The Quest for Nirvana in Siddhartha

2678 Words Jun 16th, 2018 11 Pages
The Quest for Nirvana in Siddhartha

 

In Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha and his friend, Govinda, leave their sheltered lives as Brahmins, Hindu priests, to be Samanas, ascetics who deny themselves all pleasure. Some years after, they meet the Buddha, whom Govinda stays with to be a monk while Siddhartha leaves to continue on his own adventures. Toward the end of their lives, they meet again at a river bank and discover if they have truly achieved inner peace. Hesse uses Govinda as a contrast to Siddhartha. As displayed in excursions with the Samanas, with the Buddha, and on other adventures, Siddhartha is a character who is more independent and must learn on his own while Govinda is more dependent and feels
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In his article, Koester describes Hesse's approach to youthfulness as no more than the "tortured development of individuality," wondering if this is derived from Hesse's own rebellious childhood. Esther Gropper talks of the typical mental development as a three-stage process, which Hesse uses frequently. The first, typically young childhood, is characterized by respect and happiness. The second, after the person is introduced to good and evil, is characterized by despair and loneliness. The third is encountered when the person is able to separate himself or herself from the pain of reality to realize "pure thought." Gropper also notes that Siddhartha is so popular among the young because the characters suffer loneliness and despair before realizing their place in the world by discovering more about themselves.

 

Hans Beerman 

 

Siddhartha feels he must discover this purpose to life on his own, whereas Govinda feels he can learn it by listening to and following the doctrines of others. It is noted in the beginning of the story that Govinda and Siddhartha are two young Brahmins who are quite intelligent and already debate the aspects of their religion with adults. However, Siddhartha already begins his questioning of the traditional beliefs. He begins to wonder
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