Friday, September 14, 2012

Siddhartha - Herman Hesse

This is going to be the toughest review so far as the content is related to wisdom and enlightenment,in which I'm a naive person..:-) Siddhartha quotes 'The word wisdom is only to be experienced but can not be revealed'...
Whats the purpose of life ?? What is knowledge ?? What is called enlightenment ?? What is Wisdom ?? The book Siddhartha gives beautiful and convincing answers for all these questions..I was always thinking that this is the story of Buddha,but it is actually, a different story.

"Knowledge can be conveyed but not wisdom.it can be found"

Siddhartha is the story of a Brahman boy and his search for enlightenment...Siddhartha along with his friend Govinda leaves home and joins a group of ascetics (people who renounces the material world) in the forest called Samanas..For few years he does all the typical practices in the forest as a Samana,Nevertheless his thurst of knowing the inner being remained unsatisfied..There he acquires some magical powers and the 3 qualities - to think,to fast,and to wait...One day he learnt about the exalted Gotama (Buddha),the enlightened man and his teachings..Though Govinda becomes disciple of Gotama,Siddhartha still continues his search claiming that the true wisdom is only to be acquired by an individual,and it can not be given by a guru...

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Siddhartha addressing Kamala,
"When you throw a rock into the water, it will speed on the fastest course to the bottom of the water. This is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal, a resolution. Siddhartha does nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the things of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without stirring; he is drawn, he lets himself fall. His goal attracts him, because he doesn't let anything enter his soul which might oppose the goal. This is what Siddhartha has learned among the Samanas"

"Writing is good, thinking is better. Being smart is good, being patient is better."

To unwrap the secrets of life,first one should live it...enjoy it...and experience it...But instead,he denied the natural characteristics of human life and went on searching for wisdom,some where else in the forests. Being certain about this fact Siddhartha changes his path and headed towards the material world...

Here is the wonderful description of his thoughts while leaving Samanas,
""How deaf and stupid have I been!" he thought, walking swiftly along. "When someone reads a text, wants to discover its meaning, he will not scorn the symbols and letters and call them deceptions, coincidence, and worthless hull, but he will read them, he will study and love them, letter by letter. But I, who wanted to read the book of the world and the book of my own being, I have, for the sake of a meaning I had anticipated before I read, scorned the symbols and letters, I called the visible world a deception, called my eyes and my tongue coincidental and worthless forms without substance. No, this is over, I have awakened, I have indeed awakened and have not been born before this very day."

After making his presence in the human society,he met Kamala,the courtesan of pleasure garden and fulfills all the worldly desires...Kamala introduces him to a businessman Kamaswamy,who educates him in commerce..Slowly the 'Samana life' fades away with time..Siddhartha starts living life of a common man who strives to acquire the earthly things..He makes money,owns a house and spends the remaining time with Kamala..Gradually with the growing age and time, he fed up with this life too...There is a Sanskrit proverb "To attain Salvation one should initially lead a lustful life "....After leading a lustful life (Sansara) he leaves Kamala and all his possessions unaware of the thing,that Kamala is carrying his baby in her womb..

His journey takes a new turn when he meets a ferryman Vasudeva near a river...Vasudeva is a wise man who learns from river..Here the river represents 'Life' which hides so many secrets in it...Siddhartha starts residing with Vasudeva in a small hut...The two old men listens to the river at silence..

The river lesson Siddhartha learnt,
"He saw:The water ran and ran,incessantly it ran,and was nevertheless always there,was always at all times the same and yet new in every moment.."

When Siddhartha's son come to stay with them,Siddhartha develops deep love and affection towards him....When he experienced 'Love',which he never felt towards his father or Kamala or anyone else,the life mysteries got resolvd one by one for him....Now he understood the childlike people,their bonding and affections with the material world..But the son dislikes the boring life of a saint and he ran away from them..Siddhartha's deep suffering and longing to see his son for one last time,comes to an end at the moment he listens to the "Aum" sound coming from the river and he finds enlightenment....

Siddhartha speaks to Govinda about love,
"But I'm only interested in being able to love the world, not to despise it, not to hate it and me, to be able to look upon it and me and all beings with love and admiration and great respect"

Nevertheless Siddhartha's way of finding enlightenment is seeming to be a bit contradictory to Buddha's who only preached benevolence, clemency, sympathy, tolerance, but not love..Buddha forbade his followers to tie their hearts in love to earthly things..But both the ways destined to the ultimate goal that is Salvation.
Siddhartha realises the fact that life is nothing but a process of transformation which is inevitable,either its a stone or a pebble or water or human body...The good today can be bad some other day..Today,A beautiful human body,can be transformed in to a skeleton some other day..A stone,after a certain time, perhaps turn into soil, and will turn from soil into a plant or animal or human being...This is an endless cycle.All we have to do is Love, Love and Just Love..This is Siddhartha's message.

51 comments:

Abhinav R said...

Very good review! Thank you for considering such a great topic for your post, it can give many insights.

Me said...

Beautiful review.... some soul searching book....need to read it to do some self introspection!

Will add it to my to read list ;)

rupam sarma said...

Nice to read your review. Thanks.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Abhinav,
Thanks a lot for dropping by..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Privy trifles,
Thank you so much yaar..:-)Yeah its a wonderful read..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Rupam Sarma,
Thanks a lot for dropping by..:)

హరే కృష్ణ said...


Thank you for summarizing and enlightenment :)


A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Hare Krishna,
The true enlightenement won't come that easily by reading just a review...You must take the burden of reading the whole book atleast..:P..Thank you..:-)

చాణక్య said...

Not just the toughest, but also one of the best reviews from you so far! Very well written!! :)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Chanakya,
Thank you so much for your valuable feedback Chanakya gaaru..:-)

Nikhil Tamhankar said...

I Loved it...

numerounity said...

Good review and loved your template. Thanks for picking up a lovely book like these and summarizing all in a review!

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Nikhil Tamhankar,
Thank you so much for taking time and commenting..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Numerounity,
Thank you so much for your lovely comments..Pls keep visiting..:-)

sathish kumar said...

This is one of my favorite books. would say I thoroughly enjoyed this book when i read this second time. Your review is like rewinding the book back in my mind. Just loved the way you have put it.

Something I love in this book is the question Siddartha puts forward to exalted Buddha and... when finally Buddha responds him with "Beware of too much of wisdom"

Thanks for such a nice review. And I would humbly suggest reread (if you haven't) it quite sometimes later, you would feel it more.

Ashok Vaishnav said...

Reviewing 'Sidhdhartha' in a space of a blog post is indeed a very tough job.

Sidhdhartha's search for wisdom, and thereby eternal peace, seems to end on the shore of the river, but almost of the 'other' character is shown to live life fully - instead of searching outside, be with what has been bestowed onto you. A Kasturimrug goes from pillar to post in search of the fragrance, which is within itself only.
A sort of simplistic view of Karamyoga - Be in the Present and carry on the 'duties' that come to you in the normal course of your life.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Satish Kumar,
Very nice to know you too liked this book..You are right,One must re-read it to grab essence of the book completely..:-)And regarding Siddhartha questioning Buddha,thats my favourite part too..:-)Thank you so much..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Ashok Vaishnav,
Thanks a lot for the detailed comment..:-)Though Siddhartha chooses different paths initially,at the end he realises the importance of Karma Yoga..This is what made me to fall in love with this book..:-)Once again thanks a lot for taking time and commenting..:-)

Rajesh said...

A nice review of the book. Looking at the name even I thought it is a book about Buddha.

magiceye said...

Beautifully reviewed.
Had read it ages back!

జ్యోతిర్మయి said...

Very good review.

తృష్ణ said...

hi nagini garu,నేను బ్లాగ్లో రాయాలని పెట్టుకున్న పుస్తకాల్లో ఒకటి ఇది..:) చాలా బావుంటుంది. ఈ పుస్తకం గ్ఫురించి రాయటం నిజంఘా చాలా కహ్శ్తమైన పని. చూద్దాం నాకెప్పటికన్నా వీలౌతుందేమో.
మళ్ళి తీరుబడిగా చదువుతాను మీ రివ్యూ.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Jyothirmayi garu,
Thank you so much andee..:-)Glad to have you here..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ తృష్ణ గారు,
హలో హలో హలో.ఎలా ఉన్నారు ?? మీ నుంచి కామెంట్ రావడం చాలా సంతోషం గా ఉందండీ ..త్వరగా ప్లస్ కి వచ్చెయ్యండి ..Really మిస్సింగ్ యు .:-)Thanks once again for being here...:-)

Sabyasachi Patra | Tales from Wild India said...

You took up a tough job of reviewing the book like "Siddhartha". It is not always easy to give the essence of the book as well as giving a birds eye view of the book. You did well.

One can really read the lines and keep on interpreting based on ones own life experiences.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Rajesh,
Thank you so much for dropping by...:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Magiceye,
Thank you so much for commenting Deepak..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Sabyasachi Patra,
Thanks a lot for your valuable feedback..:-)
Yeah agree with you..:-)

Jen..The Butterfly Effect said...

I have to have to read this book!!!! :)

Rupertt Wind said...

Int it a wonderful book, I just finished reading this book and I understand why this book is considered one of the best spiritual guides of the 21st century.

The lessons learned and those unlearned by Siddhartha in the course of his life, the things he had to let go off and the things that he had to embrace all are enthralling and captivating as the story itself is.

Pages Off Life

kannaji e said...

Nice review ..!!!

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Ghazala Hossain said...

Would love to read this one, at this point of my life. :D

jaish_vats said...

Enlightening read I suppose! :)

vinay said...

Thanks for the info, was unaware of this book. Lovely review. Would read it soon. :)

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Ayn-Naomie Daris said...

it shows that,take time to love no matter how busy we are..treasure each moment together.grab those precious moment together because you'll never know when time ... ends

Panchali said...

Beautiful review of a beautiful book, Nagini....it gives many insights! Great job!! I must read it now!

How did I miss this..? Sorry about the delay...

Madhavi said...

Thats an interesting review...which induces to read the book....

the little princess said...

great review! must find out if the book is as wonderful too!!!

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Khushbu Verma said...

Very Nice Review, I got to read it I guess.

Archetypes India said...

Great book! Apt Review!!

Found In Folsom said...

Hi Nagini..emaipoyaru? address leru..hope all is well with you..take care

subhorup dasgupta said...

Came looking to see if there are any updates, and realized that since I read this post, without seeing the connection, I picked up and re-read this all-time favorite of mine. Till I came here, I did not realize that it was your post that had probably triggered the desire to revisit this classic. Trust all is well with you.

varsha said...

Nice! A review that prompts me to read the book.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Thanks to each and every one for your precious feedback and lovely comments..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Thanks to each and every one for your precious feedback and lovely comments..:-)