Motifs in the path to enlightenment

Essay by CadilakkidzHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2004

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

Downloaded 44 times

Siddhartha, by Herman Hess, is an inspiring story of a Bhramin's son who finds restlessness and discomfort with the teachings of his elders. The quest for enlightenment burns within his Self. Siddhartha goes through many trials and mentors on his journey to find inner peace. Throughout the book there are three recurring motifs that support the theme of a man's passage to enlightenment. Trees, river, and celestial objects are the motifs that highlight the path to enlightenment.

When Siddhartha is near trees, it usually is a time when he feels confused or saddened. The trees symbolize change. When Siddhartha becomes dissatisfied with his Bhramin life, he says to his friend. "Govinda, come with me to the banyan tree. We will practice meditation" (8). Under the banyan tree Siddhartha tells Govinda about his yearning for enlightenment. He explains his concern that he will never reach Nirvana, because none of his teachers have obtained Nirvana.

Siddhartha also goes to the trees for comfort. He has to leave his friend of many years, because Govinda found his true calling following the illustrious Buddha. Siddhartha feels that he needs to find his inner peace by himself, not with a teacher telling him how to obtain it. At this point, "Siddhartha wandered in deep thought through the grove" (31). Siddhartha, like the tree, branches off in many directions throughout his life. Trees symbolize change and each new path that Siddhartha finds himself starting usually begins in the trees. When he decides to leave his life as a merchant he is brought back to the trees. "Siddhartha wandered in the forest already far from the town, and knew only one thing that he could not go back, that life that he had lived for many years was past, tasted and drained to a degree...