Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha – Find the magic within yourself

One of my favorite stories is Siddhartha by the German author Hermann Hesse. It is about the search of the self. How to find your inner truth.

Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin decides to leave his family with his friend Govinda after he realized that the strict religious teachings do not touch his soul. They both join some ascetics and wander with them through the woods. After following their practices for some time, Siddhartha again feels empty.

Both young man meet the Buddha. While Govinda decides to become a scholar of the Buddha, Siddhartha does not want to follow him. He wants to make his own experiences. When he has to say goodbye to his dear friend Govinda, he tells him:

He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value . . . he has given to me myself.

Siddhartha goes to a city and he becomes a rich business man and the lover of a beautiful woman. But again, his life feels not complete. It is too superficial. He has to leave the city to find the answers to life.

Under a tree nearby by the river, he suddenly hears a voice within. The holy AUM. Suddenly, he realizes that he is already complete. He does not have to follow any practices or the rules of society. From now on, he is in peace with himself. He can feel the unity of everything. There is no beginning, no ending. Life is like a flowing river. There is no time. No right or wrong.

In the end of the book, Govinda comes back to him. He asks Siddhartha what he has learned. He says:

I am telling you what I have discovered. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.

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