Siddhartha and the illusion of experience

Essay by leftylion8High School, 11th grade July 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

Downloaded 30 times

"Slowly the thinker went on his way and asked himself: What is it that you wanted to learn from the teachings and teachers, and although they taught you much, what was it they could not teach you?" thinks Siddhartha the main character from Herman Hesse's novel Siddhartha. Throughout the book, the man, the thinker, Siddhartha seeks enlightenment through experience, yet readers find that teachers help him most on his journey through life. Siddhartha denies that people could have taught him to become enlightened, yet throughout his journey to enlightenment, he constantly refers back to his teachers' lessons. Siddhartha subconsciously had many teachers: Siddhartha's father and the Samanas; Govinda and Gotama; Kamala and Kamswami, Vasudeva and the river and his son.

"There was happiness in his father's heart because of his son who was intelligent and thirsty for knowledge; he saw him growing up to be a great learned man, a priest, a prince among the Brahmins."

Siddhartha's father and the Samanas taught Siddhartha how to become a thinker, and observe the world around him. Siddhartha learned much from his father and the Samanas. From the Samanas he learns how to fast, wait, write, and think, knowledge which allows him to impress the mistress he desires. The Samanas teach him much about pain and self-suffering and self-denial. In this phase of Siddhartha's life, he learns from his teachers that one way of life will not relinquish his thirst for knowledge.

Kamala and Kamswami both teach Siddhartha the material world: sex and money. For a long time Siddhartha engulfs himself in the surrounding riches, his vocation as a merchant, and lover to Kamala. "The world had caught him; pleasure, covetousness, idleness, and finally also that vice that he had always despised and scorned most foolish--acquisitiveness. Property, possessions...