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Siddhartha (Wisehouse Classics Edition)

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Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse’s ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated the first part of it to Romain Rolland Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse’s ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated the first part of it to Romain Rolland and the second part to Wilhelm Gundert, his cousin. The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (what was searched for), which together means “he who has found meaning (of existence)” or “he who has attained his goals.” In fact, the Buddha’s own name, before his renunciation, was Siddhartha Gautama, Prince of Kapilavastu. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as “Gotama”. (more on www.wisehouse-publishing.com)


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Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse’s ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated the first part of it to Romain Rolland Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse’s ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960s. Hesse dedicated the first part of it to Romain Rolland and the second part to Wilhelm Gundert, his cousin. The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (what was searched for), which together means “he who has found meaning (of existence)” or “he who has attained his goals.” In fact, the Buddha’s own name, before his renunciation, was Siddhartha Gautama, Prince of Kapilavastu. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as “Gotama”. (more on www.wisehouse-publishing.com)

30 review for Siddhartha (Wisehouse Classics Edition)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    So there’s a damn dirty hippie in India named Siddhartha who is supposed to be seeking spiritual enlightenment, but instead of going to a good Christian church like a normal person, he wanders around the woods for a while with some other damn dirty hippies. After he meets Buddha, he finally gets tired of being broke-ass and homeless, and he goes into town where he makes a pile of money. This is good because everyone knows that engaging in capitalism is the only proper way to go through life. As So there’s a damn dirty hippie in India named Siddhartha who is supposed to be seeking spiritual enlightenment, but instead of going to a good Christian church like a normal person, he wanders around the woods for a while with some other damn dirty hippies. After he meets Buddha, he finally gets tired of being broke-ass and homeless, and he goes into town where he makes a pile of money. This is good because everyone knows that engaging in capitalism is the only proper way to go through life. As a bonus, he also meets a beautiful woman. Then, just when he’s having a good ole time; doing business, drinking, gambling and making time with the woman, the dang fool’s hippie ideas pop up again, and he walks away from all of it. Remember that Chris Farley routine on Saturday Night Live where he’d scream that someone would end up living in a van down by the river? Well, this hippie ends up living in a hut down by the river. And that’s even worse, because at least you could play the radio in a van. Finally, Siddartha thinks that the river is god. Or something stupid like that. It just didn’t make any sense. Give me one of them Lee Child novels any day over this hippie dippie crap. That Jack Reacher is a man’s man! Just kidding. Actually, this is an elegant allegory about a guy going through different phases as he pursues a lifelong quest to rid himself of his ego so that he can know true peace and enlightenment. It’s filled with incredible writing, and it’s short and smart enough to hold the attention of even a doofus like me. I’d put this in the category of books that everyone should read at least once.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    My apologies if this review reeks of "GUSHness." However, it gave me that ONE-OF-A-KIND reading experience that doesn't come along often and so I think it is certainly worthy of the praise I shall heep upon it. Beautifully written and a deeply personal story, Hesse has created the ultimate expression of the journey of self-discovery. The book details the story of Siddhartha, the young and brilliant son of a Brahmin in ancient India. The Brahmin are the uber revered caste comprised of poets, My apologies if this review reeks of "GUSHness." However, it gave me that ONE-OF-A-KIND reading experience that doesn't come along often and so I think it is certainly worthy of the praise I shall heep upon it. Beautifully written and a deeply personal story, Hesse has created the ultimate expression of the journey of self-discovery. The book details the story of Siddhartha, the young and brilliant son of a Brahmin in ancient India. The Brahmin are the uber revered caste comprised of poets, priests, teachers and scholars***. [*** Quick Side Note : How refreshing is it that their most revered group is not made up of morally questionable athletes, morally suspect celebrities and morally bankrupt politicians...I'm just saying!!] At the beginning of the story, despite having absorbed all of the teachings of his father and followed all of the religious rites and rituals of his caste, Siddhartha is not content. He knows deep inside that there is something missing and decides to leave his father and his future and seek enlightenment. He sets out, along with his life long friend to find life’s meaning. A decision that makes Siddhartha’s father less than a happy camper. Thus begins one of the truly exceptional stories in modern literature. Siddhartha’s journey takes him from the elite of his people: 1. First, to a group of ascetics who shun personal possessions and view the physical world as the source of all pain; 2. Next to a beautiful courtesan who teaches Siddhartha the mysterious of physical love, to a world; 3. Third, to a wealthy trader who teaches Siddhartha about profit, trade and worldly pleasures; 4. Then to a life of hedonistic excess in which Siddhartha eats, drinks, gambles and indulges in numerous sexual conquests in a very SinCityesque way... 5. Finally, back to an ascetic life, but one that embraces the world and everything in it as special and unique. Throughout the various stages of his journey, Siddhartha finds something of value in everyone he interacts with and each stage brings him closer to his ultimate goal. Through elegant and deeply evocative writing, Hesse demonstrates, through Siddhartha's journey, the fundamental value of each and every person on Earth. Everyone has something special to contribute to the universe. Siddhartha's final realization of his goal of finding enlightenment is simply amazing and one that I can not recommend more strongly that everyone read. I'm a U.S. citizen of Irish heritage living in Las Vegas. I was raised Roman Catholic and spent most of my undergraduate and graduate academic life learning about western philosophy, history and literature. I mention the only because I was completely floored that I could identify so intensely with Siddhartha’s story, despite a background that was as far from embracing an "eastern" viewpoint as you could possibly get. I think its ability to completely suck me in demonstrates not only the brilliance and beauty of Hesse’s prose, but also the universal nature of the story and its ability to transcend all barriers to understanding. It is an amazing read but also a deeply personal one and I think that everyone will get something different out of reading it. Hopefully it is something very, very positive. 5.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    MY BEST BOOK OF 2017! In life we all look for meaning, we all look for something to give us a purpose and, in essence, a reason to actually be alive. Nobody wants to get to the end of their journey and realise it was all for nothing, and that their days were utterly wasted. So how do we find this meaning? “One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking -- a detour, an error.” We must find our own peace. Siddhartha followed the teachings of MY BEST BOOK OF 2017! In life we all look for meaning, we all look for something to give us a purpose and, in essence, a reason to actually be alive. Nobody wants to get to the end of their journey and realise it was all for nothing, and that their days were utterly wasted. So how do we find this meaning? “One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking -- a detour, an error.” We must find our own peace. Siddhartha followed the teachings of others and it granted him very little happiness. He meets Buddha, or a Buddha, and he realises that the only way he can achieve the same degree of serenity is to find it himself. The words of the man, as wise as they may be, are just air; they are not experience: they are not one’s own wisdom granted through trial. So he takes his own path, albeit an indirect one, and finally awakens his mind into a sense of enlightenment. But, in order to do so, he must first realise the true state of emptiness. And, of course, to understand emptiness one must first experience temporary fullness; thus, he walks into the world of the everyday man. He indulges in their pleasure, gains possessions and takes a lover. He forms attachments and begets a household of servants and wealth. Through experiencimg such things, he learns that they are shallow and transitory; they will never create the feeling of lasting happiness within his soul, so he walks out once more with the full realisation that peace can only come from one place: himself. “I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.” He experiences oneness with his own thoughts, with everyone else and anything that resides in nature: he becomes enlightened, though only through returning from the darkest of times. Suffering exists, suffering will always exist, and it is how we deal with this suffering that defines us: it is how we pick ourselves up afterwards not letting it ruin our lives, and those around us, that makes us stronger. In this Hesse capture something extremely difficult to put into words, which is something the novel frequently recognises. How does one accurately define these vague concepts of belief? He doesn’t. So we rely on allegories to teach us these ideals, to make us understand that happiness is not equitable with materialism, and to make us realise that seeking something too ardently may mean we miss it altogether. Seeking the meaning of life is not the answer, living life, the life of peace and compassion, is. Siddhartha follows the vibrations of his soul, the sound of the river, and it takes him exactly where he needs to go. As a student of Buddhism, as a struggling practitioner, I found this book extremely helpful. It cuts through all the rhetoric, the arguments and debates, and gets to the very heart of the matter itself. This is a book I will carry with me through life; this is a book that has so much wisdom to impart, and now the third book to truly impact me individually. __________________________________ You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree. __________________________________

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    (Book 717 from 1001 Books) - Siddhartha. Eine indische Dichtung = Siddhartha, Herman Hesse Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse's ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960's. سیذارتا - هرمان هسه (اساطیر، فردوس) ادبیات آلمانی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 200 (Book 717 from 1001 Books) - Siddhartha. Eine indische Dichtung = Siddhartha, Herman Hesse Siddhartha is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse's ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. It was published in the U.S. in 1951 and became influential during the 1960's. سیذارتا - هرمان هسه (اساطیر، فردوس) ادبیات آلمانی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 2007میلادی عنوان: سیذارتا؛ هرمان هسه؛ مترجم: پرویز داریوش؛ تهران، پرنیان، 1340، در 160ص؛ چاپ دوم تهران، آبان، 1355، در 160ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، فرزان 1362؛ تهران، اساطیر، 1367، 1373؛ چاپ ششم 1375، در 134ص؛ چاپ هفتم 1381؛ چاپ یازدهم 1394؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان آلمانی زبان - سده 20م مترجم: امیرفریدون گرکانی؛ تهران، فردوس، 1373؛ در 155ص، چاپ سوم 1376؛ چهارم 1381؛ ششم 1385؛ چاپ هفتم 1387؛ شابک 9645509114؛ چاپ هشتم 1388؛ شابک 9789643204143؛ تهران، جامی، 1392، در 152ص؛ شابک 9786001760884؛ مترجم: محمد بقایی؛ تهران، نشر آرمین، 1374، در 225ص؛ مترجم: پرویز چشمه خاور؛ تهران، نشر گلپونه، 1376، در 167ص؛ شابک 9646663044؛ مترجم: سروش حبیبی؛ تهران، ققنوس، 1385، در 174ص؛ چاپ دوم 1386؛ چاپ سوم 1387؛ شابک 9789643116286؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، ماهی، 1394؛ در 144ص؛ شابک 9789642092338؛ هشدار: اگر میخواهدی خود کتاب را بخوانید، از خوانش ریویو خودداری فرمایید سدهرتها (سیذارتا)، داستان برهمن زاده ی جوانی است، که به همراه دوست برهمنش، برای جستجوی حقیقت، و دانستن وظیفه ی انسان در زمین، خانه ی پدر و مادر را ترک میگوید، به مرتاضان جنگل میپیوندد؛ در جنگل، به فن ریاضت و تفکر، به شیوه ی مرتاضان، میپردازد، میکوشد تا نفس، و موانع راه نیل به حقیقت را، در خود از بین ببرد؛ ولی هرچه بیش، پیش میرود، و هرچه بیشتر نفسش را تحت انقیاد درمیآورد، میبیند به همان اندازه، از حقیقت به دور افتاده است؛ میفهمد که ریاضت، راه وصول به مطلوب نیست؛ در آن هنگام میشنود، که کسی به نام «گوتاما» یا «بودا»، به آخرین مرحله ی کمال انسانی رسیده، موعظه میگوید، مردم، به دور او گرد آمده اند؛ «سدهرتها» و دوستش، برای دیدن بودای اعظم، گروه مرتاضان را ترک میکنند، آنها «بودا» را میبینند، و از مشاهده ی پیکر، رفتار و طرز نگاه او، شگفت زده میشوند؛ به مواعظ آن دانشمند یگانه، گوش فرا میدهند؛ «بودا» از درد و رنج سخن میگوید؛ جهان را جز رنج نمیبیند؛ دوستش در همان مجلس، سوگند وفاداری به «بودا»، یاد میکند؛ ولی «سدهرتها» به گفته ها و آموزه های «گوتامای بودا»، باور ندارد؛ روز دیگر، «بودا» را از اندیشه های خود آگاه میکند؛ به «بودا» میگوید: رستگاری چیزی نیست که بتوان با آموزش، آن را به دست آورد؛ از آن به بعد، خواهان خویشتن خود میشود؛ در صدد نفی نفس خویش برنمیآید؛ از روسپی شهر، درس عشق و لذات را فرا میگیرد؛ با بازرگانی، دوست و همکار میشود؛ باز، همه چیز را کنار میگذارد، و در صدد خودکشی برمیآید؛ میخواهد خود را به رود بیندازد؛ از رود، صدای آواز «ام» یا «روح کلمات» را میشنود؛ بخواب میرود؛ پس از بیداری، نیروی دیگری در خود مییابد؛ همه چیز زیبا، خوب و دوست داشتنی، شده است؛ در کنار رود میماند؛ شاگرد قایقران پیری میشود؛ قایقران، فن گوش فرادادن به آواز رود را، به او یاد میدهد؛ همسرش، پسرش را پیش او میآورد؛ اما همسرش، با نیش ماری مسموم میشود؛ «سدهرتها»، با آمدن پسر، خود را شاد مییابد؛ ولی ناصبوری پسر، زندگی او و قایقران را بهم میزند؛ آنگاه روزی پسر، پدر را به باد دشنام میگیرد، و کلبه را ترک میکند؛ «سدهرتها»، برای یافتن پسر، میخواهد از رود بگذرد؛ رود به او میخندد؛ او آواز و هزارآواز رود را میشنود؛ به جنگل میرود، تا با ابدیت و وحدانیت جهان یکی شود؛ در راه، دوستش «گوویندا» را، پیر و سالخورده میبیند؛ با بوسه ای، او را از جاودانی و یگانگی جهان، باخبر میکند تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 28/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 07/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    It was the book I read it four years back. And to tell the truth I did not liked it much at the time. I thought this guy has written a book for western audience who are not familiar with the 'philosophy of karma and dharma', or rather, in general, the basic philosophy of India, who after reading it will realize something esoteric. And so it seemed to me a book containing wisdom that didn't touched me. And I finished it with the verdict: contains wisdom, but lacks depth, boring at times, and do n It was the book I read it four years back. And to tell the truth I did not liked it much at the time. I thought this guy has written a book for western audience who are not familiar with the 'philosophy of karma and dharma', or rather, in general, the basic philosophy of India, who after reading it will realize something esoteric. And so it seemed to me a book containing wisdom that didn't touched me. And I finished it with the verdict: contains wisdom, but lacks depth, boring at times, and do not grabs your heart, and is not extra-ordinary in any way. But over the years I've come to understand that it is this ordinary-ness that which makes this work exceptional. It is the story of common man, just like you and me, who goes through the struggles of life. He is a man who have the qualities that we all, common man, possess, such as: ambition, greed, possessiveness, lust, lying, and etc. And it was one day when I was pondering over the book I came to know that - it was Hermann Hesse's own life that inspired him to write Siddhartha. And it became clear to me: why he has written, the way it is written. Then it dawned on me that it was all realistic happenings that the book pointed and not something esoteric. Even the character Siddhartha, as I came to realize, was as fragile and incomplete & imperfect as me or any common man. Now I understand, after many years, that Hesse has written from the point of view of a common man, not a protege like Buddha or Adi Shankaracharya. And it is in this light of 'the struggle of a lay man' that this book comes in all its glory. (I mean in terms of wisdom, and not in terms of reading pleasure). And as the time is passing by I'm getting deeper and deeper into this book, and understanding it better. Highly Recommended!

  6. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    By the latter part of the 19th Century, the colonial spread of European powers across the world was in full swing. The British ruled India and Australia and had gone to war with China to force opium on the population. Africa, South America, and the Philippines had been portioned out for Western rule and control of resources. But tyranny does not travel only in one direction, from conqueror to subject. When Medieval European knights returned from the crusades, they brought with them mathematical p By the latter part of the 19th Century, the colonial spread of European powers across the world was in full swing. The British ruled India and Australia and had gone to war with China to force opium on the population. Africa, South America, and the Philippines had been portioned out for Western rule and control of resources. But tyranny does not travel only in one direction, from conqueror to subject. When Medieval European knights returned from the crusades, they brought with them mathematical principles, Greek and Roman texts, and thus was the European Renaissance kindled by the Light of Islam. Africans were brought to America as slaves, but even being scattered and mistreated did not prevent them from changing the culture, gifting us with blues, jazz, and African-descended words like 'funk', 'mojo', 'boogie', and 'cool'. It was the same with the colonial powers of the fin de siècle , who brought back stories, myths, fashions, art, and philosophies from all over the world. Many Europeans grew obsessed with these foreign religions, finding in them both universal truths of human existence and completely new modes of thought. Organizations like the Theosophical Society were formed to explore these religions--it was all the rage. But there was a problem: they got almost all of it wrong. A Frenchman could spend his entire life learning the intricacies of Greek and Hebrew in order to study Catholicism--its origins, philosophies, schisms, heresies, and history--and still find that, in the end, there is much he does not know, and that he'd made many errors along the way. This, despite the fact that his culture is already steeped in it, he can go and speak to one of hundreds of experts any time he has a question, and has access to a complete library of texts on the subject written in his own language, and by people of a similar culture. Now, imagine our 19th Century Gascon trying to do the same thing with Buddhism, where not only the original texts on the subject but the histories and analyses are in not merely a foreign language, but a completely different language branch, where the experts are from a different culture and speak a different language, and where the complexity and depth of history are just as vast. It's no wonder that the Theosophists and similar groups ended up with garbled, mistranslated, simplified versions that combined opposing schools of thought haphazardly. As an old philosophy professor of mine once said: "You can learn a great deal about German Protestantism from reading Siddhartha, but almost nothing about Buddhism". What ultimately emerged from the Theosophist movement was not a branch of Western Buddhism, but the 'New Age Movement': a grab bag of the same old Western ideas dressed up as mystical Oriental wisdom. Indeed, the central idea of the inane self-help book 'The Secret' and of Siddhartha are the same: the 'Law of Attraction', which is not a Buddhist principle. Like most of Hesse's work, it belongs in the 'Spiritual Self-Help' section, where vague handwaving and knowing looks are held in higher esteem than thought or insight. It's the same nonspecific mysticism he shows us in The Journey To The East and The Glass Bead Game , where the benefits of wisdom are indistinguishable from the symptoms of profound dementia. If you want to understand Buddhism, start somewhere else, because you'd just have to unlearn all of Hesse's incorrect arguments and definitions. Happily, we have come a long way since Hesse's time, with experts and commentaries in many different languages available to the avid student. But, if you'd like to see someone try to explain the principles of Lutheranism using only misused Hindu terms, this may be the book for you.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    If I could turn back time*or perhaps pass through some portal which brings me face-to-face with my 14-year-old self, there are so many books I would recommend to little me, grabbing my shoulders to shake my malnourished frame and insisting that I get to reading them as soon as effin possible instead of waiting until I'm too old and cynical and hyper-critical to appreciate and relate to what they have to say. If this ever is/was the case, this time-warp, today I would probably see a lot more nove If I could turn back time*or perhaps pass through some portal which brings me face-to-face with my 14-year-old self, there are so many books I would recommend to little me, grabbing my shoulders to shake my malnourished frame and insisting that I get to reading them as soon as effin possible instead of waiting until I'm too old and cynical and hyper-critical to appreciate and relate to what they have to say. If this ever is/was the case, this time-warp, today I would probably see a lot more novels as earth-shattering and brain-splattering magic rather than, well, pretty good stuff that I interrupted much better reading over the last two days to absorb for no good reason save for the mild satisfaction of completing a task. The main wrong idea I had about this novel--which had quite a bit to do with it taking so long for me to get around to reading it--is that it's specifically about the Buddha. (I don't have to explain the reason for that misconception, right? Cool, moving on.) I thought maybe it was like a biography or some sort of weird Hessian alt-history or, well...honestly, I didn't think about it very far beyond that, and even those assumptions were fuzzily formed and essentially microscopic. Fortunately, Hesse takes his novel in a much more engaging direction by focusing in on a formerly devout and self-restricting member of the Samana movement who falls in love with a real Playboy Bunny™ of a gal, a lusty little obsession which quickly moves him away from his faith and into her privates. Drugs, drink, gambling, greed, and fornication ensue for years. And years. And years. And years. Some of you may be familiar with the place he eventually finds himself: remorse, self-hatred, what-if's, what if not's, physical illness, years of wasted time, obsessive reflection i.e. largely pointless yet still horrifyingly circular cap-D Dwelling, nothing to show for your indulgences, spiritually crushing and tooth-grinding depression, et mofuggin' cetera. Was there still any kind of filth he had not soiled himself with, a sin or foolish act he had not committed, a dreariness of the soul he had not brought upon himself? Was it still at all possible to be alive? A dark place, no doubt. Unfortunately, this is the point where the book I was at first mildly bored with and then fully engaged in suddenly became just really fucking irritating. Hesse takes the word-slash-concept "Om" and uses it as the ultimate--and probably shortest named--deus ex machina of all time in my personal brain library's dusty archives. After spending unnumbered decades living like Robery Downey Sheen, our protagonist sits by a river for, I dunno, a couple of minutes reciting "Om" before it just miraculously all comes back to him and he's all enlightened and at peace again and shit (this is not even remotely the end of the novel, so please don't spoiler-mark me out of spite). So wait, what? Not for nothin', but if I have even a mildly snaggle-toothed hangover, I practically require endless supplies of coffee and 800mg ibuprofen, an animal and/or person to cuddle with, liquid b12 drops, at least an entire season of some television drama to fall into, and various plush surfaces to flail about on as I frantically loop Stuart Smalley quotes in my head just to keep the demons at bay. Sure, I am not enlightened and I know I sound like a total wimp right now, especially compared to one so self-disciplined as a monk-type, but I'd say his story of basically spending half a lifetime dipped in chocolately booze pools with naked bodies slithering all around him while he passed the glass n' rolled up dollar bill around gives new meaning to the phrase "falling off the wagon." Then again, I guess being at one with the spiritual path could be sorta like riding a bike, maybe? I don't suppose my hair turns white from shock every time I hear about an Amish kid returning to his village après Rumspringa. Anyway, my point is that everything just happened so fast and I wasn't ready. All this nitpicking makes it sound like I didn't like the book, even though I pretty much did. Trite as the whole "setting free the bird" image was (as in, one character literally sets free a bird on the day her lover decides to leave her because it's symbolic), my heartstrings did play a purdy song when Siddhartha and his gal split ways, and everything that happened after the whole Om Affair did snap me back into the story. I particularly dug the ending, as there was ambiguity in a lot of the right places, and the very last scene was quite lovely. Read it, young me. Read it right after you get the almanac back from Biff. Oh, and speaking of the almanac, you're definitely gonna want to hold on to that thing because, honey, let me tell you a little something about the world economy in the early 21st century... *Haha, Cher's totally stuck in your head now. Sucker.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Mridula

    Most religions know of it as "Enlightenment" - when the individual transcends himself and sees himself as one with the ultimate reality. It can be theistic (the Aham Brahma Asmi - "I am the Brahman" or Tat Tvam Asi - "Thou Art That" of Hinduism) or atheistic (the Buddhist Nirvana, based on the Anatman - "non-soul"); but the person who achieves it, according to all sources, is caught up in profound rapture. To reach this stage, one has to tread an arduous path. Carl Gustav Jung called the process Most religions know of it as "Enlightenment" - when the individual transcends himself and sees himself as one with the ultimate reality. It can be theistic (the Aham Brahma Asmi - "I am the Brahman" or Tat Tvam Asi - "Thou Art That" of Hinduism) or atheistic (the Buddhist Nirvana, based on the Anatman - "non-soul"); but the person who achieves it, according to all sources, is caught up in profound rapture. To reach this stage, one has to tread an arduous path. Carl Gustav Jung called the process "individuation": Joseph Campbell called it "the hero's journey". Herman Hesse's eponymous protagonist of Siddhartha is a man who embarks on this enterprise. Siddhartha, the handsome Brahmin youth who apparently has everything, is dissatisfied with life: with the whole pointlessness of it. He leaves home with his friend Govinda and joins a group of ascetics (the Samanas) who have made renunciation a way of life. However, the true seeker he is, Siddhartha finds that simple renunciation does not work for him: he joins the Buddha in pursuit of enlightenment. However, he soon understands that whatever knowledge he must possess, must be experiential. Leaving Govinda to become a Buddhist ascetic, Siddhartha buries himself in the sensual world across the river, where Kamala the courtesan trains him up in the pleasures of the flesh and Kamaswami the merchant instructs him in the secrets of commerce. Siddhartha soon tires of these too: he returns to the river in penury (not knowing that his child is growing within Kamala), and is taken up by the aged boatman Vasudeva as a helper. Here, ferrying people across the river, Siddhartha finally attains enlightenment - not from a great teacher, not from years of penanace and not even from the kindly Vasudeva (even though he points the way) - but from the river. Kamala's death and his son's abandonment of the stranger father completes his education, as distress turns to peace. Then it's time for Vasudeva, the mentor, to disappear - leaving his student alone with the river. What the river told Siddhartha The river flows, and becomes one with the ocean. The vapour from the ocean form into clouds, and descend on the mountains, becoming the river. The river keeps on flowing: it is inconstant, ever-renewing, never the same - yet it is eternal. The river flows, and the river is. On its surface, you can see the faces of all your loved ones: whether alive, dead or yet to be born. In the roar of the river, if you listen carefully, you can hear the sacred AUM - the first syllable outward, the second one inward, the third one silence...and the fourth one, the all encompassing silence which bears the sound of the cosmic ocean in its womb. Highly recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Himanshu

    Has it ever happened to you that you are standing, facing a magnificent, breathtaking view, in solitude, and a strong wind hits you in the face? You try to stay still, with eyes closed and then an involuntary smile comes across your face? This book was like that.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Greta

    The Hippy version of „The Alchemist” The book summed up in a picture In 1922 the German novelist Hermann Hesse published an allegorical tale playing in India, when Buddha was still around. His main character is Siddhartha, who searches for total spiritual enlightenment. Doing so he experiments with different teachers and religions, as well as material striving, to approach Nirvana. When those teachings prove unsatisfactory, he turns his search inwards, achieving total spiritual understanding. Main The Hippy version of „The Alchemist” The book summed up in a picture In 1922 the German novelist Hermann Hesse published an allegorical tale playing in India, when Buddha was still around. His main character is Siddhartha, who searches for total spiritual enlightenment. Doing so he experiments with different teachers and religions, as well as material striving, to approach Nirvana. When those teachings prove unsatisfactory, he turns his search inwards, achieving total spiritual understanding. Main Message The main topic of this allegory is the search for spiritual enlightenment, inner guidance and the wisdom of indirection. Even though the novel plays in India it‘s supposed to evoke universal enlightenment ideas. Siddhartha has a fundamental desire to understand his life through spirituality and explores different philosophies to reach the Nirvana. As Siddhartha realizes that one approach doesn‘t satisfy him, he quickly alters his course. He is willing to abandon the path of the Brahmins (priests) for the path of the Samanas (ascetics), to leave the Samanas for Gotama (Buddhas), and then to make a radical departure from spiritual teachers and search in the material world and wealth. He fully lives in all of those philosophies for a while, but everything proofs unsatisfactory. He realizes, that enlightenment cannot be taught by teachers or bought, but has to come from within. A powerful message is the wisdom of indirection. Siddhartha initially seeks Nirvana aggressively and directly. But it‘s only as Siddhartha rejects these methods and instead relies on intuition for guidance, that he reaches his goal. Love is an important topic as well and he realizes, that enlightenment cannot exist without love. The concept of Om, which signifies the oneness and unity of all things, marks key moments of awakening for Siddhartha and his ability to finally comprehend Om is his entrance into enlightenment. But he finds that enlightenment does not come from mastering either the material or spiritual world but from finding the common ground between these polarities of existence. The Hippy movement of the 1960s The Beatle‘s trip to India for meditation courses in 1968 Even though Hesse received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946, he didn‘t have much transatlantic success until 1962, when the Hippy movement made him popular among young readers. "Timothy Leary", a Hippy guru, psychologist and lector at Harvard called Hesse his favorite author, which caused a hype. The insights of the tale resonated with the flower power movement and the Beatles made a trip to India to be taught about Buddhism. Another example is the rock band who called themselves "Steppenwolf" with their song "Born to be wild". It were the times of Woodstock, the Vietnam war, LSD and meditations. Reading Hesse was part of the Hippy manual and masses pilgrimed to India and started Buddhism teachings. Today ideas of minimalism, environment and consciousness are popular again, which might explain why this book is currently so popular on goodreads. Hesse‘s ideas are supposed to offer a life philosophy, which is just as urgent today, as it was back then. Considering that social media and similar even increase external influential factors, probably even more. The context of Buddhism Siddhartha Gautama was Buddha, the founder of Buddhism The name Siddhartha wasn‘t chosen by accident, but the many references in the book are not expalined. "Siddhartha Gautama" was the actual founder of Buddhism (563 B.C.) and is the person on all the statues. Buddhism has three universal truths. They believe that everything in life is impermanent and always changing, that because nothing is permanent, a life based on possessing things or persons doesn't make you happy and that there is no eternal, unchanging soul. Buddha taught not to worship him as a god, but to take responsibility for your own life and actions. The names of all characters in the tale are references to Hinduism God‘s and similar. Hermann Hesse The very unesoteric looking Hermann Hesse Hermann Hesse‘s obsession with India has a reason. He grew up in a missionary family whose religious beliefs deeply influenced him. His father was a Pietist-Lutheran, but his grandparents were missionaries in India and the spirituality and literature of Indians, Buddhists, and Middle Eastern cultures balanced Hesse’s father’s teachings. Hesse rather rebelled against the traditional teachings of the church and read books on Eastern religion and philosophy. During the first world war he became a pacifist and traveled several times to India and the Middle East to learn more about spirituality. “What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.” Hesse‘s writing itself is very eloquent and poetic, particularly in German. I appreciated the message he wanted to transport, but for me spiritual allegoric tells remain pseudo-intellectual journey‘s for the meaning of life. Hesse‘s idea was not to teach about eastern religion, but it‘s more a 1920 version of a spiritual self help book. In some way I experience it as the Indian version of "The Alchemist" which I know is extremely popular. I think if you liked that one you probably will like Siddhartha as well and the other way around.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

    I taught this book to juniors, and when I did I became frustrated with a student when I introduced it, because he let his classmates know that he'd already read it and it sucked. I'm happy to report, now that we've finished it, that his comments didn't seem to hurt the class's opinion of the book too badly. In fact, that student himself said it was pretty good and that he'd only skimmed it the last time he read it. Lousy kids.... Another student said it was his favorite book that we'd read so fa I taught this book to juniors, and when I did I became frustrated with a student when I introduced it, because he let his classmates know that he'd already read it and it sucked. I'm happy to report, now that we've finished it, that his comments didn't seem to hurt the class's opinion of the book too badly. In fact, that student himself said it was pretty good and that he'd only skimmed it the last time he read it. Lousy kids.... Another student said it was his favorite book that we'd read so far. And that it made him want to quit school and start living. I guess that's praise for the book... The book is divided pretty neatly into thirds, and that's how we broke it up as a class. The first third is the main character (who is a contemporary of Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha) as a youth; he is smart and talented and loved by all. He's a prodigy in all things intellectual and religious, but he's not satisfied, he's not happy. So he ends up pursuing a spiritual path through extreme self-deprivation. This part is easy enough for my students, as they're young themselves, and part of Siddhartha's growing up is leaving home and striking out on his own path. They're really (I hope) in much the same circumstance, starting to find a path for themselves that may be independent from their parents. The second portion of the novel is harder. Siddhartha gives up his ascetic way of life and now indulges in all the pleasures he formerly eschewed. He learns all about sex from a courtesan, he becomes a wealthy businessman, eventually he becomes a conoisseur of fine food and wine, and a heavy gambler to boot. He loses himself in this life and eventually realizes how unhappy he is. His religious training, of course, always told him that these things were worthless, and he finds that these comforts do not, in fact, make him happy. I figured the students would find this far harder to relate to than I did, but as so often I am, I was wrong. By and large, they seemed to like this section as well as--or better than--the first. Maybe it was all the sex (not that it was even remotely graphic), even though they didn't actually know what a courtesan is. Many of them come from wealthy backgrounds, so maybe they have first-hand experience (sort of) in the ways that wealth isn't really satisfying. Or maybe they've just heard that over and over in our culture, that money doesn't buy happiness. Anyway, they seemed to like it well enough. The third section was almost certainly a harder sell. It was hard for me to sell myself on it! But Siddhartha leaves his life of luxury, nearly commits suicide over his unhappiness, and ends up becoming a simple (or not-so-simple) ferryman on a river. This section is far more full of more-or-less eastern (a touch of curry: it's eastern-flavored, with strong hints of Nietzsche as well) thought and spirituality. It's tougher to really understand or get into, though the essence isn't that hard: you have to experience things for yourself, and real wisdom can be the result of this experience, but it's not really possible to communicate that wisdom. That's your Reader's Digest condesnsed version, which I shouldn't even give because it's necessarily a distortion. Read the book if you want to know it. Anyway, to round out my discussion of class discussion, I think the momentum from the earlier parts of the book carried us through, as they seemed to like the book as a whole and liked even the more dense third section as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    For years, and when I say years it is actually more like decades, I have seen this classic book from time to time but I have never read it. It's not a very long book, but I just never took the time to try it out. One of my Goodreads groups is reading it this month, so I figured that now is as good a time as any to give it a go. I decided to listen to it and it kind of felt like I was listening to a story around the campfire. The biggest thing it reminded me of was when I was a kid at the museum For years, and when I say years it is actually more like decades, I have seen this classic book from time to time but I have never read it. It's not a very long book, but I just never took the time to try it out. One of my Goodreads groups is reading it this month, so I figured that now is as good a time as any to give it a go. I decided to listen to it and it kind of felt like I was listening to a story around the campfire. The biggest thing it reminded me of was when I was a kid at the museum in Cincinnati hearing Native American legends about how the constellations got in the sky. I am not sure how close to any actual lore Hesse's version is, but it was interesting to listen to. I saw some comments out there about this book being slow. It certainly isn't action packed and there are many philosophical digressions that move away from the story into a spiritual realm. These parts of the narrative can be slow, but they do add to the atmosphere of Siddartha's journey. Do I recommend it? If you are really into stories about philosophy and spirituality, yes. If you are into reading all the classics, yes. Otherwise, maybe or maybe not - I can't say for sure.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fergus

    Hesse never really made the grade with this one in my young mind. I read it in 1973, and found it compounded my youthful confusion. Simply put, it conflicted jarringly with an insight I had been blessed - or cursed - with three years earlier. That insight was that the purity of Being is insulted by our widespread profligacy. Call it ontological if you prefer, but following Heidegger I saw the Crown of Being as the very germ and goal of a spiritual quest. Stephane Mallarme spins an imaginative simi Hesse never really made the grade with this one in my young mind. I read it in 1973, and found it compounded my youthful confusion. Simply put, it conflicted jarringly with an insight I had been blessed - or cursed - with three years earlier. That insight was that the purity of Being is insulted by our widespread profligacy. Call it ontological if you prefer, but following Heidegger I saw the Crown of Being as the very germ and goal of a spiritual quest. Stephane Mallarme spins an imaginative simile for this effect: calling it “le cristal par le monstre insulte.” I’ve always found that metaphor apropos, because it clearly reifies the feeling as a concrete image. There are two ways to embark on a quest: following the Eastern path, or stepping in line with the Western mystical canons. The Eastern path, at least in modern times, is a way of peaceful meditation. It was not always so, but we moderns have relaxed our world views and our ideals. The Western way is similar nowadays, though traditionally we were made of sterner stuff. In Hesse’s time the Eastern Way promised the lure of romantic exoticism. But by the time he wrote Siddhartha, he lived in an existential fire pit of despair. He needed its peace as well. So in modern times the image of religion has been pasteurized, sanitized and commercialized. Kids see very little promise in it, let alone a way out of their inner storms. This is the uncomfortable legacy we have bequeathed to them, and it makes me squirm. But for me, fifty years ago, founded in learning and philosophy, it was the Quest for Being amidst its opposing indecent insult by the world. The real outside world offered no help. So I took my struggle within. Now, a full half century later I’ve found rest for my soul. And - no - it bears no resemblance to Siddhartha’s ceaseless though romanticized flux. No. It’s the quiet, concrete simplicity of an everyday life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    William2

    Set on the Gangetic Plain some 2,600 years ago, Siddhartha is about one man's search for enlightenment. Siddhartha, son of a Brahmin, even in the presence of Gautama Buddha himself, is unable to find a way if it depends on the teachings of others. There is, Siddhartha comes to believe, no single illuminated path for all men and women to follow. We must each of us make our own mistakes. We must all suffer, and no warning against it will ever help us. For to live some kind of bizarre life of comfo Set on the Gangetic Plain some 2,600 years ago, Siddhartha is about one man's search for enlightenment. Siddhartha, son of a Brahmin, even in the presence of Gautama Buddha himself, is unable to find a way if it depends on the teachings of others. There is, Siddhartha comes to believe, no single illuminated path for all men and women to follow. We must each of us make our own mistakes. We must all suffer, and no warning against it will ever help us. For to live some kind of bizarre life of comfort that prevents suffering also prevents our finding peace. The novel's especially illuminating if you have some understanding of Vedic Religion and how it fed developments in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. The writing style is very honed, lean, without abstruse digressions. It fulfills for me the fundamental requirement of all good fiction: that it reveal a fully imagined world. And isn't that what we really require from narrative: that it take us out of ourselves; that it, to paraphrase John Gardner (The Art of Fiction, Grendel, Mickelsson's Ghosts, Nickel Mountain, October Light, etc.), perpetuates the dream? Highly recommended. I much prefer it to Steppenwolf. Up next Journey to the East and The Glass Bead Game.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Uber popular & widely read in high schools & colleges all over the US, there is a goldmine of true, deep (om... indescribable?) philosophy in Siddhartha—a constant string of meditation & a neverending search through a thick forest of abstraction. The world is Westernized by the wise writer, and his easy prose is easy to follow, although the concepts take a while to sink in (I mean, how can a person really be devoid of love? How can possessions, even the indispensable ones, be so discardable? How Uber popular & widely read in high schools & colleges all over the US, there is a goldmine of true, deep (om... indescribable?) philosophy in Siddhartha—a constant string of meditation & a neverending search through a thick forest of abstraction. The world is Westernized by the wise writer, and his easy prose is easy to follow, although the concepts take a while to sink in (I mean, how can a person really be devoid of love? How can possessions, even the indispensable ones, be so discardable? How can life be so NEATLY, ARTFULLY circular?). But of these Everyman-overtaking-his-destiny novels, this one belongs right above “The Alchemist” (you know that Coelho was completely aware of the conventions which make up these type of stories), but not superior to “The Life and Times of Michael K.” by Coetzee, and definitely not as fun, rambunctious, random, nor bafflingly-surreal as the French classic “Candide.” Students should be encouraged to read Voltaire—in this case, although not in all of them, French lit undermines the German type? P.S. Two guests of mine have already left me a copy of this--such a tradition for literary geeks to be a part of.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    Lately, even before I read this book, I was noticing some book opinion that "I-would-like-this-book-better-at-my-younger-age", especially Cecily's review about The Alchemist that I couldn't agree more. I cannot help myself comparing this book with The Alchemist, although Siddharta is the better one. I believe if I read this ten years ago, I could appreciate more about the plot. But there is a Catch-22 situation: ten years ago, I don't know enough to appreciate the Vedic jargons on the book. The Lately, even before I read this book, I was noticing some book opinion that "I-would-like-this-book-better-at-my-younger-age", especially Cecily's review about The Alchemist that I couldn't agree more. I cannot help myself comparing this book with The Alchemist, although Siddharta is the better one. I believe if I read this ten years ago, I could appreciate more about the plot. But there is a Catch-22 situation: ten years ago, I don't know enough to appreciate the Vedic jargons on the book. The plot is obviously the journey of spiritual enlightenment. Of course I have no issue with The Buddhism (and other Vedic in general) philosophies in the story. If readers interested with the philosophy discussed on this book, there are non-fiction books that discuss them for real. But the ending, I don't like it. Majority of the book is struggling with philosophy and then the ending... It was such a magical ending without enlightening experience for readers (view spoiler)[similar with The Alchemist, reminding me how (hide spoiler)] I felt cheated. I could get more revelation reading a pulp fiction of a murder mystery fiction. PS: I have an opinion. The plot of Siddharta is basically YA fiction. How come publishers never publish this book as YA fiction with catchy cover art? :P

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    “Your soul is the whole world” A lot of people for the longest time recommended me this book. I have to say I’m slightly disappointed with the experience of reading it, maybe because my expectations were so high, as all of the wise and profound people I know seem to admire it. When I was younger (high school) I’ve read Steppenwolf and I was in complete awe of Hesse’s writing, and I regarded him as one of most sagacious writers I’ve ever come across. Later on (in college) I attempted to read The G “Your soul is the whole world” A lot of people for the longest time recommended me this book. I have to say I’m slightly disappointed with the experience of reading it, maybe because my expectations were so high, as all of the wise and profound people I know seem to admire it. When I was younger (high school) I’ve read Steppenwolf and I was in complete awe of Hesse’s writing, and I regarded him as one of most sagacious writers I’ve ever come across. Later on (in college) I attempted to read The Glass Bead Game, equally adored it but haven’t had enough time to finish it. Theme-wise this book is right up my alley - combining psychological development with spiritual path of Buddhism - sign me up. However, I wasn’t as enchanted with Hesse’s writing in this one, I found it to be less profound than in his other books, even though it is thematic in a similar niche of self-discovery. Maybe that’s due to my evolution as a reader as I have already read a number of books exploring the same matter or Hesse's writing really is a bit uneven. I would like to attempt some of his other books again to test those theories. This book has high quality ideas but for some reason they didn’t sit with me as well. I think the main reson is I couldn’t connect to the main character and found him self-conceived, arrogant, almost without ability to love, and hugely disliked the underlying storyline of his predetermined extra ordinance and specialty, as his superiority to the other ‘’ordinary’’ men is established early on. In my opinion, the division between preordained chosen ones and regular people is malignant (any separation that makes us think there are inherently two kinds of people), and can cause inferiority complex in common people that don’t view themselves in that way, and grandiosity in others that think to be special means not being a true self but establishing difference (basically meaning superiority) to others. ''But still he had felt different from and superior to the others; always he had watched them with some mockery, some mocking disdain, with the same disdain which a Samana constantly feels for the people of the world.'' It’s of great importance to establish that there are no two kinds of people, and every person in the core self is special, chosen to be alive, and called to the path of maturation and individuation. In some way, Siddartha comes to shift of perspective as he learns to appreciate ‘’common’’ people, but for me, it was too little too late, as he already displayed too much annoying narcissism, maybe characteristic to everybody who perceives themselves as woken. Especially Siddartha's relationship with Govinda displayed inequality, as Govinda always was a subordinate, bland, and unspecial character. I, in contrast to Govinda, didn't project numinous characteristics onto Siddharta, my feelings were more similar to this statement: But he, Siddhartha, was not a source of joy for himself, he found no delight in himself. Glad we agree on this Siddharta. I really haven’t found any delight in him as a character, no matter how hard I tried to, but maybe that was Hesse’s intention to invoke in a reader similar feelings and perception as Siddhartha had of himself? I know that in the storyline he reached his true inner self, but for me, that wasn’t the most convincing process even though there were real moments of transcendence. Maybe that is also the point, that the meaning of life is reachable not in the continuity but only in small fragments of time, as these moments are worth being alive for. I would say I like the whole narrative if all of the other characters are regarded as symbolic, representing inner archetypes in Siddhartha. I highly appreciate and agree with the main idea - that one can’t regain true wisdom and authenticity just through following spiritual teaching and religious practices. ''To reach this place, the self, myself, the Atman, there was another way, which was worthwhile looking for? Alas, and nobody showed this way, nobody knew it, not the father, and not the teachers and wise men, not the holy sacrificial songs!'' Siddartha comes to this realization early on, as he observes that a lot of people follow Buddha, comprehend and adhere to his teaching, but the end result of their path differs greatly, as they don’t have the equal charisma, influence or awakeness. ''Thousands of followers are listening to his teachings every day, follow his instructions every hour, but they are all falling leaves, not in themselves they have teachings and a law.'' Ideas of Buddhism are intelligently incorporated but also blended with Jungian individuation and excerpts of Nietzschean philosophy. Different concepts are not pushed into the character (or readers), as Siddartha discovers them from his own experience rather than an understanding of others. So the path that we follow should always be just ours, personal, individual, as there is no teaching in this world that can give us true wisdom without authentic intrapersonal transformational process. Subjective truth acquainted by experience is valued more than memorized knowledge containing the insight of others. ''Look, my dear Govinda, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found: wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone always sounds like foolishness.'' ''Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.'' In the beginning, Siddharta through his dissatisfaction both with himself and his environment comes to the realization that the world is a mere stage, theatre of masks, full of personas living a false, inauthentic life, even the wisest and spiritual people are no strangers to this kind of deceit. He experiences an existential crisis facing the reality of life that returns to him in circles. His crises are a good example of painful events that are an inherent part of psychological maturation, as deeply questioning one’s life leads to freedom. Buddist path to eliminate suffering, that has some elements which I don’t agree on, leads the main character to the exploration of oneself and having a more balanced perspective that transcends the limits of thinking in black and white colors. Traditionally Buddhist attempt to eliminate ego and desire is transformed in acceptance and integration of wholeness of oneself, as all parts have an important role in attaining self-knowledge and wisdom, more of a Jungian and Nietzschean viewpoint. Siddartha’s process of engagement goes through different phases - hedonistic, nihilistic, mystic, rational, relational and meaningful ones. In every stage, he explores an archetype/complex that is part of himself - Brahman, Shaman, rich man, gambler, ferryman. I like that Siddartha’s spiritual revelations were not ground-breaking, as he often struggled after them as before. I am also fond of the fact he explored vastly different aspects of himself - dark, vein, lustful sides, in order to reach his ultimate, true Self. The good and bad experiences, progression and regression both play an immense part in enlightenment and the big cycle of life. No stage in life is futile or isolated, and no person is merely evil or virtuous. This book can be a good example for both individuation and spiritual journey but I would recommend it to people who are beginners in the exploration of psychology or/and spiritually as I see it as a more of an introduction, maybe not for someone deeply engaged in the topics. I can see myself reading this book 10 years ago and being completely fascinated with it, and I would say then the book would have a much greater impact on me. But in this day and age, I already read a lot of material of this kind so the ideas are not new to me. But I will humble myself and admit this book is still a great accomplishment and a lot of people would benefit from it greatly! Always look inward as nor Hesse, nor Budda/Jung/Nietzsche can give you enlightenment, only point in the direction of it. “You know how to talk wisely, my friend. Be aware of too much wisdom!”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Ashleigh

    Hermann Hesse writes as though his words are god's perspective, but I don't believe in god... And, for the most part, I think god is boring. I believe most people like this book because they think they will look dumb if they don't. Hermann Hesse writes as though his words are god's perspective, but I don't believe in god... And, for the most part, I think god is boring. I believe most people like this book because they think they will look dumb if they don't.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Appu Sasidharan

    (Throwback Review) Siddhartha is a German novel by Hermann Hesse. This book tells us the story of Siddhartha’s quest for spiritual illumination. This book will spiritually enlighten you and teach you to identify love and love the world with certitude. “Gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.” (Throwback Review) Siddhartha is a German novel by Hermann Hesse. This book tells us the story of Siddhartha’s quest for spiritual illumination. This book will spiritually enlighten you and teach you to identify love and love the world with certitude. “Gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Siddhartha rejects his life as a Brahman's son and goes out into the world in a quest for enlightenment, to live as an ascetic. After meeting Buddha, Siddhartha rejects the ascetic life for a more material one, the life of a merchant, learning the ways of love from a courtesan, and in time leaves that life behind as well. Will Siddhartha ever find what he is looking for? Normally, a Nobel prize winning book wouldn't get a second look from me. I'm more into people getting pistol whipped and big mo Siddhartha rejects his life as a Brahman's son and goes out into the world in a quest for enlightenment, to live as an ascetic. After meeting Buddha, Siddhartha rejects the ascetic life for a more material one, the life of a merchant, learning the ways of love from a courtesan, and in time leaves that life behind as well. Will Siddhartha ever find what he is looking for? Normally, a Nobel prize winning book wouldn't get a second look from me. I'm more into people getting pistol whipped and big monsters. I kept seeing this book on my girlfriend's bookshelf and finally decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. Siddhartha is the story of one man's quest for meaning and it's a good one. Since it's a classic AND translated from German, I wasn't expecting an easy read. It was a breeze compared to what I was picturing. The first couple of paragraphs were a little rocky but I started digging it right away. The story mirrors the life of Buddha but isn't a retelling. This Siddhartha has his own road to travel. He goes from having nothing to having everything, including a woman was eager to teach him to be the best lover she'd ever seen, back to having nothing and living as a ferryman, learning life lessons every step of the way. While it's a novel, it's also pretty inspirational. There are nuggets of wisdom to be mined from it. My favorite is that wisdom can't be taught but it can be learned. I highly recommend this book to those interested in Eastern Philosophy and Buddhism and those needing a little more than gun play and werewolf attacks.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    What is the meaning of life? I don't know, and you're not going to find the answer in this book, although I've read some reviews of readers who claim it changed their lives, so there you go. What is the meaning of life? I don't know, and you're not going to find the answer in this book, although I've read some reviews of readers who claim it changed their lives, so there you go.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    When I edited my high school newspaper, we produced a popular feature called “Phot-O-pinion” where we asked a question about a (sometimes) pressing topic, quoted the student or teacher and snapped their pic. For one issue, at the suggestion of my journalism teacher, I asked teachers to name a book that changed their lives. I can’t remember all the responses, but without hesitation, one teacher told me, “Siddhartha, because it showed me a completely different perspective on life.” A few months lat When I edited my high school newspaper, we produced a popular feature called “Phot-O-pinion” where we asked a question about a (sometimes) pressing topic, quoted the student or teacher and snapped their pic. For one issue, at the suggestion of my journalism teacher, I asked teachers to name a book that changed their lives. I can’t remember all the responses, but without hesitation, one teacher told me, “Siddhartha, because it showed me a completely different perspective on life.” A few months later, one of my favorite teachers passed out a few books for everyone on the last day of English class. “You should read these books at least once in your life,” she said. She passed out Confessions of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas DeQuincey, The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, Civil War Poetry and Prose by Walt Whitman, Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read all of them just yet, but I finally got around to picking up Siddhartha and, well, it ended up changing my life. I think if I read this after my high school graduation I would have stopped after a certain page. I think if I read this on some breaks from college I would have tired of some of its overwrought philosophical pretenses. But for various reasons, now was the right time for me to read it. I don’t want to go into detail why it changed my life because the beauty of the book is that you can take what you want from it. I wouldn’t have learned anything from the book if I tell you exactly why it changed my life. I won’t be giving up every single material possession I own after reading this book, but I will be thinking differently about what really matters in life and how to deal with (and ultimately transcend/learn from) disappointment, rejection, and anything else that makes life suck sometimes. A quote from one of my favorite passages: “At times he heard within him a soft, gentle voice, which reminded him quietly, complained quietly, so that he could hardly hear it. Then he suddenly saw clearly that he was leading a strange life, that he was doing many things that were only a game, that he was quite cheerful and sometimes experienced pleasure, but that real life was flowing past him and did not touch him.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megha

    Old pre-read review Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are Old pre-read review Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future..... But why would one need to do that anymore when one has found enlightenment. [ Adapted from here.]

  24. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    Hermann Hesse’s 1922 book feels absolutely timeless and ageless – almost like a religious or spiritual text, not a work of fiction. It’s about the lifelong journey of Siddhartha, a Brahmin’s son who leaves the comfort and intellectual stimulation of his home life to become a wandering ascetic, renouncing all possessions. After meeting the famous Buddha, Gautama, he realizes he wants or needs more, and so crosses a river with the help of a ferryman (who lets him ride for free - saying he’ll be ba Hermann Hesse’s 1922 book feels absolutely timeless and ageless – almost like a religious or spiritual text, not a work of fiction. It’s about the lifelong journey of Siddhartha, a Brahmin’s son who leaves the comfort and intellectual stimulation of his home life to become a wandering ascetic, renouncing all possessions. After meeting the famous Buddha, Gautama, he realizes he wants or needs more, and so crosses a river with the help of a ferryman (who lets him ride for free - saying he’ll be back and will pay him in another way) and goes to take part in city life. There, he embarks on an extended affair with a beautiful courtesan and works for a ruthless businessman. He has mind-blowing sex, amasses wealth and drapes himself in fine clothes, but he’s unfulfilled. In fact, he’s in despair. Then, revisiting the river he was at years earlier, and meeting the same wise but uneducated ferryman who helped him cross, he has a sort of epiphany. People from his earlier life eventually find him at the river, and he comes to a fuller and richer understanding of the nature of time, life, suffering. And he reconnects with a childhood friend, now a Buddhist monk, who recognizes in Siddhartha true enlightenment. What an unusual but powerful book: quiet but full of profound things to say about what’s ultimately important in life. I can see how the book would have resonated with generations of young people in the 1960s seeking meaning in a society clamouring after wealth and power. It makes you think about essential things: How important are possessions? What’s the purpose of pain and hardship? Does learning only happen in the classroom? It’s a slim volume, but it’s written in a clear, timeless prose, and it’s packed with wisdom. I’ll definitely be making repeat journeys to it in the years to come.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    * There may be a little spoiler * The time: an old one. The place: India. There's this young man named Siddhartha, who is everyone's love and joy. A wise and decent man who inspires everyone around him but himself. He isn't content with his life and everything around it, spiritually speaking. He feels it was not enough. And why isn't it enough? I don't know, but it is in human nature to wonder about the essence of things, such as the existence of God, of any god. Siddhartha is in a better positio * There may be a little spoiler * The time: an old one. The place: India. There's this young man named Siddhartha, who is everyone's love and joy. A wise and decent man who inspires everyone around him but himself. He isn't content with his life and everything around it, spiritually speaking. He feels it was not enough. And why isn't it enough? I don't know, but it is in human nature to wonder about the essence of things, such as the existence of God, of any god. Siddhartha is in a better position, though. He is aware that a superior entity exists, he just needs to know and feel more. Those who are not sure, those people experience the worst kind of uncertainty: doubt mercilessly corrodes the body until it reaches the soul. Siddhartha thinks that everything he has is not enough to feel satisfied, blissful. He thinks that his father and the other Brahmans already gave him all the wisdom they had. But the vessel was not full, the spirit was not content, the soul was not calm, the heart was not satisfied. So, he leaves his family and good friend Govinda, and begins a life of contemplation, hoping to gain some spiritual enlightenment. He became a Samana. However, these guys' philosophy doesn't satisfy his heart either, therefore, he continues his quest, alone. A river and a ferryman later, he finds a city called From living a peaceful, contemplative life to livin' la vida loca. Siddhartha meets a beautiful and intelligent woman who teaches him everything about love and... some other things. Nevertheless, after a few years, this empty lifestyle of earthly pleasures tires him, and makes him return to the river, which gave him the inspiration he was looking for. After some time, following certain situations, he is able to listen to the river's voice accompanied by the ferryman, then Siddhartha's spiritual guide, and he finds enlightenment. He reaches the Nirvana on his own. This is a beautiful story about a man's journey of self-discovery. A wise young man who had his ups and downs like every human being. After a time filled with pleasures and materialism, he goes back to the spiritual life he was longing for. However, that time he spent with the woman can't be considered a waste. He needed that in order to achieve something greater. Everything helped him to gain experience and thus, to return to the path he was intended to take. We often need to hit rock bottom just to get back on the right track again. If staring at an apparently talking river helps you and makes a spiritual growth possible, so be it. Leaving aside any ironic remark, I loved Siddhartha. In my humble opinion, there is no comparison between this book and some other novel involving some alchemist. This one is really an inspiring book; it makes you wonder and rethink the things we thought were as clear as water. I read it in English and Spanish at the same time; it was like reading two different books, of course. But I can say I enjoyed Hesse's writing... if his style can be actually found in those translations. (I have to learn French, German and Italian, and then, I shall find peace.) Metaphors, reflections, descriptions, people, feelings; they are all beautifully portrayed by Hesse. He tends to repeat words in one passage, which gives the reading experience a lovely cadence (though sometimes it's just redundancy). I don't know if that only makes sense in my head. Probably. I like philosophical novels, and this one was no exception. I'm not sure if it's going to change my outlook on life (I haven't found any talking rivers yet) but Siddhartha was a delight to read. Jun 23, 2013 * Also on my blog.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matthieu

    Eh.

  27. 4 out of 5

    emma

    there are certain roles i relish in this life. when i was younger, i loved to play the part of Cool Teenage Girl while babysitting, because it was the most effective and energy efficient way to get children to like me. answering "do you have a boyfriend" and "do you go to parties" 800 times is way easier than running around or doing crafts. i am still a big fan of embodying Sympathetic Customer at any retail or service establishment i go to. thanks to years of retail/service work this is actually there are certain roles i relish in this life. when i was younger, i loved to play the part of Cool Teenage Girl while babysitting, because it was the most effective and energy efficient way to get children to like me. answering "do you have a boyfriend" and "do you go to parties" 800 times is way easier than running around or doing crafts. i am still a big fan of embodying Sympathetic Customer at any retail or service establishment i go to. thanks to years of retail/service work this is actually more a truth of myself than a persona, but i amp it up so much that it still applies. but my ALL TIME FAVORITE character will always be English Student Who Is Devoted Enough And Sufficiently Respected To Get Away With Sh*t Talking The Assigned Reading In Class. and boy oh boy did i go for the gold on that with this book. when i was in high school, there was also a cult of white boys who refused to even make eye contact with any girl who wasn't Asian. there were probably six of them floating around the halls, actively fetishizing - seven if you count Hermann Hesse via the copies of Siddhartha that half the junior-year english classes had to read. this book is just bizarre. this is part of a series i am doing where i - i've said it before and i'll say it again - claim to be reviewing books i read a long time ago, but more actively reveal unasked for truths about my high school experience.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nat K

    "Nothing was and nothing will be: everything is, and everything is present and has existence." I feel strangely ambivalent towards this book. I neither liked nor disliked it. I read it, but can’t say it affected me at a deeper level. Siddhartha decides to seek enlightenment via practicing asceticism**. I can’t pretend to begin to understand the need for this at all. Siddartha does this for several years; he freezes in the icy rain, he doesn’t sleep, he feels immense hunger. His mind and body are "Nothing was and nothing will be: everything is, and everything is present and has existence." I feel strangely ambivalent towards this book. I neither liked nor disliked it. I read it, but can’t say it affected me at a deeper level. Siddhartha decides to seek enlightenment via practicing asceticism**. I can’t pretend to begin to understand the need for this at all. Siddartha does this for several years; he freezes in the icy rain, he doesn’t sleep, he feels immense hunger. His mind and body are desensitized to the world around him. Then his life does a 360 degree turnaround. He leaves the woods and asceticism behind, and spends the next few years living it up, meeting a beautiful woman, having riches beyond his wildest imaginings, losing those winnings, getting them back etc etc etc. He feels empty, and decides to return to the spiritual path… There are many beautifully written passages in this book. Such as where a gilded bird is being set free, and the beauty and life force of the river. These bits spoke to me. But this was not enough for me to feel any warmth towards the story. It just didn’t work for me. It was far too esoteric and above my head. At least I can tick this one off my reading bucket list! However, I am keen to read his last work "The Glass Bead Game", as he's obviously a very good writer. I think this would be interesting, and more up my alley. ** asceticism is the practice of abstinence from sensual pleasures, material possessions & earthly indulgences to attain spiritual goals.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Siddhartha By: Hermann Hesse Narrated by: Christopher Preece This is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary. This is the first time I actually understand this book. I have read this book before a few times but it is a difficult book to read. For me, it is hard to stay focused and follow what is going on at times. With this audible book, with this narrator, I finally got the flow of the book! That's a big plus. Once I understood the basics of what was going on, I understood more. Do Siddhartha By: Hermann Hesse Narrated by: Christopher Preece This is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary. This is the first time I actually understand this book. I have read this book before a few times but it is a difficult book to read. For me, it is hard to stay focused and follow what is going on at times. With this audible book, with this narrator, I finally got the flow of the book! That's a big plus. Once I understood the basics of what was going on, I understood more. Do I understand all? No, but I get it a lot more. The narrator was wonderful with a clear, soothing voice that was perfect!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Χαρά Ζ.

    **Siddharta** My love for Hesse grows with each book. I fell completely helpless while reading it, i wanted to cry, i felt lighter, i kept thinking about my life, i kept thinking about Siddharta's life. This is spiritual, honest, beautiful, balanced, unique in every way. This is a book about a boy trying to find out who he is, this is a book about sins and regrets and sacred thoughts and sacred acts of love and kindness and sacred acts of hatred. I loved this, adored this, felt along with this. I **Siddharta** My love for Hesse grows with each book. I fell completely helpless while reading it, i wanted to cry, i felt lighter, i kept thinking about my life, i kept thinking about Siddharta's life. This is spiritual, honest, beautiful, balanced, unique in every way. This is a book about a boy trying to find out who he is, this is a book about sins and regrets and sacred thoughts and sacred acts of love and kindness and sacred acts of hatred. I loved this, adored this, felt along with this. I recommend this to everyone ❤️

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