Hinduism and How It Relates to the Novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

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World Cultures



Hinduism is the predominant religion of the Indian continent. It is often referred to as Sanatana Dharma, which means "The eternal law." Hinduism is one of the oldest religions known to mankind and is still in practice today. Hinduism is much more than a religion; it is a way of life. It is cultural, and not demanding of its people. They believe in the concept of a caste system that includes the absolute Brahman, or priest, the Ksatriyas, also known as merchants, the Vaisyas, and the lower class consisting of Sudras, which were laborers. Hindu's believe in reincarnation, which is the movement of the soul from one body to another. They believe a person's soul lives on and on through a continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. For many Hindus there are four goals in human life, Moksha, which means the release of the soul from the cycle of rebirth.

Dharma, which means the code for leading one's life after birth, Artha, which means the pursuit of material gain by lawful means, and finally is Karma, which means the belief that through pure acts, knowledge, and devotion, you can reincarnate to a higher level. The Hindu scriptures revolve around the Vedas. In these Vedas include Rig-Veda, which are the most sacred writings, and Sama-Veda, which was chanted by priests of a lower level.

Siddhartha Gautama was predominantly part of the Hindu religion. In the start of the novel, on page 3, it states, "In the shade of the house, in the sunshine on the river bank by the boats, in the shade of the sallow wood and the fig tree, Siddhartha, the

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handsome Brahmin's son, grew up with his friend Govinda." In this first line of the tale, it...