Cross posted from: My Own Little Reading Room
Author: Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse wrote it in 1923, and it still is continues to be good read for those who are searching themselves. It is an allegorical story filled with both Eastern and Western philosophy. Siddhartha, a brahmin boy leaves home along with his friend Govinda to fill the thirst in his mind. He goes to leave with the samanas, wandering ascetics, begging for food and spending his days in meditation. Even that does not help him attaining what he truly seeks. Liberation from everything. Nirvana. Then he meets Gotama. This meeting with the Buddha has an unexpected effect on him. He realizes that teachers cannot teach him what he is seeking and that is upto him find his own way to salvation.
Siddhartha's life is shown to be a parallel of Gotama, the Buddha's life. Awakening of the mind and ultimate knowledge is what they both seek. Gotama had done it much before him and Siddhartha has to embark on it all by himself. Siddhartha’s life is interesting as he does not take the easy route. Moving through myriads of experiences he finally attains enlightenment.
Govinda is a shadow of Siddhartha in the beginning but comes out on his own. This too teaches us that it is on us to seek, find and know. In the quest of peace and truth, each of us is alone. We all have to make that journey all by ourselves. No amount of teaching will do it for us.
This is a fairly easy book to read and understand. The philosophy is explained in a simplistic manner. This book has survived eigth decades...And no, this is not a story about Gautama Buddha. It is the story about Siddhartha. Well, I felt better after reading it.