31 July 2008

Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse

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The first book I have read in a long while that I am pretty sure to read again. Hesse, a Nobel laureate, has managed to construct a work that is at once a spiritual guide through Buddhism as well an engaging novel about one man's journey to find himself and his own place in the world.

If you have any interest in Eastern philosophy, or are simply searching for a spiritual journey of your own, I would certainly highly recommend this novel. Concurrent with the life of the Buddha, we follow a young Samana in his search for enlightenment. Along the way, Siddhartha meets up with the Buddha Gotama, lives the material life of a merchant, meets a ferryman and eventually settles down by the river where he reaches enlightenment. To put it so simply underlies the beauty of Hesse's prose (or rather the translation, to be it more accurately!)

It is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.