World Literature - Siddhartha
The search for ultimate peace with one’s self is one of the everlasting quests that humans seek to obtain during their lifetimes. This concept has inspired the likes of Hermann Hesse in his novel Siddhartha. It details the journey one man takes to obtain ultimate divinity and the multiple steps he takes in the process, including parts of life that are both good and bad. The protagonist Siddhartha sacrifices all of his possessions to obtain a frugal, pious lifestyle in which he follows the doctrine of the Samanas. His journey then leads him to the city of the Gotama, the founder of Buddhism. Upon hearing the Venerable One’s doctrine, Siddhartha rejects any form of teaching for he feels the need that knowledge must be experienced and not taught. With this concept, Siddhartha is brought to the brink of suicide after being taught the ways of the child-people, and this brings him to the river he once crossed many years before. In Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, Hesse explores the concept about the transitory nature of life through the implementation of nature imagery.
In Siddhartha, the surrounding environment of Siddhartha’s world is important to the concept of the transitory life of nature. Before delving into the details of the novel in relation to its use of nature imagery and the life, it is imperative to understand how nature plays a role in Indian culture and religion. In ancient Hindu texts, ecological balance and preservation of the environment were always emphasized as the human must never seek to exploit nature for its resources. The physical representations of the material world found in nature of Earth are the manifestations of the spiritual world, according to religious teachings. In the Hindu text Bhagavad Gita, the notion is expressed that humans should not try to wrestle with nature and if it appears to be malicious, then humans must tolerate it. The actions of animals in nature are explained by ancient...
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