"Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA-, March 1996

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In the book Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, the main character Siddhartha had many teachers along his quest for happiness. Throughout his life he denounced teachers and their teachings. In his last meeting with his lifelong friend, Govinda, he mentions five in which he was indebted : a beautiful courtesan, a rich merchant, a dice player, a Buddhist monk, and Vasudeva.

The first of these teachers along his way was Kamala a beautiful courtesan. Kamala taught him the wonderful pleasures of love and the importance of wealth and riches in society . ³It [had] never been my experience that a Samana from the woods should come to me and desire to learn from me. Never has a Samana with long hair and an old torn loin cloth come to me. Many young men come to me, including Brahmin's sons but they come to me in fine clothes, in fine shoes; there is scent in their hair and money in their purses.

That is how these young men come to me, O Samana.² These teachings in which Kamala placed upon him helped him to seek out the riches and wealth that would supposedly bring him happiness.

Another of the people who Siddhartha obtained knowledge from was the rich merchant Kamaswami. Kamaswami taught Siddhartha the secrets of making money and living the life of a rich man. While working for Kamaswami many of Siddhartha's values stayed intact but, slowly these values began to slip away. In many ways Kamaswami taught Siddhartha the dark side of life.

As the days went on Siddhartha began hating himself more and more. He viewed his riches as worthless, for they did not truly bring him happiness. Slowly he began squandering his money playing dice. He won thousands and lost thousands in order to...