Breaking Free: Siddhartha

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Breaking Free

The river was laughing clearly and merrily at the old ferryman. Siddhartha stood still; he bent over the water in order to hear better. He saw his face reflected in the quietly moving water, and there was something in this reflection that reminded him of something he had forgotten and when he reflected on it, he remembered. His face resembled that of another person, whom he had once known and loved and even feared. It resembled the face of his father, the Brahmin. He remembered how once, as a youth, he had compelled his father to let him go and join the ascetics, how he had taken leave of him, now he had gone and never returned. (131-132).

Growing up, Siddhartha had high expectations set for himself, not only by him, but also by his father. His father, a highly respected Brahman, had dreamt of Siddhartha growing up to be like him. Siddhartha, though, felt there was an essential part of himself missing, something he could not learn from his father’s teachings or his community. He decided to leave his home and set out on his own journey to become an ascetic, which greatly disobeyed his father’s beliefs. Although his father did not approve of Siddhartha leaving their wealthy lifestyle and venturing into the world, he was unable to convince him otherwise and had to accept the fact that Siddhartha had his mind set on achieving one goal: attaining enlightenment. Siddhartha felt the only way to accomplish this task was by broadening his views and experiencing what life had to offer, not by direct teachings, but instead by learning new ideas through adventures. Several years later, as he sat by the river as a ferryman with Vasudeva, he stared into the water and realized his reflection had taken the image of his father. He reminisced to when he was a boy and recalled the amount of distress he had put his father through. Now, Siddhartha is put in the same position he put his father in and is forced to watch his own son rebel against him in his quest to...
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