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Siddhartha: Your Soul is the Whole World (Quignog Collectibles) PDF, ePub eBook

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Siddhartha: Your Soul is the Whole World (Quignog Collectibles)

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Siddhartha: Your Soul is the Whole World (Quignog Collectibles) PDF, ePub eBook "It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone. " Based in the time of Gautama Buddha in India, this novel details a man’s journey to spiritual and mental enlightenment. Siddhartha, joined by his friend Govinda, leaves behind his home and family to embark upon his quest for spiritual illuminati "It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone. " Based in the time of Gautama Buddha in India, this novel details a man’s journey to spiritual and mental enlightenment. Siddhartha, joined by his friend Govinda, leaves behind his home and family to embark upon his quest for spiritual illumination as an ascetic wandering beggar of the Shramanas. Steeped in the tenets of both psychoanalysis and Eastern mysticism, Siddhartha presents a strikingly original view of man and culture, and the arduous process of self-discovery that leads to reconciliation, harmony, and peace. Penned in a poetic yet powerful way by the Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse in 1922, the book was originally written in German and then published in U.S. in 1951. It is considered as one of his most influential books on spirituality and wisdom. This book contains special quotes in the end, essay on Life of Buddha and its Lessons by H S Olcott and a detailed biography of Hermann Hesse.

30 review for Siddhartha: Your Soul is the Whole World (Quignog Collectibles)

  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. 4 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, pri 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. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    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 othe 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    717. 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 1960s. سیذارتا - هرمان هسه (اساطیر، فردوس) ادبیات آلمانی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 2007 میلادی عنوان: سیذارتا؛ هرمان هسه؛ مترجم: پرویز داریوش؛ تهران، 717. 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 1960s. سیذارتا - هرمان هسه (اساطیر، فردوس) ادبیات آلمانی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 2007 میلادی عنوان: سیذارتا؛ هرمان هسه؛ مترجم: پرویز داریوش؛ تهران، پرنیان، 1340، در 160 ص؛ چاپ دوم تهران، آبان، 1355، در 160 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، فرزان 1362؛ تهران، اساطیر، 1367، 1373؛ چاپ ششم 1375، در 134 ص؛ چاپ هفتم 1381؛ چاپ یازدهم 1394؛ مترجم: امیرفریدون گرکانی؛ تهران، فردوس، 1373؛ در 155 ص، چاپ سوم 1376؛ چهارم 1381؛ ششم 1385؛ چاپ هفتم 1387؛ شابک: 9645509114؛ چاپ هشتم 1388؛ شابک: 9789643204143؛ تهران، جامی، 1392، در 152 ص؛ شابک: 9786001760884؛ مترجم: محمد بقایی؛ تهران، نشر آرمین، 1374، در 225 ص؛ مترجم: پرویز چشمه خاور؛ تهران، نشر گلپونه، 1376، در 167 ص؛ شابک: 9646663044؛ مترجم: سروش حبیبی؛ تهران، ققنوس، 1385، در 174 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1386؛ چاپ سوم 1387؛ شابک: 9789643116286؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، ماهی، 1394؛ در 144 ص؛ شابک: 9789642092338؛ سدهرتها، داستان برهمن زاده ی جوانی ست، 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 صحبت میکند. جهان را جز رنج نمیبیند. دوستش در همان مجلس، سوگند وفاداری به بودا، یاد میکند. ولی سدهرتها با مواعظ و تعالیم گوتامای بودا، هم عقیده نیست. روز دیگر، بودا را از افکار خود مطلع میکند. به بودا میگوید: رستگاری چیزی نیست که بتوان با تعالیم، آن را به دست آورد. از آن به بعد، طالب خود میشود. در صدد نفی نفس 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 تصور میکند. 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. ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 4 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 4 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 5 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

  14. 4 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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Uber popular and 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 discar Uber popular and 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 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. 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shayantani Das

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When I picked up Siddhartha, I was expecting something totally different. Buddha’s life being not on the list of things I am completely unaware of (the list including sports, business, computer etc), I expected to hear stories which my grandmother told me since I was a toddler. Since Siddhartha is the former name of Gautama Buddha, I thought this was his biography. Hence, I was greatly surprised and confused, especially in parts about Kamala. I know, it makes sense that my grandmother wouldn’t m When I picked up Siddhartha, I was expecting something totally different. Buddha’s life being not on the list of things I am completely unaware of (the list including sports, business, computer etc), I expected to hear stories which my grandmother told me since I was a toddler. Since Siddhartha is the former name of Gautama Buddha, I thought this was his biography. Hence, I was greatly surprised and confused, especially in parts about Kamala. I know, it makes sense that my grandmother wouldn’t mention parts about Buddha pursuing his carnal needs to a 6 year old, still I was greatly puzzled. I must confess, that I wasn’t able to grasp that this novel deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian man named Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha, till the very end of this novel. The novel traces Siddhartha’s journey for enlightenment. The young Brahmin, full of promise, loved by all, leaves everything he has to seek more. He is greatly dissatisfied and travels to live with Samanas, practicing a life of asceticism for several years. He meets the Enlightened One, Gautama Buddha (the real deal!), and goes further to experience life in the city. He experiences things he has deprived himself of in his years as a Samana, learns the art of love from the great courtesan Kamala, and makes money as a merchant. The young lad, who said that the only talents he had, was that of fasting, waiting and thinking, looses all these to indulge in the greatest pleasures of life. Amidst it all Siddhartha’s thirst for knowledge is far from quenched. He looses it all to be born again beside the river, learning from it, listening to it. He grows to realize the value of all those gifts of nature, which he had earlier dismissed as maya (an illusion), experiences peace which he has never felt before and finally achieves what he wanted all along, enlightenment. The prose is absolutely amazing! This book also contains some very memorable and meaningful quotes like: “When someone is seeking,” said Siddhartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.” Lots to learn from this novel. Although, I imagine that the experience would be different for different people. It may be life changing for some and just silly for others. Still, anyone who has ever been dissatisfied with life and not content with all the knowledge lectures and teachers were ever able to convey will empathize with Siddhartha’s quest. Rating:4 stars

  18. 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 Mrs. Kelley, 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 fe 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 Mrs. Kelley, 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 of all time, Anita Dellaria, 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.”

  19. 4 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.

  20. 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.]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gorfo

    This is the kind of book that people say they like because they're too afraid to admit they don't understand its spiritual mumbo jumbo. First off I thought this book was going to be about the Buddha not some random sinful man who coincidentally shares the same name! Siddhartha is a patronizing, stuck-up, heartless young brahmin who believes that he's pretty much superior to everyone else around him, despite that fact that his only skills are the ability to "think, pray, and fast" which let's face This is the kind of book that people say they like because they're too afraid to admit they don't understand its spiritual mumbo jumbo. First off I thought this book was going to be about the Buddha not some random sinful man who coincidentally shares the same name! Siddhartha is a patronizing, stuck-up, heartless young brahmin who believes that he's pretty much superior to everyone else around him, despite that fact that his only skills are the ability to "think, pray, and fast" which let's face it is pretty useless in the real world, unless you have other skills to back it up! At one point Siddhartha says and I quote "He saw the people in a childish or animal-like way, which he both loved and despised." Seriously? Despite being so high and mighty himself, Siddhartha falls into the traps of "mere" human existence, going regularly to a famed courtesan, gambling, drinking and growing complacent. Then as if the story isn't NAUSEATING enough he suddenly gets this idea in his head that he's "full of death" at the age of forty! Others would simply call this a mid-life crisis but Siddhartha goes all crazy and suicidal. I suppose there was a little bit of good in this book. The actual writing was beautiful and the plot wasn't lacking. Hmmm what else can I highlight as good? It wasn't too long. That's it for good. Of course people mess up in life, nobody's perfect, but I've never seen somebody throw away their chances as often as this ungrateful Siddhartha! Everything just drops unto his shiny golden plate and yet he refuses to take it, he refuses to work for anything, he refuses to pray, he even refuses to love! He spends half the book begging for his food and the other half not giving back. And then suddenly Siddhartha gets up and moves again! He is constantly running from his different selves. And he becomes this happy little ferryman and finds peace in nature and blah blah blah. And this continues for an annoying length of time. He meets himself at a younger age and finally realizes what a complete neanderthal he was and is content to waste away next to his precious river, which by the way speaks to him. Perhaps a sign of his deteriorating mind? I think the problem that is Siddharta originated at birth and slowly grew out of control. In one section of the book Siddhartha says this about himself: "All whom I meet on the way are like Govinda (his friend). All are grateful, although they themselves deserve thanks, All are subservient, all wish to be my friend, to obey and think little. People are children." He has always been the best, the brightest, the richest, and the most handsome. Thus his ego has had time to fester and grow until by the time he's a young man it's completely out of proportion! I don't know what this story was supposed to convey but I'm guessing the moral was "love". All I got was a serious sense of depression and the thought that there's pretty much no reason to live, hope, or dream. No thanks Herman Hesse, but if everyone lived the way Siddhartha did the world sure would be a boring place. Nobody would make any effort to do anything or make anything. It would be hopeless.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matthieu

    Eh.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    * There may be a little spoiler * The time: an old one. The place: India. There's this guy named Siddhartha, who was everyone's love and joy. A wise and decent young man who inspired everyone around him, but himself. He was not content with his life and everything around it, spiritually speaking. He felt it was not enough. And why wasn't it enough? I don't know, but it is in human nature to wonder about the essence of things, like the existence of God, of any god. He was in a better position, tho * There may be a little spoiler * The time: an old one. The place: India. There's this guy named Siddhartha, who was everyone's love and joy. A wise and decent young man who inspired everyone around him, but himself. He was not content with his life and everything around it, spiritually speaking. He felt it was not enough. And why wasn't it enough? I don't know, but it is in human nature to wonder about the essence of things, like the existence of God, of any god. He was in a better position, though. He was certain that a superior entity existed, he just needed to know and feel more. Those who are not sure, who are floating in the middle, those people experience the worst kind of uncertainty, a painful one. Doubt mercilessly corrodes the body until it reaches the soul. After a while, Siddhartha thought that everything he had was not enough to feel satisfied, blissful. He thought 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 did not 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... stuff. Nevertheless, after some years, this empty lifestyle of earthly pleasures tires him, and makes him go back to the river, which gave him the inspiration he was looking for. After some time, after certain situations, he was able to listen to the river's voice with the ferryman, now 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 that had his ups and downs like every human being. After that time of pleasures and materialism, he went back to the spiritual life he was longing for. However, that time he spent with the woman, cannot 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 walk. Sometimes, we all need to hit rock bottom just to go back to the right track again. And if staring to an apparently talking river helps you and your spiritual growth, so be it. Despite any ironic comment, I loved this book. It kicks that Alchemist's butt; several times. It really is an inspirational book, in my opinion; it makes you wonder and think about things you thought you knew. 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 liked Hesse writing, if there is something of his style in those translations. (I have to learn French, German and Italian, and thus, I shall find peace.) Metaphors, reflections, descriptions, people, feelings; they are all beautifully written. He tends to repeat terms in one passage and that gives it a graceful sound when you read it (and sometimes it is 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 don't know if it is going to change my perspective on life (I think I am still on my "discontent phase" and haven't found any rivers yet) but it was a delight to read. Jun 23, 2013 *** I should reread this marvelous book, soon. Just to see if I found my talking river. Ago 5, 2014 * Also on my blog.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samra Yusuf

    How happy we are with the life we are so busy in living? And how busy we are in thinking all other worldly doings than life itself…. And here Hermann’s Sidhartha points a score over us. When we look back into years that have passed, the moments that are gone, the memories fading away swiftly, and new ones forming in their place with equal swift, what all these counts are wanting is the incidence of inner-peace. It might be there, ensnared, crumpled, and terse but we never partook the uttermost sens How happy we are with the life we are so busy in living? And how busy we are in thinking all other worldly doings than life itself…. And here Hermann’s Sidhartha points a score over us. When we look back into years that have passed, the moments that are gone, the memories fading away swiftly, and new ones forming in their place with equal swift, what all these counts are wanting is the incidence of inner-peace. It might be there, ensnared, crumpled, and terse but we never partook the uttermost sense of being at peace...did we? The novella drags along three main themes, of enlightenment, inner-peace and Love.. Sidhartha is never at peace with heart, continually in search of enlightenment and always in midst of loved-or-not-loved. His transformative journeys from a Hindu to ascetic to Samana to Buddhist to ferry man and a man-enlightened Is encapsulated with such brilliance and precision that nothing is left untouched neither is said unnecessary. Hermann proves to be annoying at certain moments no doubt, the immaturities of Sidhartha’s resolves, the allegedly high claims of him to be superior over others, the insatiable quest of something apparently of no existence and unnecessary philosophy-loaded dialogues of every other person are just tainting the sheer beauty of rhetoric. coming toward the essential philosophy preached in whole story, Siddhartha proposes that one must find “unity” in all of the world: “And all of the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world.” (135) This approach completely dismisses the reality that life is of constant conflict and one’s goal should be to struggle against injustice – rather than ignoring it. This philosophy inherently teaches passivity, which is dangerous and destructive. Sure Siddhartha may have achieved peace next to the river, but the merchant continued to rob, the elites continued to exploit, and the poor continued to go hungry. In this light, Siddhartha’s world outlook is both naïve and hardly instrumentive to bringing about a better world. The world we can make a better place to live in, better than some imaginary eternal happy fields, and better than the scriptures proposes it to be...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pawan Mishra

    I read this book yet again today, and discovered another layer of truth. A masterpiece that's written in such a simple language, the book deals in great depth with some of the most complex philosophical, spiritual, and psychological themes, without having to get into intricate framework that these areas typically demand in order to achieve something meaningful. This is the story of Siddhartha. The story of a full circle of life. The story of everyone; each one of us. The story of a stream of cons I read this book yet again today, and discovered another layer of truth. A masterpiece that's written in such a simple language, the book deals in great depth with some of the most complex philosophical, spiritual, and psychological themes, without having to get into intricate framework that these areas typically demand in order to achieve something meaningful. This is the story of Siddhartha. The story of a full circle of life. The story of everyone; each one of us. The story of a stream of constant realization that creeps in each one of us as we age; of the things in the past, and the emotions attached, and the balance in the larger ecosystem; all that we did not understand until we switched places to be the one on the other side. This is a story of the complexity in the simplicity of life, and a story of the simplicity in the complexity of life. A story of growing younger in terms of knowing nothing, and a story of growing older in terms of knowing more. A story of how important friendship and companionship are; and a story of how worthless the attachments in the large scheme of overall life are. The story of a meeting place of Atman & Parmatman, and the story of the place of their separation. The story of quest for knowledge, and the story of living in ignorance. Pure, melodic, poetic, this book should be one of the first ones on the list for every serious reader.

  28. 5 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 ❤️

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ruchita

    Siddartha is an allegory; a story wrapped around the ultimate premise 'Happiness for Dummies'. Okay, maybe not so simplistic, but it deals with the attainment and nature of happiness nonetheless. Premise Like its eponymous protagonist, the novel breaks down in several milestones or turning points that signal the development of the story and the growth of the character, marking the changes that have been wrought at each stage by happenstance or when the central character experiences, what they gene Siddartha is an allegory; a story wrapped around the ultimate premise 'Happiness for Dummies'. Okay, maybe not so simplistic, but it deals with the attainment and nature of happiness nonetheless. Premise Like its eponymous protagonist, the novel breaks down in several milestones or turning points that signal the development of the story and the growth of the character, marking the changes that have been wrought at each stage by happenstance or when the central character experiences, what they generally call, 'awakening.' Now, I have generally never been fond of that word; I look upon it with slightly cynical eyes that have been tainted long ago with the endless and ubiquitous New Age slogans and advertising jingles and other such byproducts of a spiritually-hungry-but-commercially-eager-to-cash-on-in-that-hunger culture that is so pervasive. For that reason, any word (especially buzzwords like awakening, purpose, destiny, soul - to name just a few, which must surely count as eternal favourites of those who specialise in Spiritual Quests) - any word bearing resemblance or connection to this New Age school of thought immediately props up red flags in my mind and, in response to that, my mind reciprocates my sentiments with a certain two-syllable word, namely, 'bullshit'. However, being as wary of this as I am, I am compelled to acknowledge that Siddhartha does not bear resemblance to those works proffering liberation and claiming to offer answers to your spiritual questions, at least, not in the typical sense. Hesse is not trying to sell you happiness in a How-To-Guide book form wrapped with a ribbon on top. Hesse isn't trying to sell you anything. What he is doing, though, is telling a story that puts this search, this spiritual hunger in an allegory form and examines the ways it comes about and the way it is resolved. A historical perspective We must put Siddhartha in its historical context to achieve a full perspective towards understanding this work. Herman Hesse was a German writer who, aside from being a pretty depressive kid and showing signs of serious depression even in childhood, was also the winner of Nobel Prize in literature. Bam. His parents had served as Christian missionaries in India. His exposure to the work of Arthur Schopenhauer, the German philosopher, renewed his interest in Indian culture. Hesse's work is informed with tenets of Buddhist and Hindu philosophy and, in the case of Siddartha, forms the setting of the story itself. Siddhartha is important because, published in 1922, way before the Beat movement and the hippiedom of the 60s, it was the first major work dealing in Eastern philosophy and thought written in the West. What many of the world now knows or may appreciate as Buddhist/Zen philosophy as a school of thought, Siddhartha put forward first. Hesse influenced the work of Jack Kerouac, and many others of the Beat Generation ahead of its time. It witnessed a resurgence in the counter-culture movements of the sixties. Underlying themes and meaning Hesse examines the search for spiritual fulfillment by having his characters embody aspects of personality and living that are unified, at various stages, by the protagonist Siddhartha himself. Govinda, like Siddhartha, is a seeker and then a Samana, or an ascetic who has renounced all wordly possesions. Kamala, the woman who instructs Siddhartha in the art of physical love and later, the mother of his child, embodies hedonism and sensuality. Kamaswami, the merchant, signifies the chief example of the 'child people', the materialist. The ferryman, Vasudeva, exemplifies quiet understanding and wisdom, just like the Gautama Buddha, the Sublime One. At various stages of his life, Siddhartha experiences the different aspects of these different personalities himself; he changes and grows as a person by becoming and unbecoming these traits. He is first and foremost, a seeker, who leaves his home to become a Samana, an ascetic giving up the ways of 'the child people'. He is then the lover, basking in the pleasures of love and sex. Then he is the trader, the materialist, consumed by worldly woes. He is the gambler, giver and taker of riches, losing sight of what he was before. Then he is the suicidal depressive who has reached a breaking point, a crises in life, realised that the journey he traced out until this point left him empty, hollow, broken. Then he is the awakened, the conscious, the curious. He is the child, born-again, who laughs to himself realising that he has been given a blank slate to begin anew. Siddhartha's journey is one of trial and error. He sets of with the one goal of escaping the 'ego', the vanquishing of the Self to achieve oneness with the universe, the Brahman. Yes, that sounds a bunch of wish-washy terms strung together to sound fancy. Admittedly, they wouldn't look that great on a resume, or seem out of place in daily conversation. 'What do you want to do with your life?' 'Oh, you know, just vanquish the Ego and stuff...and become one with the Universe. Can you pass the ice-cream, please?' Yup. However, let's give the Brahmin kid a break. To that end, he traces out a path that wavers between two extremes - two opposite paths that might lead to one destination that is his goal. The first path, of course, is the one of renouncing of the worldly wealth, the path of the Samanas, the path of hermits, one of patience and fasting and suffering and simple living to overcome material wants and excesses. The second path, which he embarks upon after meeting Kamala, is directly opposite to his former one: instead of giving up pleasures and possessions, it encourages him to pursue them with active desire. When it turns out that this was not working either, Siddhartha runs away from it too and reaches that dreaded dead-end, suicide. This breakdown is the culmination of another lesson, heralding a new beginning, a clean start. Siddhartha's mistakes are numerous and his teachers many; from his Samanas, the Buddha, Kamala, Kamaswami, the ferryman, and ultimately the river. His loves, much like his paths and means to the journey of fullfilment, know many faces and forms. At one point in the novel, Siddhartha asserts to Kamala: 'Maybe people like us cannot love,' and yet in time he himself comes to experience the many aspects of love. He knows platonic love, in relation to his best friend Govinda, brotherly love suffused with profound respect to Vasudeva, romantic love to Kamala, and familial, fatherly but unrequited love to his son. Conclusion Compared to other books tackling existential angst such as the likes of The Stranger by Albert Camus, or Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Siddhartha is different in that it is uplifting and somberly optimistic in tone. Hesse's prose is languid and well-written, with a tendency to become simple at times, but not simplistic. The central message of the novel is exemplified in the final meeting of Siddhartha and Govinda, fraught with the difficulty of Govinda seeking to glean understanding from the learning of Siddhartha, and Siddhartha asserting its impossibility: Wisdom cannot be taught. Knowledge can be passed on, but wisdom cannot. That Siddhartha spent his entire life trying to learn it himself, and made many mistakes along the way, but fumbling and falling, made it through, underlies this claim. Different people will interpret novel differently. Some might think it is trite, some might think it changed their life. It didn't change mine. But it gave me some nice things to think about.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Sometimes you happen to find the right book at the right moment in your life and it just seems to fall into a place in your mind and fill a space so perfectly like a puzzle piece. Siddhartha is a man with three talents: he can think; he can wait; he can fast. When asked what is the good of fasting, he replies: It is very good, sir. If a person has nothing to eat, then fasting is the wisest thing he can do. If, for instance, Siddhartha had not learned how to fast, he would have to accept any servic Sometimes you happen to find the right book at the right moment in your life and it just seems to fall into a place in your mind and fill a space so perfectly like a puzzle piece. Siddhartha is a man with three talents: he can think; he can wait; he can fast. When asked what is the good of fasting, he replies: It is very good, sir. If a person has nothing to eat, then fasting is the wisest thing he can do. If, for instance, Siddhartha had not learned how to fast, he would have to accept any service today, whether with you or someone else, for hunger would force him to do so. But now Siddhartha can calmly wait, he knows no impatience, he knows no plight. He can stave off hunger for a long time and he can laugh at it. That, sir, is what fasting is good for. Hesse has gotten right to the bottom of it. Fear is the destroyer of happiness. Paths taken out of desperation do not lead one to fulfillment. It is best to be patient and choose wisely. Siddhartha is a story of discovery, of searching for meaning and finding one's way in life. It is filled with Buddhist mysticism, and despite this (I consider myself a strict scientific rationalist), I found this thoroughly insightful and thought provoking. It is not Siddhartha's mystical conclusions that are important, it is the process of self-discovery, the search for wisdom, the questions asked, the quest for what *truly* satisfies the spirit. Hermann Hesse is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. I loved Steppenwolf, and the title characters in these two books could not be more different! Hesse writes with simplicity, yet manages to impart such depth of thought. This characters have a real internal life without being overly introspected or endlessly analytical.

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