by Herman Hesse
First sentence: “In the shadow of the house, in the sun on the riverbank by the boats, in the shadow of the sal-tree forest, in the shadow of the fig tree, Siddhartha, the beautiful brahmin’s son, the young falcon, grew up with his friend, the brahmin’s son Govinda.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: It’s dense. And there’s some illusion to sex, though nothing graphic. It’s in the adult fiction section of the bookstore.
I picked this up because I was looking for something to fill out one of my last bingo squares, one on a religion I knew very little about. I picked Buddhism, mostly because it’s the one I know the least about (though I do know some). A friend suggested this, even though it’s written by a Westerner, because it’s an accessible read for Westerners about a Buddha-like character and Buddhist thought.
It’s basically the life journey of Siddhartha, a young, well-to-do man in India (I’m assuming). He starts out with everything and then gives it up to join the shramanas, a group the eschews material things in search of knowledge and nirvana. He leads that life for a while, until he sees a beautiful woman, and he gives up his path for the path of material things and love. He finds happiness for a while, but eventually gives that up for a simpler life of service and meditation by a river.
I’m not sure I fully got what this book was supposed to teach me. It’s one of those that I think will be different at different stages of your life, and that multiple readings will lend to more insights. I’m glad I read it, even if I didn’t fully understand it. It’s definitely given me something to think about.
One thought on “Siddhartha”
This was a difficult read for me too, I think that is meant to highlight his journey to a path to enlightenment through meditation. I think a re-read would certainly lend itself to understanding it better and I would draw new conclusion as well.