This Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, a young

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I got a 192/200 on my essay in my 9th grade honors english class.10/4/06Wholly Holy LifeIn Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, a young Brahmin in the wealthier part of India, approximately three thousand years ago, decides to set a goal onto his life. He decides to journey along the path of enlightenment and reach Nirvana, a state of total bliss.

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His dear friend, Govinda, accompanies him on this journey. Siddhartha sets out to seek the path to enlightenment, but it is long and difficult. Along the way, he grows spiritually and intellectually from a young seeking Brahmin, to an old, wise, and content ferryman with the knowledge of enlightenment and possessing many insights on life.When he first leaves his family, he takes to the path of the Samanas and goes to the forest to live with other Samanas and to learn their knowledge of the path to Nirvana.

When he lives with them and abides by their teachings, “Siddhartha had one single goal – to become empty, to become empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow – to let the Self die. No longer to be Self, to experience the peace of an emptied heart, to experience pure thought – that was his goal”(14). When Siddhartha thought this, he believed that the only way to enlightenment was the way of the Samanas who starved, isolated themselves, and tolerated pain to kill their Self and senses so they could reach their inner Being. They believed that with no obstructions they could reach the inner subconscious Being and enlightenment. Along with Govinda, who had also chosen to follow the path of the Samanas, Siddhartha travels down this path for the next few years, and through repetition, learns the three essential skills; thinking, waiting, and fasting, and through them he escaped his Self to attempt to reveal his inner Being or god.After three years, Siddhartha realizes that he is not progressing toward his goal. He had learned all the Samanas could teach, and “he lost himself a thousand times and for days on end he dwelt in non-being.

But although the paths took him away from Self, in the end they always led back to it” (15-16). Siddhartha discovers this was not the path he sought; escaping from one’s Self did not bring one to salvation. His wisdom grew when he accepted there was another path and this short escape from Self is experienced by others in a quite different way such as people who drink numbing their senses like he did with the Samanas. He sees that in truth, there is no learning and that his questioning and thirst for knowledge could not be satisfied by teaching. Seeking another path, Siddhartha hears of a Buddha named Gotama, and with Govinda, who also chooses to leave, ventures to see him.After a short journey, Siddhartha and Govinda arrive at the resting place of the Buddha and meet many others who had also come to hear him preach.

After one of the Buddha’s speeches, Govinda chooses to diverge from Siddhartha’s path and follow the path of the Buddha with many other followers and is shocked when Siddhartha refuses to. Before leaving, Siddhartha meets and talks with the Buddha face-to-face seeking console. Siddhartha says to the Buddha, “You Gotama have learned nothing through teachings, and so I think, O Illustrious one, that nobody finds salvation through teachings” (33-34). When he discuses this with the Buddha, he discovers that enlightenment cannot be taught and that he must discover it for himself. He must strive to gain his own knowledge and find his own path through experience. As he thinks this over while walking away from the Buddha’s garden, leaving Govinda behind, sudden realization overcomes him.

He sees he must find his own path to enlightenment through experience of the world. As he decides to set out on this path he says to himself, “I Siddhartha will learn from myself, be my own pupil; learn from myself the secret of Siddhartha” (39). He means that he will teach himself the new path and that since he has been escaping from his Self and the world for so many years, he should explore himself, test his senses and explore things that he has ignored. The first thing he chooses to explore is love. He finds the opportunity to with a rich courtesan, Kamala, who gives him guidelines, to become a suitable man for any woman.Soon, Siddhartha is rich and has a job as a merchant so he can fulfill the requirements of the courtesan.

As a merchant, he learns the many pleasures of wealth. “Siddhartha had learned how to transact business affairs, to exercise power over people, to amuse himself with women, he had learned to wear fine clothes, to command servants, to bathe in sweet smelling waters” (77). He had learned many new ways of pleasure. He had explored himself through stimulating his senses. He had become part of a society that seemed.

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