Essay on Spirituality: Hermann Hesse and Siddhartha

Submitted By Kewsi
Words: 1005
Pages: 5

Kewsi Mann
Spiritual Journey
In Hermann Hesse’s novel, “Siddhartha”, spirituality is discussed throughout. Throughout the novel, Siddhartha travels to find spiritual meanings in his life as he deals with the Samanas, Gotama, the Kamala and the ferryman. Hermann Hesse has the main character, Siddhartha, revolves around one major journey and that is too enlightened spiritually. Siddhartha must find inner peace within himself by exploring the spiritual aspects of the world and to find enlightenment and happiness. Spirituality is a major factor in the novel, “Siddhartha”. This essay will discuss how often Herman Hesse uses spirituality to define the inner happiness and knowledge of Siddhartha.
In the story “Siddhartha,” by Hermann Hesse, spirituality is closely linked to wisdom. Those who have achieved enlightenment are also wise. Enlightenment is like the Holy Grail in “Siddhartha” because it is extremely hard to attain. Hermann Hesse makes it clear to the reader that Siddhartha has become unsatisfied with his teachings. Hermann Hesse says, “He had begun to foresee that his venerable father and his other teachers that the Brahman sages, had already imparted to him the greatest part and the best part of their wisdom, that they had already poured their abundance into his expectant vessel; and the vessel was not full”(3), meaning that Siddhartha wasn’t satisfied with teachings. Siddhartha had a thirst for wisdom much greater than his elders. Siddhartha began to find contradictions within everything he had been taught. When Siddhartha questions, “Why was it necessary for him, the faultless one, to wash away his sins every day, and strive for purification every day?” (4), Siddhartha’s thirst for fulfilment was through spirituality and he wasn’t satisfied. Hermann Hesse allows the reader to see why Siddhartha was feeling empty and his realization that one cannot become spiritual by simply studying books and the teachings of others, but instead must have a personal revelation understood by the entire spirit (hence “spirituality”). Hermann Hesse uses Siddhartha’s thirst for wisdom to explore the spirituality in life. Siddhartha crosses paths with many different forms of spiritual wisdom and learns something new about the world with every step. After Siddhartha leaves the Buddha, he meets a girl named Kamala and a man named Kamaswami. Kamala teaches Siddhartha the physical side of being simply human. Kamaswami teaches Siddhartha the physical materialistic things of the world such as money, and fine cloths. Hermann Hesse uses these two characters to show that there are other forms of spirituality such as physical desires that only man worship. Siddhartha had to experience the opposite side of spirituality to truly awaken and obtain inner peace within him. When Siddhartha says “But it all happened for the best; my heart tells me so, my eyes agree laughingly. I had to experience despair; I had to descend to the most foolish though of all, the thought of suicide, in order to experience grace, in order to hear om again. I had become a fool in order to find Atman within myself.” (52), Hermann Hesse clearly shows the reader that in order to achieve spiritual enlightenment, Siddhartha had to explore the opposite side of spirituality. In a religious point of view Siddhartha had to go through hell in order to see heaven. Siddhartha has no more questions and finds inner peace. Hermann Hesse makes that clear when Siddhartha says, “to taste for yourself everything you need to know. That worldly pleasures and wealth are not good things, I learned even as a child. I knew it for a long time, but only now have I experienced it. And now I know it not only because I remember hearing it. But with my eyes, with my heart, with my stomach, and it is good for me to know it!” (53). Siddhartha distinguishes between what he knows intellectually to be true, and the profound sense of his other spiritual side of humanly knowledge that