Finding Enlightenment in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha Essay

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Finding Enlightenment in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

Growing up, children learn most everything from their elders. Yet, an elder nor a book can help a person to enlightenment. Nor can they teach a person to find their soul. The path to a person’s Atman is a personal journey, one to be endured, not taught. The meaning of a person’s life is not a subject to be read in books. The meaning of life is slowly attained through wisdom, enduring life and searching for the right path along the way. In the novel Siddhartha, Gotama cannot teach enlightenment because that wisdom cannot be communicated through words, only through experience. In the novel Siddhartha, a young man begins life as someone who has been handed all the tools for ‘success’.
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Siddhartha then sets out on his own path, on which he eventually reaches his goal of Nirvana. As children, people are taught not to touch the hot stove, or to hit their siblings. Although a person’s parents is oftentimes their primary teacher, other people are always their throughout a person’s life to teach them things. While a child is taught as much as they can possibly be taught, not everything can be taught. Anyone can describe a broken heart, but no one can really know what it is like until they experience it. If someone had never seen the color blue, it could be described to them, but they could never actually know what it looked like until they saw it for themselves. As individuals, there are things that we must learn for ourselves. Throughout the beginning of the novel, Siddhartha has an extraordinary passion for people and their well being. He is almost never selfish, something that very few people can claim. As he becomes prosperous in business, he becomes bored. With that boredom comes a contempt for people in general, especially people who were like him, bored and not really going anywhere in relation to their spirituality. Siddhartha had seen among the rich people in his culture, but he had never experienced it before. This aspect of Siddhartha’s life is something else that cannot be taught, but rather learned. Whether a person is young or old, there are still
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