21 05 2007

“Wondrous indeed was my life, so he thought, wondrous detours it has taken. As I boy, I had only to do with gods and offerings. As a youth, I had only to do with asceticism, with thinking and meditation, was searching for Brahman, worshiped the eternal in the Atman. But as a young man, I followed the penitents, lived in the forest, suffered of heat and frost, learned to hunger, taught my body to become dead. Wonderfully, soon afterwards, insight came towards me in the form of the great Buddha’s teachings, I felt the knowledge of the oneness of the world circling in me like my own blood. I went and learned the art of love with Kamala, learned trading with Kamaswami, piled up money, wasted money, learned to love my stomach, learned to please my senses. I had to spend many years losing my spirit, to unlearn thinking again, to forget the oneness. Isn’t it just as if I had turned slowly and on a long detour from a man into a child, from a thinker into a childlike person? But what a path has this been! But it was right so, my heart says “Yes” to it, my eyes smile to it. I’ve had to experience despair, I’ve had to sink down to the most foolish one of all thoughts, to the thought of suicide, in order to be able to experience divine grace, to hear Om again, to be able to sleep properly and awake properly again. I had to become a fool, to find Atman in me again. I had to sin, to be able to live again. Where else might my path lead me to? It is foolish, this path, it moves in loops, perhaps it is going around in a circle. Let it go as it likes, I want to to take it.”

Siddhartha is an philosophical novel written by Hermann Hesse. Set in ancient India in times of Buddha, this novel delineates with the spiritual quest of the Siddhartha, a handsome Brahmin boy. This novel explores the journey of Siddhartha, his search for enlightenment, desire for self-knowledge, experiences of materialistic conquests, practice of self denial, understanding of the timeless unity and finally the discovery of enlightenment with a Buddhist perspective.

With a strong narrative and a compelling evolution of thought, Hermann Hesse explores the life’s journey of Siddhartha in all totality to offer some food for soul. One may wonder the relevance of the ‘state of being’ for the current day fast track generation, yet this book gives a joyous ride to the old age values of contemplation, wisdom of indirection, introspection, learnings from life, role play of love and the concept of Om.



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