Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha

This book was recommended by my friend Axinia. Siddhartha is a German novel written by the Nobel Prize winning writer Hermann Hesse. The German-turned-Swiss author’s book was first published in 1922.

Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha . . .

I read the English version (translated by Gunther Olesch, Anke Dreher, Amy Coulter, Stefan Langer and Semyon Chaichenets) of Hesse’s Siddhartha in the form of an e-book released by Project Gutenberg. The translators have done a good job and the e-book is quite short – a great feature as reading an e-book on a computer screen is harder on the eye than reading one made of paper.

Hesse’s novel is set in ancient South Asia. The protagonist of the book is not the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) but another person by the name Siddhartha. (The Buddha also makes an appearance in the book and he is known as Gotama or Sakyamuni or Buddha, the exalted one.) It is all about the spiritual journey of Siddhartha and his trusted friend Govinda as they go in search of the Truth. Siddhartha’s long spiritual journey in search of enlightenment takes unexpected twists and turns and at one point, he feels that he is no closer to the Truth than what he was in the beginning. His friend Govinda’s spiritual journey takes some different twists and turns but both of them have only one ultimate goal – to attain the perfected state by realising the Truth within.

Hesse has deep knowledge of Oriental spiritualism and of Buddhist philosophy. His characters, including the beautiful courtesan Kamala, the rich merchant Kamaswami and the boatman Vasudeva seem to be ordinary people but they have some special qualities. The Nobel Prize winning author has been influenced by Eastern philosophy and it is shows in his work. The perfected character of Buddha is mentioned throughout the novel and the chapter in which Siddhartha meets Gotama and discusses the finer aspects of spirituality with him will remain etched in one’s mind forever.

This novel is a must-read for anyone who is intrigued by Oriental spirituality. Those who would like to search for the Truth within themselves would enjoy reading this book. You can download the German e-book from this link and the English translation from this one. Differently abled persons can listen to the audio recording of the English translation on this link.

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10 Responses to Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha

  1. vishesh says:

    sounds good,am downloading 😛

  2. Sakhi says:

    sounds good but am not a person who can read more on spirituality… some how i dont enjoy it! But sure would recommend it friends who enjoy the genre! 🙂

  3. wpm1955 says:

    I read this book years ago and really loved it!

    Madame Monet

  4. axinia says:

    glad you loved it…
    however I ma very surprised at your phrase: “Siddhartha’s long spiritual journey in search of enlightenment takes unexpected twists and turns and at one point, he feels that he is no closer to the Truth than what he was in the beginning.”
    In fact, he has reached his enlitenment at the very end, you did not notice??? At the moment when he saw 1000s of images in the river, when he realised the great ONENESS of the whole – that was actually the moment of enlighenment, of self-realisaion.

  5. francina says:

    hello RAJ! how’s going?
    I love the story of siddhartha!
    even i never read this book…
    I saw the film, hahahaha…
    and i loved it!
    have a nice day!!! 🙂

  6. Vishesh, I guess you will love reading this one! 🙂
    Sakhi, though the book is very interesting, it may be boring to those who don’t enjoy this genre 😐
    Madame Monet, it’s a great book, for sure! 🙂

    Siddhartha feels that he is no closer to the Truth than he was in the beginning when he decides to move out of the city. Actually, it was this point in time that I wrote about.

    Ofcourse, Siddhartha does achieve enlightenment towards the end. I didn’t mention it because I wanted it to remain a mystery for those who have not read this book 🙂

    I thank you for recommending this wonderful book, Axinia! 🙂
    Hi Francina!

    I guess the film has to be good because the book is very good.

    Have a great day! 🙂

  7. Побольше б таких штук…

  8. Проведение банкетов,

    Спасибо, но что является больше чем такие части? 😐

  9. movid says:

    Siddartha is a character who can resist the conventional priorities of the society and thru THINKING, FASTING and WAITING therefore he could INNOVATE in the business with Kamaswami(? read the novella many years back) and his association with the courtesan. Thereby he has his ears to the ground and savours every moment of his existence without a past. Nietzsche says DO NOT LEAD THE LIFE OF A ROPE-MAKER WHO DRAWS THE ROPE AND WALKS BACKWARDS!
    Life is to be lived to the brim with no regrets. That is enlightenment.

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