← All books

by Hermann Hesse and Hilda Rosner, Zigmantas Ardickas


Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha" is a philosophical novel that follows the titular character's quest for enlightenment and his journey to find himself.

Part One begins with Siddhartha, a privileged Brahman, growing dissatisfied with the traditional knowledge and rituals of his upbringing. Yearning for something more profound, he leaves his family and becomes a Samana, an ascetic seeking enlightenment through self-denial. He practices rigorous meditation and extreme self-discipline, but ultimately feels unfulfilled.

He meets Gautama Buddha, the enlightened one, and listens to his teachings on suffering and the path to liberation. While impressed by Buddha's wisdom, Siddhartha cannot accept his teachings, feeling they offer only a temporary escape from the self, not true understanding.

Part Two sees Siddhartha venturing into the world, seeking different experiences and knowledge. He embraces worldly pleasures, becoming a lover to the beautiful courtesan Kamala and a successful merchant with Kamaswami. He learns to navigate society, gain wealth, and experience sensual delights. Yet, he feels a growing emptiness and a lack of true connection.

He even succumbs to gambling, demonstrating his disdain for wealth while becoming increasingly consumed by it. This leads him to a crisis, where he feels lost and disgusted with his life, even contemplating suicide. He finds himself drawn back to the river, where he had previously sought enlightenment.

In a pivotal moment, Siddhartha almost drowns himself, but is saved by the voice of his inner self and the remembrance of the sacred word "Om". This experience awakens him to a new understanding of self-discovery, where true enlightenment comes not from external teachings but from within.

He meets again with the ferryman, Vasudeva, who has become his mentor and guides him toward deeper understanding through listening to the river's wisdom. Siddhartha learns to shed his worldly desires, embrace the interconnectedness of all things, and discover the truth beyond words.

The final chapter brings Siddhartha and his old friend Govinda together once again. Govinda, still seeking enlightenment, is deeply affected by Siddhartha's transformation and gains a glimpse of the truth through a profound experience.

"Siddhartha" offers a unique perspective on spirituality and self-discovery. It challenges the reliance on external teachings and emphasizes the importance of individual experience, acceptance of the world's complexities, and the enduring power of love. Ultimately, it is a story about finding oneself through the journey of life, embracing the cycles of existence, and recognizing the divine within everything.