Spirituality is held by all cultures. It is such an important theme; it has been used in many books over the centuries. Both Isebel Allende's House of the spirits and Herman Hesse's Siddhartha show the same spiritual characteristics. In House of the spirits theres Clara, who believes that her powers can be used to help others, and her son, Nicholas, who uses the beliefs of spirituality for commercial venues. In Siddhartha, we see Siddhartha who believes that through traveling, both physically and mentally, he will achieve enlightenment. While, Govinda believes that that hearing strictly the doctrine will be a path to enlightenment. From all of these characters we see that even though the beliefs are different, they are all driven by their beliefs.
In both books we have examples of two characters with two different spiritual beliefs and because of that, they act differently. For house of the spirits, we have Clara and her son Nicholas.
For Clara, her life while she grew up was very peaceful, "Clara's adolescence past calmly in her parents large house with its three court yards. She was spoiled to death... With the most tender of intentions." (page 78) This led her to be calm, peaceful, and unselfish, which showed later in her life. An example is when she help the gardener, "Clara took out her slate from her apron pocket...Clara told him what to do and won 80 pesos." (Page 78) Even when she has grown up, she manages to help or tried to, other people thanks to her skills. Before the major earthquake stroked she said, "there's going to be an earthquake! Clara announced.... this time its going to be different. There will be thousands dead." (Page 158) She said this in hope that people would prepare for it, thus minimizing the casualties. On the other hand, Nicholas has a different perspective on his spiritualities, " Nicholas interest in supernatural things begun years earlier...but it soon became abundantly clear that he had not the slightest talent for Clairvoyance.....Tarots Cards and the I Ching." (page 187-188) Showing that he failed at normal attempts at spiritual ideas of her mother. But still thought it could be useful for himself. We see him taking an advantage of his spiritualities when "Nicholas has established another academy for uniting himself with nothingness and that he had been so successful that he had the wealth that had not been able to with his balloon or sandwiches." (page 300) This selfishness is a sharp contrast to the selflessness that Clara showed.
Another example of two people who have different ideas of spiritualities, which causes them to act differently, can be found in Siddhartha. Siddhartha and Govinda were very close friends, but they parted ways because of different ideas. Siddhartha believed that to find enlightenment he had to make a journey alone and learn. This is evident when he leaves the Samanas "This is why I'm continuing my wandering.... to obtain my goal alone or to die." (Page 19) This journey is very important to Siddhartha and he has decided that only he can teach himself. He does not think the doctrine of others is useful for his journey. This is seen when "That I have become distrustful and weary of teaching and learning...from teachers." (Page 13) These beliefs in self-discovery led him to join the Samanas " You all go to the forest and be a SamanaÃ¢ÂÂ¦ to the gods together." (page 7) Much later in his life he would strike out on his own when he became a ferryman by the side of the river, "I shall remain by this riverÃ¢ÂÂ¦ at the time a friendly ferryman took me across." (page 54) Again spending time for self-discovery. This is completely different from Govinda's belief in learning from doctrine. We see this when Govinda meets Siddhartha as the wise man and asks, "do you have a doctrine? Do you have a faith, or a body of knowledge that you follow that helps you live and act properly?" (page 75) This need for a doctrine is so important to him that he asks for a doctrine on another occasion, "Give me something to accompany me on my path." (page 80) He believes that it is essential for him to learn from others, that earlier in his life he parted from Siddhartha in favor to staying with the Samnas, "When SiddharthaÃ¢ÂÂ¦in which Govinda remained behind." (pg 20) Also, he approaches Siddhartha for knowledge later in his life, "but I have never ceased to seekÃ¢ÂÂ¦ to be my destiny." (page 74) This is completely against what Siddhartha believed.
This contrast in beliefs leads characters to act in completely different manners. There is a drastic difference between Clara's charitable nature and Nichola's capitalistic ideals, or between Siddhartha's quest of self-discovery and Govinda's reliance upon doctrine. These differences are found between mother and son, and between two very good friends. In all cases though, their beliefs of spirituality determined the actions that they took. Some were successful, such as Siddhartha, who found enlightenment, or Nicholas, who became very rich. Others were not successful, such as Govinda, who never achieved enlightenment. This reliance on their beliefs to guide their actions makes their spiritual beliefs all the more important to each character. This is true for the whole world, as spirituality has been involved with almost everything about our humanity, from the very beginning of our civilizations.