Part 1 - Siddhartha Audiobook by Hermann Hesse (Chs 1-5)

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Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse CHAPTER 1.
In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the
shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew
up, the handsome son of the Brahman, the
young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, son of a Brahman.
The sun tanned his light shoulders by the banks of the river when bathing, performing
the sacred ablutions, the sacred offerings.
In the mango grove, shade poured into his black eyes, when playing as a boy, when his
mother sang, when the sacred offerings were made, when his father, the scholar, taught
him, when the wise men talked.
For a long time, Siddhartha had been partaking in the discussions of the wise
men, practising debate with Govinda, practising with Govinda the art of
reflection, the service of meditation.
He already knew how to speak the Om silently, the word of words, to speak it
silently into himself while inhaling, to speak it silently out of himself while
exhaling, with all the concentration of his
soul, the forehead surrounded by the glow of the clear-thinking spirit.
He already knew to feel Atman in the depths of his being, indestructible, one with the
Joy leapt in his father's heart for his son who was quick to learn, thirsty for
knowledge; he saw him growing up to become great wise man and priest, a prince among
the Brahmans.
Bliss leapt in his mother's breast when she saw him, when she saw him walking, when she
saw him sit down and get up, Siddhartha, strong, handsome, he who was walking on
slender legs, greeting her with perfect respect.
Love touched the hearts of the Brahmans' young daughters when Siddhartha walked
through the lanes of the town with the luminous forehead, with the eye of a king,
with his slim hips.
But more than all the others he was loved by Govinda, his friend, the son of a
He loved Siddhartha's eye and sweet voice, he loved his walk and the perfect decency
of his movements, he loved everything Siddhartha did and said and what he loved
most was his spirit, his transcendent,
fiery thoughts, his ardent will, his high calling.
Govinda knew: he would not become a common Brahman, not a lazy official in charge of
offerings; not a greedy merchant with magic spells; not a vain, vacuous speaker; not a
mean, deceitful priest; and also not a
decent, stupid sheep in the herd of the many.
No, and he, Govinda, as well did not want to become one of those, not one of those
tens of thousands of Brahmans.
He wanted to follow Siddhartha, the beloved, the splendid.
And in days to come, when Siddhartha would become a god, when he would join the
glorious, then Govinda wanted to follow him as his friend, his companion, his servant,
his spear-carrier, his shadow.
Siddhartha was thus loved by everyone. He was a source of joy for everybody, he
was a delight for them all.
But he, Siddhartha, was not a source of joy for himself, he found no delight in
Walking the rosy paths of the fig tree garden, sitting in the bluish shade of the
grove of contemplation, washing his limbs daily in the bath of repentance,
sacrificing in the dim shade of the mango
forest, his gestures of perfect decency, everyone's love and joy, he still lacked
all joy in his heart.
Dreams and restless thoughts came into his mind, flowing from the water of the river,
sparkling from the stars of the night, melting from the beams of the sun, dreams
came to him and a restlessness of the soul,
fuming from the sacrifices, breathing forth from the verses of the Rig-Veda, being
infused into him, drop by drop, from the teachings of the old Brahmans.
Siddhartha had started to nurse discontent in himself, he had started to feel that the
love of his father and the love of his mother, and also the love of his friend,
Govinda, would not bring him joy for ever
and ever, would not nurse him, feed him, satisfy him.
He had started to suspect that his venerable father and his other teachers,
that the wise Brahmans had already revealed to him the most and best of their wisdom,
that they had already filled his expecting
vessel with their richness, and the vessel was not full, the spirit was not content,
the soul was not calm, the heart was not satisfied.
The ablutions were good, but they were water, they did not wash off the sin, they
did not heal the spirit's thirst, they did not relieve the fear in his heart.
The sacrifices and the invocation of the gods were excellent--but was that all?
Did the sacrifices give a happy fortune? And what about the gods?
Was it really Prajapati who had created the world?
Was it not the Atman, He, the only one, the singular one?
Were the gods not creations, created like me and you, subject to time, mortal?
Was it therefore good, was it right, was it meaningful and the highest occupation to
make offerings to the gods?
For whom else were offerings to be made, who else was to be worshipped but Him, the
only one, the Atman?
And where was Atman to be found, where did He reside, where did his eternal heart
beat, where else but in one's own self, in its innermost part, in its indestructible
part, which everyone had in himself?
But where, where was this self, this innermost part, this ultimate part?
It was not flesh and bone, it was neither thought nor consciousness, thus the wisest
ones taught.
So, where, where was it? To reach this place, the self, myself, the
Atman, there was another way, which was worthwhile looking for?
Alas, and nobody showed this way, nobody knew it, not the father, and not the
teachers and wise men, not the holy sacrificial songs!
They knew everything, the Brahmans and their holy books, they knew everything,
they had taken care of everything and of more than everything, the creation of the
world, the origin of speech, of food, of
inhaling, of exhaling, the arrangement of the senses, the acts of the gods, they knew
infinitely much--but was it valuable to know all of this, not knowing that one and
only thing, the most important thing, the solely important thing?
Surely, many verses of the holy books, particularly in the Upanishades of
Samaveda, spoke of this innermost and ultimate thing, wonderful verses.
"Your soul is the whole world", was written there, and it was written that man in his
sleep, in his deep sleep, would meet with his innermost part and would reside in the
Marvellous wisdom was in these verses, all knowledge of the wisest ones had been
collected here in magic words, pure as honey collected by bees.
No, not to be looked down upon was the tremendous amount of enlightenment which
lay here collected and preserved by innumerable generations of wise Brahmans.--
But where were the Brahmans, where the
priests, where the wise men or penitents, who had succeeded in not just knowing this
deepest of all knowledge but also to live it?
Where was the knowledgeable one who wove his spell to bring his familiarity with the
Atman out of the sleep into the state of being awake, into the life, into every step
of the way, into word and deed?
Siddhartha knew many venerable Brahmans, chiefly his father, the pure one, the
scholar, the most venerable one.
His father was to be admired, quiet and noble were his manners, pure his life, wise
his words, delicate and noble thoughts lived behind its brow --but even he, who
knew so much, did he live in blissfulness,
did he have peace, was he not also just a searching man, a thirsty man?
Did he not, again and again, have to drink from holy sources, as a thirsty man, from
the offerings, from the books, from the disputes of the Brahmans?
Why did he, the irreproachable one, have to wash off sins every day, strive for a
cleansing every day, over and over every day?
Was not Atman in him, did not the pristine source spring from his heart?
It had to be found, the pristine source in one's own self, it had to be possessed!
Everything else was searching, was a detour, was getting lost.
Thus were Siddhartha's thoughts, this was his thirst, this was his suffering.
Often he spoke to himself from a Chandogya- Upanishad the words: "Truly, the name of
the Brahman is satyam--verily, he who knows such a thing, will enter the heavenly world
every day."
Often, it seemed near, the heavenly world, but never he had reached it completely,
never he had quenched the ultimate thirst.
And among all the wise and wisest men, he knew and whose instructions he had
received, among all of them there was no one, who had reached it completely, the
heavenly world, who had quenched it completely, the eternal thirst.
"Govinda," Siddhartha spoke to his friend, "Govinda, my dear, come with me under the
Banyan tree, let's practise meditation."
They went to the Banyan tree, they sat down, Siddhartha right here, Govinda twenty
paces away.
While putting himself down, ready to speak the Om, Siddhartha repeated murmuring the
Om is the bow, the arrow is soul, The Brahman is the arrow's target, That one
should incessantly hit. After the usual time of the exercise in
meditation had passed, Govinda rose.
The evening had come, it was time to perform the evening's ablution.
He called Siddhartha's name. Siddhartha did not answer.
Siddhartha sat there lost in thought, his eyes were rigidly focused towards a very
distant target, the tip of his tongue was protruding a little between the teeth, he
seemed not to breathe.
Thus sat he, wrapped up in contemplation, thinking Om, his soul sent after the
Brahman as an arrow.
Once, Samanas had travelled through Siddhartha's town, ascetics on a
pilgrimage, three skinny, withered men, neither old nor young, with dusty and
bloody shoulders, almost naked, scorched by
the sun, surrounded by loneliness, strangers and enemies to the world,
strangers and lank jackals in the realm of humans.
Behind them blew a hot scent of quiet passion, of destructive service, of
merciless self-denial.
In the evening, after the hour of contemplation, Siddhartha spoke to Govinda:
"Early tomorrow morning, my friend, Siddhartha will go to the Samanas.
He will become a Samana."
Govinda turned pale, when he heard these words and read the decision in the
motionless face of his friend, unstoppable like the arrow shot from the bow.
Soon and with the first glance, Govinda realized: Now it is beginning, now
Siddhartha is taking his own way, now his fate is beginning to sprout, and with his,
my own.
And he turned pale like a dry banana-skin. "O Siddhartha," he exclaimed, "will your
father permit you to do that?" Siddhartha looked over as if he was just
waking up.
Arrow-fast he read in Govinda's soul, read the fear, read the submission.
"O Govinda," he spoke quietly, "let's not waste words.
Tomorrow, at daybreak I will begin the life of the Samanas.
Speak no more of it."
Siddhartha entered the chamber, where his father was sitting on a mat of bast, and
stepped behind his father and remained standing there, until his father felt that
someone was standing behind him.
Quoth the Brahman: "Is that you, Siddhartha?
Then say what you came to say." Quoth Siddhartha: "With your permission, my
I came to tell you that it is my longing to leave your house tomorrow and go to the
ascetics. My desire is to become a Samana.
May my father not oppose this."
The Brahman fell silent, and remained silent for so long that the stars in the
small window wandered and changed their relative positions, 'ere the silence was
Silent and motionless stood the son with his arms folded, silent and motionless sat
the father on the mat, and the stars traced their paths in the sky.
Then spoke the father: "Not proper it is for a Brahman to speak harsh and angry
words. But indignation is in my heart.
I wish not to hear this request for a second time from your mouth."
Slowly, the Brahman rose; Siddhartha stood silently, his arms folded.
"What are you waiting for?" asked the father.
Quoth Siddhartha: "You know what." Indignant, the father left the chamber;
indignant, he went to his bed and lay down.
After an hour, since no sleep had come over his eyes, the Brahman stood up, paced to
and fro, and left the house.
Through the small window of the chamber he looked back inside, and there he saw
Siddhartha standing, his arms folded, not moving from his spot.
Pale shimmered his bright robe.
With anxiety in his heart, the father returned to his bed.
After another hour, since no sleep had come over his eyes, the Brahman stood up again,
paced to and fro, walked out of the house and saw that the moon had risen.
Through the window of the chamber he looked back inside; there stood Siddhartha, not
moving from his spot, his arms folded, moonlight reflecting from his bare shins.
With worry in his heart, the father went back to bed.
And he came back after an hour, he came back after two hours, looked through the
small window, saw Siddhartha standing, in the moon light, by the light of the stars,
in the darkness.
And he came back hour after hour, silently, he looked into the chamber, saw him
standing in the same place, filled his heart with anger, filled his heart with
unrest, filled his heart with anguish, filled it with sadness.
And in the night's last hour, before the day began, he returned, stepped into the
room, saw the young man standing there, who seemed tall and like a stranger to him.
"Siddhartha," he spoke, "what are you waiting for?"
"You know what."
"Will you always stand that way and wait, until it'll becomes morning, noon, and
evening?" "I will stand and wait.
"You will become tired, Siddhartha."
"I will become tired." "You will fall asleep, Siddhartha."
"I will not fall asleep." "You will die, Siddhartha."
"I will die."
"And would you rather die, than obey your father?"
"Siddhartha has always obeyed his father." "So will you abandon your plan?"
"Siddhartha will do what his father will tell him to do."
The first light of day shone into the room. The Brahman saw that Siddhartha was
trembling softly in his knees.
In Siddhartha's face he saw no trembling, his eyes were fixed on a distant spot.
Then his father realized that even now Siddhartha no longer dwelt with him in his
home, that he had already left him.
The Father touched Siddhartha's shoulder. "You will," he spoke, "go into the forest
and be a Samana.
When you'll have found blissfulness in the forest, then come back and teach me to be
If you'll find disappointment, then return and let us once again make offerings to the
gods together. Go now and kiss your mother, tell her where
you are going to.
But for me it is time to go to the river and to perform the first ablution."
He took his hand from the shoulder of his son and went outside.
Siddhartha wavered to the side, as he tried to walk.
He put his limbs back under control, bowed to his father, and went to his mother to do
as his father had said.
As he slowly left on stiff legs in the first light of day the still quiet town, a
shadow rose near the last hut, who had crouched there, and joined the pilgrim--
"You have come," said Siddhartha and smiled.
"I have come," said Govinda.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse CHAPTER 2.
In the evening of this day they caught up with the ascetics, the skinny Samanas, and
offered them their companionship and-- obedience.
They were accepted.
Siddhartha gave his garments to a poor Brahman in the street.
He wore nothing more than the loincloth and the earth-coloured, unsown cloak.
He ate only once a day, and never something cooked.
He fasted for fifteen days. He fasted for twenty-eight days.
The flesh waned from his thighs and cheeks.
Feverish dreams flickered from his enlarged eyes, long nails grew slowly on his parched
fingers and a dry, shaggy beard grew on his chin.
His glance turned to ice when he encountered women; his mouth twitched with
contempt, when he walked through a city of nicely dressed people.
He saw merchants trading, princes hunting, mourners wailing for their dead, whores
offering themselves, physicians trying to help the sick, priests determining the most
suitable day for seeding, lovers loving,
mothers nursing their children--and all of this was not worthy of one look from his
eye, it all lied, it all stank, it all stank of lies, it all pretended to be
meaningful and joyful and beautiful, and it all was just concealed putrefaction.
The world tasted bitter. Life was torture.
A goal stood before Siddhartha, a single goal: to become empty, empty of thirst,
empty of wishing, empty of dreams, empty of joy and sorrow.
Dead to himself, not to be a self any more, to find tranquility with an emptied heard,
to be open to miracles in unselfish thoughts, that was his goal.
Once all of my self was overcome and had died, once every desire and every urge was
silent in the heart, then the ultimate part of me had to awake, the innermost of my
being, which is no longer my self, the great secret.
Silently, Siddhartha exposed himself to burning rays of the sun directly above,
glowing with pain, glowing with thirst, and stood there, until he neither felt any pain
nor thirst any more.
Silently, he stood there in the rainy season, from his hair the water was
dripping over freezing shoulders, over freezing hips and legs, and the penitent
stood there, until he could not feel the
cold in his shoulders and legs any more, until they were silent, until they were
Silently, he cowered in the thorny bushes, blood dripped from the burning skin, from
festering wounds dripped pus, and Siddhartha stayed rigidly, stayed
motionless, until no blood flowed any more,
until nothing stung any more, until nothing burned any more.
Siddhartha sat upright and learned to breathe sparingly, learned to get along
with only few breathes, learned to stop breathing.
He learned, beginning with the breath, to calm the beat of his heart, leaned to
reduce the beats of his heart, until they were only a few and almost none.
Instructed by the oldest if the Samanas, Siddhartha practised self-denial, practised
meditation, according to a new Samana rules.
A heron flew over the bamboo forest--and Siddhartha accepted the heron into his
soul, flew over forest and mountains, was a heron, ate fish, felt the pangs of a
heron's hunger, spoke the heron's croak, died a heron's death.
A dead jackal was lying on the sandy bank, and Siddhartha's soul slipped inside the
body, was the dead jackal, lay on the banks, got bloated, stank, decayed, was
dismembered by hyaenas, was skinned by
vultures, turned into a skeleton, turned to dust, was blown across the fields.
And Siddhartha's soul returned, had died, had decayed, was scattered as dust, had
tasted the gloomy intoxication of the cycle, awaited in new thirst like a hunter
in the gap, where he could escape from the
cycle, where the end of the causes, where an eternity without suffering began.
He killed his senses, he killed his memory, he slipped out of his self into thousands
of other forms, was an animal, was carrion, was stone, was wood, was water, and awoke
every time to find his old self again, sun
shone or moon, was his self again, turned round in the cycle, felt thirst, overcame
the thirst, felt new thirst.
Siddhartha learned a lot when he was with the Samanas, many ways leading away from
the self he learned to go.
He went the way of self-denial by means of pain, through voluntarily suffering and
overcoming pain, hunger, thirst, tiredness.
He went the way of self-denial by means of meditation, through imagining the mind to
be void of all conceptions.
These and other ways he learned to go, a thousand times he left his self, for hours
and days he remained in the non-self.
But though the ways led away from the self, their end nevertheless always led back to
the self.
Though Siddhartha fled from the self a thousand times, stayed in nothingness,
stayed in the animal, in the stone, the return was inevitable, inescapable was the
hour, when he found himself back in the
sunshine or in the moonlight, in the shade or in the rain, and was once again his self
and Siddhartha, and again felt the agony of the cycle which had been forced upon him.
By his side lived Govinda, his shadow, walked the same paths, undertook the same
efforts. They rarely spoke to one another, than the
service and the exercises required.
Occasionally the two of them went through the villages, to beg for food for
themselves and their teachers.
"How do you think, Govinda," Siddhartha spoke one day while begging this way, "how
do you think did we progress? Did we reach any goals?"
Govinda answered: "We have learned, and we'll continue learning.
You'll be a great Samana, Siddhartha. Quickly, you've learned every exercise,
often the old Samanas have admired you.
One day, you'll be a holy man, oh Siddhartha."
Quoth Siddhartha: "I can't help but feel that it is not like this, my friend.
What I've learned, being among the Samanas, up to this day, this, oh Govinda, I could
have learned more quickly and by simpler means.
In every tavern of that part of a town where the whorehouses are, my friend, among
carters and gamblers I could have learned it."
Quoth Govinda: "Siddhartha is putting me on.
How could you have learned meditation, holding your breath, insensitivity against
hunger and pain there among these wretched people?"
And Siddhartha said quietly, as if he was talking to himself: "What is meditation?
What is leaving one's body? What is fasting?
What is holding one's breath?
It is fleeing from the self, it is a short escape of the agony of being a self, it is
a short numbing of the senses against the pain and the pointlessness of life.
The same escape, the same short numbing is what the driver of an ox-cart finds in the
inn, drinking a few bowls of rice-wine or fermented coconut-milk.
Then he won't feel his self any more, then he won't feel the pains of life any more,
then he finds a short numbing of the senses.
When he falls asleep over his bowl of rice- wine, he'll find the same what Siddhartha
and Govinda find when they escape their bodies through long exercises, staying in
the non-self.
This is how it is, oh Govinda." Quoth Govinda: "You say so, oh friend, and
yet you know that Siddhartha is no driver of an ox-cart and a Samana is no drunkard.
It's true that a drinker numbs his senses, it's true that he briefly escapes and
rests, but he'll return from the delusion, finds everything to be unchanged, has not
become wiser, has gathered no
enlightenment,--has not risen several steps."
And Siddhartha spoke with a smile: "I do not know, I've never been a drunkard.
But that I, Siddhartha, find only a short numbing of the senses in my exercises and
meditations and that I am just as far removed from wisdom, from salvation, as a
child in the mother's womb, this I know, oh Govinda, this I know."
And once again, another time, when Siddhartha left the forest together with
Govinda, to beg for some food in the village for their brothers and teachers,
Siddhartha began to speak and said: "What
now, oh Govinda, might we be on the right path?
Might we get closer to enlightenment? Might we get closer to salvation?
Or do we perhaps live in a circle-- we, who have thought we were escaping the cycle?"
Quoth Govinda: "We have learned a lot, Siddhartha, there is still much to learn.
We are not going around in circles, we are moving up, the circle is a spiral, we have
already ascended many a level."
Siddhartha answered: "How old, would you think, is our oldest Samana, our venerable
teacher?" Quoth Govinda: "Our oldest one might be
about sixty years of age."
And Siddhartha: "He has lived for sixty years and has not reached the nirvana.
He'll turn seventy and eighty, and you and me, we will grow just as old and will do
our exercises, and will fast, and will meditate.
But we will not reach the nirvana, he won't and we won't.
Oh Govinda, I believe out of all the Samanas out there, perhaps not a single
one, not a single one, will reach the nirvana.
We find comfort, we find numbness, we learn feats, to deceive others.
But the most important thing, the path of paths, we will not find."
"If you only," spoke Govinda, "wouldn't speak such terrible words, Siddhartha!
How could it be that among so many learned men, among so many Brahmans, among so many
austere and venerable Samanas, among so many who are searching, so many who are
eagerly trying, so many holy men, no one will find the path of paths?"
But Siddhartha said in a voice which contained just as much sadness as mockery,
with a quiet, a slightly sad, a slightly mocking voice: "Soon, Govinda, your friend
will leave the path of the Samanas, he has walked along your side for so long.
I'm suffering of thirst, oh Govinda, and on this long path of a Samana, my thirst has
remained as strong as ever.
I always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions.
I have asked the Brahmans, year after year, and I have asked the holy Vedas, year after
year, and I have asked the devote Samanas, year after year.
Perhaps, oh Govinda, it had been just as well, had been just as smart and just as
profitable, if I had asked the hornbill- bird or the chimpanzee.
It took me a long time and am not finished learning this yet, oh Govinda: that there
is nothing to be learned! There is indeed no such thing, so I
believe, as what we refer to as `learning'.
There is, oh my friend, just one knowledge, this is everywhere, this is Atman, this is
within me and within you and within every creature.
And so I'm starting to believe that this knowledge has no worser enemy than the
desire to know it, than learning."
At this, Govinda stopped on the path, rose his hands, and spoke: "If you, Siddhartha,
only would not bother your friend with this kind of talk!
Truly, you words stir up fear in my heart.
And just consider: what would become of the sanctity of prayer, what of the
venerability of the Brahmans' caste, what of the holiness of the Samanas, if it was
as you say, if there was no learning?!
What, oh Siddhartha, what would then become of all of this what is holy, what is
precious, what is venerable on earth?!" And Govinda mumbled a verse to himself, a
verse from an Upanishad:
He who ponderingly, of a purified spirit, loses himself in the meditation of Atman,
unexpressable by words is his blissfulness of his heart.
But Siddhartha remained silent.
He thought about the words which Govinda had said to him and thought the words
through to their end.
Yes, he thought, standing there with his head low, what would remain of all that
which seemed to us to be holy? What remains?
What can stand the test?
And he shook his head.
At one time, when the two young men had lived among the Samanas for about three
years and had shared their exercises, some news, a rumour, a myth reached them after
being retold many times: A man had
appeared, Gotama by name, the exalted one, the Buddha, he had overcome the suffering
of the world in himself and had halted the cycle of rebirths.
He was said to wander through the land, teaching, surrounded by disciples, without
possession, without home, without a wife, in the yellow cloak of an ascetic, but with
a cheerful brow, a man of bliss, and
Brahmans and princes would bow down before him and would become his students.
This myth, this rumour, this legend resounded, its fragrants rose up, here and
there; in the towns, the Brahmans spoke of it and in the forest, the Samanas; again
and again, the name of Gotama, the Buddha
reached the ears of the young men, with good and with bad talk, with praise and
with defamation.
It was as if the plague had broken out in a country and news had been spreading around
that in one or another place there was a man, a wise man, a knowledgeable one, whose
word and breath was enough to heal everyone
who had been infected with the pestilence, and as such news would go through the land
and everyone would talk about it, many would believe, many would doubt, but many
would get on their way as soon as possible,
to seek the wise man, the helper, just like this this myth ran through the land, that
fragrant myth of Gotama, the Buddha, the wise man of the family of Sakya.
He possessed, so the believers said, the highest enlightenment, he remembered his
previous lives, he had reached the nirvana and never returned into the cycle, was
never again submerged in the murky river of physical forms.
Many wonderful and unbelievable things were reported of him, he had performed miracles,
had overcome the devil, had spoken to the gods.
But his enemies and disbelievers said, this Gotama was a vain seducer, he would spent
his days in luxury, scorned the offerings, was without learning, and knew neither
exercises nor self-castigation.
The myth of Buddha sounded sweet. The scent of magic flowed from these
After all, the world was sick, life was hard to bear--and behold, here a source
seemed to spring forth, here a messenger seemed to call out, comforting, mild, full
of noble promises.
Everywhere where the rumour of Buddha was heard, everywhere in the lands of India,
the young men listened up, felt a longing, felt hope, and among the Brahmans' sons of
the towns and villages every pilgrim and
stranger was welcome, when he brought news of him, the exalted one, the Sakyamuni.
The myth had also reached the Samanas in the forest, and also Siddhartha, and also
Govinda, slowly, drop by drop, every drop laden with hope, every drop laden with
They rarely talked about it, because the oldest one of the Samanas did not like this
He had heard that this alleged Buddha used to be an ascetic before and had lived in
the forest, but had then turned back to luxury and worldly pleasures, and he had no
high opinion of this Gotama.
"Oh Siddhartha," Govinda spoke one day to his friend.
"Today, I was in the village, and a Brahman invited me into his house, and in his
house, there was the son of a Brahman from Magadha, who has seen the Buddha with his
own eyes and has heard him teach.
Verily, this made my chest ache when I breathed, and thought to myself: If only I
would too, if only we both would too, Siddhartha and me, live to see the hour
when we will hear the teachings from the mouth of this perfected man!
Speak, friend, wouldn't we want to go there too and listen to the teachings from the
Buddha's mouth?"
Quoth Siddhartha: "Always, oh Govinda, I had thought, Govinda would stay with the
Samanas, always I had believed his goal was to live to be sixty and seventy years of
age and to keep on practising those feats and exercises, which are becoming a Samana.
But behold, I had not known Govinda well enough, I knew little of his heart.
So now you, my faithful friend, want to take a new path and go there, where the
Buddha spreads his teachings." Quoth Govinda: "You're mocking me.
Mock me if you like, Siddhartha!
But have you not also developed a desire, an eagerness, to hear these teachings?
And have you not at one time said to me, you would not walk the path of the Samanas
for much longer?"
At this, Siddhartha laughed in his very own manner, in which his voice assumed a touch
of sadness and a touch of mockery, and said: "Well, Govinda, you've spoken well,
you've remembered correctly.
If you only remembered the other thing as well, you've heard from me, which is that I
have grown distrustful and tired against teachings and learning, and that my faith
in words, which are brought to us by teachers, is small.
But let's do it, my dear, I am willing to listen to these teachings--though in my
heart I believe that we've already tasted the best fruit of these teachings."
Quoth Govinda: "Your willingness delights my heart.
But tell me, how should this be possible?
How should the Gotama's teachings, even before we have heard them, have already
revealed their best fruit to us?" Quoth Siddhartha: "Let us eat this fruit
and wait for the rest, oh Govinda!
But this fruit, which we already now received thanks to the Gotama, consisted in
him calling us away from the Samanas!
Whether he has also other and better things to give us, oh friend, let us await with
calm hearts."
On this very same day, Siddhartha informed the oldest one of the Samanas of his
decision, that he wanted to leave him.
He informed the oldest one with all the courtesy and modesty becoming to a younger
one and a student.
But the Samana became angry, because the two young men wanted to leave him, and
talked loudly and used crude swearwords. Govinda was startled and became
But Siddhartha put his mouth close to Govinda's ear and whispered to him: "Now,
I want to show the old man that I've learned something from him."
Positioning himself closely in front of the Samana, with a concentrated soul, he
captured the old man's glance with his glances, deprived him of his power, made
him mute, took away his free will, subdued
him under his own will, commanded him, to do silently, whatever he demanded him to
The old man became mute, his eyes became motionless, his will was paralysed, his
arms were hanging down; without power, he had fallen victim to Siddhartha's spell.
But Siddhartha's thoughts brought the Samana under their control, he had to carry
out, what they commanded.
And thus, the old man made several bows, performed gestures of blessing, spoke
stammeringly a godly wish for a good journey.
And the young men returned the bows with thanks, returned the wish, went on their
way with salutations.
On the way, Govinda said: "Oh Siddhartha, you have learned more from the Samanas than
I knew. It is hard, it is very hard to cast a spell
on an old Samana.
Truly, if you had stayed there, you would soon have learned to walk on water."
"I do not seek to walk on water," said Siddhartha.
"Let old Samanas be content with such feats!"
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse CHAPTER 3.
In the town of Savathi, every child knew the name of the exalted Buddha, and every
house was prepared to fill the alms-dish of Gotama's disciples, the silently begging
Near the town was Gotama's favourite place to stay, the grove of Jetavana, which the
rich merchant Anathapindika, an obedient worshipper of the exalted one, had given
him and his people for a gift.
All tales and answers, which the two young ascetics had received in their search for
Gotama's abode, had pointed them towards this area.
And arriving at Savathi, in the very first house, before the door of which they
stopped to beg, food has been offered to them, and they accepted the food, and
Siddhartha asked the woman, who handed them the food:
"We would like to know, oh charitable one, where the Buddha dwells, the most venerable
one, for we are two Samanas from the forest and have come, to see him, the perfected
one, and to hear the teachings from his mouth."
Quoth the woman: "Here, you have truly come to the right place, you Samanas from
the forest.
You should know, in Jetavana, in the garden of Anathapindika is where the exalted one
There you pilgrims shall spent the night, for there is enough space for the
innumerable, who flock here, to hear the teachings from his mouth."
This made Govinda happy, and full of joy he exclaimed: "Well so, thus we have reached
our destination, and our path has come to an end!
But tell us, oh mother of the pilgrims, do you know him, the Buddha, have you seen him
with your own eyes?" Quoth the woman: "Many times I have seen
him, the exalted one.
On many days, I have seen him, walking through the alleys in silence, wearing his
yellow cloak, presenting his alms-dish in silence at the doors of the houses, leaving
with a filled dish."
Delightedly, Govinda listened and wanted to ask and hear much more.
But Siddhartha urged him to walk on.
They thanked and left and hardly had to ask for directions, for rather many pilgrims
and monks as well from Gotama's community were on their way to the Jetavana.
And since they reached it at night, there were constant arrivals, shouts, and talk of
those who sought shelter and got it.
The two Samanas, accustomed to life in the forest, found quickly and without making
any noise a place to stay and rested there until the morning.
At sunrise, they saw with astonishment what a large crowd of believers and curious
people had spent the night here.
On all paths of the marvellous grove, monks walked in yellow robes, under the trees
they sat here and there, in deep contemplation--or in a conversation about
spiritual matters, the shady gardens looked
like a city, full of people, bustling like bees.
The majority of the monks went out with their alms-dish, to collect food in town
for their lunch, the only meal of the day.
The Buddha himself, the enlightened one, was also in the habit of taking this walk
to beg in the morning.
Siddhartha saw him, and he instantly recognised him, as if a god had pointed him
out to him.
He saw him, a simple man in a yellow robe, bearing the alms-dish in his hand, walking
silently. "Look here!"
Siddhartha said quietly to Govinda.
"This one is the Buddha." Attentively, Govinda looked at the monk in
the yellow robe, who seemed to be in no way different from the hundreds of other monks.
And soon, Govinda also realized: This is the one.
And they followed him and observed him.
The Buddha went on his way, modestly and deep in his thoughts, his calm face was
neither happy nor sad, it seemed to smile quietly and inwardly.
With a hidden smile, quiet, calm, somewhat resembling a healthy child, the Buddha
walked, wore the robe and placed his feet just as all of his monks did, according to
a precise rule.
But his face and his walk, his quietly lowered glance, his quietly dangling hand
and even every finger of his quietly dangling hand expressed peace, expressed
perfection, did not search, did not
imitate, breathed softly in an unwhithering calm, in an unwhithering light, an
untouchable peace.
Thus Gotama walked towards the town, to collect alms, and the two Samanas
recognised him solely by the perfection of his calm, by the quietness of his
appearance, in which there was no
searching, no desire, no imitation, no effort to be seen, only light and peace.
"Today, we'll hear the teachings from his mouth." said Govinda.
Siddhartha did not answer.
He felt little curiosity for the teachings, he did not believe that they would teach
him anything new, but he had, just as Govinda had, heard the contents of this
Buddha's teachings again and again, though
these reports only represented second- or third-hand information.
But attentively he looked at Gotama's head, his shoulders, his feet, his quietly
dangling hand, and it seemed to him as if every joint of every finger of this hand
was of these teachings, spoke of, breathed
of, exhaled the fragrant of, glistened of truth.
This man, this Buddha was truthful down to the gesture of his last finger.
This man was holy. Never before, Siddhartha had venerated a
person so much, never before he had loved a person as much as this one.
They both followed the Buddha until they reached the town and then returned in
silence, for they themselves intended to abstain from on this day.
They saw Gotama returning--what he ate could not even have satisfied a bird's
appetite, and they saw him retiring into the shade of the mango-trees.
But in the evening, when the heat cooled down and everyone in the camp started to
bustle about and gathered around, they heard the Buddha teaching.
They heard his voice, and it was also perfected, was of perfect calmness, was
full of peace.
Gotama taught the teachings of suffering, of the origin of suffering, of the way to
relieve suffering. Calmly and clearly his quiet speech flowed
Suffering was life, full of suffering was the world, but salvation from suffering had
been found: salvation was obtained by him who would walk the path of the Buddha.
With a soft, yet firm voice the exalted one spoke, taught the four main doctrines,
taught the eightfold path, patiently he went the usual path of the teachings, of
the examples, of the repetitions, brightly
and quietly his voice hovered over the listeners, like a light, like a starry sky.
When the Buddha--night had already fallen-- ended his speech, many a pilgrim stepped
forward and asked to accepted into the community, sought refuge in the teachings.
And Gotama accepted them by speaking: "You have heard the teachings well, it has come
to you well. Thus join us and walk in holiness, to put
an end to all suffering."
Behold, then Govinda, the shy one, also stepped forward and spoke: "I also take my
refuge in the exalted one and his teachings," and he asked to accepted into
the community of his disciples and was accepted.
Right afterwards, when the Buddha had retired for the night, Govinda turned to
Siddhartha and spoke eagerly: "Siddhartha, it is not my place to scold you.
We have both heard the exalted one, we have both perceived the teachings.
Govinda has heard the teachings, he has taken refuge in it.
But you, my honoured friend, don't you also want to walk the path of salvation?
Would you want to hesitate, do you want to wait any longer?"
Siddhartha awakened as if he had been asleep, when he heard Govinda's words.
For a long tome, he looked into Govinda's face.
Then he spoke quietly, in a voice without mockery: "Govinda, my friend, now you have
taken this step, now you have chosen this path.
Always, oh Govinda, you've been my friend, you've always walked one step behind me.
Often I have thought: Won't Govinda for once also take a step by himself, without
me, out of his own soul?
Behold, now you've turned into a man and are choosing your path for yourself.
I wish that you would go it up to its end, oh my friend, that you shall find
Govinda, not completely understanding it yet, repeated his question in an impatient
tone: "Speak up, I beg you, my dear!
Tell me, since it could not be any other way, that you also, my learned friend, will
take your refuge with the exalted Buddha!"
Siddhartha placed his hand on Govinda's shoulder: "You failed to hear my good wish
for you, oh Govinda.
I'm repeating it: I wish that you would go this path up to its end, that you shall
find salvation!"
In this moment, Govinda realized that his friend had left him, and he started to
weep. "Siddhartha!" he exclaimed lamentingly.
Siddhartha kindly spoke to him: "Don't forget, Govinda, that you are now one of
the Samanas of the Buddha!
You have renounced your home and your parents, renounced your birth and
possessions, renounced your free will, renounced all friendship.
This is what the teachings require, this is what the exalted one wants.
This is what you wanted for yourself. Tomorrow, oh Govinda, I'll leave you."
For a long time, the friends continued walking in the grove; for a long time, they
lay there and found no sleep.
And over and over again, Govinda urged his friend, he should tell him why he would not
want to seek refuge in Gotama's teachings, what fault he would find in these
But Siddhartha turned him away every time and said: "Be content, Govinda!
Very good are the teachings of the exalted one, how could I find a fault in them?"
Very early in the morning, a follower of Buddha, one of his oldest monks, went
through the garden and called all those to him who had as novices taken their refuge
in the teachings, to dress them up in the
yellow robe and to instruct them in the first teachings and duties of their
Then Govinda broke loose, embraced once again his childhood friend and left with
the novices. But Siddhartha walked through the grove,
lost in thought.
Then he happened to meet Gotama, the exalted one, and when he greeted him with
respect and the Buddha's glance was so full of kindness and calm, the young man
summoned his courage and asked the
venerable one for the permission to talk to him.
Silently the exalted one nodded his approval.
Quoth Siddhartha: "Yesterday, oh exalted one, I had been privileged to hear your
wondrous teachings. Together with my friend, I had come from
afar, to hear your teachings.
And now my friend is going to stay with your people, he has taken his refuge with
you. But I will again start on my pilgrimage."
"As you please," the venerable one spoke politely.
"Too bold is my speech," Siddhartha continued, "but I do not want to leave the
exalted one without having honestly told him my thoughts.
Does it please the venerable one to listen to me for one moment longer?"
Silently, the Buddha nodded his approval.
Quoth Siddhartha: "One thing, oh most venerable one, I have admired in your
teachings most of all.
Everything in your teachings is perfectly clear, is proven; you are presenting the
world as a perfect chain, a chain which is never and nowhere broken, an eternal chain
the links of which are causes and effects.
Never before, this has been seen so clearly; never before, this has been
presented so irrefutably; truly, the heart of every Brahman has to beat stronger with
love, once he has seen the world through
your teachings perfectly connected, without gaps, clear as a crystal, not depending on
chance, not depending on gods.
Whether it may be good or bad, whether living according to it would be suffering
or joy, I do not wish to discuss, possibly this is not essential--but the uniformity
of the world, that everything which happens
is connected, that the great and the small things are all encompassed by the same
forces of time, by the same law of causes, of coming into being and of dying, this is
what shines brightly out of your exalted teachings, oh perfected one.
But according to your very own teachings, this unity and necessary sequence of all
things is nevertheless broken in one place, through a small gap, this world of unity is
invaded by something alien, something new,
something which had not been there before, and which cannot be demonstrated and cannot
be proven: these are your teachings of overcoming the world, of salvation.
But with this small gap, with this small breach, the entire eternal and uniform law
of the world is breaking apart again and becomes void.
Please forgive me for expressing this objection."
Quietly, Gotama had listened to him, unmoved.
Now he spoke, the perfected one, with his kind, with his polite and clear voice:
"You've heard the teachings, oh son of a Brahman, and good for you that you've
thought about it thus deeply.
You've found a gap in it, an error. You should think about this further.
But be warned, oh seeker of knowledge, of the thicket of opinions and of arguing
about words.
There is nothing to opinions, they may be beautiful or ugly, smart or foolish,
everyone can support them or discard them.
But the teachings, you've heard from me, are no opinion, and their goal is not to
explain the world to those who seek knowledge.
They have a different goal; their goal is salvation from suffering.
This is what Gotama teaches, nothing else." "I wish that you, oh exalted one, would not
be angry with me," said the young man.
"I have not spoken to you like this to argue with you, to argue about words.
You are truly right, there is little to opinions.
But let me say this one more thing: I have not doubted in you for a single moment.
I have not doubted for a single moment that you are Buddha, that you have reached the
goal, the highest goal towards which so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of
Brahmans are on their way.
You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your
own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through
realizations, through enlightenment.
It has not come to you by means of teachings!
And--thus is my thought, oh exalted one,-- nobody will obtain salvation by means of
You will not be able to convey and say to anybody, oh venerable one, in words and
through teachings what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!
The teachings of the enlightened Buddha contain much, it teaches many to live
righteously, to avoid evil.
But there is one thing which these so clear, these so venerable teachings do not
contain: they do not contain the mystery of what the exalted one has experienced for
himself, he alone among hundreds of thousands.
This is what I have thought and realized, when I have heard the teachings.
This is why I am continuing my travels--not to seek other, better teachings, for I know
there are none, but to depart from all teachings and all teachers and to reach my
goal by myself or to die.
But often, I'll think of this day, oh exalted one, and of this hour, when my eyes
beheld a holy man."
The Buddha's eyes quietly looked to the ground; quietly, in perfect equanimity his
inscrutable face was smiling.
"I wish," the venerable one spoke slowly, "that your thoughts shall not be in error,
that you shall reach the goal!
But tell me: Have you seen the multitude of my Samanas, my many brothers, who have
taken refuge in the teachings?
And do you believe, oh stranger, oh Samana, do you believe that it would be better for
them all the abandon the teachings and to return into the life the world and of
"Far is such a thought from my mind," exclaimed Siddhartha.
"I wish that they shall all stay with the teachings, that they shall reach their
It is not my place to judge another person's life.
Only for myself, for myself alone, I must decide, I must chose, I must refuse.
Salvation from the self is what we Samanas search for, oh exalted one.
If I merely were one of your disciples, oh venerable one, I'd fear that it might
happen to me that only seemingly, only deceptively my self would be calm and be
redeemed, but that in truth it would live
on and grow, for then I had replaced my self with the teachings, my duty to follow
you, my love for you, and the community of the monks!"
With half of a smile, with an unwavering openness and kindness, Gotama looked into
the stranger's eyes and bid him to leave with a hardly noticeable gesture.
"You are wise, oh Samana.", the venerable one spoke.
"You know how to talk wisely, my friend. Be aware of too much wisdom!"
The Buddha turned away, and his glance and half of a smile remained forever etched in
Siddhartha's memory.
I have never before seen a person glance and smile, sit and walk this way, he
thought; truly, I wish to be able to glance and smile, sit and walk this way, too, thus
free, thus venerable, thus concealed, thus open, thus child-like and mysterious.
Truly, only a person who has succeeded in reaching the innermost part of his self
would glance and walk this way.
Well so, I also will seek to reach the innermost part of my self.
I saw a man, Siddhartha thought, a single man, before whom I would have to lower my
I do not want to lower my glance before any other, not before any other.
No teachings will entice me any more, since this man's teachings have not enticed me.
I am deprived by the Buddha, thought Siddhartha, I am deprived, and even more he
has given to me.
He has deprived me of my friend, the one who had believed in me and now believes in
him, who had been my shadow and is now Gotama's shadow.
But he has given me Siddhartha, myself.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse CHAPTER 4.
When Siddhartha left the grove, where the Buddha, the perfected one, stayed behind,
where Govinda stayed behind, then he felt that in this grove his past life also
stayed behind and parted from him.
He pondered about this sensation, which filled him completely, as he was slowly
walking along.
He pondered deeply, like diving into a deep water he let himself sink down to the
ground of the sensation, down to the place where the causes lie, because to identify
the causes, so it seemed to him, is the
very essence of thinking, and by this alone sensations turn into realizations and are
not lost, but become entities and start to emit like rays of light what is inside of
Slowly walking along, Siddhartha pondered. He realized that he was no youth any more,
but had turned into a man.
He realized that one thing had left him, as a snake is left by its old skin, that one
thing no longer existed in him, which had accompanied him throughout his youth and
used to be a part of him: the wish to have teachers and to listen to teachings.
He had also left the last teacher who had appeared on his path, even him, the highest
and wisest teacher, the most holy one, Buddha, he had left him, had to part with
him, was not able to accept his teachings.
Slower, he walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: "But what is this, what you
have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers, and what they, who have
taught you much, were still unable to teach you?"
And he found: "It was the self, the purpose and essence of which I sought to
It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which I sought to overcome.
But I was not able to overcome it, could only deceive it, could only flee from it,
only hide from it.
Truly, no thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own
self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being separated and isolated
from all others, of me being Siddhartha!
And there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about
Having been pondering while slowly walking along, he now stopped as these thoughts
caught hold of him, and right away another thought sprang forth from these, a new
thought, which was: "That I know nothing
about myself, that Siddhartha has remained thus alien and unknown to me, stems from
one cause, a single cause: I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing from myself!
I searched Atman, I searched Brahman, I was willing to to dissect my self and peel off
all of its layers, to find the core of all peels in its unknown interior, the Atman,
life, the divine part, the ultimate part.
But I have lost myself in the process."
Siddhartha opened his eyes and looked around, a smile filled his face and a
feeling of awakening from long dreams flowed through him from his head down to
his toes.
And it was not long before he walked again, walked quickly like a man who knows what he
has got to do.
"Oh," he thought, taking a deep breath, "now I would not let Siddhartha escape from
me again!
No longer, I want to begin my thoughts and my life with Atman and with the suffering
of the world.
I do not want to kill and dissect myself any longer, to find a secret behind the
Neither Yoga-Veda shall teach me any more, nor Atharva-Veda, nor the ascetics, nor any
kind of teachings.
I want to learn from myself, want to be my student, want to get to know myself, the
secret of Siddhartha." He looked around, as if he was seeing the
world for the first time.
Beautiful was the world, colourful was the world, strange and mysterious was the
Here was blue, here was yellow, here was green, the sky and the river flowed, the
forest and the mountains were rigid, all of it was beautiful, all of it was mysterious
and magical, and in its midst was he,
Siddhartha, the awakening one, on the path to himself.
All of this, all this yellow and blue, river and forest, entered Siddhartha for
the first time through the eyes, was no longer a spell of Mara, was no longer the
veil of Maya, was no longer a pointless and
coincidental diversity of mere appearances, despicable to the deeply thinking Brahman,
who scorns diversity, who seeks unity.
Blue was blue, river was river, and if also in the blue and the river, in Siddhartha,
the singular and divine lived hidden, so it was still that very divinity's way and
purpose, to be here yellow, here blue,
there sky, there forest, and here Siddhartha.
The purpose and the essential properties were not somewhere behind the things, they
were in them, in everything.
"How deaf and stupid have I been!" he thought, walking swiftly along.
"When someone reads a text, wants to discover its meaning, he will not scorn the
symbols and letters and call them deceptions, coincidence, and worthless
hull, but he will read them, he will study and love them, letter by letter.
But I, who wanted to read the book of the world and the book of my own being, I have,
for the sake of a meaning I had anticipated before I read, scorned the symbols and
letters, I called the visible world a
deception, called my eyes and my tongue coincidental and worthless forms without
No, this is over, I have awakened, I have indeed awakened and have not been born
before this very day."
In thinking this thoughts, Siddhartha stopped once again, suddenly, as if there
was a snake lying in front of him on the path.
Because suddenly, he had also become aware of this: He, who was indeed like someone
who had just woken up or like a new-born baby, he had to start his life anew and
start again at the very beginning.
When he had left in this very morning from the grove Jetavana, the grove of that
exalted one, already awakening, already on the path towards himself, he he had every
intention, regarded as natural and took for
granted, that he, after years as an ascetic, would return to his home and his
But now, only in this moment, when he stopped as if a snake was lying on his
path, he also awoke to this realization: "But I am no longer the one I was, I am no
ascetic any more, I am not a priest any more, I am no Brahman any more.
Whatever should I do at home and at my father's place?
Make offerings? Practise meditation?
But all this is over, all of this is no longer alongside my path."
Motionless, Siddhartha remained standing there, and for the time of one moment and
breath, his heart felt cold, he felt a cold in his chest, as a small animal, a bird or
a rabbit, would when seeing how alone he was.
For many years, he had been without home and had felt nothing.
Now, he felt it.
Still, even in the deepest meditation, he had been his father's son, had been a
Brahman, of a high caste, a cleric. Now, he was nothing but Siddhartha, the
awoken one, nothing else was left.
Deeply, he inhaled, and for a moment, he felt cold and shivered.
Nobody was thus alone as he was.
There was no nobleman who did not belong to the noblemen, no worker that did not belong
to the workers, and found refuge with them, shared their life, spoke their language.
No Brahman, who would not be regarded as Brahmans and lived with them, no ascetic
who would not find his refuge in the caste of the Samanas, and even the most forlorn
hermit in the forest was not just one and
alone, he was also surrounded by a place he belonged to, he also belonged to a caste,
in which he was at home.
Govinda had become a monk, and a thousand monks were his brothers, wore the same robe
as he, believed in his faith, spoke his language.
But he, Siddhartha, where did he belong to?
With whom would he share his life? Whose language would he speak?
Out of this moment, when the world melted away all around him, when he stood alone
like a star in the sky, out of this moment of a cold and despair, Siddhartha emerged,
more a self than before, more firmly concentrated.
He felt: This had been the last tremor of the awakening, the last struggle of this
And it was not long until he walked again in long strides, started to proceed swiftly
and impatiently, heading no longer for home, no longer to his father, no longer
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse CHAPTER 5.
Siddhartha learned something new on every step of his path, for the world was
transformed, and his heart was enchanted.
He saw the sun rising over the mountains with their forests and setting over the
distant beach with its palm-trees.
At night, he saw the stars in the sky in their fixed positions and the crescent of
the moon floating like a boat in the blue.
He saw trees, stars, animals, clouds, rainbows, rocks, herbs, flowers, stream and
river, the glistening dew in the bushes in the morning, distant hight mountains which
were blue and pale, birds sang and bees,
wind silverishly blew through the rice- field.
All of this, a thousand-fold and colourful, had always been there, always the sun and
the moon had shone, always rivers had roared and bees had buzzed, but in former
times all of this had been nothing more to
Siddhartha than a fleeting, deceptive veil before his eyes, looked upon in distrust,
destined to be penetrated and destroyed by thought, since it was not the essential
existence, since this essence lay beyond, on the other side of, the visible.
But now, his liberated eyes stayed on this side, he saw and became aware of the
visible, sought to be at home in this world, did not search for the true essence,
did not aim at a world beyond.
Beautiful was this world, looking at it thus, without searching, thus simply, thus
Beautiful were the moon and the stars, beautiful was the stream and the banks, the
forest and the rocks, the goat and the gold-beetle, the flower and the butterfly.
Beautiful and lovely it was, thus to walk through the world, thus childlike, thus
awoken, thus open to what is near, thus without distrust.
Differently the sun burnt the head, differently the shade of the forest cooled
him down, differently the stream and the cistern, the pumpkin and the banana tasted.
Short were the days, short the nights, every hour sped swiftly away like a sail on
the sea, and under the sail was a ship full of treasures, full of joy.
Siddhartha saw a group of apes moving through the high canopy of the forest, high
in the branches, and heard their savage, greedy song.
Siddhartha saw a male sheep following a female one and mating with her.
In a lake of reeds, he saw the pike hungrily hunting for its dinner; propelling
themselves away from it, in fear, wiggling and sparkling, the young fish jumped in
droves out of the water; the scent of
strength and passion came forcefully out of the hasty eddies of the water, which the
pike stirred up, impetuously hunting. All of this had always existed, and he had
not seen it; he had not been with it.
Now he was with it, he was part of it. Light and shadow ran through his eyes,
stars and moon ran through his heart.
On the way, Siddhartha also remembered everything he had experienced in the Garden
Jetavana, the teaching he had heard there, the divine Buddha, the farewell from
Govinda, the conversation with the exalted one.
Again he remembered his own words, he had spoken to the exalted one, every word, and
with astonishment he became aware of the fact that there he had said things which he
had not really known yet at this time.
What he had said to Gotama: his, the Buddha's, treasure and secret was not the
teachings, but the unexpressable and not teachable, which he had experienced in the
hour of his enlightenment--it was nothing
but this very thing which he had now gone to experience, what he now began to
experience. Now, he had to experience his self.
It is true that he had already known for a long time that his self was Atman, in its
essence bearing the same eternal characteristics as Brahman.
But never, he had really found this self, because he had wanted to capture it in the
net of thought.
With the body definitely not being the self, and not the spectacle of the senses,
so it also was not the thought, not the rational mind, not the learned wisdom, not
the learned ability to draw conclusions and
to develop previous thoughts in to new ones.
No, this world of thought was also still on this side, and nothing could be achieved by
killing the random self of the senses, if the random self of thoughts and learned
knowledge was fattened on the other hand.
Both, the thoughts as well as the senses, were pretty things, the ultimate meaning
was hidden behind both of them, both had to be listened to, both had to be played with,
both neither had to be scorned nor
overestimated, from both the secret voices of the innermost truth had to be
attentively perceived.
He wanted to strive for nothing, except for what the voice commanded him to strive for,
dwell on nothing, except where the voice would advise him to do so.
Why had Gotama, at that time, in the hour of all hours, sat down under the bo-tree,
where the enlightenment hit him?
He had heard a voice, a voice in his own heart, which had commanded him to seek rest
under this tree, and he had neither preferred self-castigation, offerings,
ablutions, nor prayer, neither food nor
drink, neither sleep nor dream, he had obeyed the voice.
To obey like this, not to an external command, only to the voice, to be ready
like this, this was good, this was necessary, nothing else was necessary.
In the night when he slept in the straw hut of a ferryman by the river, Siddhartha had
a dream: Govinda was standing in front of him, dressed in the yellow robe of an
Sad was how Govinda looked like, sadly he asked: Why have you forsaken me?
At this, he embraced Govinda, wrapped his arms around him, and as he was pulling him
close to his chest and kissed him, it was not Govinda any more, but a woman, and a
full breast popped out of the woman's
dress, at which Siddhartha lay and drank, sweetly and strongly tasted the milk from
this breast.
It tasted of woman and man, of sun and forest, of animal and flower, of every
fruit, of every joyful desire.
It intoxicated him and rendered him unconscious.--When Siddhartha woke up, the
pale river shimmered through the door of the hut, and in the forest, a dark call of
an owl resounded deeply and pleasantly.
When the day began, Siddhartha asked his host, the ferryman, to get him across the
The ferryman got him across the river on his bamboo-raft, the wide water shimmered
reddishly in the light of the morning. "This is a beautiful river," he said to his
"Yes," said the ferryman, "a very beautiful river, I love it more than anything.
Often I have listened to it, often I have looked into its eyes, and always I have
learned from it.
Much can be learned from a river." "I than you, my benefactor," spoke
Siddhartha, disembarking on the other side of the river.
"I have no gift I could give you for your hospitality, my dear, and also no payment
for your work. I am a man without a home, a son of a
Brahman and a Samana."
"I did see it," spoke the ferryman, "and I haven't expected any payment from you and
no gift which would be the custom for guests to bear.
You will give me the gift another time."
"Do you think so?" asked Siddhartha amusedly.
"Surely. This too, I have learned from the river:
everything is coming back!
You too, Samana, will come back. Now farewell!
Let your friendship be my reward. Commemorate me, when you'll make offerings
to the gods."
Smiling, they parted. Smiling, Siddhartha was happy about the
friendship and the kindness of the ferryman.
"He is like Govinda," he thought with a smile, "all I meet on my path are like
Govinda. All are thankful, though they are the ones
who would have a right to receive thanks.
All are submissive, all would like to be friends, like to obey, think little.
Like children are all people." At about noon, he came through a village.
In front of the mud cottages, children were rolling about in the street, were playing
with pumpkin-seeds and sea-shells, screamed and wrestled, but they all timidly fled
from the unknown Samana.
In the end of the village, the path led through a stream, and by the side of the
stream, a young woman was kneeling and washing clothes.
When Siddhartha greeted her, she lifted her head and looked up to him with a smile, so
that he saw the white in her eyes glistening.
He called out a blessing to her, as it is the custom among travellers, and asked how
far he still had to go to reach the large city.
Then she got up and came to him, beautifully her wet mouth was shimmering in
her young face.
She exchanged humorous banter with him, asked whether he had eaten already, and
whether it was true that the Samanas slept alone in the forest at night and were not
allowed to have any women with them.
While talking, she put her left foot on his right one and made a movement as a woman
does who would want to initiate that kind of sexual pleasure with a man, which the
textbooks call "climbing a tree".
Siddhartha felt his blood heating up, and since in this moment he had to think of his
dream again, he bend slightly down to the woman and kissed with his lips the brown
nipple of her breast.
Looking up, he saw her face smiling full of lust and her eyes, with contracted pupils,
begging with desire.
Siddhartha also felt desire and felt the source of his sexuality moving; but since
he had never touched a woman before, he hesitated for a moment, while his hands
were already prepared to reach out for her.
And in this moment he heard, shuddering with awe, the voice if his innermost self,
and this voice said No.
Then, all charms disappeared from the young woman's smiling face, he no longer saw
anything else but the damp glance of a female animal in heat.
Politely, he petted her cheek, turned away from her and disappeared away from the
disappointed woman with light steps into the bamboo-wood.
On this day, he reached the large city before the evening, and was happy, for he
felt the need to be among people.
For a long time, he had lived in the forests, and the straw hut of the ferryman,
in which he had slept that night, had been the first roof for a long time he has had
over his head.
Before the city, in a beautifully fenced grove, the traveller came across a small
group of servants, both male and female, carrying baskets.
In their midst, carried by four servants in an ornamental sedan-chair, sat a woman, the
mistress, on red pillows under a colourful canopy.
Siddhartha stopped at the entrance to the pleasure-garden and watched the parade, saw
the servants, the maids, the baskets, saw the sedan-chair and saw the lady in it.
Under black hair, which made to tower high on her head, he saw a very fair, very
delicate, very smart face, a brightly red mouth, like a freshly cracked fig, eyebrows
which were well tended and painted in a
high arch, smart and watchful dark eyes, a clear, tall neck rising from a green and
golden garment, resting fair hands, long and thin, with wide golden bracelets over
the wrists.
Siddhartha saw how beautiful she was, and his heart rejoiced.
He bowed deeply, when the sedan-chair came closer, and straightening up again, he
looked at the fair, charming face, read for a moment in the smart eyes with the high
arcs above, breathed in a slight fragrant, he did not know.
With a smile, the beautiful women nodded for a moment and disappeared into the
grove, and then the servant as well.
Thus I am entering this city, Siddhartha thought, with a charming omen.
He instantly felt drawn into the grove, but he thought about it, and only now he became
aware of how the servants and maids had looked at him at the entrance, how
despicable, how distrustful, how rejecting.
I am still a Samana, he thought, I am still an ascetic and beggar.
I must not remain like this, I will not be able to enter the grove like this.
And he laughed.
The next person who came along this path he asked about the grove and for the name of
the woman, and was told that this was the grove of Kamala, the famous courtesan, and
that, aside from the grove, she owned a house in the city.
Then, he entered the city. Now he had a goal.
Pursuing his goal, he allowed the city to suck him in, drifted through the flow of
the streets, stood still on the squares, rested on the stairs of stone by the river.
When the evening came, he made friends with barber's assistant, whom he had seen
working in the shade of an arch in a building, whom he found again praying in a
temple of Vishnu, whom he told about stories of Vishnu and the Lakshmi.
Among the boats by the river, he slept this night, and early in the morning, before the
first customers came into his shop, he had the barber's assistant shave his beard and
cut his hair, comb his hair and anoint it with fine oil.
Then he went to take his bath in the river.
When late in the afternoon, beautiful Kamala approached her grove in her sedan-
chair, Siddhartha was standing at the entrance, made a bow and received the
courtesan's greeting.
But that servant who walked at the very end of her train he motioned to him and asked
him to inform his mistress that a young Brahman would wish to talk to her.
After a while, the servant returned, asked him, who had been waiting, to follow him
conducted him, who was following him, without a word into a pavilion, where
Kamala was lying on a couch, and left him alone with her.
"Weren't you already standing out there yesterday, greeting me?" asked Kamala.
"It's true that I've already seen and greeted you yesterday."
"But didn't you yesterday wear a beard, and long hair, and dust in your hair?"
"You have observed well, you have seen everything.
You have seen Siddhartha, the son of a Brahman, who has left his home to become a
Samana, and who has been a Samana for three years.
But now, I have left that path and came into this city, and the first one I met,
even before I had entered the city, was you.
To say this, I have come to you, oh Kamala!
You are the first woman whom Siddhartha is not addressing with his eyes turned to the
Never again I want to turn my eyes to the ground, when I'm coming across a beautiful
woman." Kamala smiled and played with her fan of
peacocks' feathers.
And asked: "And only to tell me this, Siddhartha has come to me?"
"To tell you this and to thank you for being so beautiful.
And if it doesn't displease you, Kamala, I would like to ask you to be my friend and
teacher, for I know nothing yet of that art which you have mastered in the highest
At this, Kamala laughed aloud. "Never before this has happened to me, my
friend, that a Samana from the forest came to me and wanted to learn from me!
Never before this has happened to me, that a Samana came to me with long hair and an
old, torn loin-cloth!
Many young men come to me, and there are also sons of Brahmans among them, but they
come in beautiful clothes, they come in fine shoes, they have perfume in their hair
and money in their pouches.
This is, oh Samana, how the young men are like who come to me."
Quoth Siddhartha: "Already I am starting to learn from you.
Even yesterday, I was already learning.
I have already taken off my beard, have combed the hair, have oil in my hair.
There is little which is still missing in me, oh excellent one: fine clothes, fine
shoes, money in my pouch.
You shall know, Siddhartha has set harder goals for himself than such trifles, and he
has reached them.
How shouldn't I reach that goal, which I have set for myself yesterday: to be your
friend and to learn the joys of love from you!
You'll see that I'll learn quickly, Kamala, I have already learned harder things than
what you're supposed to teach me.
And now let's get to it: You aren't satisfied with Siddhartha as he is, with
oil in his hair, but without clothes, without shoes, without money?"
Laughing, Kamala exclaimed: "No, my dear, he doesn't satisfy me yet.
Clothes are what he must have, pretty clothes, and shoes, pretty shoes, and lots
of money in his pouch, and gifts for Kamala.
Do you know it now, Samana from the forest?
Did you mark my words?" "Yes, I have marked your words," Siddhartha
exclaimed. "How should I not mark words which are
coming from such a mouth!
Your mouth is like a freshly cracked fig, Kamala.
My mouth is red and fresh as well, it will be a suitable match for yours, you'll see.-
-But tell me, beautiful Kamala, aren't you at all afraid of the Samana from the
forest, who has come to learn how to make love?"
"Whatever for should I be afraid of a Samana, a stupid Samana from the forest,
who is coming from the jackals and doesn't even know yet what women are?"
"Oh, he's strong, the Samana, and he isn't afraid of anything.
He could force you, beautiful girl. He could kidnap you.
He could hurt you."
"No, Samana, I am not afraid of this. Did any Samana or Brahman ever fear,
someone might come and grab him and steal his learning, and his religious devotion,
and his depth of thought?
No, for they are his very own, and he would only give away from those whatever he is
willing to give and to whomever he is willing to give.
Like this it is, precisely like this it is also with Kamala and with the pleasures of
Beautiful and red is Kamala's mouth, but just try to kiss it against Kamala's will,
and you will not obtain a single drop of sweetness from it, which knows how to give
so many sweet things!
You are learning easily, Siddhartha, thus you should also learn this: love can be
obtained by begging, buying, receiving it as a gift, finding it in the street, but it
cannot be stolen.
In this, you have come up with the wrong path.
No, it would be a pity, if a pretty young man like you would want to tackle it in
such a wrong manner."
Siddhartha bowed with a smile. "It would be a pity, Kamala, you are so
right! It would be such a great pity.
No, I shall not lose a single drop of sweetness from your mouth, nor you from
So it is settled: Siddhartha will return, once he'll have have what he still lacks:
clothes, shoes, money. But speak, lovely Kamala, couldn't you
still give me one small advice?"
"An advice? Why not?
Who wouldn't like to give an advice to a poor, ignorant Samana, who is coming from
the jackals of the forest?"
"Dear Kamala, thus advise me where I should go to, that I'll find these three things
most quickly?" "Friend, many would like to know this.
You must do what you've learned and ask for money, clothes, and shoes in return.
There is no other way for a poor man to obtain money.
What might you be able to do?"
"I can think. I can wait.
I can fast." "Nothing else?"
But yes, I can also write poetry. Would you like to give me a kiss for a
poem?" "I would like to, if I'll like your poem.
What would be its title?"
Siddhartha spoke, after he had thought about it for a moment, these verses:
Into her shady grove stepped the pretty Kamala, At the grove's entrance stood the
brown Samana.
Deeply, seeing the lotus's blossom, Bowed that man, and smiling Kamala thanked.
More lovely, thought the young man, than offerings for gods, More lovely is offering
to pretty Kamala.
Kamala loudly clapped her hands, so that the golden bracelets clanged.
"Beautiful are your verses, oh brown Samana, and truly, I'm losing nothing when
I'm giving you a kiss for them."
She beckoned him with her eyes, he tilted his head so that his face touched hers and
placed his mouth on that mouth which was like a freshly cracked fig.
For a long time, Kamala kissed him, and with a deep astonishment Siddhartha felt
how she taught him, how wise she was, how she controlled him, rejected him, lured
him, and how after this first one there was
to be a long, a well ordered, well tested sequence of kisses, everyone different from
the others, he was still to receive.
Breathing deeply, he remained standing where he was, and was in this moment
astonished like a child about the cornucopia of knowledge and things worth
learning, which revealed itself before his eyes.
"Very beautiful are your verses," exclaimed Kamala, "if I was rich, I would give you
pieces of gold for them.
But it will be difficult for you to earn thus much money with verses as you need.
For you need a lot of money, if you want to be Kamala's friend."
"The way you're able to kiss, Kamala!" stammered Siddhartha.
"Yes, this I am able to do, therefore I do not lack clothes, shoes, bracelets, and all
beautiful things.
But what will become of you? Aren't you able to do anything else but
thinking, fasting, making poetry?"
"I also know the sacrificial songs," said Siddhartha, "but I do not want to sing them
any more. I also know magic spells, but I do not want
to speak them any more.
I have read the scriptures--" "Stop," Kamala interrupted him.
"You're able to read? And write?"
"Certainly, I can do this.
Many people can do this." "Most people can't.
I also can't do it. It is very good that you're able to read
and write, very good.
You will also still find use for the magic spells."
In this moment, a maid came running in and whispered a message into her mistress's
"There's a visitor for me," exclaimed Kamala.
"Hurry and get yourself away, Siddhartha, nobody may see you in here, remember this!
Tomorrow, I'll see you again."
But to the maid she gave the order to give the pious Brahman white upper garments.
Without fully understanding what was happening to him, Siddhartha found himself
being dragged away by the maid, brought into a garden-house avoiding the direct
path, being given upper garments as a gift,
led into the bushes, and urgently admonished to get himself out of the grove
as soon as possible without being seen. Contently, he did as he had been told.
Being accustomed to the forest, he managed to get out of the grove and over the hedge
without making a sound.
Contently, he returned to the city, carrying the rolled up garments under his
At the inn, where travellers stay, he positioned himself by the door, without
words he asked for food, without a word he accepted a piece of rice-cake.
Perhaps as soon as tomorrow, he thought, I will ask no one for food any more.
Suddenly, pride flared up in him. He was no Samana any more, it was no longer
becoming to him to beg.
He gave the rice-cake to a dog and remained without food.
"Simple is the life which people lead in this world here," thought Siddhartha.
"It presents no difficulties.
Everything was difficult, toilsome, and ultimately hopeless, when I was still a
Now, everything is easy, easy like that lessons in kissing, which Kamala is giving
I need clothes and money, nothing else; this a small, near goals, they won't make a
person lose any sleep."
He had already discovered Kamala's house in the city long before, there he turned up
the following day. "Things are working out well," she called
out to him.
"They are expecting you at Kamaswami's, he is the richest merchant of the city.
If he'll like you, he'll accept you into his service.
Be smart, brown Samana.
I had others tell him about you. Be polite towards him, he is very powerful.
But don't be too modest!
I do not want you to become his servant, you shall become his equal, or else I won't
be satisfied with you. Kamaswami is starting to get old and lazy.
If he'll like you, he'll entrust you with a lot."
Siddhartha thanked her and laughed, and when she found out that he had not eaten
anything yesterday and today, she sent for bread and fruits and treated him to it.
"You've been lucky," she said when they parted, "I'm opening one door after another
for you. How come?
Do you have a spell?"
Siddhartha said: "Yesterday, I told you I knew how to think, to wait, and to fast,
but you thought this was of no use. But it is useful for many things, Kamala,
you'll see.
You'll see that the stupid Samanas are learning and able to do many pretty things
in the forest, which the likes of you aren't capable of.
The day before yesterday, I was still a shaggy beggar, as soon as yesterday I have
kissed Kamala, and soon I'll be a merchant and have money and all those things you
insist upon."
"Well yes," she admitted. "But where would you be without me?
What would you be, if Kamala wasn't helping you?"
"Dear Kamala," said Siddhartha and straightened up to his full height, "when I
came to you into your grove, I did the first step.
It was my resolution to learn love from this most beautiful woman.
From that moment on when I had made this resolution, I also knew that I would carry
it out.
I knew that you would help me, at your first glance at the entrance of the grove I
already knew it." "But what if I hadn't been willing?"
"You were willing.
Look, Kamala: When you throw a rock into the water, it will speed on the fastest
course to the bottom of the water. This is how it is when Siddhartha has a
goal, a resolution.
Siddhartha does nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the
things of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without
stirring; he is drawn, he lets himself fall.
His goal attracts him, because he doesn't let anything enter his soul which might
oppose the goal.
This is what Siddhartha has learned among the Samanas.
This is what fools call magic and of which they think it would be effected by means of
the daemons.
Nothing is effected by daemons, there are no daemons.
Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if
he is able to wait, if he is able to fast."
Kamala listened to him. She loved his voice, she loved the look
from his eyes. "Perhaps it is so," she said quietly, "as
you say, friend.
But perhaps it is also like this: that Siddhartha is a handsome man, that his
glance pleases the women, that therefore good fortune is coming towards him."
With one kiss, Siddhartha bid his farewell.
"I wish that it should be this way, my teacher; that my glance shall please you,
that always good fortune shall come to me out of your direction!"