Comparing the Journeys of Hesse's Siddhartha and Gandhi Essay

2049 Words 9 Pages
Siddhartha and Gandhi strove for different goals during their lives. Siddhartha's goal was very personal, while Gandhi's goal encompassed the world. This was shown by their spiritual development throughout their journeys. Siddhartha evolved from an inexperienced spiritual being to a man, returned to spirituality, and ended with nirvana. Gandhi traveled a much straighter path, originally being a worldly man merely seeking his correct place in life, when his spiritual development unexpectedly produced a great world leader; in Gandhi's own words, a politician trying to be a saint. Siddhartha and Gandhi's main goals were always different, but they traveled similar paths at times.

Siddhartha's goal was to find nirvana. He
…show more content…
Siddhartha accordingly sought to lose himself, but only succeeded in returning to himself. At this point, Siddhartha, the self-centered thinker, re-evaluated his path to nirvana. He came to the conclusion that all teachings were useless, that he would have to find his own way to the state of higher being. He expressed this to the Samanas, and to the Illustrious One, Buddha, whose teachings his faithful shadow, Govinda, accepted. "To nobody, O Illustrious One, can you communicate in words and teachings what happened to you in your hour of enlightenment" (Hesse 34). At this point, Siddhartha rejected all doctrines and teachings, believing experience to be the only true teacher, and set off on his quest again.

Free of all thought and all connections but of those to himself, Siddhartha crossed a river, and entered the town. Here was where Siddhartha gained the experience he had never before had. He believed himself to have no teacher of doctrines or wisdom, but Kamala, the courtesan, and Kamaswami, the merchant, eroded his morals and all the wisdom he had learned from other's lips, as they taught him how to sin, how to lust for women, wine, possessions, and money. Siddhartha became a man, and eventually forgot his goal of spiritual nirvana, gradually replacing it with a more common goal; worldly nirvana, fashioned of wealth and other material pleasures. Despite
Open Document