Siddhartha

Siddhartha

An Indian Tale

Book - 2003
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Herman Hesse's Siddhartha is perhaps the most important and compelling moral allegory the 20th century ever produced. Integrating Eastern and Western spiritual traditions with psychoanalysis and philosophy, this strangely simple tale, written with a deep and moving empathy for humanity, has touched the lives of millions since its original publication in 1922. Set in India, Siddhartha is the story of a young Brahmin's search for ultimate reality after meeting with the Buddha. His quest takes him from a life of decadence to asceticism, from the illusory joys of sensual love with a beautiful courtesan, and of wealth and fame, to the painful struggles with his son and the ultimate wisdom of renunciation.
Publisher: New York, NY : Penguin Books, 2003.
ISBN: 9780141181233
9780142437186
0142437182
9780811202923
0811202925
9780553208849
0553208845
Call Number: HESSE
Characteristics: xxxv, 132 p. ; 22 cm.
Subjects: Buddhism -- Fiction.
Buddhist philosophy -- Fiction.
India -- Fiction.
Classics.
Additional Contributors: Neugroschel, Joachim

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a
alexy93
May 07, 2019

I found a bit of Spinoza in Siddharta's message. Spinoza: "All things in nature proceed from certain necessity and with the utmost perfection". Therefore, no things happen by chance in Spinoza's world. In the universe anything that happens comes from the essential nature of objects, or of God and nature. Perfection therefore abounds according to Spinoza. If circumstances are seen as unfortunate it is only because of our inadequate conception of reality. Spinoza's point is, there is nothing inherent in any thing, to make it either good or bad".

Lord_Vad3r May 05, 2019

Sometimes I think it would be kind of nice to live the life of a monk. You get to hang out all day in an orange robe and contemplate stuff. That samana business of living in the forest and fasting though, that’s not for me though. I prefer showers, food, and a general lack of mosquitoes.

Siddhartha seems to contain several messages about life. The cyclical nature of the world, the forward march of time, and the interconnectedness of everything. The young see the hypocisy in the teachings of their elders: “And among the wise and wisest whom he knew and whose instruction he partook of, none of them had fully reached it, the celestial world, none of them had slaked it, the eternal thirst.” The young push away those teachings and opt to learn from experience instead, only to become old themselves.

People who achieve and accumulate always want more. And because their life is based on possessions, they often find their life lacking: “He had, it seemed to him, been leading a worthless life, worthless and senseless; no living thing, no precious thing, nothing worth keeping had remained in his hands. He stood alone and empty like a castaway on a shore.”

Every person must walk their own path and discover themselves and see their place in the larger world: “But of the secrets of the river, he saw only one today: it seized his soul. He saw the water running and running, constantly running, and yet it was always there, was always and forever the same, and yet new every instant.”

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it. In a modernized version perhaps everybody in the village would join Buddha, only to discover that they couldn’t eat because there was nobody left to beg food from. Also, Kamala would have hit Siddartha up for back child support (and deservedly so). I am just kidding. I read this because I saw George Lopez talk about how the book had changed his life on the Great American Read. Perhaps if I had read at a different stage in my life it would have had a greater impact on me.

I’m not saying it’s bad, just that it didn’t produce any truly novel thoughts or emotions.

w
whatcomhillwalker
Feb 15, 2019

Not all Siddhartha books are the same. The right translation made a huge difference to me. I'm not sure what this edition is like. My favorite has a blue soft cover and is no longer in print as far as I know.
.As with most books that I like, I like them over and over again. This one caught my attention after reading Steppenwolf (back when John Kay was still in the band) and it has stayed with me over the years. The tale of the boy prince giving it all up to experience the divine on his own terms and in his own way helped to fuel my own search and pointed out the value of the journey rather than the destination, which is always somewhere else.

r
ranvapa
Nov 20, 2018

I was underwhelmed by this book.
The language is overly flowery. The message is simplistic.
Maybe a product of its time.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Sep 16, 2018

Siddhartha takes the reader on a spiritual journey inside the mind of a troubled devotee to the Hindu faith. By being brought up with high education, the main character Siddhartha has been allowed to form the basis of his belief but he sets out in the world yearning for a more substantial meaning to his faith. Written in the early 20th century, Siddhartha poses many philosophical arguments that can be transcribed to our current day-to-day life. For much of the novel, Siddhartha is struggling with who he is as a person. He takes many different paths in life in a desperate attempt to help fill this void but ultimately reaches a conclusion which satisfies not only him but the reader as well. Hesse’s novel has been the subject of countless translations, awards, and use in popular culture. It has been a staple in classic literature and after reading it, it makes sense why! So if you want to challenge yourself, and explore within you what defines you as a person, read Siddhartha and obtain everlasting knowledge.
@LordoftheBooks of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

n
NaMe24
Sep 16, 2018

This was on my short book classic recommendation list. I enjoyed it especially as it got towards the end. I can't remember the quotes but I loved the idea that you can only experience wisdom as opposed to being taught it.

RogerDeBlanck Jul 27, 2018

Hermann Hesse’s timeless classic is one of the greatest novels of self-discovery ever written. The character of Siddhartha represents the legendary historical figure of the Buddha himself, Siddhartha Guatama, who devoted his life to the fulfillment of self-understanding and spiritual release. The ideas Hesse expresses through the character of Siddhartha are reminiscent of the paths that many Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, endeavor upon to reach ultimate self-knowledge while renouncing worldly possessions. Hesse’s fluid prose and transcendent philosophy masterfully convey the anguish and adversity Siddhartha faces in pursuit of cleansing his body and mind of desire in an effort to merge with the greater spiritual forces of the cosmos. Arguably Hesse’s most important piece of writing, this short novel has been and will probably remain his most popular for centuries to come due to its brevity, inspiration, and accessibility. Readers will finish this book feeling uplifted and rewarded with a new perspective on how to approach and appreciate the value of life.

b
bluzlbee
Apr 11, 2018

Good clean, poetic writing

Talks about Buddhist aspects without making it complicated

A good introduction to seekers of truth

Story flows from start to finish

h
humming
Sep 27, 2017

Definitely a keeper to reread occasionally just to notice the growth of my own "understanding" and application of the principles of the Oneness path. Recommend simply experiencing the story without trying to understand it.
I appreciate any writing, art, music that open my heart to more joy, peace and love!

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Sep 20, 2017

The book is a story about Siddhartha, the story of a young man who is the son of a Brahmin. Siddartha, seeking to gain enlightenment, leaves his father and the future that his father had set for him. Siddhartha has various interactions in which he learns more about the meaning of life. First, he finds a Buddhist group that believes that the physical world is the direct source of pain and that the material world does not provide meaning. He then meets with Kamala, who teaches him about affection and love. He also learns about the art of trading with a wealthy trader named Kamaswami. Siddhartha abandons his lifestyle of lust and greed and becomes angered with himself, considering suicide. At the end of the journey, Siddhartha realizes the true meaning of life and achieves enlightenment. Siddhartha found that time did not mean anything and that wisdom can only be achieved through experience. Siddhartha could not find wisdom by asking others but through the combination of all the events that occurred in his journey to enlightenment. I think that this story is somewhat relatable to everyone. I would rate this 4/5 stars.
- @SuperSilk of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

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ranvapa
Nov 20, 2018

ranvapa thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 25

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sdsheridan
Apr 15, 2014

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holdendale
Jul 16, 2010

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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Fortunate son Siddhartha discards his earthly pleasures to seek inner peace living the life of a wandering ascetic.

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