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Siddhartha

An allegorical novel by Hermann Hesse.

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Siddhartha: A Journey of Self-Discovery, Spirituality, and Enlightenment

  • Jul 1, 2010
Rating:
+5

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a novel seeking answers to profound questions of self, individuality, love, friendship, happiness, and more. Themes abound in this tale. The message sent is fairly clear and accessible, yet considerable in both breadth and depth. The book made me question many things in my life and the world. It made me wonder. It made me think. It made me see things in a different light. That is the joy I love most after reading a great book; I have grown in some direction; my time and investment in reading the work has paid some dividend.
 

I love the simple yet elegant prose Hesse utilizes. His prose can be poetic without the need of excessive and overbearing adjectives and other modifiers. I enjoy the casual flow of his writing and his intellectuality.

The combination of Buddhism, western religion, Jung's philosophies, and probably more I am not aware of is intriguing to me. I can completely relate to Siddhartha, a young man seeking the truest happiness in life, the utlimate prize, enlightenment.

I relate to Siddhartha's yearning to leave the home and family that has guided him. Most young people will relate in a way to this. I also can relate to his seeking teachers in life to help him, to having a best friend, to being caught up in the world and self-serving desire, to denial, to confusion, to rejection of others belief systems.

As the protagonist travels through the various stages of his life, he learns, he grows, he lives. 

*****SPOILER ALERT******

He ends reaching enlightenment, but has his life been all glory and joy? No. Would readers immediately yell, "I WANT THAT!!!" upon completion of the novel? I think not. Hesse has a practical set of boundaries surrounding his idealism and philosophies. It keeps the message and wisdom within the tale in the realm of credibility.
 

The book also deals with one of my favorite topics--duality. Hesse really begins exploring duality in other works, but Siddhartha has plenty. Inside we all have conflict and varying need, wants, goals, desires, etc. that seemingly cannot coexist but do. We war withing ourselves. We make bargains, trade-offs, exchanges, deals. We compromise. We win. We lose. We live.

I love this book and recommend it to anyone who thinks deeply and enjoys reflecting on who we are and what our purpose in life may be. What a great read.

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August 07, 2010
Which translation? There's been more than the "standard" one lately, so I'm curious.
 
July 01, 2010
I read this book when I was in high school. I remember not understanding certain portions of it, probably because I wasn't focused enough on the material. I need to re-read this one again in the future. Great review! Thanks for sharing!
 
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More Siddhartha (novel) reviews
review by . July 01, 2010
Don't expect to get much out of reading this book unless you take it slowly and seriously. It is a short book, all in all, and it's densely packed with allegory and spiritual transition. Like the lead character of the book, you will be taken through many different ways of life, ways of responding to life; unlike the character, you can step outside of what you are reading and decide if you can feel what he is feeling, become what he is becoming... or if you really want to take that journey …
review by . June 29, 2010
I had read this book based on a recommendation from a High School teacher whom I respected. He let me borrow his copy and it honestly took me two years to finally read it. I had been told that it would be life changing and illuminating, but I felt let down when I finally finished it. I found the language to be simplistic and not particularly engaging. What bothered me most was that I didn’t feel challenged by the text, yes the book was straightforward, but the surface value of the themes was …
review by . June 13, 2010
I read this book when I was thirteen and it made an immense impact on me, because I was on a spiritual journey of my own in practicing yoga. The author, Herman Hesse, was an existentialist author who was attempting to portray the existince of a man searching for spiritual enlightenemnet and happiness. He begins the journey explaining the prince's life and all the temptations that he pursued, because his father did not want him to be a monk. It discusses how he wanted to be enlightened and traveled …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
I just finished this book. It is great, I can relate to the main character's search for his own way in life. I really like it, but the very end, like all Hesse's books was a bit mysterious.
Quick Tip by . July 07, 2010
Love this timeless book, relevant to everyone of any era. Life lessons for all worldwide!
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
great book!
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
This was a required reading in school, and just never caught my interest.
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
-.-
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Amazing, philosophical, thought-provoking.
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
One of my favorite soul-searching books. A great read for those looking for answers to the really big question.
About the reviewer
Nate Johnson ()
Ranked #914
Member Since: Jun 22, 2010
Last Login: Jul 7, 2010 09:19 PM UTC
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Siddhartha is an allegorical novel by Hermann Hesse which deals with the spiritual journey of a boy known as Siddhartha from the Indian Subcontinent during the time of the Buddha.

The book, Hesse's ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple yet powerful and lyrical style. It was first published in 1922, after Hesse had spent some time in India in the 1910s. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated Siddhartha to Romain Rolland, "my dear friend".

The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in the Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (meaning or wealth). The two words together mean "he who has found meaning (of existence)" or "he who has attained his goals". The Buddha's name, before his renunciation, was Prince Siddhartha Gautama. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as "Gotama".

The story takes place in ancient India around the time of Gautama Buddha (likely between the fifth and seventh centuries BCE). It starts as Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin, leaves his home to join the ascetics with his companion Govinda. The two set out in the search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes through a series of changes and realizations as he attempts to achieve this goal.

Experience is the aggregate of conscious events experienced by a human in life – it connotes participation, learning and perhaps knowledge. Understanding is comprehension and internalization. In ...
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