Essay Meaning of the River in Siddhartha

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Meaning of the River in Siddhartha

 

Siddhartha, in Herman Hesse's novel, Siddhartha, is a young, beautiful, and intelligent Brahmin, a member of the highest and most spiritual castes of the Hindu religion, and has studied the teachings and rituals of his religion with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Inevitably, with his tremendous yearning for the truth and desire to discover the Atman within himself he leaves his birthplace to join the Samanas. With the Samanas he seeks to release himself from the cycle of life by extreme self-denial but leaves the Samanas after three years to go to Gotama Buddha. Siddhartha is impressed by the blissful man but decides to lead his own path. He sleeps in the ferryman's hut and
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It was not flesh and bone, it was not thought or consciousness. That was what the wise men taught. Where then was it?"(6). He is thinking of taking another path to the self because he believes that he learned as much as he can from the Brahmins. With the Samanas his lifestyle changes dramatically and " [he] had one single goal-to become empty, to become empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow- to let the Self die"(14). As a Samana, he wanted to let the Self die in order to reach the secret of pure being. The Samanas believed they could lose the Self through meditation, fasting, and holding of breath. In a relatively short time with the Samanas he is already on the path to becoming a great Samana. When he went through a village he his view of things was that " everything lied, stank of lies; they were all illusions of sense, happiness and beauty"(14). He called the people "child people" because their whole life was materialistic and they were always concerned with trivial matters. Govinda could see that Siddhartha would become an important Samana but Siddhartha became skeptical about this way of life. Siddhartha tells Govinda, " What I have learned so far from the Samanas, I could have learned more quickly and easily in every inn in a prostitute's quarter, amongst the carriers and dice players"(16). Govinda was appalled but Siddhartha explained that he said this because he believes that meditation, fasting and holding of
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