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Author: Hermann Hesse
Published: Published December 1st 1981 by Bantam Books (first published 1922)
Genre: Fiction, Spirituality,
Rating: 5 Lemonades
Siddhartha is a young prince who leaves behind a life of privilege to find spiritual fulfilment. In his search, he experiences everything life has to offer. Siddhartha goes from the ascetic to non-spiritual of a traders life and back. But does he find what he is looking for?
Why I chose to read “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse
I got this Siddhartha book as an adolescent from my step-mum and instantly loved it. Since then, I have read it twice, and it keeps giving new insights and joy every time. Herman Hesse created a simple (not simplistic) and artful writing style, with which he can explain challenging topics easily. I absolutely love that.
I got hooked as soon as this privileged prince experiences someone else pain for the first time. It rattles him so much that he needs to leave his protected life. He wants to find a way out of the pain and drama that is part of our lives. I wish I could discover that way too.
For me, this book sparkled in its understated way of describing a rather eventful life. Siddharta lives with ascetics for many years until he feels he has learned everything there is to know about their life. It didn’t give him the answers. Then he travels and starts life as a trader until he meets the Buddha in a rich ladies house. After a long courtship, he became a father of a son, but he does not live with them until the mother dies. The son comes to Siddhartha, but unfortunately, they do not get on, and he leaves. That gives his father great pain.
What attracts me to Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
I think Siddhartha’s are universal experiences. Some of us chose an ascetic lifestyle while others prefer luxury. Many of us have children and experience pain when they grow up and go their own way. These universal experiences make this novel so accessible for many. Hesse’s writing style draws you in as there are no unnecessary descriptions or backstories. This book is more like a parable than a novel. Siddhartha’s life to me seems like a parable for the Buddhist view on life in general.
Siddhartha’s life changes once he meets the Buddha, whose name incidentally was Siddhartha too. Siddhartha meets the wise at an utter low point in his life. The Buddha’s teachings encourage him to again leave everything behind and go looking for the meaning of life. Where it leads him, I let you discover when you read it.
What attracts me so much to the book is that it does not judge any of the lifestyles Siddhartha tries. All have their advantages and disadvantages. They are experienced by Siddhartha but not labelled. However, it encourages you to look at your life and wonder if it’s all there is.
Hesse build a universal world for Siddhartha and us to discover
The books world has an ancient but universal feel to it. It shows the authors intimate knowledge of India and other Asian countries which he visited. But he also heard stories about India from a young age as his grandparents were missionaries there. His grandfather encouraged Hesse to read extensively to deal with the depression that Hesse lived with all of his life.
He grew up in a Pietist household, which I think explains the simple language Hesse uses. Pietism is a form of Protestantism that encourages its followers to work hard but keeping their life simple. They practise their religion in small but thoughtful groups, where they gather insights into the bible’s meaning and the meaning of their own life. I suspect this influence helped Hesse to create a deliberate but clean writing style. This makes his novels the classics they are.
This Siddhartha Book Is The Recipe For…
… anyone who loves novels without frills. Books which make you question your own point of view. It takes you on a journey through Siddhartha’s life and your ideas and convictions about your life and life in general at the same time.
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (affiliate link) is a novel that grows with you as you grow older. You can discover new facets of the book and life every time you read. It is definitely worth your time and worth a present for your growing up children.
You can find another more in depth review here at Astitva Meditation.
Liz’s Rating System
1 Lemon could not read it, 2 Lemons could read it but didn’t impress, 3 Lemonades it was ok, 4 Lemonades Great Read, 5 Lemonades Incredible read. I’ll re-read it
Good vibes your way
You can do it!