“Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

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“Siddhartha” is a fiction story written in 1992 by the novelist Hermann Hesse. As such, the novel describes a tale of a man pursuing a spiritual journey in discovering himself. This comes at the time of Gautama Buddha where the author examines the Buddhist philosophy and Indian culture which are well expressed in his final epiphany.

The story is set in a small district of Kapilavatsu in Nepal where the protagonist decides to leave behind his home and search for spiritual growth. In the process, he becomes a beggar of Shramanas in a new environment (Hermann n.p). Remaining true to his goal he renounces all the earthly possessions, meditates intensely and fasts a lot while still homeless.

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Religion is the main theme which outlines the desire to understand one’s spirituality and enlightenment. As such, spiritual nourishment is void of earthly possessions and materialist desires. Even though Siddhartha is a pious man, he is influenced by a friend he meets who inspires him with Buddhist philosophies, but despite the wisdom in them, he acknowledges that true spiritual understanding cannot be sought by intellectual understanding. Also, the protagonist is known to immerse himself in a scriptural study of both Buddhist and Hindu scripture (Hermann n.p).

There is a similarity between the life of Buddha and that of the protagonist. As such, the author uses a similar analogy to show the hunger for spiritual growth by Siddhartha. In the bible, a man named Abraham had to leave the comfort of his family to an unknown land. Similarly, Siddhartha imitates such an experience in search of spiritual nourishment.

The theme of love is pivotal to this story as the protagonist denies himself comfort to please his believer. Self-sacrifice and total devotion to a godlike power is an expression of love.

Works Cited

Hesse, Hermann. “”Siddhartha, trans.”” Hilda Rosner. New Delhi: Rupa and Co (1922).

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