Siddhartha never remains content. Once "comfortable," he remains open to dissatisfaction. He never allows the orthodoxy of his experience to cement. As dissatisfaction creeps in, he pays attention. New wine bursts his old wineskins and he repeatedly walks away from everything he has "achieved" into the void.
Siddhartha braves emptiness, daring asceticism, pleasure, nature; he wonders, he denies, he accepts. In the end ... well, if the secret could be distilled in 1000 words or less, Hesse wouldn't have needed 152 pages ... but in the end, Siddhartha has journeyed yet gone nowhere, he has abandoned everything and discovered the illusion that is the secret ... or has he?
This translation by Rosner flows smoothly enough that I didn't even stop to think that Hesse didn't write in English. Hesse's language is concise. This is a tight novel without a lot of scene description. Hesse wrote from the third person without stream-of-consciousness; even from this detached perspective, he draws us into Siddhartha's mind.
An excellent and classic work. If you already know just what spirituality is all about, if you have all the answers, then don't waste your time on this book. If you still have room for questions and growth, then I'll bet you'll revel in Siddhartha.
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A close friend of mine has been pestering me for quite some time to read this boook...and I finally concured last Wednesday. I took the book home from school, sat down outside, and began to read. I was immediately engrossed...immediately amazed at this ingenious work of art.
The story is about a young man in ancient India named Siddhartha. He came from a long line of Hindus, and embraced and sought refuge in his faith for many years. One day...he decided that religion just wasn't cutting it for him, so he set off to become a samara (traveling monk). He learned to meditate...to fast...to wait. He started to become one with his surroundings, and lived for three years in an intimate spiritual state. However, something was still missing. He saw the elder monks...desperately seeking Nirvana their entire lives, and making little progress. Siddhartha left these monks, and encountered Buddha. I'll leave it there, as to not give away the ending.
"Siddhartha" is a masterpiece...beautiful in its simplicity. A most intimate tale of self-discovery, change, falls from grace, and rebirth. A very easy and very short read, I recommend it to anyone. Christian or Buddhist, philosophical or secular, all can benefit.