Siddhartha 54-81
Life is about to change drastically for Siddhartha. He has left behind his worldly riches in pursuit of change and to once again strive for enlightenment. He journeys back to the same river he crossed with the ferryman so many years ago. He finds the same ferryman there and asks if he will take him back across the river. The ferryman is shocked to see such an elegant dressed man alone wanting to cross in his old boat. As they are crossing the river Siddhartha tells the ferryman he has no money and offers him his cloths for payment. Finally the ferryman recognizes Siddhartha and once again invites him to his hut for some bread and water.

Siddhartha decides to stay with the ferryman for a time as he feels he has found a kindred spirit and he wants to learn everything he can from Vasudeva (the ferryman) and also from the river. Vasudeva tells Siddhartha that everything he himself has learned has come from the river.
external image CharleyRiverAtYukon1.jpg
They work together side by side and Siddhartha learns much from both the river and Vasudeva during the next few years. One day word comes to them that Gotama the Buddha is dying. Kamala has also heard the news. She has retired from her profession and is raising her and Siddhartha’s son by herself. She has given her gardens to Gotama’s monks for their use and is following the Buddha’s Law. She is now journeying to where the dying Gotama is. On the way she is bitten by a poisonous snake and she herself is in the process of dying.
external image Black-Snake-31.jpg
As she is close to the river, Vasudeva hears her cries and takes her and the boy back to his hut where they see Siddhartha. This is the first time Siddhartha is aware he has a son. Kamala soon dies and Siddhartha is left to take care of their son. This is a very hard thing as the boy does not care for his new life with his father and does much to provoke him. Siddhartha is very patient but one day the boy runs away as goes his own way. It is very hard for Siddhartha to let his go, but he finally does. He thinks of how he left his own father so many years ago and never returned to him. He sees this as a “disastrous cycle.”

Soon after Siddhartha’s son leaves, Vasudeva also leaves for the forest because he knows he is going to die. Siddhartha bids his old friend Vasudeva farewell and watches his figure which is full of light walk away.
Siddhartha stays by the river and continues to ferry people across. One day Govinda, Siddhartha’s boyhood friend comes to the river to be ferried across. He has heard about this old ferryman who is “regarded as a sage” and wants to meet him. He is surprise when he finds out it is Siddhartha and he spends the night in his hut. They spend much time reminiscing and realize that they are now both old men. Govinda confides to Siddhartha that his life is “often wearisome and gloomy.” Siddhartha tells Govinda to lean over him and kiss him on the forehead. As Govinda does this many visions pass before his eyes and he finally sees true enlightenment.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse