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Passion, Compassion, Values and Beliefs: Siddhartha

Herman Hesse's Siddhartha is a classic by the virtue of portraying the author's own intense efforts to understand life and its experiences through his protagonist, whose name means 'one who has found the meaning of his existence'. As the seminal work of Hesse, published in 1922, its lucidity is in complete contrast with the depths it comes from. It is the opinion of most commentators that this allegorical tale is a moral one, and not a philosophical treatise, but I beg to differ. I see the protagonist at the head of philosophical musings in terms of both 'logic and reasoning' and 'metaphysics'. And, at the same time, going beyond the realms of Western philosophy, it possibly alludes to transcendence in the following assertion 'One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it'. The story offers a mesmerising interplay of four key concepts: passion, compassion, beliefs and values. The dictionary defines passion as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate; a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object, concept. Philosophically it is defined as any state of mind in which it is affected by something external, such as perception, desire etc, as contrasted with action; feelings desires or emotions, as contrasted with reason. It is passion when Siddhartha decides to leave his home and family to become a Samana, which revisits him in his urge to leave that course to join the other side of the world. It's his passion for learning that takes him to Kamala, the courtesan and to Kamaswami, so he can obtain the means to survive in that world. Compassion is defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. The word for compassion in Hindi is Samvedana, the key being 'Sam', which means 'same'. Thus, the compassionate feels the pain quite similarly as his sufferer out of his sympathy for the latter. It is compassion when Siddhartha understands his friend Govinda's quest for Nirvana and lets him trace his own path leaving his side. Much later in his life when his own son leaves him for the life of comfort he is used to, Siddhartha feels compassion for his father, whom he had left too. It's the same quality guised as respect for the businessman Kamaswami, as he helps him out in his work. He refuses to discipline and punish his spoilt son when faced with disrespect, all out of compassion. Beliefs refer to our confidence in something, irrespective of the potential susceptibility to rigorous proof. It is thus a psychological state in which one holds a premise to be true. The strength of Siddhartha's beliefs is reflected in his rejection of teachings in the form of ideas, words, thoughts and concepts. He says, 'Knowledge is communicable. Wisdom is not.' He straddles the world of logic and metaphysics drawn from eastern philosophy thus, 'Everything that is thought and is expressed in words is one-sided, only half the truth'. He elaborates, 'When the illustrious Buddha taught about the world, he had to divide it into Sansara and Nirvana. Suffering and Salvation.' And finally, even challenges Gautam Buddha, whom he had met, with words: One cannot do otherwise, there is no other method for those who teach. True to his beliefs, he renounces everything to become an ascetic, goes out into the world when he feels disillusioned, and again rejects everything he had achieved in search for answers to his growing discontentment. Again, he lets himself feel the anguish and pain of love for his son, drawing lessons from the flowing river  a symbol of eternal change and continuity, as taught by his friend Vasudeva, who ferries his boat across it. Values refer to the sum total of desired end states that individuals aspire for and the instrumentalities through which they aim to achieve them. Thus, they are related to the appropriate courses of both actions and outcomes. Ultimately, his leadership qualities shine through from inside out, with his unparalleled stewardship of the mind, body and spirit. Holding a senior ascetic spell-bound, to mastering rigours of life in a forest, to acquiring worldly possessions and conquering a beautiful courtesan without becoming attached, to not compromising his beliefs and values, to humbly respecting Vasudeva's teachings and his advice over his own son, to loving Govinda, the Hero is masterful in dealing with his own passions, shortcomings and feelings. In his own words, when he concludes that 'love is the most important thing in the world. I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it the reader is overcome with a flicker of transcendence and peace. Perhaps, one of the most powerful lessons comes from Siddhartha's response to Kamaswami when he asks him what he has learnt and was capable of doing: I can think. I can wait. I can fast. The ability to think gives one the power of passion, of reflective listening, of reason, of analysis, and of considered judgment. The ability to wait gives one the power of patience, of persistence, of persuasion, and of comprehension. Finally, the ability to fast gives one the power of compassion, of equanimity, of looking at pleasure and pain as transitory, and of detachment.

44 Responses to “Passion, Compassion, Values and Beliefs: Siddhartha”

  1. Harshita says:

    “He reflected deeply,until his feeling completely overwhelmed him and he reached a point where he recognized causes;for to recognise causes,it seemed to him,is to think,and through thought alone feelings become knowledge and are not lost,but become real and begin to mature.”I can feel these lines repeat themselves over and over again in my mind.

  2. Saumya Garg says:

    Siddhartha lets go of his friend Govinda and tells him that only ‘Knowledge is communicable. Wisdom is not’. One of the thoughts highlighted in this text is the importance of self learning. Swami Vivekananda also stated that a conscious being should only accept something as true if it satisfies his logic and senses and not because someone says it to be true. Gautam Buddha also propounded the fact that he could only show the path, as far as enlightenment goes it is purely in the hands of the subject. My truth may be different from your truth and still both our truths can be true.

  3. Lokendra Kaushik says:

    I like the Siddhartha’s spirit of exploring the world, getting to know it by experiencing it. His quest to attain wisdom is noble and he puts the commensurate effort also, not banking on the scriptures, sayings etc. but experiencing it himself.

  4. Swetha S says:

    The reason why I loved the book Siddhartha is because the author tells us beautifully, the importance of experience, reflection and introspection in shaping a person’s values and beliefs and in his overall learning. When our parents and teachers inculcate values in us, we accept it as the absolute truth. But Siddhartha did not rest till he found a reason to believe it – be it the teachings of Buddha too!

    While most of us agree the value of passion in leadership development, I would like to express the relevance of compassion in a leader. Compassion becomes relevant and important in a leader not just because he empathizes with his colleagues, but this empathy makes him feel responsible for them – eg. shareholders, subordinates, etc. But compassion has to be treated with an element of fairness to help in able leadership.

  5. sonali dekate says:

    The book tells us in a very subtle manner as to how values, beliefs and seeds of compassion can be learned from the very core of nature and environment around us. It is these learning that transform a person and gives him a clear vision and understanding of one’s self and the outer world.

  6. C. Amenla Jamir says:

    I loved the transformation in the book – from the very clever & arrogant to a much calmer and wiser Siddhartha.

    The ‘Om’ chapter was my favourite where Siddhartha is enlightened with many truths about the human nature and I as a reader, gained a whole new perspective.My favourite yet.. ‘Their (ordinary people’s) vanities,desires and trivialities no longer seemed absurd to him; they had become understandable,lovable and even worthy of respect.’

    This is what wisdom does to you.You are at peace with yourself and with the people around you..you humble yourself and accept that you are just as unique as everyone else is.

  7. charuvagun s says:

    The book deals with spiritual philosophy, where the protagonist goes in search of nirvana. It is an excellently written book. The words are strewn together by Hesse to give you a long lasting high. But this high is a figment is a result of a false sense of attaining a spiritual or intellectual sensibility level. I’m somehow not comfortable with indulging in these abstract philosophies that have given us no practical understandings to cope with the everyday tidings and struggles. And the proclaimed attainment of nirvana or any other form of higher spiritual state has had no effect on the common man. And I also am observing that all forms of these literature take refuge behind very vague and abstract ideas and exclusive experiences of miracles or nirvana. Like if a sadhu can levitate in a cave in Himalayas why cant he do it at ground level? You might come up with hundred logical explanations, but my question would be wasn’t there one egoistic sadhu who wanted to flaunt or wasn’t there one Voldemort or wasn’t there at least one who wanted to do a ‘Jesus Christ’ in all these years of recorded history?

  8. Vijaynand Mishra says:

    Compassion is just a next stage of our life after feeling passion inside. Passion means a state of biological fever and it is hot . Compassion means you have transcended all other sciences like biology and physiology .We are no more slave.We are our own master.

    A famous poem by “William Ernest Henley” which was also the favourite poem of Nelson Mandela when he was in Jail

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

  9. Sonia Singh says:

    “Cogito ergo sum”, the philosophical Latin statement proposed by Rene Descartes comes to mind as I read this novel. How the very act of thinking assumes significant importance of as the seat of all knowledge. The true fountainhead of this thought process governed by the beliefs a person holds dear.
    It is this belief in oneself that more often than not, carries us through the moments if dire crises in our lives. This novel is perhaps the story of every person who has at some point or the other in life has felt strong disillusionment & utter despair. It is in moments such as these when we feel pain; we suffer, are able to hear clearly our inner voice, overcome the suffering & grief & be born again. Suffering thus becomes necessary in order to become compassionate; else there is no way one could sympathize with another person’s agony.

  10. Vineet Singh says:

    For me the book brings out the aspect that to achieve nirvana you need to experience all the states of life namely Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. Siddhartha goes through all the stages albeit in a different order. Only when he goes through his karma in all the four stages does his passion, compassion, values and beliefs emerge out highlighting the leader in him. Its through experience and not renunciation that one gains wisdom.

  11. Arunkumar R says:

    One instance which impressed me was when Govinda goes ahead and choses the path of Buddha after listening to his teachings. He immediately informs Siddhartha of his acceptance of Buddha’s teachings and his decision to follow his path. This was the first time Govinda takes some important decision in his life by himself and at the same moment Siddhartha is extremely happy for Govinda as he had chosen this path by himself. In modern day scenario, people often tied down by emotional dependencies and tend to take wrong decisions at important junctures of their career, future and life in general. This is one example which explains how important it is to be yourself and decide on your own, as you are the one who knows what you want, better than anyone.

  12. Thilak Vangala says:

    The book, Siddhartha presents a simple fact in front of me – the act of learning from every person and every object around us. It has made me think if we are doing so in our everyday lives. The countless number of people we meet, the rich experiences we live through are the best tools to learn from. I wonder how the world would be, if we all do so.

  13. Nitesh Raj says:

    One of the instances talks about the conversation of the protagonist and Buddha, Siddhartha challenges Buddha by saying that wisdom cannot be taught, but it has to be experienced, so he wanted to unearth it on his own as the preaching wouldn’t help him, but to my understanding even Buddha preached the same as he talks about the 8 fold path to end suffering. Siddhartha signifies an explorer in any human. This is also analogous to solving a problem by using a mathematical formula, but to create relevant questions you should know the genesis of such a formula, and thereby you need to derive it.

  14. Jayashri S says:

    One incident that struck me while reading the book was the transition of Govinda when he met Gautam. Govinda who always followed Siddhartha at every walk of life until then, was now making a decision independantly for himself. I felt this was a liberation of sorts for Govinda to follow his own will. The liberation was from the dependance within himself. This led me to think about the shackles we need to break free from, to strive towards our purpose in life, our vision.

  15. Kunal Ahuja says:

    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse conveys that wisdom comes through experience. This is a thought that I feel is lost in today’s times with more emphasis on the result (or the end) rather than the experience (the means to the end). A connect that I find with this is in the Bhagvad Gita, where Lord Krishna says “Karam kar, Fal ki aasha mat kar” – implying do the deed, and don’t think about the end result. And this is one thought I can relate to, although difficult to implement all the time. For if, the journey (or the means) is interesting and one learns from it, then in most cases the end result seems less important, and strangely the result comes out good.

  16. Karan Chauhan says:

    I can think. I can wait. I can fast.

    Isn’t it we all should strive to achieve. And isn’t it whats lacking in the modern society. Reflective listening, considered judgment, patience and compassion. While eating do we even taste our food.

  17. Anurag Arora says:

    Values can also be defined as a set of principles that are always there in the back of the mind of an individual and are always considered for taking any decision in life. Whether values affect the actual decision is uncertain, but they are subconsciously always referred to.
    What I understand is that leadership position is with respect to other people. A stand-alone person cannot be called a leader even if that person possesses all the personality traits of a leader. To that extent, Siddhartha is not a leader and neither the book is about understanding leadership. The book should be absorbed in the spirit of appreciating self-discovery and a possible path for it.

  18. Siddharth Bhat says:

    Siddhartha is a prime example of learning through action – a philosophy close to my own heart. Although Siddhartha rejects Buddha’s teachings rather rudely, I consider his decision to be the right one. The book is a call for everyone to act and go through the drama of life.
    Siddhartha is characterized by a relentless and somewhat ruthless dedication to himself above all others. This is reflected in the fact that he never stops to look back on the people he leaves behind – his parents and Kamala. But if Kamala (or any woman) had the same drive, would she have led a life similar to his? Would she have found support from society? I think not. I consider this to be one of the great inequities that come out of this book.

  19. Apoorva Gupta says:

    One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it – Unfortunately passion, compassion, values and beliefs are not the only 4 factors that guide our lives. We have a bigger vice in us – “Jealousy” that easily overshadows the aforementioned 4 concepts. Siddhartha was one man devoid of Jealousy – he was not jealous of the various suitors for Kamala or the immense wealth of Kamaswami or even the immense followers that Buddha enjoyed. His only motivation was learning from anything and everything around him – be it Kamala, Kamaswami, Vasudev, Govinda, Buddha or the river! One must definitely find the “source” within one’s own Self but at the same time also not believe that the “end” is also one’s own Self.

  20. Caterina Sardo says:

    I completely agree with the analysis above but I’d like to underline the fact that passion has a considerable role in our lives. As the dictionary says, passion is a “powerfull emotion and feeling”.
    According to me the adjective Powerfull means “it makes the difference”.
    Passion is a necessary condition to appreciate what we daily do, to achieve our goals and in the best case to make us able to think, to wait, to fast. Passion divres our journeys and defines who we are.

  21. Ramba says:

    Passion – drives one to take appropriate measures to get to it i.e. I get to know my goal and in the long run I realise my vision, the point that I would not be able to reach, and my unattainable upper threshold
    Compassion – the route one takes to reach his passion i.e. whether I have to take people along with me or reach my goal and find people belonging to that stature, stay with them and shift to the next set of people when I set my next goal
    Belief – one that keeps the person going i.e. it determines the kind of rejuvenation strategy one adopts e.g. Belief on my capabilities keeps me propelling when I am shattered by the external forces affecting me.
    Values – the one that shapes our character, behaviour and the route that we choose.
    I have wondered many times about the destiny. I have felt this many times – Whatever step we take things will happen in the way it should and the powerful fours – passion, compassion. Belief and values – conspire to one’s destiny.

  22. Madhuri Baxla says:

    By the river I sat, contemplating,
    With ‘the book’ in my hand.
    “ Would you be Siddhartha
    Or follow a path shown by Buddha?”
    Echoed a voice from some distant land
    For I looked around and found no one .
    But it made me think
    As I turned the pages over ………..

    I learned from the trees
    I learned from the river
    I learned from the mountains
    I learned it all from nature.
    But, aye, this also is true
    For I imbibe so much from you
    My heart now longs for love;
    I learnt what is to love, and
    What it is like to be loved by you.

    I’d rather be Siddhartha, thought I
    And I smiled brightly.
    It felt so good and light
    I think I could have flown.
    I’d rather be Siddhartha and experience life.

  23. shafiullah anis says:

    If love means to accept and expect not , so is the faith, a realization i had in the last LTL class. So , perhaps i will disagree that “Knowledge is communicable. Wisdom is not”.
    I had been taking the faith as a source of happiness and bounty but i never realized that both love and faith are same. To me , God , has always been most benevolent and merciful , but i never loved God. It was more of the respect than love.

    Hope this journey of life will bring me closer to Him , and i believe that is the ultimate wisdom.

    Mohabbat aur Khuda ko aaj tak humne alag jaana
    hain dono ek hi hasti agar phir kyu na pehchaana?

  24. Arijit Mookerjee says:

    “Everything that is thought and is expressed in words is one-sided, only half the truth”. What we accept as truth is often marred by our perceptions, our beliefs, and our prejudices. It is important to realize and acknowledge this. Though I feel it is perfectly fine to stand by our own beliefs, it is also important to give respect to other’s beliefs. Even though a particular line of thought might not appeal to us, it is as valid a thought as our own. The following words by Bob Dylan comes to mind- “you’re right from your side, I’m right from mine, we’re both just one too many mornings, and a thousand miles behind.”

  25. Vasudha Kulkarni says:

    Beliefs refer to our confidence in something, irrespective of the potential susceptibility to rigorous proof. This statement is so true… When you believe in something, you do not really go on looking for proofs. The other day a friend of mine made this statement,” If you believe in something that you have not questioned yet, that is stupidity”. Is it really so? Not all questions have answers. For all you know, you did not invest that much energies to go find the proof for what you believe in. If everything could be rationalised, then there would have been no hope. Woody Allen has depicted this in his movie ”You will meet a tall dark stranger” wherein a woman who believes in something totally untrue goes on to have a happier life simply because that belief gave her hope!

  26. Tanudeep Mallick says:

    Reading ‘Siddhartha’ has been a great experience. It shows the necessity of an inner-drive which all of us should showcase in search of ‘meaning of life’. People around us are increasingly becoming type-casted be it in terms of choosing profession or following a lifestyle. The book asks us to listen to our inner voices when it comes to choosing a path in life. Through this book, the writer has shown that the path to wisdom in life might not be rosy and we might have to break out of monopoly, but it will definitely take us to our coveted position.

  27. Silvia Migliorini says:

    One of the reasons why I’ve chosen India was to experience a different way of life: in Italy most of the people’s life is driven by egocentrism and self-realization that lead to a way of living focused on money and carrier. As Siddhartha, we never feel satisfied and we live in the obsessive quest of “more” (in a materialistic sense). Compassion is not considered anymore as valuable as it should be and our lives are always in a rush: we are not able anymore to stop thinking, nor helping someone nor learning by our experiences, enjoying the little pleasure of life. At a certain point I wondered “if a had a life or I was just living” . In this incredible country I found a deep spirituality and a strong sense of enjoying daily life and I think we European still have to learn a lot from your interior richness.

  28. Chhering Paljor says:

    Siddhartha is a book which relates to the past and the present. We are surrounded by many holy men, but we find that none of them is able to answer all our questions. Siddhartha faces the same issue and he resolves it by learning not just from his teachers but from everything around him. This i think is the most important lesson of Siddhartha, that to learn one must be open to learning from everything around us. This way we can attain enlightenment as when we follow our heart, we follow the right path.

  29. Jyoti Prakash says:

    The book Siddhartha illustrates various intricacies of one’s life.Siddhartha’s quest to gain wisdom, as he considered knowledge as familiarity,shows his passion to learn through experience.He was wise enough to be detached with people and situations and thus was able to reflect and learn, from them.He learnt the art of being patient and became capable of unbiased thinking which are traits of leadership abilities.His refusal to teachings of Buddha displays his confidence on his abilities of experimenting with his life to gain wisdom rather than following the trusted path which one learns from knowledge.In the course of learning through experience he related himself with different people and thus developed the ability of compassion and so was able to appreciate the feelings of others for him.This helps in understanding the needs and emotions of others thus gaining their trust while leading.In the context of corporate, it helps in development of mutual understanding between the leader/manager and subordinates who understand and are comfortable with the intricacies of reactions/behaviour of each other while performing as a team and trusting the lead at the time of decision making in critical situations.

  30. Chandrasekhar Yadavilli says:

    In its simplest form, the story of Sidhhartha appears like a classical Indian childhood moral story “A boy – goes against his parent’s wishes – acquires knowledge – succumbs to vices – realizes only when he becomes old” The theme of passion, compassion, values and beliefs is not very apparent (particularly in the protagonist’s character) in the first reading. The story portrays leadership in a personal/internal perspective of one’s own life and not in the external context of leading others. The book might be of lesser relevance in India than in the West particularly as the Indian mythology is filled with countless examples of the same theme – probably the reason why Herman Hesse borrowed the Indian background!!

  31. Davide Benaglio says:

    I think that to be a good leader you need to have at least a pinch of all of the four features cited above. I would like to report this quote: “Run, run until your glory will come before you. At that time you’ll be able to relax: you are a legend!” Cristiano Ronaldo. In this sentence, said by one of the strongest soccer players in the world you can find for sure passion, beliefs and values. The only thing is missing here is the compassion, but I’m sure it will be present on the road to the wannabe leader.

  32. Marco Bichsel says:

    To me, Siddharta is a book all about the need to follow one’s own calling. It’s a very individualistic approach to self-development, as authorities as teachers (Buddha) and parents are not only questioned but overcome. The protagonist is drawn to nature, where he learns not from theories but through nature itself. This is a rather metaphysical approach.
    To quote my key learning of this book:

    “(…) I love the stone and the river and all these things that we look at and from which we can learn. I can love a stone (…), and also a tree, or a piece of bark. Those are things, and a person can love things. But words I cannot love. (…) Perhaps this is what prevents you from finding contentment – perhaps it is all the words.”

    So from my perspective, the book might be a philosophical one, but at the same time, it refuses the belief that studying philosophy or following an ideology is the way to knowledge. The book encourages each reader to follow her own journey.

  33. Trine Krogstad says:

    Attachment can in many ways be compared to addiction, a dependency on external objects or experiences to manufacture an illusion of wholeness. We will never get satisfied, whatever satisfaction we experience is only temporary. The only thing we can know for sure is that everything is going to change, nothing lasts forever, and thereby what satisfy us today is bound to change at some point. Change is the only constant of reality.

    • Silvia Migliorini says:

      I enjoyed reading your thoughts Trine and I am glad you gave me the opportunity to think about your interpretation. I am forced to sadly admit you are right about dissatisfaction and a sort of addiction to attachment.
      I’ ve realized that sometimes people do not decide to share their own life with someone driven by the desire of learning together, love and attachment but just because they are not able to stay alone and enjoy their lonely time. Loneliness scares them.
      Therefore I think dissatisfaction is one of the worst disease of European countries: the more we get, the more we want. As soon we reach our goal we are not able to stop enjoying it and wait a while. We are always inpatient and ready to complain: I hope people will start saying when they appreciate something, whether it s an experience or someone’s behavior.

  34. Amit Roykaran says:

    “That which is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil” and this according to me might have been into the mind of the author while writing the book. The ideas suggested in book go beyond the cliché’ of good or evil, right or wrong, one form or the other rather transcends to perenniality of things. I agree with the examples for passion, values and beliefs for Siddhartha. I disagree with the opinion that he was compassionate for his child. Siddhartha could not transcend the parental affection and was in expectation of getting love from his child.

  35. Pauline Crepin says:

    Through his journey Siddhartha start feeling passion but concludes saying that “love is the most important thing in the world”. Thus we can follow his course from contemplation to action. Indeed at the end of the book he says “Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.” This is in my opinion the purest value he can possess to reach self realization.

  36. Mayeule Graff says:

    Lao-Tseu said that “being brave without compassion leads to death”. You need compassion to be a good leader.

  37. Candice Tisserand says:

    « The simplest man with passion will be more persuasive than the most eloquent without ». Larochefoucauld, a french author of maxims and memoirs.
    If the life of Siddharta impresses and influences us so much, it is because his choices are made with passion.
    The passion touches us directly because it appeals to extreme feelings. It is impossible to remain indifferent to the life of Siddharta. Either we approve his choice, or the opposite, but we feel necessarily something.
    As for me, a good leader should always act with a bit of passion, otherwise he would not be a leader but just a manager.

  38. Varun Rajaram says:

    “Knowledge is communicable.Wisdom is not.” I believe these lines have a larger bearing and bespeak of man’s need to conform, his innate need to distinguish himself and the conflict between the two. I believe, the conflict and specifically the need to distinguish has direct bearings on our personality traits-what we say, how we think, how we respond to questions, our social circles, etc.

    At all phases in life, people, books and our own value systems mould our character. In the modern context, enlightenment would be to adjudicate this conflict and have control over the plethora of emotions that surface as a result of this conflict.

  39. Ajay Maurya says:

    Post WW-I period, world was divided into two factions driven by envy and hatred. ‘As the seminal work of Hesse, published in 1922.. ‘ Siddhartha at that time rekindled the ideas of passion and compassion. Even the leaders in quest for power forgot one of the basic tenets of human existence i.e. harmony and consideration for others. Thus, the theme of passion and compassion is apt in the context of this book. Hesse’s theosophical underpinnings which allude to Buddhist teachings of cessation of suffering and achievement of self-awakening is one of the key messages that this book reflects upon when published in those turbulent times.

  40. Richa Thakur says:

    In today’s fast paced life, people have stopped having patience, whether it is in dealing with people or getting something. It’s the age of instant noodles, instant coffee, instant recognitions and also instant love. We do not want to wait for anything. And because of this mad rush we do not even have the time to think, to sit back and reflect and learn from our experiences, from things around us. We forget that lessons of life can be found from the simplest of the things and it is us, who are hell bent on making life tough and complex for ourselves. It is because of these things that it becomes extremely important to have the power to think and the power to wait.

  41. Kalyan V B H says:

    Like Buddha, Siddartha also leaves Kamala while she is pregnant. If every Kamala in the world who has a Siddartha or a Buddha as her husband abandons her child for a selfish pursuit, wouldn’t the result be catastrophic? By coming back to teach the eight fold path Buddha re-establishes his credibility as a true leader. Neither did Siddartha teach nor did he set an example by following Buddha. What is his leadership legacy?
    Didn’t Kamala set a better example by following her Karma? (Like the Housewife in the “Gita” story mentioned at http://goo.gl/jO03c). Isn’t she a better leader?

  42. Akshaya Nair says:

    As is mentioned “Ultimately, his leadership qualities shine through from inside out…..”. This rightly gets reflected through the book as to how experience instills wisdom in him.Experience (sum of events) is the best way to understand reality and attain enlightenment.In today’s context , wisdom and self-control becomes important for a leader.Wisdom to do the right things that relates to insight, vision & business acumen and self control/moderation to prioritize and focus on the few important fundamentals and to control ones’s ego.

  43. Riku Sayuj says:

    Siddhartha is clearly a book that grows with you, on every reading of the book I have been able to find new insights that resonated with present circumstances. However, if it is really a philosophical treatise or a poetic interpretation of Indian philosophy is still a point to be debated.

    I do not believe that I degrade Siddhartha in anyway if I argue that it is in fact a lyrical and spiritual work or even an allegorical work rather than a purely didactical philosophical work. If that was the case, then the book would contradict the central message contained in it – the message that true wisdom cannot be taught – hence the book itself has to be a way for us to experience the path and not the truth or the final goal that the path should lead to.

    So my take on the book is that Hesse has created a poetic experience for us which lets us resonate with the fact that true wisdom comes from experience and he lets us enjoy a part of that experience through the book. As the german original version points out in its subtitle to the novel, Siddhartha is ‘An Indian Poetic Work’ or “Eine indische Dichtung,”.

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