Siddhartha

is a ferryman who teaches Siddhartha the importance of listening. The first night that he hosts Siddhartha, he listens perfectly to his story and shows him how to listen to the voice of the river. This provokes Siddhartha’s understanding of natural things and the word of oneness ‘om’. Vasudeva never seems to lose faith or suffer the same griefs as Siddhartha, but he also lives alone and we sense that his wisdom has come from having loved his wife, and been through the trials that Siddhartha is now facing. We learn how close Vasudeva is to enlightenment, even though he is not a thinker or a preacher, when he leaves Siddhartha at the end, to join ‘the oneness’.

Vasudeva Quotes in Siddhartha

The Siddhartha quotes below are all either spoken by Vasudeva or refer to Vasudeva. 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 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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

“I am going into the forest, I am going into the oneness,” said Vasudeva, radiant.

Related Characters: Vasudeva (speaker), Vasudeva
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat

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Vasudeva Character Timeline in Siddhartha

The timeline below shows where the character Vasudeva appears in Siddhartha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Two, Chapter 5 – Kamala
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
The next day, Siddhartha gets a ride with the ferryman across the river and the ferryman tells him about his love for the river, how... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 9 – The Ferryman
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 he wants to stay by the river, and resolves to find the ferryman who had showed him kindness before. He thinks this is the way to start his... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
...not wish any longer to be judged for these clothes. He offers them to the ferryman in exchange for his apron. He also asks if he can be the ferryman’s assistant... (full context)
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Siddhartha watches Vasudeva row with admiration for his calm strength and focus. He remembers the fondness he had... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Vasudeva listens carefully. Listening is the ferryman’s great virtue. Siddhartha feels that Vasudeva is absorbing all... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Siddhartha accepts and praises Vasudeva for his ability to listen, hoping to learn it from him one day, but Vasudeva... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
On another occasion, Siddhartha asks the ferryman if it is true that the river is all voices, each woman, man and creature.... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
...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 the hut. Siddhartha sees... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
...learned from the Brahmins and sings it. His son calms down and sleeps. Siddhartha and Vasudeva know that Kamala is dying. She awakes again in great pain. She tells Siddhartha that... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
...figure stretched out and pale. He has a deep feeling of the eternity of life. Vasudeva prepares food for him, but he doesn’t eat. He spends the night sitting outside the... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Early in the morning, Vasudeva comes out and Siddhartha tells him that he has been reflecting, listening to the river... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 10 – The Son
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
...and learn to love him, is disappointed. Young Siddhartha is defiant and rude. One day, Vasudeva approaches Siddhartha about it. It saddens him to see his friend so misused. He sees... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
...he can woo his son and that eventually, young Siddhartha will hear the river too. Vasudeva agrees that certainly the boy is destined for something, but they do not know what... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
Siddhartha is saddened and ashamed but when Vasudeva suggests that the boy should be brought back to the town, Siddhartha is reluctant to... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
Vasudeva had never spoken so much at once. Siddhartha thinks restlessly about it. He knows Vasudeva... (full context)
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
...for the child’s safety and begs that they make a raft and follow him. But Vasudeva responds that they will make a raft only to fetch the boat back and they... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
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They build the raft and go over to the boat that has been abandoned. Vasudeva takes an axe with them, because he suspects that young Siddhartha may have destroyed their... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 11 – Om
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Siddhartha has gradually learned what real wisdom is and he is even more drawn to Vasudeva, as the embodiment of the oneness and the smile that real wisdom is all about.... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Siddhartha goes back to the hut, wanting to open his heart to Vasudeva, the great listener. Vasudeva is old and slow now, but still wears his serene smile.... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Siddhartha stops thinking about his wound and the presence of Vasudeva fills him up. Vasudeva’s transformation seems right and just. He realizes that he views Vasudeva... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
...son and lonely father, and himself. The voice of the river is lamenting and determined. Vasudeva urges Siddhartha to keep listening and listen better. The images of his friends and family... (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Direction and Indirection Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Theme Icon
...to him in a single word, ‘om’. Siddhartha’s face takes on the same radiance of Vasudeva’s. He feels his wound blossoming and his ego becoming one with everything else. (full context)
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
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Siddhartha’s suffering has stopped. He knows divine, perfect knowledge. Vasudeva sees that Siddhartha has this knowledge thanks to the river and happily he tells Siddhartha... (full context)
Part Two, Chapter 12 – Govinda
The Path to Spiritual Enlightenment Theme Icon
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon
Truth and Illusion Theme Icon
...but Siddhartha doesn’t see much difference between words and thoughts. It is things that matter. Vasudeva showed this in his belief in the river. He became venerable without books. Govinda is... (full context)