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Siddhartha: The Search for the Inner Self Siddhartha had
one single goal – to become empty, to become empty of
thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow – to let the Self
die. No longer to be Self, to experience the peace of an
emptied heart, to experience pure thought – that was his
goal. When all the Self was conquered and dead, when all
passions and desires were silent, then the last must awaken,
the innermost of Being that is no longer Self – the great
secret! (14) Siddhartha, according to his actions, was
constantly in search for knowledge, regardless of what kind,
or what he had to do to obtain it. In the book titled
Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, this is shown to us by
Siddhartha’s leaving home to join the Samanas, and all the
actions leading to his residence alongside the river. Leaving
his loving family and home where all loved him, shows us
that Siddhartha not only knows what he wants but will do
anything to attain it. As described on pages 10 through 12,
Siddhartha did not leave his father’s chambers until he had
gotten his way, until his father had submitted to Siddhartha’s
wishes and agreed to let him leave home to join the
Samanas. This stubbornness, this patience with people and
situations is also a large part of Siddhartha’s character. It
enables him to out wait anyone or anything, which teaches
him how to do without and also helps him through his time
with the Samanas. “Siddhartha learned a great deal from the
Samanas he learned many ways of losing the Self” (15).

Despite the new knowledge he acquired, Siddhartha realized
that it was only ” . . . a temporary palliative against the pain
and folly of life” (17). And with this, his next decision was to
leave the Samanas and go in search of the Buddha in order
to learn perhaps something he did not already know.

Through this we learn that Siddhartha, having learned all that
is possible in one place, moves to another in search for more
wisdom in search for the secret of how to obtain inner
peace, how to find the Self. This action also shows his
change by showing us that Siddhartha no longer has the
patience to stick to certain routines as he did when he was at
home in his youth. Finding the Buddha in a garden,
Siddhartha and Govinda spend an evening and afternoon in
the ” . . . Jetavana grove” listening to the teachings of the
Buddha. Although what he has to say is all important and
thought to be flawless by all, Siddhartha finds that the
Buddha’s ” . . . doctrine of rising above the world, of
salvation, has a small gap. And through this small break,
the eternal and single world law which the Buddha
preaches breaks down again” (32- 3). This realization that
teachings are not flawless shows that Siddhartha has started
thinking on his own. He no longer practices routines of
cleansing or chants verses in order to obtain a moment of
inner peace. Once again, Siddhartha renews his journey,
leaving Govinda and the Illustrious One behind, believing
that no one finds salvation through teachings. Siddhartha was
a deep thinker. He had found a flaw with the flawless
teachings of the Buddha. He had realized that he would
never attain inner peace through others teachings, but that he
alone had to seek it. And this is what he did, stopping next
for a lesson in love from the beautiful courtesan, Kamala.

Because of this experience, he shed his Samana robes and
became a merchant. He gambled and acquired riches all for
the love of a beautiful woman. As the years passed,
Siddhartha’s soul became corrupted with characteristics of
ordinary people. He relied on luxury now, when before he
could have fasted or begged for his food. His goals were
lost and forgotten until a dream one night awakened him and
” . . . overwhelmed him with a feeling of great sadness”
(82). Siddhartha, realizing he had lost his path, now decided
it was time to get back on it. This stubbornness, as
mentioned before, now helps him carry out his newly found
goal., also making his parting from Kama! la a lighter
burden. His soul had been corrupted. His goals had been
lost. Now Siddhartha had to start his search anew, but the
beginnings of the ability to love another person were now
implanted in his heart. As he reached the river, Siddhartha
was overwhelmed with a feeling ” . . . of desire to let himself
go and be submerged in the water. The chilly emptiness in
the water reflected the terrible emptiness of his soul” (88).

Siddhartha was in a terrible state. After years of riches and
luxury, he had cast it all aside in order to find a place for
spiritual renewal. In this quest for the inner Self, Siddhartha
had now reached this place: the river. “He sank down at
the foot of the cocoanut tree, overcome by fatigue.

Murmuring Om, he laid his head on the tree roots and sank
into a deep sleep” (90). After awakening, Siddhartha chose
to stay with the ferryman Vasudeva, who had been a great
listener. From this ferryman he learned how to listen to the
river and how to interpret what it was saying. Siddhartha
had thrown away his previous life of wealth for the life of a
ferryman, a life of poverty. But Siddhartha knew that from
the river his enlightenment would come. His prediction was
correct. When Govinda returned from a pilgrimage, he
stopped by the river and waited for the ferryman to carry
him across. He had recognized the peace on Siddhartha’s
face, the peace of one who had found the secret. And
indeed Siddhartha had. Through his quest for the inner Self
in Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha had given up many things, made
many sacrifices in order to further his knowledge. He was
always moving along, never stopping in one place
permanently. His quest was never ending until the river had
taught him what he needed to know. Hesse, in a way, shows
us that only through sacrifice will someone gain what he is
looking for. He shows us that life is not given to one on a
platter, but needs to be looked for in order to be found.

Siddhartha, through his departure from home and the
Samanas, his realization that not even the Buddha was
perfect in his teachings, his abandonment of Kamala, and
finally through his decision to stay and learn from Vasudeva,
shows us that he had spent his whole life in search of
something that was missing, his peace. In the end,
Siddhartha finds his inner Self, he finds his peace.