Johnathan Batista

April 5th 2009

Siddhartha 1-54

Siddhartha 54-81


Themes

Siddhartha

Siddhartha_Novel.jpg


Siddhartha, written by Herman Hesse, is a novel about a man's progression towards his goal to center his life with a combination of peace and balance, and find self-discovery. Siddhartha goes through many stages to achieve the certain goals he is aiming for. The first stage that Siddhartha goes through is the a need for independence, that to truly be happy with his success, he must attain his achievements in his own way, and not others. Even though, he feels he must acquire this by himself, he tries to be as removed from his human side as much as possible. Only later does he learn that individuality and freedom from necessity must be united to get his objectives and free him from his imperfections. The second stage is when Siddhartha discovers that things and riches do not bring happiness. They are only temporary. No matter the extent of wealth a person has this never satisfies the insatiable need for possessions. The last stage that Siddhartha goes through is to find that balance is the key to peace and happiness. Although a simplistic teaching, it is very complex to learn and apply.

Throughout the tale, Siddhartha strives to be one with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atman_(Hinduism)|Atman]], or internal harmony/eternal self, but by his own attainment. Even when he is offered the insight of Gotama, the divine and perfect one, who is the embodiment of peace, truth, and happiness, he refuses following him and decides to attain Nirvana in his own way. In this, Siddhartha shows his prideful nature but also reveals a positive aspect: self-direction. He realizes that others' ways of teaching can only be applied to their past experiences, but is still reluctant to accept any advice. Siddhartha is consumed with `winning' independence and not listening to friends or elders, essentially, he is blinded by his pride. In his time with the Samanas, he tries to escape this fault by being something else. After years of failing to flee the unavoidable, he begins to see his flaws, and except them. He learns that to destroy his deficient character traits, he must face them. This transition, "awakens" him into the understanding that knowledge isn't everything, and trying to be as far from self as possible may lead Siddhartha farther from his goal. The "...secret knowledge of the Self of the eternal self that was neither body nor consciousness" (Siddhartha 70), is what Siddhartha is trying to discover and perfect.

Siddhartha's second stage, is where he learns that things do not last and cannot bring bliss. As he ventures into the material world, he learns how closely related money is to sadness. He explains the sacrifice of the soul for belongings as "...not worth the price--for money, small pleasures and trivial honors." (Siddhartha 57).

Through all of Siddhartha's stages his most significant lesson is learned in the enlightenment phase. He determines that to be with Atman, his sought after goal, he must reach an equilibrium, between the body, mind, internal being and his character traits. With this new discovery he passes into a state of Nirvana. "...but his glance and his hand, his skin and his hair, all radiate a purity, peace, serenity, gentleness and saintliness..." (Siddhartha 120)

In conclusion, Siddhartha went from pupil to teacher, steadfastly focusing and diligently achieving greatness. Throughout this novel Siddhartha's experience, that the key to happiness is an equality of self, knowledge and love. Without these key ingredients the path for harmony becomes twisted and unmanageable. With Siddhartha's wise findings and example, it is much easier to reach the destination of balance. In Siddhartha's progression, he falters twice, and then attains his goal. He overcame all obstacles, with perseverance, and his life can truly be defined as a legacy.



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Hermann Hesse -Siddhartha Reviews
Overall score 4.5 out of 5.