As he leaves the Buddha and Govinda, Siddhartha feels that he is leaving his old life. He muses deeply in this feeling, as if it is water. In musing deeply, Siddhartha finds causes and begins to understand his sensations. He likens the shedding of his young life to the shedding of a skin by a snake. Now having left the wisest teacher of all, the Buddha, Siddhartha is leaving the world of teaching.
Siddhartha finds himself doing some deep thinking as he crosses this threshold from following the teachings of others to his own path. His thinking is of a different quality than before, it is deeper and occurs naturally, without his mind striving, giving the feeling that he has already begun a transformation.
Siddhartha asks himself what he had found lacking in teaching, and he decides that it is the nature of the ego that can’t be taught. He had wanted to overcome his ego, but had not been able to. He longs to uncover the secret of himself. He thinks and thinks, and it occurs to him that he does not know who the real Siddhartha is because he has been afraid of himself. He had been searching for Atman and Nirvana, but had lost himself in the process.
During his upbringing and his various teachings, Siddhartha has been taught to look beyond himself, to overlook pain, to look to holy heights for answers but he realizes now that he must look within himself for answers to even the holiest questions.
Siddhartha suddenly feels awakened. He is filled with purpose. He declares that he will no longer submit to teachings, but he will learn from himself and be his own pupil. In this revelation, the world appears new to Siddhartha. The colors of the river and the forest seem to him pure in a way that they never seemed under the Brahma teaching, which scorns diversity and only seeks unity. Now he sees meaning and truth in all these natural things. He compares them to the symbols in a manuscript, which must be appreciated and read in order to find the meaning of the whole.
Recognition of himself and his essence is an important step for Siddhartha’s onward motion. It is his inner life that, when opened up and acknowledged, allows him to see the full beauty of the world around him. Though it still seems like a collection of pieces, various and diverse, Siddhartha senses that this diversity is just as important as the unity of the world, and we get the feeling that Siddhartha need only figure out this puzzle to find his goal.
Again Siddhartha pauses. He realizes that, though he had intended on leaving the samana life and going back to his father’s house, he no longer belongs there. For the first time he feels really homeless. All other kinds of men seemed to be connected to a group, a class of other men, but he was truly alone. Siddhartha feels this realization as the last of his rebirth, and goes on his journey, focused on finding his own path.
The lives of the samanas and the Brahmins and the monks do not appeal to Siddhartha because they don’t allow him to follow his own path. This is the end of an important era for Siddhartha, acknowledging the loneliness of the path to enlightenment, but having gained all he can from organized spiritual society.