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Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – a Treasure for Seekers and Learners

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse 

Siddhartha by Nobel Prize winner author Hermann Hesse, is a timeless classic that explores the journey of a young man named Siddhartha, who sets out on a path of self-discovery in search of spiritual enlightenment. The book is a beautifully crafted story that delves deep into the human psyche, exploring themes such as identity, love, and the nature of reality.

A short 2-min Summary of Siddartha by Hermann Hesse

The book follows the journey of Siddhartha, a young man who is dissatisfied with his current life and sets out on a journey to find meaning and purpose. He meets various teachers and learns different philosophies, but ultimately realizes that true enlightenment comes from within. Along the way, he falls in love, experiences loss, and learns to accept the present moment in all its beauty and complexity. In the end, Siddhartha achieves enlightenment and becomes a wise and compassionate teacher to others.

7 Learnings from the book Siddhartha

1. True wisdom comes from experience

Siddhartha learns that true wisdom cannot be attained through books or teachings but only through direct experience.

2. Love (or attachment) is both a source of joy and suffering

Siddhartha experiences both the joys and pains of love, ultimately realizing that love is a complex and multifaceted emotion. 

Understood in its essence though, love is always a source of joy. The sanyasis who think of themselves as assets for the whole world, claim to know of only joyful love. The source of pain is attachment to the object and that needs to be overcome as per the yogic beliefs. 

3. The present moment is all we have

Siddhartha learns to live in the present moment, accepting it as it is, and finding beauty in the impermanence of life.

4. The search for enlightenment is a personal journey

Siddhartha learns that the search for enlightenment is a personal journey that cannot be taught or learned from others.

5. Material possessions do not bring lasting happiness

Siddhartha realizes that material possessions and wealth do not bring lasting happiness and fulfillment.

6. Self-discovery is a lifelong process

Siddhartha learns that self-discovery is a lifelong process that requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from one’s mistakes.

7. Compassion and empathy are essential for true enlightenment

Siddhartha realizes that true enlightenment involves not only personal growth but also a deep sense of compassion and empathy for others.

Top quotes from Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse 

1 . Learning from Contradictions

“I have never learned anything from any man who agreed with me.”

2. Wisdom

“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

3. Scientific Learning

“When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”

4. Unity 

“The river knows everything; one can learn everything from it.”

5. Discipline and Patience 

“I can think, I can wait, I can fast” 

6. Consciousness and Nature of Man

“I have been to the river, I have taken risks, I have engaged in struggles, I have enjoyed pleasures, I have suffered frustrations, I have experienced sorrows. But I am not my experiences, I am not my fears, I am not my doubts, I am not my achievements. I am, simply, myself.”

7. Timelessness

“The river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future.”

The line I loved – “I can think, I can wait, I can fast”  

“I can think, I can wait, I can fast” is a quote from the novel “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse. In the context of the story, Siddhartha, the main character, is reflecting on his life as an ascetic and the importance of self-discipline and self-control in the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

I can think

“I can think” refers to the power of the mind and the importance of using one’s intellect to understand the world and oneself. Siddhartha recognizes that the mind is a powerful tool that can help us navigate life’s challenges and discover truth.

I can wait

“I can wait” highlights the importance of patience and perseverance in achieving one’s goals. Siddhartha understands that spiritual growth and enlightenment take time and require dedication and persistence.

I can fast

“I can fast” emphasizes the importance of self-discipline and self-control in achieving spiritual enlightenment. Fasting, or the act of abstaining from food, is a common practice in many spiritual traditions and is seen as a way to purify the body and focus the mind.

Overall, the quote “I can think, I can wait, I can fast” represents Siddhartha’s commitment to self-discipline, self-control, and spiritual growth, and highlights the importance of using one’s mind, being patient, and practicing self-denial to achieve personal transformation.

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