Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (free at Feedbooks) is a beautiful novel (originally written in German) about an Indian boy named Siddhartha, who seeks enlightenment. It follows him as he leaves his father, a Brahman, to join ascetics. He later meets Buddha, goes on to the city and learns the secrets of love-making with a courtesan who loves him, then leaves her only to find she gave birth to his son.

While I really don’t know too much about Buddhism, I loved the idea of the totality of your experiences being the true nirvana, rather than separate, distinct events. It was all written very beautifully:

And this is now a teaching you will laugh about: love, oh Govinda, seems to me to be the most important thing of all. To thoroughly understand the world, to explain it, to despise it, may be the thing great thinkers do. 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.
(Location 1586)


3 responses to “Siddhartha

  1. This book was a total bore. Nirvana is over-rated, so is all music of the 90’s. Except for Hanson.

  2. Pingback: Life of Pi « small rectangular objects

  3. Yes, a beautiful book. I enjoyed this one very much when I first read it, years ago now. I’ve read a lot of works by Hesse and loved them all. He’s a little deep for me to grasp at times, but he always makes you think.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Best wishes


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