Siddartha, a book about Enlightenment by Hermann Hesse

Clayton Yoga takes a look at the wisdom that comes from great authors over the past 100 years.  This week’s blog is a book review written by one of Clayton Yoga’s Teacher Training Program’s teacher.

Siddartha is the story of a seeker-A Brahmin’s son who leaves his home as a young man in search of truth.  He like the Buddha, relinquishes his life of priviledge to become a holy man on a quest for greater understanding.

Siddartha leaves his home as a young boy with his friend Govinda.  They join the Samanas, a group of monks who live off the Earth and survive on the generosity of humans.  He hopes the Samanas will teach him how to kill off his lower self.  He wants to become empty of mind and believes, only then would he have pure thoughts.  Siddartha learns from the Samanas, but can never seem to accept their (or anyone’s) teachings.

His encounter with the Buddha was intense; and Siddartha even found flaws in the illustrious one’s teachings.  He leaves the Samanas and his friend Govinda with them.  He arrives in a town and sees a beautiful woman; he longs to experience this side he had given up.  He took this woman, Kamala as his lover; learned to be a businessman; played dice, and drank himself sick.  Experiencing this side of life made him a child again and he could begin anew.

He had to sin in order to live; experience despair in order to awaken refreshed.  He realized the full circle he had taken, and along his path he began to recognize duality in everything.  Siddartha spends his life listening to teachings of others, but ultimately rejects those teachings and discovers truth on his life path.  He becomes enlightened. Without bad, there is not good; without dark there is no light.  For every positive there is a negative.  In a sense, it is the yin and the yan.

Toward the end of the novel, Siddartha became a ferryman himself.  He learned much from the river, and the skill of listening.  Siddartha’s path took him full circle and he ultimately came to know peace, and self-realization in all things.

His doctrine was that love was the most important thing in the world and that the highest form of love was in letting go.

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