Siddhartha, Path to Enlightenment

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Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, is the story of a young man searching for enlightenment. Through his journey, Siddhartha follows several Buddhist and Hindu paths to achieve his ultimate goal of enlightenment. Siddhartha follows the path of the Brahmin, the Samana, the materialistic gambler, and eventually the Buddhist middle path. Being the son of a Brahmin, Siddhartha leads a privileged life, but this isn’t enough for him. Siddhartha had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and after a time, he leaves his father to find his own path to Nirvana. Although Siddhartha was raised in a strict Hindu society, his path to Nirvana was a combination of Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Siddhartha first follows the Hindu traditions. He learns from his father the Brahmin, as well as other Brahmins in the village. According to the Hindu concept of Karma, a person’s condition in the present life is a direct result of actions taken in previous lives. Siddhartha being born a Brahmin means that his soul is reaching the end of its journey. As a Brahmin, Siddhartha’s role in this life is to work towards enlightenment. Siddhartha is very skilled in the Brahmin art. He has mastered the art of meditating on the Om, yet he is still not satisfied. Hesse says, “He had begun to sense that his venerable father and his other teachers, that the wise Brahmins had already imparted to him the bulk and the best of their knowledge, that they had already poured their fullness into his waiting vessel, and the vessel was not full, his mind was not contented, his soul was not tranquil, his heart not sated.” (Pg-5). Siddhartha begins to doubt the Brahmin ways. He has not seen or heard of any Brahmin that has reached enlightenment through Brahmanic practices. Hinduism states that there are different paths that one can take to achieve enlightenment, and Siddhartha begins to doubt that the path of the Brahmin is the right path for him. In a moment of equanimity, Siddhartha decides to renounce Brahmanism and join...
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