Siddhartha is one of the best books I have read till date. The author Herman Hesse has beautifully written a journey of self-discovery through the experiences of the protagonist, Siddhartha.
The novel describes the story of Siddhartha who is the young and brilliant son of a Brahmin. He has grown up studying the Vedas and other scriptures. He religiously follows all the rituals and meditates daily but still is not content for he thinks that there is something amiss. He decides to go to the forest and live with the Samanas. After much reluctance, his father gives him the permission and Siddhartha along with his dear friend Govinda goes to the forest and join the Samanas.
Samanas are a group of ascetics who shun material possessions and see the physical world as the source of all pain and misery. After spending a few years with the Samanas and still dissatisfied, Siddhatha and Govinda go to meet the Buddha. Govinda becomes a disciple of Buddha but Siddhartha feels that he has to find his own path instead of following a teacher.
Siddhartha’s next stop was at a beautiful courtesan Kamala who teaches him the mysteries of physical love. She also introduces him to a wealthy trader from whom Siddhartha learns the tricks of the trade. Gradually Siddhartha adapts to a life of hedonistic excess where he drinks, gambles and indulges in physical pleasures. But realization dawns and Siddhartha leaves everything behind. His journey brings him to a river and a wise ferryman. He is back to being an ascetic but now he embraces the world and everything in it is as unique. Attachment grips him again when he meets Kamala after years who dies leaving their son in his care. Overcome with love for his son, Siddhartha again succumbs to worldly bonds but finally gets enlightened by the river side, listening to the wisdom from the river.
Throughout his journey, Siddhartha finds something of value in every experience and each experience brings him closer to his ultimate destination. The author has narrated this journey towards enlightenment through deeply evocative and elegant writing which is a pleasure to read. The brilliance and beauty of Hesse’s prose captivates the readers. The story itself is universal in nature and transcends all barriers. A very positive and amazing book which is a must read.
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