There are two themes developed in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.
One theme is that people can teach religious doctrine, but it may not lead one to find
one's true inner "self". The other theme is that knowledge can be taught,
but wisdom comes from experience. The main character, Siddhartha, came to
these understandings during his glorious journey to find spiritual
In order to find his "self", Siddhartha undertook a quest that was
split into four main parts. These parts include: understanding, escape
from "self", knowledge of "self", and wisdom, (enlightenment). The first
part, understanding, involved him living with his father who was a brahmin.
Siddhartha realized that he made everybody else happy but that he himself
wasn't. He also got the feeling that he had already learned the best of
what his teachers had to teach but it still wasn't enough. He still wasn't
satisfied. One day he and his friend, Govinda, meditated by a banyan tree.
Siddhartha recited the verse:
"Om is the bow, the arrow is the soul,
Brahman is the arrow's goal
At which one aims unflinchingly."(8)
It was after meditating with Govinda that he realized what he had
to do. In an attempt to reach the arrow's goal, he would leave his father
to join the Samanas who he thought had the secrets to finding the "self".
While with the Samanas Siddhartha learned many ways to escape the
"self". He would do this through meditation, abandonment of the body,
fasting, and the holding of breath. He abandoned his body thro...
... middle of paper ...
... the river that he had crossed long ago and met the same ferryman that
had been kind to him. During his stay with the ferryman he realized that
the river was a symbol of spiritual transition; timelessness, and a teacher
of the unity of all things. He had gained spiritual enlightenment.
The reasons for the trials and tribulations experienced during
Siddhartha's glorious journey were to show that time was irrelevant and the
world of appearances was transitory. In other words, he went through many
changes in appearance and time didn't matter as long as he had achieved his
Siddhartha had spent his whole life trying to gain spiritual
enlightenment and at the end he finally achieved it. Like in the verse,
Siddhartha used Om like a bow to direct his soul, the arrow, to spiritual
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