Great book.

3 min read


Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught. — Hermann Hesse

Story Summary

Siddhartha that decides to travel, and Siddhartha goes to his father with the idea of travel, but he does not seem to like it. Siddhartha stands and waits. Time passes, and every once in a while, his father sees that he is still standing there (father seems surprised).

Siddhartha was loved by everyone. But he was not happy. He began feeling that the wise had taught him all they knew, which is why he wanted to travel.

Siddharthas father agrees to let him travel, and Siddhartha starts seeking the Samanas. With the Samanas, Siddhartha seemed to live an extreme lifestyle of fasting and other actions that seem extreme. Siddhartha seemed to want the ability to empty. He learned to live on not much of anything. He truly seemed to live the Monk lifestyle.

However, Siddhartha becomes disillusioned with the Samanas. He sees the self-denial as an escape; something he could have picked up much faster in other places (the bar, gambling, etc). So both Siddhartha and Govinda starts traveling again. They go to where the Buddha is teaching. Govinda seeks refuge in the Buddhas teachings, Siddhartha continues his pilgrimage alone after speaking to the Buddha.

Siddhartha was almost seduced by a woman, but said no. We later find out that her name is Kamala. Later, Siddhartha tries to seduce Kamala, but she rejects him because he doesn't have much to offer. Siddhartha becomes an apprentice with the merchant and seems to do excellently. He and Kamala continue their relationship. It seems that they both enjoy each other's company. But they believe that neither of them are capable of love.

Siddhartha began falling for the vices. The deadly sins. He began gambling. Siddhartha attains material success. His only relation is Kamala. It seems that he began becoming less and less of a Samana. But he still kept the ego of one. All of his qualities seem to have gone bad, by now. He gambled too much. He was getting... seemingly desperate in business. Siddhartha became disgusted with himself. The voice he had heard when he started his quest started calling him again.

Siddhartha left the city and his things, never to come back. Kamala did not search for him. She figured that he would always be a Samana.

Siddhartha was starting to awaken. He had begun seeking himself; to discover the secret of Siddhartha. Siddhartha receives a free ride from a ferryman, but Siddhartha had no money to pay for the fare. The ferryman just said that Siddhartha would pay him later, somehow.

Siddhartha almost drowned himself, but snapped out of it. He was shocked that he would be capable of such a thing. That he would attempt it.

Kamala became pregnant with Siddhartha and her child.

Siddhartha stayed with the ferryman.

Kamala is bitten by a snake as she was on a pilgrimage to see the dying Buddha. Kamala dies. Siddhartha learns he has a son.

His son ran away, crossing the river such that Siddhartha and the ferryman had to build a raft. Siddhartha chased his son, and eventually reached the city. He saw Kamala pleasure garden, which brought back memories. Vasudeva, the ferryman, had followed Siddhartha and broke him out of his trip down memory lane. Both went back into the forest, back to their work.

Siddhartha realized that all is one, just as Vasudeva leaves. He reaches enlightenment.

Siddhartha and Govinda meet again.

The enlightenment that Siddhartha reaches is that all people are connected, and time (past, present, future) does not exist, as it is man-made.

Siddhartha learns that 'knowledge can be conveyed but wisdom cannot', and that 'one pays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil' (Nietzsche, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra). He rejected his teachers, and went to experience the world for himself. You can only reach enlightenment by living the knowledge yourself.

Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.

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