Siddartha was also a novel by Swiss/German author Herman Hesse
. This is novel is loosely based on the life of Siddartha Gautama
, founder of Buddhism, but the actual Gautama is not the main character or even a central character.
Siddartha is a devout Hindu
who is a part of the Brahmin
class. His father is a priest who is proud of Siddartha's religious accomplishments. But Siddartha feels unsure about his faith and has many questions. He leaves with the Samanas
, a roving band of monks. He soon learns much of their ways. He is able to hypnotize people and will soon learn to walk on water
. He finds this way of life unsatisfying also. He hears the teachings of the Buddha
in a sermon and has a debate with him. Siddartha finds that he must search for his own way of enlightenment. He soon gets caught up in the trappings of everyday life. His reading and writing skills gets him a job with a merchant and he quickly becomes rich. He becomes involved with a courtesan
and becomes skilled in love-making. He gambles, drinks, and has sex but it all leaves him unsatisfied. So much in fact, he contemplates suicide. He realizes how low he's sunk and chooses to find a route to enlightenment. He becomes close friends with a ferryman and they live together, learning the lessons that the river can teach them. Soon he becomes a truly enlightened being, all through his own findings and experiences.
A story about how enlightenment can be (or should be) reached on one's owns terms and that the path does not necesarily have to follow the steps of others. Siddartha realizes that teachings aren't always the best way of divulging wisdom.
The story has some Jungian
aspects to it, such as the theory of the shadow
, as Siddartha's close friend trails him throughout the entire book, also seeking enlightenment. For more Jungian
connections, read the book, read the Cliffs Notes
, study the works of Carl Jung
, and contemplate.