha’s name comes apparent through the plot. The Samanas hear from other priests and holy men about a man named Gotama, who was believed to be a holy man who had successfully achieved enlightenment. He called his total spiritual enlightenment Nirvana. Govinda convinces Siddhartha that living with the Samanas hasn’t really changed their spiritual perspectives on life, so they agree to leave the shelter. The leader of the Samanas isn’t happy about Govinda and Siddhartha’s decision, but Siddhartha gives him such a magical look, that he cannot argue back with the two.
As the two friends being another journey, they eventually land at Gotama’s camp and are taken in – just like the Samanas had taken them in. Siddhartha begins to see what he had wanted to see in Gotama. He and Govinda learn the eightfold path, the four main points, and other aspects of Buddhism. Govinda is quick to learn these...

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