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Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
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Siddhartha (original 1922; edition 2002)

by Hermann Hesse

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18,76122589 (3.97)400
Member:Smiler69
Title:Siddhartha
Authors:Hermann Hesse
Info:Shambhala (2002), Edition: New Ed, Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Read, Read but unowned, Given Away/Sold
Rating:****
Tags:20th Century, Fiction, German Literature, Literary Fiction, Bildungsroman, Buddhism, Philosophy, Existentialism, Religion, Spirituality, India, Nobel Prize, 1001 Books, Read in 2002, Sold

Work details

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (1922)

  1. 93
    The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (Smiler69)
  2. 20
    Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse (chwiggy)
  3. 10
    The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham (charlie68)
    charlie68: Similar thematically.
  4. 10
    Phantastes by George MacDonald (charlie68)
    charlie68: Similar themes of a young man looking for spiritual meaning.
  5. 10
    Buddha, Volume 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka (JqnOC)
  6. 10
    Beneath the Wheel by Hermann Hesse (chwiggy)
  7. 21
    Ramayana by C. Rajagopalachari (Jona25)
  8. 10
    Remember, be here now by Ram Dass (JFDR)
  9. 11
    Buddha by Karen Armstrong (Nickelini)
  10. 11
    Mahābhārata (R. K. Narayan ed.) by Vyasa (Jona25)
  11. 12
    Creation by Gore Vidal (mcenroeucsb)
  12. 01
    The Black Girl in Search of God (becca58203)
  13. 23
    The Holy Bible Revised Standard Version by Thomas Nelson & Sons (charlie68)
    charlie68: Connects with a lot of the same themes in Ecclesiastes and the Gospels.
  14. 711
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel (JFDR)
  15. 510
    The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Othemts)
    Othemts: These books share a similar quest for self-knowledge with the ultimate realization that what one is looking for was with you all the time. After all, there's no place like Om
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English (197)  Italian (6)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (4)  German (3)  Dutch (3)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (224)
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
Siddhartha was on the school reading list, but I never picked it up until now – and boy, I wish I would have! I am really curious as to how my opinion would have changed with age and experience. This is one of those books everyone should read, no matter what their religion or world view, if only to argue that the message is hogwash… or incredibly profound. ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Truth be told, I'm not a big fan. I prefer my fiction to be less life-lessonlike. Maybe I didn't relate in 1975 because Siddhartha was male. But I'm not exactly drawn to read it again. And states of out-of-body bliss scare me.

"No longer knowing whether time existed, whether this display had lasted a second or a hundred years, whether there was a Siddhartha, or a Gotama, a Self and others, wounded deeply by a divine arrow which gave him pleasure, deeply enchanted and exalted, Govinda stood yet a while bending over Siddhartha's peaceful face which he had just kissed, which had just been the stage of all present and future forms."

This is a book with answers. I prefer questions. ( )
1 vote deckla | Apr 5, 2016 |
One of the most perfect works ever written. Stunningly beautiful prose. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
The story takes place in ancient India around the time of Gautama Buddha (likely between the fifth and seventh centuries BCE[2]). It starts as Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin, leaves his home to join the ascetics with his companion Govinda. The two set out in the search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes through a series of changes and realizations as he attempts to achieve this goal.

Experience is the aggregate of conscious events experienced by a human in life – it connotes participation, learning and perhaps knowledge. Understanding is comprehension and internalization. In Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, experience is shown as the best way to approach understanding of reality and attain enlightenment – Hesse’s crafting of Siddhartha’s journey shows that understanding is attained not through scholastic, mind-dependent methods, nor through immersing oneself in the carnal pleasures of the world and the accompanying pain of samsara; however, it is the totality of these experiences that allow Siddhartha to attain understanding.

Thus, the individual events are meaningless when considered by themselves—Siddhartha’s stay with the samanas and his immersion in the worlds of love and business do not lead to nirvana, yet they cannot be considered distractions, for every action and event that is undertaken and happens to Siddhartha helps him to achieve understanding. The sum of these events is thus experience.

For example, Siddhartha’s passionate and pained love for his son is an experience that teaches him empathy; he is able to understand the childlike people after this experience. Previously, though he was immersed in samsara, he could not comprehend the childlike people’s motivations and lives. And while samsara clung to him and made him ill and sick of it, he was unable to understand the nature of samsara. Experience of samsara at this point did not lead to understanding; perhaps it even hindered him. In contrast to this, Siddhartha’s experience with his son allows him to love, something he has not managed to do before; once again, the love itself does not lead to understanding.

The novel ends with Siddhartha being a ferryman, talking to the river, talking to stones, at long last at peace and capturing the essence of his journey:

Slower, he walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: “But what is this, what you have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers, and what they, who have taught you much, were still unable to teach you?” And he found: “It was the self, the purpose and essence of which I sought to learn. It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome it, could only deceive it, could only flee from it, only hide from it. Truly, no thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being separated and isolated from all others, of me being Siddhartha! And there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about Siddhartha!”


[edit] Characters in Siddhartha
Siddhartha is the novel's protagonist. The novel follows Siddhartha along his spiritual progress, and his goal to reach enlightenment. After attempting many different approaches, he at last finds enlightenment by listening to a river's murmurring which the ferryman Vasudeva leads him to. Even before his enlightenment, he develops a forceful personality bordering on hypnotism, as demonstrated by his convincing the elder Samana to allow him to join Gotama. In Sanskrit, a compound of “siddha” means “accomplished” or “fulfilled,” and a compound of “artha” means “aim” and “wealth.” Therefore, “Siddhartha” is literally “the wealth of a fulfilled aim.” (The story of Siddhartha's growth can be read as the classically European bildungsroman —a "novel of education" or "novel of formation").

Govinda is Siddhartha's best friend and companion. He knows that Siddhartha has great potential and will follow him anywhere. It is not until Govinda pledges himself to Gotama, the historical Buddha, assuming that Siddhartha will pledge himself also, that he is forced to follow a different path than Siddhartha. ("Govinda" is also one of the best names of the Hindu god Krishna. Translated literally, it means "the protector of the cows.") Govinda could be considered the "shadow self" of Siddhartha.

Gotama , alternately known as the Perfect One or the Illustrious One, is the Buddha. He was named for the real Buddha, whose name was also Gotama (or alternately Gautama). He has attained enlightenment, as his peaceful demeanor and gentle, half-mocking smile show. Even after hearing his teachings only once, Siddhartha admires him more deeply than anyone else. But Siddhartha does not believe that it is possible to attain enlightenment through teachers, doctrines, or disciplines, so he leaves Gotama and once again chooses a new path. Govinda, however, becomes one of Gotama's followers, a monk.

Kamala is the beautiful courtesan from whom Siddhartha attempts to learn the pleasures of life and love. He comes to her filthy and poor, and she helps him to become a man of wealth, clothing, and earthly pleasures. After realizing that he has become an ordinary man, just like the others in the town, he leaves Kamala to again search for salvation. She bears his son. While on a pilgrimage to Gotama's deathbed, she is bitten by a snake and dies in Siddhartha's arms. "Kamala" is a common Indian name meaning "lotus". Moreover, Kāmadeva is the Hindu god of love; one of his names is Kāma, meaning "desire."

Kamaswami is a rich, conventional merchant. When Siddhartha offers himself to earthly desires, Kamala tells him to make money and become rich by becoming an associate of Kamaswami. Under the apprenticeship of Kamaswami, Siddhartha soon becomes a very rich man. Kamaswami's name is derived from "kama" (see "Kamala" above) and "swami," meaning "master"; he is thereby a "master of desire."

Vasudeva is a ferryman who has attained enlightenment by listening to the river. Like Gotama Buddha, he is a deeply peaceful and happy man. Siddhartha first encounters him when he needs to cross the river, but has no money to pay for transport. Vasudeva transports him for free, saying that “everything comes back.” After Siddhartha leaves the town, leaving Kamala and Kamaswami, he again meets Vasudeva, attains enlightenment the same way, and becomes a ferryman too. Vasudeva goes into the woods and dies in the penultimate chapter of the novel. In Hinduism, Vasudeva was the father of Krishna. The root "vas" means either "to dwell" or "to shine" and so Vasudeva's name may mean that he is the one who dwells/shines in all things.

Siddhartha's son, also named Siddhartha, is the son of Siddhartha and Kamala. Siddhartha doesn't know of the son until he meets Kamala on her Buddhist pilgrimage. After Kamala dies, young Siddhartha refuses to obey his father and eventually steals the ferryman's money and runs back to the town.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
The story of Siddhartha who leaves home to find himself and experience life.
Supposedly full of deeper life messages.
While I can appreciate the writer's ability, I am not sure that I really liked Siddartha or the book. ( )
  TheWasp | Feb 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
[It] attempts to postulate an answer to the riddle of man's confused and contradictory existence in this universe.
 

» Add other authors (41 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hesse, Hermannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appelbaum, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bernofsky, SusanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Binkhuysen, A.M.H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heberlein, AnnPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmberg, NilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kohn, Sherab ChödzinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, HeribertContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mila, MassimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neugroschel, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosner, HildaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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(German)

Lieber, verehrter Romain Rolland!

Seit dem Herbst des Jahres 1914, da die seit kurzem angebrochene Atemnot der Geistigkeit auch mir plötzlich spürbar wurde, und wir einander von fremden Ufern her die Hand gaben, im Glauben an dieselben übernationalen Notwendigkeiten, seither habe ich den Wunsch gehabt, Ihnen einmal ein Zeichen meiner Liebe und zugleich eine Probe meines Tuns und einen Blick in meine Gedankenwelt zu geben. Nehmen Sie die Widmung des ersten Teiles meiner noch unvollendeten indischen Dichtung freundlichst entgegen von Ihrem

Hermann Hesse
First words
In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew up, the handsome son of the Brahman, the young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, son of a Brahman.
(Spanish)
En la penumbra y bajo el Sol, al margen del río y cerca a las barcas; a la sombra del bosque de Sauces, creció Siddhartha, el bello hijo del brahmán, el joven halcón, compañero de Govinda, amigo suyo y también hijo de un brahmán.
(German)

Im Schatten des Hauses, in der Sonne des Flußufers bei den Booten, im Schatten des Salwaldes, im Schatten des Feigenbaumes wuchs Sidartha auf, der schöne Sohn des Brahmanen, der junge Falke, zusammen mit Govinda, seinem Freunde, dem Brahmanensohn.
Dal verbo suchen (cercare) i Tedeschi fanno il participio presente, suchend, e lo usano sostantivato, der Suchende (colui che cerca), per designare quegli uomini che non s'accontentano della superficie delle cose, ma d'ogni aspetto della vita vogliono ragionando andare in fondo, e rendersi conto di sé stessi, del mondo, dei rapporti che tra loro e il mondo intercorrono. Questo cercare che è già di per sé un trovare, come disse uno dei più illustri fra questi «cercatori», e precisamente Sant'aAgostino; quel cercare che è in sostanza vivere nello spirito.
NOTA INTRODUTTIVA
Nell'ombra della casa, sulle rive soleggiate del fiume presso le barche, nell'ombra del bosco di Sal, all'ombra del fico crebbe Siddharta, il bel figlio del Brahmino, il giovane falco, insieme all'amico suo, Govinda, anch'egli figlio di Brahmino.
Quotations
[attributions added]
Kamaswami: "... And what is it now what you've got to give? What is it that you've learned, what you're able to do?"
Siddhartha: "I can think. I can wait. I can fast."
Kamaswami: "That's everything?"
Siddhartha: "I believe, that's everything!"
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Siddhartha is het verhaal van een brahmanenzoon die zijn leven wijdt aan het zoeken naar het ware zelf. Als asceet in de bergen mediteert en vast hij, maar vindt de waarheid niet. Zwervend als bedelmonnik hoort hij spreken over de Boeddha, maar ook de grote Meester kan hem de waarheid niet geven. Dan stort hij zich in het wereldse leven, wordt minnaar van de courtisane Kamala, verwerft rijkdom en bezit, totdat hij voelt hierin ten onder te zullen gaan; en opnieuw wordt hij bedelaar.

Geleid door het heilige Om komt Siddhartha ten slotte aan de grote rivier, symbool van harmonie en vergankelijkheid. In de hut van de oude veerman leert hij de wereld der dingen lief te hebben en te begrijpen.

'Van een steen kan ik houden, en ook van een boom of een stuk schors. Het zijn tastbare zaken, en van wat tastbaar is kan men houden. Maar van woorden kan ik niet houden. Daarom zie ik niets in een leer.'

Zo is Siddhartha van asceet en bedelmonnik, levensgenieter en rijkaard teruggekeerd tot de eenvoud van een kind: hij heeft de harmonie, het eeuwige Om gevonden.

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) ontving in 1946 de Nobelprijs voor Literatuur. Tot zijn beroemdste romans horen Demian, De steppewolf, Narziss en Goldmund en Het Kralenspel.   

 This book is in public domain in the USA and the e-book is available free online.  

GUTENBERG.org is the origin for most of the human and well-edited FREE kindle editions online in various languages. Scam sites will ask for money for the hard work and titles which Gutenberg volunteers provide free. ARCHIVE.org provides a huge selection of FREE e-pub & PDF public domain titles in various languages also. (easily readable with the Free CALIBRE-ebook.com app]. Project Gutenberg is a great organization. They will never ask you for money before allowing you to download their books (though voluntary donations are welcome).   

Only SCAM SITES & CON ARTISTS will ask for money for the hard work and e-book titles which the Gutenberg volunteers provide free. Their latest bs? "You're paying for the ability to wi-fi your download." Really? So these con artists who steal Gutenberg's hard work then re-post what should be FREE e-books for sale .... rationalize it because they provide wi-fi downloads? Now that is a load of nonsense. Do you think these scammers are donating all the money back to the non-profit Gutenberg? I don't think so. Please don't patronize e-thieves or con artists. And don't let them gull you. How hard is it to plug your e-reader into your computer and do a manual download? Pretty damn easy. If you don't know how to do this, ask one of your grandkids to show you how.   

There are lots of free pre-1923 public domain kindle books on Amazon.com. [Type in 'free' and 'public domain' in the search bar.] Some current authors make their copyrighted e-books available free on Amazon and other sites also. [I would assume as a form of advertising and/or as a loss leader for a book series. Make sure to review their books as a thank you.]   

ManyBooks.net offers Gutenberg's books in a different formatting. If the book you downloaded from them doesn't work for you, maybe you can get a different copy of the same book there.   

FeedBooks.com/publicdomain offers Gutenberg's books in a different formatting. It also offers ebooks for sale. If the book you downloaded from Gutenberg doesn't work for you, maybe you can get a different copy of the same book there.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553208845, Mass Market Paperback)

In the novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life -- the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:09 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In the novel, Siddhartha, a young man, leaves his family for a contemplative life, then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son, but bored and sickened by lust and greed, moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life-- the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace, and, finally, wisdom.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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