The Role of Teachers in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

The Role of Teachers in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

Length: 1371 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Role of Teachers in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

Throughout history there have been countless numbers of teachers: artisans, craftsmen, ideologist, to name a few. They have all master some skill, gained some wisdom, or comprehended an idea. These teachers have achieved knowledge which allows them to excel and to be above and beyond regular people. Knowledge is something everyone strives for, and many desire. To achieve knowledge, one must have an eye-opening experience, and epiphany that leads to the increase of one’s intellect and skill set. In Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, the main character, Siddhartha, goes in an almost never ending quest to achieve knowledge. Throughout this journey, Siddhartha encounters many teachers, whom which he learns a great deal, but fails to attain that knowledge he achieves for. However, each and every single one of them teaches him something which ultimately contribute to his final achievement of knowledge. As Siddhartha mentioned to his good friend Govinda:
"You know, my friend, that even as a young man, when we lived with the ascetics in the forest, I came to distrust doctrines and teachers and to turn my back to them. I am still of the same turn of mind, although I have, since that time, had many teachers. A beautiful courtesan was my teacher for a long time, and a rich merchant and a dice player. On one occasion, one of the Buddha’s wandering monks was my teacher. He halted in his pilgrimage to sit beside me when I fell asleep in the forest. I also learned something from him and I am grateful to him, very grateful. But most of all, I have learned from this river and from my predecessor, Vasudeva. He was a simple man; he was not a thinker, but he realized the essential as well as Gotama, he was a holy man, a saint" (141).
The role of teachers in Hesse’s exceptional work of fiction is to aid in the achievement of the ultimate knowledge, while not taking the pupil directly there, instead giving him the skill set necessary to achieve what the student, in this case Siddhartha, feels is that ultimate knowledge.
Siddhartha throughout his journey encounters many teachers, but before he set on exploring the world for knowledge, he was the son of Brahmin in an Indian town. Siddhartha was always admired by the people of his town; he always excelled at everything, and was a fine writer and great reader.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Role of Teachers in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Mar 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=169147>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Hermann Hesse’s Use of Literary Devices in Siddhartha Essay

- Siddhartha is a much respected son of a Brahmin who lives with his father in ancient India. Everyone in their town expects Siddhartha to act like his father and become successful. Although he lives a very high quality life, Siddhartha is dissatisfied and along with his best friend Govinda- wants nothing more than to join the group of wandering ascetics called Samana’s. This group starves themselves, travels almost naked and must beg for the food they survive on. This group of people believes that to achieve enlightenment and self-actualization: body image, health, physical and material desires must be thrown away....   [tags: Enlightenment, Self-actualization]

Research Papers
633 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on Siddhartha and Kikuji

- The novellas, Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse and Thousand Cranes by Yasanari Kawabata both, have protagonists who set out on journeys. In Siddhartha, Siddhartha sets out on a journey to achieve nirvana, whereas, Kikuji in Thousand Cranes, sets out to distance himself from his late father and marry. The protagonists both encounter obstacles and the way they overcome them is different as well due to the way they were brought up and the time period. It is the methods they choose to overcome the obstacles of their paths and whether or not they decide to overcome it that decides if they succeed or fail in their journeys....   [tags: Herman Hesse, Yasanari Kawabata]

Research Papers
888 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about Finding Enlightenment in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

- Finding Enlightenment in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha Growing up, children learn most everything from their elders. Yet, an elder nor a book can help a person to enlightenment. Nor can they teach a person to find their soul. The path to a person’s Atman is a personal journey, one to be endured, not taught. The meaning of a person’s life is not a subject to be read in books. The meaning of life is slowly attained through wisdom, enduring life and searching for the right path along the way. In the novel Siddhartha, Gotama cannot teach enlightenment because that wisdom cannot be communicated through words, only through experience....   [tags: Herman Hesse, Siddhartha]

Research Papers
463 words (1.3 pages)

Essay on River in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

- River in "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse The river is a source of knowledge. It symbolises a teacher, a guru, one who knows and is aware of this knowledge and who imparts it to those who seek knowledge from it. In Herman Hesse’s novella Siddhartha, the protagonist Siddhartha is deeply mystified by the secrets and puzzles of the river. He seeks to unravel and them and gain knowledge from the river in order to achieve his goal of attaining nirvana, enlightenment. He is helped in his course by a ferryman Vasudeva, who has lived all his life close to the river, transporting people from one side to the other....   [tags: Sidhartha Herman Hesse Essays]

Research Papers
765 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on The Power of the River in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha

-        'For ages, the river has been a sign of eternity and has served as a symbol of spiritual awareness to many people'(Rahula 39). The river in Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, is an important symbol. Hesse provides many references to the river throughout his novel, and it serves many purposes in his writing. Siddhartha who is the main character, grows up with his father and mother on a riverbank, in India. He decides to leave the world of the Brahmins to seek his own way. Govinda, Siddhartha's companion, follows him to the world of the Samanas....   [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays ]

Research Papers
1359 words (3.9 pages)

Plot Overview of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha Essay

- In this novel the protagonist of the story, Siddhartha, believes that the teachings of others will not allow you to reach Nirvana. Therefore, he sets out on a journey to experience the world for himself, the good and the bad, in order to become closer to enlightenment and to eventually become an enlightened one himself, a Buddha. After each experience Siddhartha comes to a new conclusion as his outlook on life changes, as he becomes closer to enlightenment. In the beginning of the book Siddhartha is already living in one extreme....   [tags: Siddhartha Hermann Hesse]

Research Papers
1675 words (4.8 pages)

Uniting Mind, Body, and Spirit in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha Essay

- Uniting Mind, Body, and Spirit in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha Each of us has innate desire to understand the purpose of our existence.  As Hermann Hesse illustrates in his novel Siddhartha, the journey to wisdom may be difficult.  Organized religion helps many to find meaning in life but it does not substitute careful introspection. An important message of Siddhartha is that to achieve enlightenment one must unite the experiences of mind, body, and spirit.             In the first part of the book, Siddhartha is consumed by his thirst for knowledge.  He joined the samanas and listened to the teachings of the Buddha in attempt to discern the true way to Nirvana.  Though he perfe...   [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays]

Research Papers
764 words (2.2 pages)

Hesse's Siddhartha as it Parallels Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Essay

- Hesse's Siddhartha as it Parallels Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs   Several parallels can be drawn between the psychologist Abraham Maslow's theoretical hierarchy of needs and the spiritual journey of Siddhartha, the eponymous main character in Herman Hesse's novel.  Maslow's hierarchy of needs is somewhat of a pyramid that is divided into eight stages of need through which one progresses throughout one's entire life. During the course of his lifetime, Siddhartha's personality develops in a manner congruent with the stages of Maslow's hierarchy.  Siddhartha's progress from each of the major sections of the hierarchy is marked by a sharp change in his life or behavior....   [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays]

Research Papers
1807 words (5.2 pages)

Essay about The Quest for Self Discovery in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha

- The Quest for Self Discovery in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha “Then he [Siddhartha] suddenly saw clearly that he was leading a strange life, that he was doing many things that were only a game, that he was quite cheerful and sometimes experienced pleasure, but that real life was flowing past him and did not touch him. Like a player who plays with his ball, he played with his business, with the people around him, watched them, derived amusement from them; but with his heart, with his real nature, he was not there” (Hesse 57-58)....   [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays]

Research Papers
776 words (2.2 pages)

The Importance of Surroundings in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and The Stranger by Albert Camus

- The Importance of Surroundings in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and The Stranger by Albert Camus According to John Locke, people begin their lives with a clean slate and are nurtured by their surroundings and contact with others, also known as Tabula Rasa (Landry)....   [tags: Camus Siddhartha Hesse]

Free Essays
1725 words (4.9 pages)

Related Searches

He was the son of the most admired Brahmin, and was expected to grow up and be just like his father. Yet Siddhartha, despite being so celebrated and respected, he felt a void in him, something inside him was missing. He had learned a great deal from the Brahmins, but was unsatisfied, he had not achieved the knowledge he desired. He then moved with Samanas in order to achieve the greater spiritual knowledge of his desires, but the Samanas, just like the Brahmins were insufficient to him, he was not able to reach Nirvana; however, he learned the great skills of fasting and patience, which would become of great help later in his life. Once again, he leaves the Samanas as he did the Brahmins, in order to continue his search for enlightenment. Then Siddhartha proceeds to encounter a new teacher, this time it is the great Buddha, Gotama, who he decided not of follow, unlike he did with the Samanas and Brahmins. The teachings of the Buddha lead Siddhartha to have a realization himself. In order to achieve the ultimate knowledge, one must not followed the path set by others, instead follow one’s path through self-experience. Even though Siddhartha did not reach enlightenment, everything he learned from his teachers was helpful, and would be on the next chapter of his life, in which his moving on now as a result of the revelation caused by the great Gotama.
The next chapter of Siddhartha’s life is marked by his earthly experiences of regular people from which Siddhartha draws knowledge, which will ultimately lead to his own enlightenment. In the second stage of his life the young Brahmin founds himself without a single thing to eat or a place to sleep in, but thanks to his ability to fast and wait, he manages to live by without trouble. Siddhartha then arrives to a new town, where he encounters a new teacher; however, this time it is not a spiritual leader, but instead a beautiful courtesan, who instructs him the art of love. The courtesan’s name is Kamala, a woman desired by many and respected by all. She finds the young Siddhartha interesting and attractive, and introduces him into the world of lust and business. A businessman named Kamaswami, who by Kamala’s recommendation teaches Siddhartha the art of business. Siddhartha being so dexterous manages to master both in no time. His teachers introduce him to the world of Samsara, the world of earthly passions and carnal desire. He encounters himself in a world which stands against everything he strived for early in his life, the world of spirituality, the world of Nirvana. He becomes an expert lover, a successful businessman, a compulsive gambler, and a drunk. He learned to know the struggle of regular people, and experience the same things they did, something he once laughed at in his years as a Samana. He did this for many years, until one night a realization came to him, this part of his life had to end. Samsara had taken over his life and there little left from his days of spiritual searching. Once again, even though he had learned a lot from his teachers and experiences, Siddhartha had not achieved the knowledge he wanted. Ultimately he decides to close this part of his life as well. He leaves everything he owns, and his lover Kamala behind him, and moves own to search for enlightenment.
Lastly, on the last step of his journey, Siddhartha encounters his last teacher, who finally gives him the skills necessary to rich enlightenment. Siddhartha founds himself lost in the woods after living Kamala and all his riches. A monk takes care of him while he sleeps in the woods; this monk is his childhood friend Govinda. When Siddhartha awakes the two have a little chat, and then part ways. The now old businessman encounters a ferryman, who he befriended in the past and asks him to be his apprentice. The Ferryman teaches Siddhartha about the magnificence of the river. Siddhartha studies the river under the supervision of Vasudeva, the ferryman; one day Siddhartha has the revelation, that “eureka!!” moment he has been waiting for. He realizes the river, water, animals, people; everything is a part of a cycle. Life is a cycle, everything is one, and one is everything. He has finally realized that Samsara and Nirvana are one, he has finally become enlighten. Vasudeva also realizes that Siddhartha has achieved what he had desired all of his life, and steps down as Siddhartha’s teacher. Siddhartha was finally at peace. Vasudeva had given him the tools, supervised his search, and ultimately Siddhartha following his own path gained the ultimate knowledge and completed his journey.
The river is very important in this last part. It symbolizes the cycle of life, the ultimate teaching that everything is correlated. The ferryman is the guide to the river, the guide through the cycle of life. When Siddhartha finally understood the message of the river he became enlighten, a ferryman, a guide in the cycle of life. All throughout his life he searched for this ultimate truth of everything being one and one being everything. He had many teachers through his journey; all of them played an equally important role in his illumination. They all taught him something which helped him finally achieve Buddha status. Throughout the book, Hesse utilizes everyone who Siddhartha encounters as a teacher. None of them was able to take him directly to the ultimate knowledge. But they all influenced Siddhartha’s decision making in his path to enlightenment, where he, himself became a guide, a teacher. Ultimately relating to the message that life is a cycle and everyone is part of it and influences it in different ways through actions.
Return to 123HelpMe.com