Siddhartha Essay, Research Paper
BOOK REVIEW of the CLASSICS
I. The Book:
A. Herman Hesse, Siddhartha, New Directions
II. Significant Characters:
A. Siddhartha, a young Brahmin man finds himself addicted to material wealth. Finally, he becomes disgusted with what he has become and leaves to seek happiness in his life.
B. Govinda, Siddhartha?s friend, becomes a monk with the Samanas.
C. Vasudeva, the ferryman, a man that Siddhartha meets in his travels.
III. General Plot:
Siddhartha was born in an upper class family surrounded by servants and all of the things that he might need. It was not enough,
he was still not happy and set out from home and family to find true happiness. Siddhartha, and his friend Govinda, joined a nomadic
group of seekers called the Samanas. They were wanderers, traveling from town to town begging for food and shelter and continually
searching for the truth. Siddhartha thought he would find happiness by ridding himself of his worldly possessions and thoughts, to
become empty, so that true happiness might find him and end his search. Along the way, the Samanas encountered many people who
spoke of the “Illustrious One”, One man who taught about the Buddha and preached the salvation of the Buddha. This man was
Gotoma. When Siddhartha and Govinda encountered this “perfect one”, Govinda was taken in by his teachings but Siddhartha was not.
Siddhartha left Govinda behind and set out alone.
While he was walking, he was thinking and in his thoughts he realized that giving up the beautiful world around him would not
lead him to happiness but rather he should enjoy and appreciate life’s pleasures. When his trek brought him to a river, he met a
ferryman, who took him across. Siddhartha’s travels took him through a village and at the end of the village he met a woman, Kamela.
Kamela introduced Siddhartha to a businessman who took him under his wing. Over the next few years, Siddhartha became obsessed
with power, passion and possessions. He began playing the game of life called Samsara. A new awakening. Since becoming a
Kamiswami (businessman), he knew he could not go on this way so he left everything behind and took off walking again.
He walked until he got to the river, there at the rivers edge, he began to think about suicide. Then from somewhere deep inside,
he hears the chant “Om.” This brought a peacefulness over him that allowed him to fall into a deep sleep there by the river. When he
woke up from this sleep, his friend Govinda was there. The two old friends caught up on each other’s lives. Govinda was still a monk
following the “Illustrious One”, Gotoma. Siddhartha told Govinda about his rise to power and wealth. The two friends parted,
Govinda going off to follow his monks while Siddhartha stayed by the river, looking for the ferryman. Siddhartha found the ferryman
and they became friends and he asked if he could be taught how to ferry people across the great river. One day, a caravan was coming
through with a woman and child. The woman stopped to relieve herself, and was then bitten by a snake. It was Kamela, and her son,
which also belonged to Siddhartha. She later died from the snake bite and the ferryman walked off into the forest at the end of his life.
Siddhartha became the ferryman.
Some time later, Govinda traveled across the river. Again, he did not recognize his friend Siddhartha. Govinda stayed the night
with Siddhartha and the two old friends recounted their past experiences. Siddhartha taught Govinda that only knowledge can be
communicated, not wisdom. “One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach
it.” (Page 115) As the two friends parted, and Govinda began his search for wisdom, he thought that his friend Siddhartha was truly a
strange man. But, Govinda felt as if he was in the presence of a holy man, someone who made him feel loved and reminded him of
everything that he had loved in life and of everything that had been of value and holy to him in his life.
Thus, Siddhartha had found his happiness. Through knowledge he had gained wisdom and through wisdom he had found happiness.
Have at it kids!