Good afternoon. I, Isshita Patel of grade 11 Chandra. Doing My IBDP program from Vishwashanti Gurukul world school am here to do my internal oral presentation on The different People that influenced Siddhartha’s journey towards enlightenment. Siddhartha the novel was written by Hermann Hesse. Who was a German Swiss writter. His most recognizable works are- Steppenwolf, Siddhartha and The glass bead game. All three of these novels have a common theme running through them. Which is an exploration of an individual’s search for authenticity, Self-Knowledge and a strong link to spirituality.
The book Siddhartha was his 9th novel and was originally written in German. The literal meaning of Siddhartha when broken up into two words in the Sanskrit language is Siddha, which means achieved and artha which means meaning or wealth. When put together we get the concluded meaning which is “he who has found the meaning of existence or “he who has altered his goals. ” In this book we also see the journey that he takes in order to get enlightened. Its not only the steps and path that helps him reach his ultimate goal, It is also the people that influence him or help him open his eyes in order to see his goals and aims more clearly.
It is these people that play a very important part of his journey towards attaining enlightenment. Over the coarse of everyones lives we meet several people. Some of them we interact with on a regular basis. They are our friends, our neighbors, and our spouses. Then there are those who are in our lives fleetingly. They are the determined doctors who save our lives at hospitals, and the remarkable strangers whose simple smiles have the power to make us feel good about ourselves. Some people that we remember for awhile, some of them we might never think of again almost as soon as we part and the others that we can never forget.
Because they change the way we think, They open our eyes to what we might have never seen without them, and simply change our path for the betterment of the life that lies ahead of us. We may be in contact with them for a few short moments, but those moments can alter the rest of our lives. In Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, we see how the life of one man changes radically because of the various people who influence him throughout his journey toward enlightenment. Siddhartha’s quest for nirvana is started early in the text, as soon s he leaves his home and family and the comforts of his life then to join a group of wanderers who are dedicated to resisting the material world. The Samanas. The Samanas open a world to Siddhartha that engages him and makes him believe their lifestyle is the way to ultimate peace and salvation. However, after a while, we see that living as a Samana leaves him just as dissatisfied as he was when he was preparing to become a Brahmin like his father. I Quote : “[Siddhartha] had begun to feel that the love of his father and mother, and also the love of his friend Govinda, would not always make him happy, give him peace, satisfy and suffice him.
He had begun to suspect that his worthy father and his other teachers, the wise Brahmins, had already passed on to him the bulk and best of their wisdom [but] his soul was not at peace. ” Siddhartha has a passionate longing for enlightenment, he is willing to take his body and soul to dangerous lengths. His rapid weight loss and deterioration demonstrate this. However, he is still aware enough of the world around him to realize that even the elders of the group have not attained the enlightenment he hungers for.
If they have not found it, he knows he will not find it, and he knows it is in the best interest of his soul to depart from the group. This does not necessarily mean that Siddhartha thinks the Samanas are wrong, or even that his participation was a waste of time. Rather, being a part of the Samanas is not right for him because it does not give him the inner peace he wants. Even though he is back to being the discontented, spiritually hungry man he was at the beginning of his journey, the time he spends with the Samanas contributes to his long term growth.
Siddhartha’s life changes drastically when he meets Kamala and discovers love in the physical world. The root word of Kamala, kama, signifies the Hindu god of love and desire. Siddhartha’s immersion in this world will awaken these aspects of himself, which he has long kept quiet. His transformation begins even before he meets Kamala or Kamaswami. His increased awareness of the sensory world, demonstrates that he is allowing the world to influence him. Siddhartha is easily tempted by Kamala’s beauty, and seems eager to win her approval by changing his physical appearance and lifestyle in order to satisfy her and her needs.
Her refusal to show him true love unless he becomes a merchant suggests that she is flawed, and she never really knew the meaning of true love. It also shows us that she is a conditional lover and doesnt really love Siddhartha for who he really is. Siddhartha, who was once a very focused, meditative man, is suddenly more concerned with love and riches. However, Kamala ultimately benefits Siddhartha’s journey more than she hinders it. Although much of his material greed is motivated by a need to grow closer to Kamala, we cannot place total blame on her.
Siddhartha made the decision to discard his contemplative life for a materialistic life before he even met Kamala– she only propels his lust for wealth. When Siddhartha grows restless with this lifestyle just as he did with the lifestyle of the Samanas, he is able to discard it and move on. Kamala ultimately shows him that intemperance and sex cannot give him true happiness, and this helps him to continue his journey. He is aware that to reach nirvana, he has to experience not only indulgence in the spiritual world, but in the physical world.
His time with Kamala gives him that experience, and allows him to continue his quest. One of the people who has the largest impact on Siddhartha’s search for enlightenment is the ferryman, Vasudeva. Siddhartha meets Vasudeva later in life, years after he first crossed paths with him during his scramble to find enlightenment somewhere else. This shows a deep implication to Karma. What goes around comes right back around. As a young man, Siddhartha believes that if he is supposed to learn anything about reaching nirvana, it will be from someone who is wise and esteemed.
He never assumes that a simple, humble ferryman can guide him in the right direction. What strikes Siddhartha about Vasudeva the second time he meets him is that he does not try to teach or preach– he makes it clear that he is “not a man of words”– but he still manages to show Siddhartha so much about the world. He lives a life of inner peace, and just by being in his presence, Siddhartha begins to live the same life. Siddhartha also learns alot from the sudden apperance of his son after the death of Kamala. His apearance helps Siddhartha test himself against Love.
Although Siddhartha has attained peace as a ferryman, he is fallible because he has not confronted love itself. Many compelling reasons exist for Siddhartha to allow his son to return to the city, but, blinded by love, he forgets that enlightenment must come from within and tries to impose his views on his son. Logically, Siddhartha should recognize his error in this situation. The fact that Siddhartha ignores his most fundamental belief is a testament to how much he loves his son. Its is here again that we find the great significance of the existance of karma.
I quote- He remembered how once, as a youth, he had compelled his father to let him go and join the ascetic, how he had taken leave of him, how he had gone and never returned. Had not his father also suffered the same pain that he was now suffering for his son? In order to achieve enlightenment, Siddhartha must give up what he loves. Siddhartha’s difficulty with giving up his son suggests that love is the toughest challenge Siddhartha has faced during his quest and that Siddhartha is actually no different than anyone who has experienced love.
Losing his son is difficult for Siddhartha, but what he experiences now as a father is the same as what he experienced years before as a son. Throughout his journey, Siddhartha meets many people he believes can lead him to enlightenment. Even though his encounter with Vasudeva toward the end of the novel is what finally leads to his fulfillment, his earlier encounters are not in vain. Siddhartha has spent many years pursuing enlightenment, and his experiences have shown him that enlightenment can’t be taught.
However, in Vasudeva, Siddhartha finds the ideal teacher—in a sense, a teacher who does not teach. Vasudeva himself admits he is not a teacher: I quote “If I could talk and teach, I would perhaps be a teacher, but as it is I am only a ferryman,” Vasudeva’s profession as a ferryman, one who guides a person from one side of the river to the other, fits well with his status as spiritual guide. If one side of the river represents enlightenment, and the other side represents the life as it was lived before enlightenment, then Vasudeva helps to convey people to their final destination.
However, people must first reach the river of their own accord and know that they seek to reach the other bank. He does not tell people where they must go but helps those who are ready to complete the journey. When Siddhartha achieves enlightenment, Vasudeva leaves him, and Siddhartha inherits the position Vasudeva previously held. In this way, a level of equality is demonstrated between Vasudeva and Siddhartha. They are just as important, or even more important. Had he not left the Samanas, he would have never met Kamala, and had he not left Kamala, he would have never run into Vasudeva again.
Every decision he makes and every person he meets lead him to his ultimate contentment. Siddhartha’s attempt to explain enlightenment points out a fundamental difference in how various groups and teachers perceive Nirvana. Siddhartha says that while teachers such as Gotama and the Samanas insist that Nirvana is a state that can be obtained one day, Nirvana is actually going on all around us. All men can be sinners, and all can be saints, but regardless, all things contain the potential for Nirvana and perfection. A sinner may be on the path to becoming a saint.
A gambler may evolve to one day into a Buddha. Therefore, all people are sacred. Siddhartha also implies that a sacredness exists in all things. When he shows Govinda a stone, he wants to convey that even the most humble object is sacred, since that stone may one day turn into soil, which may become a plant, an animal, a man, or even a Buddha. Therefore, Siddhartha reasons, everything is sacred and contains wondrous potential. Enlightenment, rather than being a state one finally reaches, is instead a state already obtained even as it is sought.
The ultimate attainement of nirvana, and the final point when he is at peace with himself. I thank you and end my IOP on a final quote from the novel that explains my topic, In a few lines by herman hesse. I quote “He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other, all helping each other, loving, hating, destroying each other and become newly born. Each one of them was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that was transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another. “