Siddhartha and the River

Siddhartha and the River

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The story took place in India during the time of Buddha. In the village

of the Brahmans there was a young, handsome, and wise boy named Siddhartha.

Unable to quench his thirst for truth, knowledge, and wisdom he and his close

friend, Govinda, left the village to join the Samanas, a group of ascetics,

holy men. For three years Siddhartha and Govinda lived the life of the

Samanas, by having no possessions, living in the forests, begging for food,

fasting, meditating, and practicing self-denial. They wanted to be empty of

thirst, dreams, pleasure, and sorrow. They tried to let the "Self" within them

die and to finally reach Nirvana. Without satisfaction, they moved on and

followed Gotama, the Illustrious One, Buddha. After hearing the preachings of

Gotama, Siddhartha was again unsatisfied in his search for truth. He decided

to leave but Govinda stayed behind. After his departure he suddenly became

aware of the immediate, physical world. His deadened senses had awakened. He

discovered that the "Self" lived in both worlds, the physical and the ascetic,

pure world.

 

     On his journey, he crossed a river with the help of a ferryman and

arrived at a town where he fell in love with Kamala, a beautiful courtesan.

Following her recommendation, Siddhartha met a wealthy merchant named

Kamaswami. Siddhartha learned to become a merchant and worked for Kamaswami.

For years, he lived in the physical world but he grew sick and tired of it. He

fled this life and returned to the river he had once crossed. There, he

attempted to commit suicide but was enlightened by the holy "Om".

Consequently, he did not drown himself in the river, but fell into a deep

sleep, a restoration period. When he woke up he found Govinda, his friend, the

monk, watching over him. After a brief conversation, Govinda departed to join

with the rest of Buddha's followers.

 

     Siddhartha was attracted to the river and decided to remain by it. He

revisited the ferryman, Vasudeva, who once took him across the river. He lived

the life of a ferryman and learned many secrets from the river. He was finally

content in his pursuit for truth, knowledge, and wisdom. He had learned to

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love the world for the way it was. On a pilgrimage to visit Gotama, Kamala

stumbled across Siddhartha. With her was Siddhartha's son. Unfortunately,

Kamala was bitten earlier by a poisonous snake and died in the hands of

Siddhartha. He was left with the task of taking care of his young son. Like

Siddhartha himself, his son left the river and headed back to the town. More

years passed and Siddhartha learned many more secrets from the river. Vasudeva

was enlightened and fled the river to learn from the forest. In the last

chapter, Govinda revisited Siddhartha again and before he departed, with the

help of Siddhartha, he was enlightened. At last, they had both found what they

were looking for. They had both gained wisdom.
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