Hermann Hesse

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Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Siddhartha, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Nature and the Spirit Theme Icon

Siddhartha’s environment, from his birth to his enlightenment, plays an important role in guiding and inspiring his spiritual journey. Nature provides the physical and spiritual sustenance while he is a samana. And when he is suicidal from his excursion into the world of wealth and anxiety, it is the river that saves him, and which becomes not just a metaphor for the idea of enlightenment but the source of Siddhartha’s revelation. Being all places at once, the river shows that time is an illusion and that all things are natural and never-ending. This recognition of nature is a big step towards Siddhartha’s spirit being raised towards enlightenment.

Just as the river brings together the possibility of Siddhartha ‘snuffing himself out’ with his own reflection and the holy word ‘om’, nature brings together birth and death and spiritual enlightenment, and in so doing shows the oneness of the world. When Siddhartha is describing his sadness, he likens it to the death of a bird, his inner voice. Nature is both within and without Siddhartha, and when he realizes this, death seems not to be the end that he thought it was.

Nature also brings together the unity of Siddhartha’s experiences. His eventual philosophy relates to all the trials he has put himself through, from a samana to a merchant. On one hand, ascetism showed him the denial of physical needs, which is an attempt to overcome the natural world. On the other is the materialism of business and sex, which Siddhartha found in the town, centers on the other extreme: what you can get from and enjoy from the natural world. Finally, Siddhartha's ultimate philosophy, like the vision of the stone’s many incarnations, involves learning from the natural world and realizing its fundamental unity.

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Nature and the Spirit ThemeTracker

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Nature and the Spirit Quotes in Siddhartha

Below you will find the important quotes in Siddhartha related to the theme of Nature and the Spirit.
Part 1, Chapter 2 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
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1, Chapter 3 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:

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:
Part 1, Chapter 4 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:
Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

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:
Part 2, Chapter 7 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:
Part 2, Chapter 8 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:

“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:
Part 2, Chapter 9 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
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 10 Quotes

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:
Part 2, Chapter 11 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:

“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:
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

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
Related Literary Devices:
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis: