Siddhartha

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Siddhartha Character Analysis

is the protagonist, searching for enlightenment. He starts out as the most talented Brahmin’s son, and loved by all, but he is discontented and doesn’t trust in the teaching. He wishes to join a group of wandering, homeless samanas, in an ascetic life of fasting and thinking, and this begins his journey as a pilgrim, searching for his own brand of enlightenment and spiritual wisdom. With each stage of his journey, he goes through trials and doubts himself. He learns to dismiss physical needs with the samanas and then to indulge in them in the material life of the merchants, and through these two extremes, he comes back to the river and the spiritual home of the ferryman, where he gains the most important piece of knowledge of his life – the world is a river, always beginning, always ending, always whole. This wholeness tells Siddhartha of his own story, and teaches him to love even his hardest trials and his own ego. As Siddhartha reaches his ultimate wisdom, his son enters his life and provides him with a legacy and a knowledge of blind love. Siddhartha, finally understanding his life’s journey and the nature of the world, reaches the serene smile of enlightenment. He shows that contentment will only be found by taking one’s own path through life.

Siddhartha Quotes in Siddhartha

The Siddhartha quotes below are all either spoken by Siddhartha or refer to Siddhartha. 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 1 – The Brahmin's Son Quotes

He had begun to sense that his venerable father and his other teachers, that the wise Brahmins, had already imparted to him the bulk and the best of their knowledge, that they had already poured their fullness into his waiting vessel, and the vessel was not full, his mind was not contented…

Related Characters: Siddhartha, Siddhartha’s father
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

As a Brahmin's son, Siddhartha has been raised in an atmosphere of people seeking enlightenment in wisdom passed down through the community. Siddhartha has been a model student – he is very good at meditation, he is a quick learner, and he has an aura of success and charisma that makes him much admired. However, while his community assumes that he will be successful in the traditional ways they have defined for him, Siddhartha instinctively knows that the life that he has been born into is not enough.

Though he, like his community, seeks enlightenment, he is suspicious that he can attain enlightenment through received wisdom from elders who, frankly, seem not to have achieved enlightenment themselves. Siddhartha feels that he has already learned from them what they are able to offer, and to remain in his community would not continue to move him towards enlightenment. This is a first instance of the dissatisfaction that will propel Siddhartha throughout the book. This dissatisfaction is presented in the novel not as a negative emotion, but as an indication and result of Siddhartha's intuition about experiences that are not contributing to enlightenment. This quote also marks the beginning of Siddhartha's skepticism towards received wisdom, and initiates his journey to gain experiential knowledge from the world. 

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Part One, Chapter 2 – Among the Samanas Quotes

Siddhartha had a goal, a single one: to become empty – empty of thirst, empty of desire, empty of dreams, empty of joy and sorrow.

Related Characters: Siddhartha
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Siddhartha, driven by his dissatisfaction with his Brahmin life, joins the Samanas, an ascetic and nomadic sect that renounces material possessions. He is attracted to the extremity of the Samana lifestyle – they wander naked, fasting and renouncing the self. To Siddhartha, this signifies a devotion to enlightenment that the Brahmins, who are comfortable with their possessions, seem to lack.

In addition, Siddhartha is attracted to the experiential nature of Samana wisdom. Instead of just hearing about enlightenment, Siddhartha wants to be asked to make sacrifices for it and to experience heightened states brought on by asceticism. His goal in joining the Samanas, as he states it to himself here, is to empty himself. He is rejecting the self, hoping to purge himself of "self," in order to experience enlightenment. His subsequent time with the Samanas will be colored by this goal, and it will lead him to valuable lessons, though just as he rejected the Brahmin's ideas about the best way to achieve enlightenment he will ultimately come to believe that the Samanas beliefs and methods are similarly lacking. 

“I do not desire to walk on water,” said Siddhartha. “Let old samanas content themselves with such tricks.”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Govinda
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Siddhartha, now disillusioned with the Samanas, has decided to leave them. In order to go, he must inform the leader of his intent to leave, and the leader is furious about it until Siddhartha hypnotizes him and he acquiesces. The hypnosis proves that Siddhartha has learned a lot from the Samanas and, much like he could have been successful within the traditional path of the Brahmins, he could have become a powerful Samana.

Siddhartha distrusts this kind of straightforward path to success and enlightenment, though – to be able to overpower the Samana leader so quickly shows Siddhartha that maybe he has learned enough from the Samanas and he might be able to push his gifts further in different circumstances. In this exchange, Govinda tells Siddhartha that he could be a great Samana and learn to walk on water, and Siddhartha informs him that this is besides the point. He doesn't want to learn powerful tricks, he wants enlightenment, and he doesn't think the Samanas can get him there. This is one of many examples of Siddhartha distrusting anything that seems too easy and straightforward. He seems to think that enlightenment must come from challenging oneself even if that means rejecting received wisdom.

Part One, Chapter 3 – Gautama Quotes

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. 

Part One, Chapter 4 – Awakening Quotes

He looked around as if seeing the world for the first time. Beautiful was the world, colorful was the world, bizarre and enigmatic was the world! There was blue, there was yellow, there was green. Sky flowed and river, forest jutted and mountain: everything beautiful, everything enigmatic and magical. And in the midst of it he, Siddhartha, the awakening man, was on the way to himself.

Related Characters: Siddhartha
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

By this point, Siddhartha has met Gautama and seen in him a model for the kind of enlightenment he wants to attain. However, Siddhartha has an intuition that he will not be able to attain enlightenment by following teachings, even teachings of someone who has achieved what Siddhartha wants most. Because of this, Siddhartha leaves Gautama to make his own path.

In making this choice, Siddhartha indicates that he has realized that he cannot attain enlightenment without knowing himself, and he doesn't yet know himself at all because in following the Brahmins and Samanas he was too busy trying to reject the self and empty himself to the world. Once he accepts this realization, the world seems to bloom before him; he begins to see nature in all its splendor, examining the different colors and textures and forms instead of ignoring them for the sake of "spirituality." Now he experiences a new kind of spirituality, one in which he realizes the importance of not overlooking individual parts of the world simply because he is seeking unity. 

Part Two, Chapter 5 – Kamala Quotes

“He is like Govinda,” he thought, smiling. “All the people I meet on my path are like Govinda. All are thankful, although they themselves have the right to be thanked. All are subservient, all want to be friends, like to obey, think little. People are children.”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Govinda
Page Number: 46-47
Explanation and Analysis:

Siddhartha has an ambivalent relationship to the adjective "childlike." On the one hand, Gautama's smile – which represents enlightenment – is described as childlike, and it is a childlike presence and openness that embodies enlightenment. On the other hand, Siddhartha still condescends to the townspeople for being "childlike" in that they do not seem as willing or able to think for themselves as Siddhartha is.

The townspeople, like Govinda, want to be told what to do and want to fixate on manageable concerns rather than exploring and pushing themselves, which has been Siddhartha's path. Siddhartha here is somewhat misguided; he has to learn that living in a society like this one can be simultaneously petty and profound. From these townspeople, Siddhartha will learn important lessons about human relationships, and he will also learn of his susceptibility to the same kinds of spiritual traps they fall into. So this condescension is an indicator that there's a lesson here for Siddhartha that will bring him closer to enlightenment through hardship, beauty, and opening his mind. 

“Why should I fear a samana, a foolish samana from the forest, who comes from the jackals and does not yet know what a woman is?”

Related Characters: Kamala (speaker), Siddhartha
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

Siddhartha has lived a life devoted, in a sense, to intellect – his spiritual pursuits have been generally concerned with philosophy rather than the body and the world around him. From Kamala, Siddhartha needs to learn the spiritual nature of the body. It is in this passage that we learn that Kamala will be an apt teacher, since her attitude to Siddhartha indicates that, like Guatama, she is self-possessed enough to not be taken in by Siddhartha's charisma as so many others are.

Kamala has a power that comes from her relationship to her body. When Siddhartha wonders if he can claim her body by force, she essentially tells him that if he did he would find nothing worth taking since her power is hers to give. This sets up the next challenge for Siddhartha, consistent with his others. Siddhartha seeks situations in which he can absorb the wisdom of someone who is powerful in a way that he is weak – he finds this power in Kamala. 

“I can think. I can wait. I can fast.”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Siddhartha
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote comes in a conversation between Siddhartha and Kamala about how he will compensate her for her teachings. He does not know how to bring her what she demands, and she suggests that he use his skills to make money and then asks what those skills are. He enumerates thinking, waiting, and fasting – these skills point to the extent to which his life has been lived in service of philosophy and spirituality rather than practical concerns.

Kamala is not put off by the impracticality of these skills; in fact, she seems to think it is interesting and rare that this is what Siddhartha does. It's clear, though, that Siddhartha's skills estrange him from society (he has no way to make money, and no reason to be entwined with the townspeople) and he needs to become more connected to people as part of his journey to enlightenment. On a practical level, he needs to develop new skills to be able to pay Kamala for her teaching. On a more abstract level, Siddhartha needs to learn about the daily lives of the townspeople so that his experiential knowledge of what regular people do can allow him to respect them.

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.

At times he heard, deep in his breast, a soft and dying voice that admonished softly, lamented softly, barely audible. Then for an hour he was aware that he was leading a strange life, that he was doing all sorts of things that were merely a game, that he was cheerful, granted, and sometimes felt joy, but that a real life was flowing past him and not touching him.

Related Characters: Siddhartha
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

For a long time, Siddhartha has lived with Kamaswami among the "child people" in town and has felt separate from them because of his past. For a while, this separation seemed true – Siddhartha had different, more spiritual concerns from the townspeople and was not moved by their material concerns. However, after a long time of living this life as though it were a game, Siddhartha begins to understand that it is not a game – that whether or not he fully believes in what he's doing, it is actually the life he's living.

The inner voice that has guided him his whole life is faint now; he can barely hear it when it tells him that he has strayed from the real life he was meant for. The inner voice is nearly synonymous with Siddhartha's dissatisfaction, and it is generally dissatisfaction that is his best guide for when his life is not matching up with his potential. However, it seems that the petty materialism of his life as a merchant has dulled his sense of dissatisfaction dangerously, making him believe he is satisfied with something less than what he truly wants. This passage is important for the way it suggests how material comfort can blind one to the possibilities of a more fulfilling life, and because it definitively confirms that something is deeply wrong with Siddhartha's life, but Siddhartha is, at this point, unable to do anything about it. This is an important conflict for him to endure.

Part Two, Chapter 7 – Samsara Quotes

Like a veil, like a thin mist, weariness descended on Siddhartha, slowly, a bit denser each day, a bit dimmer each month, a bit heavier each year. A new garment grows old with time, loses its lovely color with time, gets stains, gets wrinkles, frays out at the hems, starts showing awkward, threadbare areas.

Related Characters: Siddhartha
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

For a long time as he has lived in the town and pursued a merchant life of material possessions, Siddhartha has been aware of the stifling of his inner voice that has, throughout his life before moving to the town, guided him from experience to experience. At this point in the book, he is struggling because he has been lulled into a comfortable but unfulfilling life, and the longer he ignores his dissatisfaction, the less likely he is to actually pull himself out of this life and find one that will allow him to achieve his potential and be true to his spiritual values.

Until this experience in the town, Siddhartha's inner voice has guided him has been an unerring guide. It has guided him to follow his own thoughts and needs in contrast to simply following the behavior and ideas of those around him, such as the Brahmins or Samanas. By contrast, this passage after his longtime spent in business in the town presents Siddhartha as having a true internal conflict, in which his inner voices is battling his own impulses that push him to just relax and enjoy his material comfort, and he seems to be losing. Hesse describes Siddhartha's vitality and vibrancy as a coat that fades and wears thin with each passing month. We get the strong sense that Siddhartha must break out of this life in order to get back his vitality, but it's not clear anymore that he will be able to do so.

Part Two, Chapter 8 – By the River Quotes

With a twisted face he stared into the water, saw his face reflected, and he spat at it. In deep fatigue, he loosened his arm from the tree trunk and turned slightly in order to plunge in a sheer drop, to go under at last. Closing his eyes, he leaned toward death.

Related Characters: Siddhartha
Related Symbols: The River
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the book, Siddhartha has definitively realized his mistake; he stayed too long in the town and allowed his inner voice to fall silent. By living for the desires of the child people while knowing that their desires were not spiritually sufficient, Siddhartha feels that he has become even worse than the child people, since they, at least, seem happy. As a result of this realization, he abandons his possessions and flees the town, but worries that this action is not enough since his voice has not come back to him and without it he has nothing to push him forward and no reason to live.

This sense is amplified by his proximity to the river, which is always moving forward and changing and adapting to the riverbed in which it runs. Siddhartha longs to be more like the river, but he fears that he has betrayed himself to the extent that his self no longer exists as it once did. The thought of this brings him to consider suicide – he hangs over the river ready to plunge himself in. He does not yet recognize that the frustration he is feeling with his missing inner voice is itself dissatisfaction, is itself the inner voice. Though his despair feels like his true condition at that moment, it is actually an indication that he is breaking out of the false satisfaction with his merchant life. Siddhartha is finally seeking out the life he is meant for, even though it is deeply painful. 

“Where,” he asked his heart, “where do you get this merriment? Does it come from that long, fine sleep, that did me so much good? Or from the word ‘om’ that I uttered? Or was it that I ran away, that my flight is completed, that I am finally free again and standing under the sky like a child?”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Siddhartha
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Siddhartha has just awakened from his restorative nap by the river. He had been close to drowning himself in despair over the inner voice he thought he had lost, but when he leaned over the river, he heard the word "om" and was reminded of the spiritual purpose of his life. He then fell asleep, and, upon waking, felt born anew. This moment restores Siddhartha to nature, much like his experience in the grove with Gautama did after he left the Samanas.

In a sense, the novel is structured around Siddhartha straying from nature to learn more about one facet of human experience, then devoting himself too much to that facet (like fasting with the Samanas, or pursuing wealth as a merchant), and then needing to be restored to the natural world again. These restorations drive home the point that a life of intellect, theology, or human compassion must be unified with nature, not at odds with it. By now it should be obvious that in order to attain enlightenment Siddhartha must devote himself as much to the natural world as to anything else.

Part Two, Chapter 9 – The Ferryman Quotes

He learned incessantly from the river. Above all, it taught him how to listen, to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting, open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinion.

Related Characters: Siddhartha
Related Symbols: The River
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

Siddhartha, at this point, has apprenticed himself to the ferryman, Vasudeva. The ferryman is not an official spiritual leader, but Siddhartha senses that he has important spiritual knowledge and wisdom that Siddhartha needs. Importantly, instead of trying to get this knowledge from the ferryman, Siddhartha tries to get it by learning from the river itself, which is how the ferryman came to his own spirituality. This is another instance of the importance of experiential knowledge (gained from the river) rather than received wisdom (the knowledge of the river relayed by the ferryman).

Here, Siddhartha finally seems to have found a kind of unity with nature, embodied in his seeking human wisdom in the natural world. The river, because it is a feature of nature, proves a much better teacher than any human being could be because it is never dogmatic. The river never teaches a single "right way," instead it inspires contemplation within the individual who seeks after enlightenment. In this sense, nature is the best teacher for someone like Siddhartha because all it can do is challenge and push him to learn and think for himself – it can't lead him astray. 

Part Two, Chapter 10 – The Son Quotes

“Can I part with him?” he asked softly, embarrassed. “Give me more time, dear friend! Look, I am fighting for him, I am wooing his heart, I want to capture it with love and friendly patience. Let the river speak to him too someday; he too is called.”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Siddhartha, Vasudeva, Young Siddhartha
Related Symbols: The River
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Siddhartha debates the ferryman about how to handle his young son who has come to live with them. The son grew up in the town with Kamala, and has many of the values from the town that Siddhartha and the ferryman reject. The ferryman, who has learned from the river to let things be as they are, gently prods Siddhartha to allow the boy to go back to the town like he wants, but Siddhartha wants more time with the boy, rationalizing that this time could instill better values in his son. Obviously, this echoes the beginning of the book in which Siddhartha wants to abandon his own father's way of life and his father attempts to prevent him from going before finally relenting to Siddhartha's stubborn insistence.

In a sense, then, Siddhartha's experience with his son marks a cyclical reunification with one of the early trials of Siddhartha's journey to enlightenment, only this time it is inverted. Instead of breaking out from his father's way of life, Siddhartha has to now recognize the importance of allowing his son to take his own path, even if it is counter to the one Siddhartha wants for him. Furthermore, Siddhartha cannot himself instill wisdom in his son; as his own journey has taught him, knowledge has to be earned experientially. There is nothing Siddhartha can tell his son that would be as valuable as allowing him to make his own mistakes and discoveries.

He felt deep love in his heart for the runaway. It was like a wound; and he also felt that the wound was not for wallowing, that it must become a blossom and shine.

Related Characters: Siddhartha, Young Siddhartha
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

Siddhartha does not relent and allow his son to make his own path, so his son defies him and runs away, humiliating his father in the process by stealing the ferryman's boat and money. While he and the ferryman search for his son (at the ferryman's insistence this is only to get the boat back), Siddhartha finds himself in Kamala's grove and he remembers every step of his own journey. This memory forces him to acknowledge that he cannot change his son – only his son's experiences and choices can do that. As Siddhartha learned from the river, all he can do is wait for his son's journey to play out as it will.

This realization is another step on Siddhartha's own path to enlightenment. He has never experienced the kind of love before that he feels for his son, and it made him vulnerable to the possessiveness and warped behavior that he judged in the child people. After having had this experience with his son, he can now accept the child people, and by letting his son go, he is gaining all the benefits of giving love and transcending its limitations. This is what Siddhartha means when he describes the wound of his son as one that would become a blossom. It is only this heartbreak with his son that can allow him to attain enlightenment.

Part Two, Chapter 11 – Om Quotes

Radiant was Vasudeva’s smile, it hovered, luminous, over all the wrinkles in his old face just as the om hovered over all the voices of the river. Bright shone his smile when he looked at his friend, and bright now glowed the very same smile on Siddhartha’s face.

Related Characters: Siddhartha, Vasudeva
Related Symbols: The Smile, The River
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

Though Siddhartha has accepted that his son is gone and he cannot change him, he still feels bitterness and hurt. He is jealous of people who have loving father-son relationships, and wonders if the child people were wiser than he was all along for prioritizing their loved ones. Siddhartha is mostly happy and at peace, but the wound from his son is the only thing bothering him. Finally, after a climactic moment of feeling the river laughing at him for his silliness about his son, Siddhartha, at Vasudeva's urging, looks into the river and demands more than he ever has.

The river gives him a vision of unity, in which all voices are one, all times are one, all emotions are one, and he is one with all of it. Looking back up from the river, Siddhartha finally has the smile – symbolizing enlightenment – that Gautama and Vasudeva have. That Siddhartha attains this enlightenment as an old person – Hesse is careful to point out the wrinkles in his face – is important. The path to enlightenment was long and arduous and there are no shortcuts. Siddhartha had to earn every bit of wisdom through experience and through listening to himself rather than others. Finally, it's important that this final knowledge comes from the river, which symbolizes the unity into which Siddhartha has entered.

Part Two, Chapter 12 – Govinda Quotes

“I have found a thought, Govinda, that you will again take as a joke or as folly, but it is my best thought. This is it: The opposite of every truth is just as true!”

Related Characters: Siddhartha (speaker), Siddhartha, Govinda
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

As Vasudeva's parting foreshadowed the necessity of those who have achieved enlightenment to teach others, Govinda comes to seek out the wise ferryman (who is now Siddhartha), just as Siddhartha once sought out Vasudeva. Govinda has been following Gautama's teachings, but has not yet achieved enlightenment and is still seeking it.

Govinda, as he always has, is looking for a shortcut to enlightenment through hearing the wisdom learned by others. Siddhartha knows that the experiential truths he has learned cannot be communicated in words, so he tells Govinda this, saying that every truth is two-sided, and that speaking the truth would eliminate one of the sides. Siddhartha has learned from the river that all things are true at once because all things are the same – life is unity, it only has the illusion of being broken into discrete parts and truths because of time. He tries to steer Govinda into an understanding that Govinda's search for a single truth will always leave him empty handed because it is contrary to the nature of the universe. Instead of seeking something, Govinda must open himself to everything.

He no longer saw his friend Siddhartha’s face; instead he saw other faces, many, a long row, a streaming river of faces, hundreds, thousands, which all came and faded and yet seemed all to be there at once, which kept changing and being renewed, and yet which all were Siddhartha.

Related Characters: Siddhartha, Govinda
Related Symbols: The Smile
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

Govinda is about to leave the river just as confused and anxious as before. He is impressed by Siddhartha's presence, but finds his words confusing and unhelpful. Before he goes, Siddhartha kisses his friend and in this moment Govinda has a vision. It is significant that it is an act, not an explanation, that pushes Govinda into challenging his ideas about the world. It is also significant that Govinda has a vision of the river that is similar to the one Siddhartha had; he sees a river of faces that are different but still all one. In this vision he sees good and evil and many other supposed opposites unified in the river, and the unity he sees is visualized by the smile Siddhartha wears.

Siddhartha, like Vasudeva, has now helped someone else take steps towards finding unity. Like Vasudeva, this has occurred in the form of a natural vision that conjured the same peaceful smile that the enlightened wear. Govinda's vision indicates that Siddhartha has become truly enlightened.

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Siddhartha Character Timeline in Siddhartha

The timeline below shows where the character Siddhartha appears in Siddhartha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One, Chapter 1 – The Brahmin's Son
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
Siddhartha is brought up in a beautiful riverside home, the son of a Brahmin, and lives... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
But Siddhartha’s most loyal love comes from Govinda, who admires all of his qualities and his high... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
But despite all the love that he sees in the hearts of others, Siddhartha does not bring happiness to himself. He goes about his daily offerings and meditations with... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
Siddhartha begins to question the offerings and the gods that he has been taught to accept... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
Siddhartha knows, from insightful, inspiring verses written by Brahmins that they are in possession of true... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Siddhartha meditates with Govinda and recites a verse about the soul being an arrow and the... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
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Govinda, realizing that this is the moment when Siddhartha’s path will separate from his, worriedly asks him whether his father will allow the decision.... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
Siddhartha’s father is troubled and restless that night and gets out of bed, but sees Siddhartha... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
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Standing for so many hours has made Siddhartha’s body shake, but his resolve is strong and the Brahmin knows that his son is... (full context)
Part One, Chapter 2 – Among the Samanas
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That evening, Siddhartha and Govinda approach the samanas and are accepted to join them. They give away their... (full context)
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Through the dry and rainy seasons, Siddhartha suffers the pain of burning and freezing, and sores from walking, but he withstands everything,... (full context)
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Siddhartha asks Govinda, who has been living this painful samana life along with him, whether he... (full context)
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On another occasion, Siddhartha questions if they are really approaching higher knowledge or whether they are going round in... (full context)
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Govinda doesn’t understand how Siddhartha could say such things. It terrifies him to doubt everything he has valued as holy.... (full context)
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After three years leading the samana life, a rumor reaches Siddhartha and Govinda of a Sublime teacher, called Gautama, the Buddha, who had also wandered through... (full context)
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...to the samanas in the forest too. But the rumors are colored equally with doubt. Siddhartha distrusts the idea of teaching, but Govinda wishes more than anything to hear the Sublime... (full context)
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Siddhartha tells the eldest samana that he and Govinda plan to leave and the samana is... (full context)
Part One, Chapter 3 – Gautama
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...Savathi, Gautama and his disciples are worshipped. He is given a grove called Jetavana. When Siddhartha and Govinda arrive in the town, they ask their host where to find the Buddha... (full context)
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Excited, Govinda wants to hear more but Siddhartha pushes them on to the grove, which they soon realize with their own eyes to... (full context)
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Like the Buddha, these monks go into the town to beg. This is where Siddhartha first sees the Buddha and points him out to Govinda. He looks much the same... (full context)
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Siddhartha and Govinda plan not to eat anything that day. They observe the Buddha taking a... (full context)
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...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 to the teaching. Siddhartha tells Govinda, with honest... (full context)
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That night, Govinda continues to question Siddhartha about the fault he sees in the teaching. Siddhartha reassures him that of course the... (full context)
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The Buddha accepts this, but Siddhartha wishes to say something else. He expresses his extreme admiration for what the Buddha has... (full context)
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The Buddha wishes the best for Siddhartha but he questions his plan. He asks Siddhartha to contemplate whether the hundreds of monks... (full context)
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The Buddha’s peaceful smile is unwavering. He warns Siddhartha to be careful of his own cleverness. Then he goes smiling away. Siddhartha recognizes the... (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 this feeling, as... (full context)
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Siddhartha asks himself what he had found lacking in teaching, and he decides that it is... (full context)
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Siddhartha suddenly feels awakened. He is filled with purpose. He declares that he will no longer... (full context)
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Again Siddhartha pauses. He realizes that, though he had intended on leaving the samana life and going... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 5 – Kamala
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Now Siddhartha sees the beauty of the natural world all around him. It had always been there... (full context)
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Along this path, Siddhartha remembers everything about his journey so far, and every word he spoke to the Buddha... (full context)
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Siddhartha sleeps along the way in a ferryman’s hut by the river and has a dream... (full context)
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The next day, Siddhartha gets a ride with the ferryman across the river and the ferryman tells him about... (full context)
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Next Siddhartha comes to a village, where a group of children run shyly from him. And outside... (full context)
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Siddhartha approaches the town, longing to be around people. He sees a trail of men and... (full context)
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In the town, Siddhartha sleeps in the streets and on the riverbank. He befriends a barber, and has his... (full context)
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...had a samana come to her before, though she has received many sons of Brahmins. Siddhartha says that he learns quickly and has gone through many trials. Kamala tells him that... (full context)
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Siddhartha next asks Kamala why she is not afraid of a rough samana entering her house.... (full context)
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Siddhartha also promises to come back with the rich clothes that Kamala requested, but doesn’t know... (full context)
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Siddhartha praises Kamala for her kissing and she explains that her knowledge of love has gotten... (full context)
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The next day, Siddhartha visits Kamala in her town house and she informs him that things are already looking... (full context)
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Kamala reminds Siddhartha that he has her to thank for his good fortune too. Siddhartha replies that he... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 6 – Among the Child People
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The next day, Siddhartha meets Kamaswami in his big house. Kamaswami asks Siddhartha why he has left scholarship and... (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 hunger. This... (full context)
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Soon Siddhartha is helping the merchant with his transactions, but he is focused on his pursuit of... (full context)
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Though Siddhartha is a peer in Kamaswami’s house and seems to have a lucky touch with business... (full context)
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Siddhartha goes to make a transaction at a rice plantation, but misses the opportunity and spends... (full context)
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Siddhartha continues to confuse and anger Kamaswami. He refuses to eat Kamaswami’s bread, never sympathizes with... (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 the lives of the... (full context)
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Siddhartha invites every kind of company into the house, treating rich tradesmen and poor peddlers exactly... (full context)
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But Siddhartha keeps learning the art of love from Kamala, and her friendship warms him. She seems... (full context)
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...love games – fighting and tricking each other in a battle-like display. Kamala admits that Siddhartha is the best lover she has known and that she wishes to have his child... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 7 – Samsara
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Siddhartha had lived a worldly life for a while and had learned about things like lust... (full context)
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...things that he learned from the Brahmins and Gautama and the samanas have stayed with Siddhartha but others have as good as disappeared. His thinking has slowed but his senses have... (full context)
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As Siddhartha grows more anxious, he envies the child people, because they still have something that he... (full context)
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The vices of the town have captured Siddhartha, and now the need for property and money keeps him in a cycle that seems... (full context)
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One night, Siddhartha spends the evening with Kamala and she asks all about the Buddha and wishes one... (full context)
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That night, when Siddhartha falls asleep for a moment, he has a dream, in which Kamala’s pet song bird... (full context)
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Siddhartha replays the path of his life and thinks about his moments of genuine happiness. These... (full context)
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Siddhartha feels something die within him. He sits contemplating in the grove, and considers how he... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 8 – By the River
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Siddhartha wanders into the forest knowing that he can never go back, and feeling that the... (full context)
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Siddhartha leans on the branch of a tree and watches the flow of the water and... (full context)
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After this moment of realization, Siddhartha falls into a deep sleep by the river. As he awakens, he feels that years... (full context)
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Then Siddhartha notices a yellow-robed man sitting near him. At first, he thinks the man is a... (full context)
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Siddhartha thanks Govinda and, as they part, calls him by his name. Siddhartha explains how he... (full context)
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Siddhartha reminds Govinda that the world is ephemeral. Outward identities are passed through as one passes... (full context)
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Siddhartha is suddenly very hungry, and laughs at the memory of reciting his three skills to... (full context)
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Siddhartha goes through the twists and turns of his life, from a Brahmin’s son to a... (full context)
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Siddhartha muses on where this happiness has come from, whether from the word ‘om’ or the... (full context)
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Siddhartha keeps pondering and wonders, if it is not the song bird that died, what part... (full context)
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Siddhartha knows that he had been right, he couldn’t have been taught any more. He had... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 9 – The Ferryman
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Siddhartha knows he wants to stay by the river, and resolves to find the ferryman who... (full context)
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Siddhartha suffers greatly with hunger but he carries on and gets to the river and sees... (full context)
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Siddhartha does not wish any longer to be judged for these clothes. He offers them to... (full context)
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Siddhartha watches Vasudeva row with admiration for his calm strength and focus. He remembers the fondness... (full context)
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Vasudeva listens carefully. Listening is the ferryman’s great virtue. Siddhartha feels that Vasudeva is absorbing all that he is telling him, without judgment, and when... (full context)
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Siddhartha accepts and praises Vasudeva for his ability to listen, hoping to learn it from him... (full context)
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Siddhartha lives with Vasudeva and learns all the skills of ferrying and fixing the boat. But... (full context)
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On another occasion, Siddhartha asks the ferryman if it is true that the river is all voices, each woman,... (full context)
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...is mortally ill and will soon die his final human death and pass into glory. Siddhartha reflects on the great voice of this teacher, and remembers him fondly. He remembers his... (full context)
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...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 supporter of the... (full context)
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...and bites her. They try to go on towards the river but Kamala collapses. Young Siddhartha is distraught. Luckily, Vasudeva hears Kamala’s cry and comes to her and carries her to... (full context)
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Siddhartha and Vasudeva try to look after Kamala, giving her a healing potion, but she is... (full context)
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Young Siddhartha is afraid for his mother and Siddhartha tries to comfort his son. He remembers a... (full context)
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Siddhartha watches Kamala’s pale face, now old and without the color of the fig that he... (full context)
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Early in the morning, Vasudeva comes out and Siddhartha tells him that he has been reflecting, listening to the river tells him about oneness.... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 10 – The Son
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Young Siddhartha, full of grief, attends his mother’s funeral. He lives in the ferryman’s hut but will... (full context)
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But, as time goes on, Siddhartha, expecting his son to come round and learn to love him, is disappointed. Young Siddhartha... (full context)
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Siddhartha doesn’t feel ready to part with his son. He asks for more time. He believes... (full context)
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Siddhartha is saddened and ashamed but when Vasudeva suggests that the boy should be brought back... (full context)
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Vasudeva had never spoken so much at once. Siddhartha thinks restlessly about it. He knows Vasudeva is right, but his love is stronger than... (full context)
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Looking at his boy’s face, Siddhartha remembers what Kamala once said to him. She told him that he couldn’t love, and... (full context)
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Young Siddhartha goes on abusing his father, humiliating him and sulking. Nothing about Siddhartha can influence the... (full context)
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Siddhartha is anxious for the child’s safety and begs that they make a raft and follow... (full context)
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...that has been abandoned. Vasudeva takes an axe with them, because he suspects that young Siddhartha may have destroyed their oar to make a point. Sure enough when they get to... (full context)
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Siddhartha still wants to see his son. He arrives at the grove that used to belong... (full context)
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Siddhartha, as he had learned from the river, sits and waits and tries to listen to... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 11 – Om
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The wound brought on by the loss of his son hurts Siddhartha for a good while. He sees the families that cross the river in a different... (full context)
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Siddhartha has gradually learned what real wisdom is and he is even more drawn to Vasudeva,... (full context)
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Siddhartha goes back to the hut, wanting to open his heart to Vasudeva, the great listener.... (full context)
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Siddhartha stops thinking about his wound and the presence of Vasudeva fills him up. Vasudeva’s transformation... (full context)
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Visions appear to Siddhartha as he watches, the faces of his lonely son and lonely father, and himself. The... (full context)
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Siddhartha listens and now he utterly absorbs everything. He listens perfectly. The voices are indistinguishable, angry,... (full context)
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Siddhartha’s suffering has stopped. He knows divine, perfect knowledge. Vasudeva sees that Siddhartha has this knowledge... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 12 – Govinda
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...old ferryman, and asks him if he is also a seeker of the right path. Siddhartha wonders why this old disciple still calls himself a seeker, but Govinda replies that he... (full context)
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Govinda asks Siddhartha for a word of advice. Siddhartha doesn’t know what he can say to the Venerable... (full context)
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In the morning, Govinda wishes to know one last thing before he goes, whether Siddhartha has any teaching, any bit of knowledge, that he looks to for guidance. Siddhartha reminds... (full context)
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Siddhartha comes to his best thought. He tells Govinda that “the opposite of every truth is... (full context)
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...it is possible to remove time. This is why everything seems good and right to Siddhartha. He has learned to agree with the world in its totality. Siddhartha then uses a... (full context)
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Unsatisfied by the pettiness of these words, Siddhartha stops there. He explains that he used the stone to show how he loves things,... (full context)
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Siddhartha tells Govinda that he has come to see love as the most important thing now.... (full context)
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Govinda thanks Siddhartha for his thoughts. He doesn’t understand but wishes him well. To himself, Govinda reflects that... (full context)
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...that he can understand, to take with him when they part for the last time. Siddhartha smiles still. Govinda’s face is full of angst and seeking. Siddhartha tells him to come... (full context)