Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Rating 5 out of 5
Category: India, Spirituality, Buddhism
A story that is based in India during the lifetime of Gautam Buddha (410 to 379 BC) as written by a German man in the 1950s, this book glows with spiritual splendor goes to show that pure spiritual seeking knows no boundaries of religion, time, language or location. Man has been dealing with existential questions since the beginning of time and each man’s journey today, in the 21st century, is much the same as it was back in Buddha’s time. Every one of us is on some part of the same eternal path, whether we know it or not.
This book is about Siddhartha, a man who lived in the time of his namesake, Gautam Buddha (formerly Prince Siddhartha). The narrative follows Siddhartha’s life and his relentless seeking of spiritual enlightenment. Siddhartha indulges in, and then is liberated from, lust, greed, fear, and such worldly traits, that are like termite to the human soul. In this way, salvation was attained by journeying through, rather than around these vices. You will see the rise and fall, and the eventual revival of his spirit as he journeys through these many life experiences.
At several junctures this book becomes a sublime, shimmering picture that transcends the pages and words to become something more experiential than the mere meaning of the words. To quote the author, “Wisdom cannot be contained in words, only knowledge can“. Yet Hermann Hesse’s words come as close, as words possibly can, to give you a glimpse of the shining moment of man’s self-realization.
I reread this book after many years and am, once again, touched by its purity and truth. I would call this a must-read for all people, religious or otherwise.