Siddhartha

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is the venerable Buddha, who has achieved enlightenment. While Siddhartha is a samana, Gautama arrives in the forest and is followed by many pilgrims seeking teaching. His voice and calm, smiling manner deeply affect Siddhartha and Govinda. But while Govinda decides to seek refuge in the Buddha's teaching, Siddhartha tells Gautama that he seeks something that can’t be taught. Gautama is gracious to Siddhartha but warns him of the dangers of knowledge-seeking. We see by the end that Gautama also followed his own path, that is how he achieved the height of wisdom.

Gautama Quotes in Siddhartha

The Siddhartha quotes below are all either spoken by Gautama or refer to Gautama. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Siddhartha published in 1999.
Part One, Chapter 3 – Gautama Quotes

On all paths of the glorious grove, monks in yellow cloaks were walking; they sat here and there under the trees, absorbed in contemplation or in spiritual conversation; the shady gardens looked like a city, filled with people swarming like bees.

Related Characters: Gautama
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

As with each new stage of Siddhartha's journey, the grove where he and Govinda go to find Gautama seems to promise that it will be a truer path to enlightenment than the last path they tried. Gautama is important and compelling enough to have attracted many monks, who make pilgrimages to the grove and devote their lives to following Gautama's teachings. It's an impressive sight to see all these people, and Siddhartha and Govinda are hopeful that this will be the right set of teachings for them, even though they have not yet seen Gautama.

It's important to note that, in the grove, nature seems to be celebrated; the monks are not in conflict with the natural world, but they seem part of it, like bees in a garden. With the Samanas, Siddhartha struggled with the disjunction between nature and his body – he would open himself to nature, but he would always return to the self and body he had tried to reject. The imagery Hesse uses here sets up the possibility that Gautama and his followers might present a more nuanced solution than the Samanas to the problem of disjunction between body and nature. 

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I have never seen anyone gaze and smile like that, sit and stride like that, he thought. Truly, I wish I could gaze and smile, sit and stride like that, so free, so venerable, so concealed, so open, so childlike and mysterious.

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Gautama
Related Symbols: The Smile
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage describes Siddhartha's and Govinda's first sighting of Gautama, in which they simply see him walking and immediately know by his presence who he is. Here, Hesse drives home the point that enlightenment has a kind of unspoken radiance. This seems to corroborate Siddhartha's suspicion of the teachings of those who lacked this radiance. Gautama is clearly the most special spiritual being Siddhartha and Govinda have yet encountered and they are inspired by him.

It is significant that Hesse focuses on Gautama's smile, because it is pursuit of that smile – a symbol of achieved enlightenment – that Siddhartha will seek for the remainder of the book. In Gautama's smile enlightenment is, in a sense, made concrete in a way that is surprising – enlightenment is not teachings or practices as much as it is a presence that is open and happy and even childlike. This smile gestures towards the unity between the body and the world that Siddhartha seeks, though he does not yet know how to attain it. 

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Gautama Character Timeline in Siddhartha

The timeline below shows where the character Gautama appears in Siddhartha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One, Chapter 2 – Among the Samanas
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...leading the samana life, a rumor reaches Siddhartha and Govinda of a Sublime teacher, called Gautama, the Buddha, who had also wandered through the land as an ascetic, and whose legend... (full context)
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...is mocking, but he agrees to hear the teaching. Though he does not believe that Gautama will reveal anything new to them, he tries to go ahead with an open mind. (full context)
Part One, Chapter 3 – Gautama
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In a town called Savathi, Gautama and his disciples are worshipped. He is given a grove called Jetavana. When Siddhartha and... (full context)
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Like the Buddha, these monks go into the town to beg. This is where Siddhartha first sees the... (full context)
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Siddhartha and Govinda plan not to eat anything that day. They observe the Buddha taking a tiny morsel of a meal and withdraw to the mango trees. That evening... (full context)
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After the teaching, like many others, Govinda asks to be accepted into the Buddha’s fellowship. He is accepted and goes to Siddhartha to ask why he hasn’t also committed... (full context)
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...to get his robes and begin his new life. Siddhartha, walking through the grove, sees Gautama walking too and takes the opportunity to ask permission to speak to him. He tells... (full context)
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The Buddha accepts this, but Siddhartha wishes to say something else. He expresses his extreme admiration for... (full context)
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The Buddha wishes the best for Siddhartha but he questions his plan. He asks Siddhartha to contemplate... (full context)
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The Buddha’s peaceful smile is unwavering. He warns Siddhartha to be careful of his own cleverness. Then... (full context)
Part One, Chapter 4 – Awakening
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As he leaves the Buddha and Govinda, Siddhartha feels that he is leaving his old life. He muses deeply in... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 5 – Kamala
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...Siddhartha remembers everything about his journey so far, and every word he spoke to the Buddha about his dissatisfaction, about the unteachable thing. The unteachable is now his aim. He now... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 6 – Among the Child People
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...are like falling leaves and some are like stars with fixed paths, like the great Gautama. Kamala senses that Siddhartha is thinking of the samana life again. (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 7 – Samsara
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Some things that he learned from the Brahmins and Gautama and the samanas have stayed with Siddhartha but others have as good as disappeared. His... (full context)
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One night, Siddhartha spends the evening with Kamala and she asks all about the Buddha and wishes one day to take refuge in his teaching. Then Siddhartha and Kamala make... (full context)
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...path. When he was a boy listening to the Brahma teaching, and going from the Buddha into the unknown. But he hasn’t heard that voice for some time. He had been... (full context)
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...him. He sits contemplating in the grove, and considers how he has left Govinda and Gautama in order to own things like this grove and sees that it was wrong to... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 8 – By the River
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...Siddhartha awake, but he does not recognize him. Govinda introduces himself as a disciple of Gautama and explains that when he saw a man sleeping, where snakes and other dangerous creatures... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 9 – The Ferryman
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...start arriving at the river, and tell the ferrymen that they are going to see Gautama, the Buddha, who is mortally ill and will soon die his final human death and... (full context)
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Amongst the hoards is Kamala, who is also on a pilgrimage to visit the dying Buddha. Since knowing Siddhartha, Kamala has given up the life of a courtesan to be a... (full context)
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...that he has attained peace. She tells him of her hope to travel to the Buddha and look into his eye, but, as Siddhartha tells her that she will find peace... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 12 – Govinda
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...come to see love as the most important thing now. Govinda reminds him that the Buddha taught benevolence and tolerance instead of love. Siddhartha sees this as a fight of words.... (full context)
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...but wishes him well. To himself, Govinda reflects that Siddhartha’s style is so different from Gautama’s. His thoughts sound strange. But his whole presence radiates peace and saintliness, just as Gautama’s... (full context)
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...the smile that Siddhartha wears now. It is the exact smile of oneness that the Buddha used to wear. Time and existence seem to disappear at this moment and Govinda stands... (full context)