The second portion of the novel is harder Siddhartha gives up his ascetic way of life and now indulges in all the pleasures he formerly eschewed He learns all about sex from a courtesan, he becomes a wealthy businessman, eventually he becomes a conoisseur of fine food and wine, and a heavy gambler to boot He loses himself in this life and eventually realizes how unhappy he is His religious training, of course, always told him that these things were worthless, and he finds that these comforts do not, in fact, make him happy I figured the students would find this far harder to relate to than I did, but as so often I am, I was wrong By and large, they seemed to like this section as well as or better than the first Maybe it was all the sex not that it was even remotely graphic , even though they didn t actually know what a courtesan is Many of them come from wealthy backgrounds, so maybe they have first hand experience sort of in the ways that wealth isn t really satisfying Or maybe they ve just heard that over and over in our culture, that money doesn t buy happiness Anyway, they seemed to like it well enough.
The third section was almost certainly a harder sell It was hard for me to sell myself on it But Siddhartha leaves his life of luxury, nearly commits suicide over his unhappiness, and ends up becoming a simple or not so simple ferryman on a river This section is far full of or less eastern a touch of curry it s eastern flavored, with strong hints of Nietzsche as well thought and spirituality It s tougher to really understand or get into, though the essence isn t that hard you have to experience things for yourself, and real wisdom can be the result of this experience, but it s not really possible to communicate that wisdom That s your Reader s Digest condesnsed version, which I shouldn t even give because it s necessarily a distortion read the book if you want to know it Anyway, to round out my discussion of class discussion, I think the momentum from the earlier parts of the book carried us through, as they seemed to like the book as a whole and liked even the dense third section as well.
So there s a damn dirty hippie in India named Siddhartha who is supposed to be seeking spiritual enlightenment, but instead of going to a good Christian church like a normal person, he wanders around the woods for a while with some other damn dirty hippies After he meets Buddha, he finally gets tired of being broke ass and homeless, and he goes into town where he makes a pile of money This is good because everyone knows that engaging in capitalism is the only proper way to go through life As a bonus, he also meets a beautiful woman Then, just when he s having a good ole time doing business, drinking, gambling and making time with the woman, the dang fool s hippie ideas pop up again, and he walks away from all of it Remember that Chris Farley routine on Saturday Night Live where he d scream that someone would end up living in a van down by the river Well, this hippie ends up living in a hut down by the river And that s even worse, because at least you could play the radio in a van Finally, Siddartha thinks that the river is god Or something stupid like that It just didn t make any sense Give me one of them Lee Child novels any day over this hippie dippie crap That Jack Reacher is a man s man Just kidding.
Actually, this is an elegant allegory about a guy going through different phases as he pursues a lifelong quest to rid himself of his ego so that he can know true peace and enlightenment It s filled with incredible writing, and it s short and smart enough to hold the attention of even a doofus like me I d put this in the category of books that everyone should read at least once.
Whatever Blah blah blah Samana Blah blah blah Kamala Blah blah blah Samsara Blah blah blah River Blah blah blah Om.
My apologies if this review reeks of GUSHness However, it gave me that ONE OF A KIND reading experience that doesn t come along often and so I think it is certainly worthy of the praise I shall heep upon it Beautifully written and a deeply personal story, Hesse has created the ultimate expression of the journey of self discovery The book details the story of Siddhartha, the young and brilliant son of a Brahmin in ancient India The Brahmin are the uber revered caste comprised of poets, priests, teachers and scholarsQuick Side NoteHow refreshing is it that their most revered group is not made up of morally questionable athletes, morally suspect celebrities and morally bankrupt politiciansI m just saying At the beginning of the story, despite having absorbed all of the teachings of his father and followed all of the religious rites and rituals of his caste, Siddhartha is not content He knows deep inside that there is something missing and decides to leave his father and his future and seek enlightenment He sets out, along with his life long friend to find life s meaning A decision that makes Siddhartha s father less than a happy camper Thus begins one of the truly exceptional stories in modern literature Siddhartha s journey takes him from the elite of his people 1 First, to a group of ascetics who shun personal possessions and view the physical world as the source of all pain 2 Next to a beautiful courtesan who teaches Siddhartha the mysterious of physical love, to a world 3 Third, to a wealthy trader who teaches Siddhartha about profit, trade and worldly pleasures 4 Then to a life of hedonistic excess in which Siddhartha eats, drinks, gambles and indulges in numerous sexual conquests in a very SinCityesque way 5 Finally, back to an ascetic life, but one that embraces the world and everything in it as special and unique Throughout the various stages of his journey, Siddhartha finds something of value in everyone he interacts with and each stage brings him closer to his ultimate goal Through elegant and deeply evocative writing, Hesse demonstrates, through Siddhartha s journey, the fundamental value of each and every person on Earth Everyone has something special to contribute to the universe Siddhartha s final realization of his goal of finding enlightenment is simply amazing and one that I can not recommend strongly that everyone read.
I m a U.
S citizen of Irish heritage living in Las Vegas I was raised Roman Catholic and spent most of my undergraduate and graduate academic life learning about western philosophy, history and literature I mention the only because I was completely floored that I could identify so intensely with Siddhartha s story, despite a background that was as far from embracing an eastern viewpoint as you could possibly get I think its ability to completely suck me in demonstrates not only the brilliance and beauty of Hesse s prose, but also the universal nature of the story and its ability to transcend all barriers to understanding It is an amazing read but also a deeply personal one and I think that everyone will get something different out of reading it Hopefully it is something very, very positive 5.
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