Siddhartha

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Kamaswami Character Analysis

is the rich merchant whom Siddhartha works for when he comes into town. He teaches Siddhartha how to trade and gamble, but he is frustrated when Siddhartha’s wisdom and lack of interest in profits detract from the deals he wants to make. He is an anxious man, prone to anger, and is a symbol of the greed and tiredness of the unspiritual town.

Kamaswami Quotes in Siddhartha

The Siddhartha quotes below are all either spoken by Kamaswami or refer to Kamaswami. 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 Two, Chapter 6 – Among the Child People Quotes

Siddhartha replied: “Stop scolding, dear friend! Scolding has never achieved anything. If there has been a loss, then let me bear the burden. I am very content with this trip. I have met all sorts of people, a Brahmin has become my friend, children have ridden on my lap, farmers have shown me their fields. No one took me for a merchant.”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Siddhartha, Kamaswami
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Siddhartha has just returned from a trip to a rice plantation. Though he found that the rice had already been sold to another merchant, Siddhartha decided to stay anyway and mingle with the people who lived there. Kamaswami scolds him for not prioritizing business and coming home immediately, but Siddhartha brushes him off. This passage shows the differences between Siddhartha's values and Kamaswami's values; Kamaswami thinks that business is of paramount importance, while Siddhartha is willing to take business losses without complaint in exchange for having good experiences with other people. Siddhartha is seeking experiences, while Kamaswami is seeking money.

This passage is important because something Siddhartha needed to learn from living in town with Kamaswami and being with Kamala was the importance of human relationships, and this is the first time that Siddhartha has expressed the value of making friends with others. This passage shows that Siddhartha is gaining the experience he needs from living in the town, and it has not yet begun to corrupt him.

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Kamaswami Character Timeline in Siddhartha

The timeline below shows where the character Kamaswami appears in Siddhartha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Two, Chapter 5 – Kamala
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...looking up for him. She tells him he has been invited to visit the merchant, Kamaswami. She tells him not to be too modest, and if Kamaswami likes him, he will... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 6 – Among the Child People
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Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
The next day, Siddhartha meets Kamaswami in his big house. Kamaswami asks Siddhartha why he has left scholarship and philosophy for... (full context)
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This doesn’t seem like much to Kamaswami, but Siddhartha explains that from fasting, he has learned to laugh at and rise above... (full context)
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...a woman, and this becomes the purpose of his life, not the business activity of Kamaswami’s house. (full context)
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Though Siddhartha is a peer in Kamaswami’s house and seems to have a lucky touch with business transactions, the merchant senses that... (full context)
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Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
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...and spends the trip getting to know the rice workers and the local area. When Kamaswami scolds him for losing money, Siddhartha claims to have not wasted anything, that his experiences... (full context)
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Siddhartha continues to confuse and anger Kamaswami. He refuses to eat Kamaswami’s bread, never sympathizes with Kamaswami’s frustration over business, and when... (full context)
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As much as Kamaswami is dissatisfied by Siddhartha, Siddhartha also does not find any joy in business. He loves... (full context)
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...into the house, treating rich tradesmen and poor peddlers exactly the same. He listens to Kamaswami’s worries, but treats the whole thing like a game, sympathizing and cheating and trading just... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 7 – Samsara
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
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...had learned about things like lust and power. He had a material life similar to Kamaswami’s, a house and his own servants, but he never entered this life fully. As the... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
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...ill at ease with this life. He stays in bed, feels lazy, loses patience with Kamaswami, and though he still wears the spiritual expression of the samanas slightly, his face has... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
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...feels hunger, but says goodbye to this too. He leaves the town. For a while, Kamaswami searches for him, but Kamala has expected his departure. She knows that he still has... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 10 – The Son
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...young samana, of the proud way he had entered the world of love lessons and Kamaswami’s riches, of the songbird and his desire for death. He feels it all anew. Now... (full context)