By: Yusuke Ishii 'Siddhartha' takes place in India probably around 570-480B.C. or 470-380B.C. There is two possibilities when this story takes place, because the date of the Buddha has two theories. Normally, Siddahartha is the name of Buddha but in this story, Siddahartha and Buddha is a different person. Siddahartha was a Brahmin's son. He was very intelligent and thirsty for knowledge. Everybody was delighted and made happy by him. Because of that, he was loved by everybody. Although, he wasn't happy. His intellect wasn't satisfied, and he thought he couldn't find complete peace in himself if he stayed as a Brahmin. So after being permitted by his father, he joins the Samanas with his close friend Govinda, who was also a Brahmin's son. Siddhartha made one goal, to become empty of thirst, desire, pleasure and sorrow. He wanted to let the Self die. From the Samanas, he learned many ways of losing the Self, but every time he couldn't completely flee from it.
He always came back to the Self in the end. He wonders if he came nearer to his goal. Govinda, one day said that he wanted to go and listen to the Buddha's teachings with Siddhartha. Buddha had a lot of names like Gotama, the Illustrious one, the Sakyamuni, and he was rumored that he was perfect. Siddhartha agrees with Govinda so they started on a journey to hear the Buddha's teaching. After they heard the Buddha's teachings, Govinda becomes his follower, but Siddhartha doesn't. Siddhartha and Govinda said goodbye to each other. Siddhartha learned that even from the perfect one, the teachings wouldn't teach him, so he decides to be taught by nobody. He realizes that he was trying to lose the Self because he was afraid of it. From here, he starts to learn from himself. After a few days, he reaches a large town, and there he sees a beautiful woman carried in a sedan chair, go into the grove followed by her servants. Her name was Kamala, and she was rich, beautiful, and clever. Siddhartha wanted her to teach him about love, but she says that he has to be rich if he wanted her to teach him that. So he becomes a merchant and because he can think, wait, and fast, he soon become rich. He was at first having a fun time being rich and learning about love, but as time goes by, he loses how to think, wait, and fast. Life became pain to him and he drank wine everyday to escape for a few moments from it. So after many years, he ran away from this life, leaving his only close friend Kamala and his son, who was born after Siddhartha's departure. He comes back to the same river which a ferryman had once taken him across, when he was going to the large town for the first time. Siddhartha first thought of committing suicide, but he doesn't, and murmuring the holy Om, he had a long, wonderful sleep. When he awoke from his sleep, he saw Govinda in front of him. Siddhartha recognizes him in an instant, but because Siddhartha changed a lot, Govinda takes time to recognize him. After he does, Siddhartha talks that he was rich but now he's not. They separate for the second time. He meets the ferryman again. His name was Vasudeva and he was the person who said to Siddhartha that everything including Siddhartha will come back again to the river. Vasudeva was not a thinker, but was a great listener. Siddhartha decides to stay with him. He listened to the river with Vasudeva and learned a lot from it. One day, Kamala came to their hut, with Siddhartha's son. She was bitten by a snake and soon dies from it. Siddhartha loved his son, but the son was unfriendly and sulky. He was accustomed to the life of the rich, and he didn't see Siddhartha as a father, so he ran away from them and went back to the large town. Siddhartha fells very sad about that, and his heart gets wounded by this, but from the river he learns how to heal the wound and how to feel no sorrow. Siddhartha kept on listening to the river with Vasudeva. He heard thousand of voices from the river. But one day, when he mastered the art of listening, he realizes that all of the voices were interwoven, interlocked, and entwined in a thousand ways. And that all the voices, goals, yearnings, sorrows, pleasures, good, and evil, all of them together was the world. Vasudeva said that he had waited for this time to come. He said goodbye to the hut, river, and Siddhartha, and disappeared into the forest, full of peace. After years, Govinda comes to the river again. He heard that there is an old ferryman whom many considered to be a sage. Although he was old, he still couldn't find complete peace in himself. Again, Siddhartha recognized him instantly, but because Siddhartha changed a lot, he couldn't recognize him till Siddhartha gave him a hint. Siddhartha says to him words is always one-sided, but the world itself is never one-sided. Because of that, nobody can learn from teaching. Things are never one-sided because there is no such thing as time. You can't divide the thing into past and future without time. He says that if you love everything, nothing can harm you. Govinda couldn't understand all of what Siddhartha said, but he realized that he was perfect, just like Buddha, who died many years ago. He asked one more advice that he can understand. Siddhartha asked him to kiss his forehead. When he did, he saw a thousand of different faces continuously streaming. He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other, all helping each other, loving, hating, and destroying each other and become newly born. When he came back to the real world, he saw on Siddhartha's face, a perfect one smile. Govinda bowed low, right down to the ground with uncontrollable tears trickling down his face. The smile reminded him of everything that he had ever loved in his life, of everything that had ever been of value and holy in his life. There is a lot of things you can learn from 'Siddhartha', but I couldn't understand all of it. Although, one thing I did (or I think I did) understand is that to become your true self is a very important thing to do. It might look easy, but in fact it's very difficult. If you are able to become your true self, it means that you can live a pure life. On the other hand, if you couldn't become your true self, you have to live a unpure life. That is definitely not a good thing. I first thought Siddhartha was stupid to be a merchant and be rich. Anyone can see that he doesn't belong in that world. But near the end of the story, he says that he had to experience those things to know perfection. From this, I thought experiencing things is very important too. Things that seems bad at one time, might turn out to be something good in the future. This is the summary and what I thought about 'Siddhartha'. It doesn't have a lot of action, but it probably will help you sometime in your life by reading it. Try reading it! It probably more helpful then 'Godzilla'.
Word Count: 1244