It is said that one can reach happiness and spiritual peace through becoming conscious of the truth, or the ultimate nature of one’s inner being. The main character Siddhartha, in the Herman Hesse novel, has a deep desire to understand the meaning of life and the inner being. Siddhartha’s quest for this knowledge passes through several phases.
The knowledge he has learned from each phase brings him closer and closer to the true understanding of life and the inner self, until finally it is reached. Siddhartha reaches spiritual enlightenment by becoming conscious of the truth of life and his inner being. During the first phase Siddhartha seeks wisdom in various religious philosophies.
When Siddhartha is a Brahman, he believes in the existence of many gods, and performs sacrifices to them. However, he starts to question the meaning and importance of the sacrifices. He realizes that they serve no purpose and that his religion is not meaningful to him. When the Samanas come to visit his village, Siddhartha decides to leave his family and community and join the Samanas. As a Samana, Siddhartha tries to destroy his Self. The Samanas believe that if he kills his Self, with its passions and emotions, he will find peace. One way he attempts this is by entering other animals and becoming them temporarily.
Siddhartha learns many methods of self-denial. This self-deprivation gives him some comfort in striving towards a goal, and he manages some escapes from the self. Eventually, he realizes that these escapes are only temporary and that even the old Samanas have not attained Nirvana. Siddhartha leaves the Samanas and travels to see Gotama, or Buddha.
Siddhartha does not spend much time with the Buddha. He realizes that he cannot find peace by learning from a master. He sees Nirvana in Buddha but sees that teachings cannot bring it. Siddhartha discovers that the only way to come to peace is by finding it for himself.
Siddhartha doesn’t want to stay and hear Buddha’s words because he knows they can do so little for him. Instead, he sets on his own to pursue personal enlightenment. He spends time traveling on his own as an independent Samana. He grows weary of this life and decides to abandon the paths of finding peace through religious philosophies In second phase Siddhartha pursues a life of physical pleasures and worldly success. He decides to enter and live in a town called Samsara.
He finds Kamala, a beautiful woman and a prostitute, and works hard to achieve the clothes, money, and shoes Kamala requires. He joins Kamaswami, a merchant from the village, and becomes rich from business. This allows Siddhartha to have fine clothes and shoes. Siddhartha also receives very tasteful meals and practices very decent hygiene.
He then starts to drink and gamble and become lazy. After many years of living in Samsara, Siddhartha becomes.