Hinduism in Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha

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Hinduism is a religion with no known founder, with its understandings and actions developing over thousands of years. This religion has roots from the Aryan people’s religion, when they invaded India at 1500 BCE. The Aryans created a caste system when they invaded India so their kin would remain in power. Hinduism has absorbed and accepted this caste system as a large part of their religion. They believe in reincarnation, which is being reborn after you die, and Samsara, the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. If the person completes their dharma, the rules of their caste, and live a good moral life then they advance to the next caste, but if they do bad in their life then they remain at their caste level or they are downgraded. The most respected caste group is the Brahmins, they are high priests, making them very religious, and they are the closest in the caste system to reaching moksha, release from samsara or entering paradise. Another way of viewing moksha is that their Atman, the soul, gets reunited with the Brahman, the universal spirit. They then infer that everything that does not exist forever, unlike their Atman, are not real, which they call a veil, also known as Maya, because it is not permanent. Along with reincarnation there exists karma, similar to the idea what comes around goes around, so if you live an immoral life, your future lives will be a punishment. Guidance for priests and rituals are written in the most ancient Hindu scriptures called Vedas. The Rig Veda is the most important scripture out of the Vedas. The Upanishads, however, explain the Vedas through a teacher student dialogue, this helps anyone learn the Vedas much easier. Finally, the rituals described in these scriptures incl...

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...14). Finally, it says “To be sure, many verses from the holy books-especially the Upanishads of the Sama-Veda…” (Hesse 15). They all bring up major ritual elements of Hinduism, making it certain that Hinduism is a main part of Siddhartha.

Siddhartha obviously has much to do with Hinduism as seen through the textual references above. Hinduism, although it did not bringing him to enlightenment, had a major influence on his childhood. The text held all the key words right out in the open for the reader to discover and recognize Hinduism for themselves. The textual references above are just few of many pieces of evidence that this religion is all through this book. The religion Hinduism made Siddhartha’s childhood, what it was, and set a bases for the rest of the story.

Works Cited

Hesse, Hermann, Siddhartha, New Delhi: Rupa Publications, 2003
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