It was thought that the gods blew on creative people, who would then inhale the god's breath and have an idea. This is the premise of "inspiration": inhaling divine breath and ideas.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Siddhartha by Hemann Hesse

I met a person who said ‘my life is divided into two parts, Before Siddhartha (BS) and After Siddhartha (AS)’. Every person emerges from this wonderful read as a changed man. The transition may last for a day or a few hours but is exquisite. It’s a revelation in simple words awakening not just the mind and senses but also the soul. Hermann Hesse’s love for eastern mysticism is evident in every word of Siddhartha. Gouthama was 'Siddhartha' before He became Buddha-the enlightened one. Every reader would have noticed the deliberate use of the name 'Siddhartha' for the main character and the influence of Gouthama in his life. Samsara and Nirvana both play important roles in Siddhartha’s life for attainment of bliss. He says one is not dissonant from the other and they exist in harmony. Some of my favorite excerpts from the book:

“I have seen one man, one man only” thought Siddhartha, before whom I must lower my eyes. I will never lower my eyes before any other man. “No other teachings will attract me, since this man’s teachings have not done so.”
“The Buddha has robed me” thought Siddhartha. “He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value. He has robbed me of my friend, who believed in me and who now believes in him; he was my shadow and is now Gouthama’s shadow. But he has given to me Siddhartha myself.”

“when someone is seeking” said Siddhartha, ‘it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means to have a goal, finding means to be free to be receptive and to have no goal.”

Our whole life is spent in a delusion. We seek wealth, we seek love, and we seek pleasure in order to seek happiness. Siddhartha says don’t seek anything, don’t desire for anything, be free, be receptive. Absorb what the ‘river’ says; listen to the sound the stone makes. He says love everything. In finding love is that we find freedom, bliss. Bliss cannot be evanescent phase. Bliss is absolute and the experience is cherished forever.


  1. You mention the author's deliberate use of the name "Siddhartha" for the main character. What do you think of "Vasudeva", the boatman who ferries ordinary mortals across the river (of life)?

  2. Vasudeva plays a vital role in Siddhartha’s life. I believe that the name of Vasudeva was particularly chosen for the ferryman because it represents Lord Krishna one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu in Indian mythology is responsible for protection of man kind. He delivers people from their miseries and inculcates in them divine faith which eventually guide them to the ultimate goal. In the book, it is Vasudeva who removes ignorance from Siddhartha’s mind. Guides him silently to his goal and disappears from the scene to become one with bliss. Vasudeva qualities are divine and bear a powerful impression over Siddhartha’s mind. Siddhartha saw in Vasudeva the calmness and blissful nature of Gouthama.

  3. I loved this book I am in 10th grade and we got books at random and I got siddartha I am doing a painting about it and a written speech or so I think. I'll see if I can post my painting on here.I read a lot but i have never felt so connected to a book like this.

  4. Hello,

    Plz feel free to post here! Glad you enjoyed the book. Keep reading!