Siddhartha - The Three Stages

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Siddhartha - The Three Stages


"On the great journey of life, if a man cannot find one who is better or at least as good as himself, let him journey joyfully alone."  The story of Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse makes this point true.  The main character Siddhartha dealt with the Samanas and Gotama Buddha, the second with Kamala and then the ferryman. The three parts correspond to the three stages though which Siddhartha passes on his journey to enlightenment:  The stage of the mind; the stage of the flesh; the stage of transcendence.


        During this period-the realm of the mind, Siddhartha actively sets about letting the self die, escaping his Self. 
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        Siddhartha reaches a town and is moved by the beauty of the courtesan Kamala as she enters her grove in a sedan.  This starts Siddhartha stage of the flesh.  He asks her to be his teacher in the arts of love, but Kamala laughs and says that she receives only those young men who approach her in fine clothes and shoes, with scent in their hair and money in their purses. When she learns that Siddhartha can read and write, she conducts him to the businessman Kamaswami, who will help him to acquire the tokens necessary for entrance into her garden of pleasure.  Kamala gives him a kiss in exchange for a good poem, and the amount of knowledge in that kiss amazes Siddhartha.


        The stage of transcendence was when the inner voice that has guided Siddhartha thus far surges out and becomes boldly manifest in this river, which, far more than simply water, is the voice of life itself.  In the river, Siddhartha sees images come together, just as he hears voices come together.  Here, "He saw that the water continually flowed and flowed and yet it was always there, it was always the same and yet every moment it was new."  The river can be everywhere at the same time.  Only the present means anything to the river, not the past or the
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