Siddhartha Essay

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In the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse both Siddhartha and Govinda come about in different ways achieving enlightenment. Siddhartha has a very strong desire to find the spiritual self within. As a young child he is taught the way of the Brahmins and then leaves to become a Samana. He also learns from the O Illustrious One and realizes that the true meaning is within him. He reaches enlightenment by finding the true meaning within himself. Govinda is Siddhartha best friend and begins his journey to enlightenment with Siddhartha. When he hears the words of Gotama he stays behind and leaves Siddhartha. In the end he reaches enlightenment because of the love from Siddhartha. Hesse expresses the theme of interior vs. exterior guidance through the different ways these characters find enlightenment. Siddhartha tries many different ways to seek enlightenment. First Siddhartha learns the way of the Brahmins who had “pored the sum total of their knowledge into his waiting vessel: and the vessel was not full, his intellect was not satisfied, his soul was not at peace, his heart was not still”. (5). In the beginning of Siddhartha’s journey he does not find the teachings of the Brahmins good enough and continues on with his journey. Siddhartha decides to leave his father and go join the Samanas and Siddhartha says “that I have become distrustful of [these] teachings and learning and that I have little faith in world that come to us from teachers” (22). Siddhartha once again is not satisfied with the Samanas teachings and carries on. Siddhartha goes to seek Gotama and find the truth and says to him “to nobody, O Illustrious One, can [one] communicate in words and teachings what happened to you in the hour of your enlightenment.” (34). Siddhartha realizes that he can’t achieve enlightenment through the teachings of others and has to go seek it within himself.

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