“Denial of Self”

One thing that I noticed right from the beginning of this story was how much Siddhartha was able to control his own body and to really deny himself of the things that are carnal, or, of this world.When he first approaches his father and tells him that he wants to leave home to become a Samana, his father does not agree with that idea.Siddhartha simply tells him that he will wait until he gets permission.It is already late in the evening, but he stands in the same spot, hardly moving a muscle.His father goes to bed, but cannot sleep and an hour later, goes to see Siddhartha, only to discover that he is standing in the exact same place.This happens all through the night – his father cannot sleep and each hour, he sees his son standing there, waiting for the permission to leave the home.Eventually, his father gives in and tells him that he can go – he realized that Siddhartha was already gone from him mentally and spiritually, so he wanted him to go in the physical body as well to follow what he thought was right.

As Siddhartha starts to follow the life of the Sammana, he denies himself of all the worldly pleasures.On page 8 of the book it says the following:

“Silently Siddhartha stood beneath the fierce vertical rays of the sun, burning with pain, burning with thirst, and he stood there until he no longer felt either pain or thirst.Silently he stood in the rainy season, the water dripping from his hair onto his chilled shoulders, onto his chilled hips and legs; and the penitent stood there until shoulders and legs no longer felt cold, until they were silent, until they were still.Silently he crouched in the brambles, blood oozing from his prickling skin, and pus from his abscesses; and Siddhartha remained there rigidly, remained there motionlessly, until no more blood flowed, until there was no more pricking, until there was no more burning.”

From this experience, Siddhartha learned how to become one with his very own body.He learned how to control the feelings that he had and the usual functions of the body.He could control his heartbeat; he could put off his hunger and continued to fast for days.He truly lived the life of a Samana, so he owned nothing for himself, but as he says later, he had everything, because he chose to have nothing.It was not that he was a beggar; he would offer whatever he had to offer, even if it was only to listen to someone else for a while.

I relate this to all of our lives individually.We should each be able to truly deny ourselves of whatever we may need or want to deny.So much of the world today is only satisfied by things that bring instant results.We are not content with what we are given the majority of the time.Often, we should take a step back to appreciate all that is around us; to understand that life is so large and our own little world is quite inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.We can each have a value of self-worth to know that who we are is very important, but that will only come to us in the form of self-denial, to know what we can truly do while we are here.

- Ron Garner -