Uniting Mind, Body, and Spirit in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha

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Uniting Mind, Body, and Spirit in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha

Each of us has innate desire to understand the purpose of our existence. As Hermann Hesse illustrates in his novel Siddhartha, the journey to wisdom may be difficult. Organized religion helps many to find meaning in life but it does not substitute careful introspection. An important message of Siddhartha is that to achieve enlightenment one must unite the experiences of mind, body, and spirit.

In the first part of the book, Siddhartha is consumed by his thirst for knowledge. He joined the samanas and listened to the teachings of the Buddha in attempt to discern the true way to Nirvana. Though he perfected the arts of meditation and self-denial, he
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He proclaimed, "I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, ...in order to experience grace, ...to sleep deeply and awaken refreshed again" (78). When he stopped his religious pilgrimage for the pleasures of a senseless life his quest for inner direction seemed to be setback, but this was actually imperative in moving forward to find himself. He unknowingly achieved the second step in his journey and was left with just one more stage.

Siddhartha then discovered his spirit through a series of events that refreshed and awakened him. "Then from a remote part of his soul, from the past of his tired life, he heard a sound" (72). At the moment Siddhartha attempted to sink himself into oblivion by drowning himself in the river, his soul was revived by the holy "Om." Hesse states that this sound came from his past, indicating that without his previous experiences, he could not be "conscious of Brahman, of the indestructibleness of life" (72). When Siddhartha endured his revelation by the river he realized that his sins had ironically allowed him to begin anew. When he found Atman in himself by forgetting his power to think, it showed that his inner direction in truth guided him towards peace. While Siddhartha succeeded in recognizing his soul, he still did not know how it fit into the unity of all things.

Siddhartha learned a valuable lesson in his inner journey by again