Wednesday, September 22, 2010

(Book #31) Herman Hesse - Siddhartha

I initially picked up Herman Hesse's 'Siddhartha', with the belief that it was a story about the Buddha and that it would provide a little more insight into that religion. I was surprised to find out that it was not so much a story about the Buddha or even the Buddhist religion (even though he is encountered), but more of a cross section through a multitude of Eastern traditions, beliefs and worldviews. The story embodies many classic narrative devices, but this quest for Truth was something more unclear and intangible than the typical "Hero's Journey". We follow the titular character, Siddhartha, wise beyond his years even at the outset of the story, through a variety of encounters and relationships throughout his life as he searches for self fulfillment. It is a lonely journey and one that we all share to some capacity. As with many stories there are twists, turns and distractions from the initial goal and the character often forgets what it was he was looking for to begin with. It is ultimately discovered it in the most unlikely of places and we are left with the real question of what one does once it is found. On the whole, 'Siddhartha' contained a good deal of theological nourishment for any reader to chew on.

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