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Siddhartha and Govinda
Siddhartha, written by Herman Heese, is a book about a man’s journey to find his inner self beginning as when he was a child and ending when he was of old age. Siddhartha, while on this quest, searched for different mentors to teach him what they know, hoping to find truth and balance in and of the universe. At the end of the novel, Siddhartha reaches the enlightenment through many teachings.
Govinda, Siddhartha’s childhood friend, sees Siddhartha many times after they separate while Govinda follows Buddha. The final time they meet, Siddhartha shares many teachings that he has learned by experience. One teaching is that in every truth, the opposite is also true. He also says that a single body in which everything past, present, and future are all one. Siddhartha holds up a stone in example, showing that one thing, is enfolded in the past, present, and future. He also stated is that language is only a device, and that wisdom is not incommunicable. This means that through experience, wisdom is attainable, but if you try to teach enlightenment, the meaning will not be fully appreciated by whom it is taught to.
These changes in Siddhartha reflect that he has indeed reached enlightenment, the state in which Buddha also achieved. Enlightenment is a blessed state in which the person goes beyond desire and suffering and attains a state in which the person has attained unbiased wisdom and compassion, or Nirvana. Siddhartha having the smile of Gotama also conveys this in the book that he has attained Nirvana. The smile is peaceful and radiant to all that see it.
Siddhartha journey has affected him in many ways. First to reach Nirvana, he had to endure the pains of life. First the pains of hunger and strife that he experienced with the Samanas in the forest, and second, the pains that he experienced in love through the loss of his lover Kamala, and the loss of his son Young Siddhartha.
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Siddhartha, through the stages of his life, achieved a higher being in which he understood the balance and understanding of the universe. We can only hope to achieve this also, for ourselves. Only through experience may we understand what Siddhartha knows at the end of the novel.