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Siddhartha’s Journey as a Hero

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What is the meaning of a hero in a story? A story would never be a satisfactory story without a hero, and without a journey a hero would never be existed. In every story, there’s a meaning to the journey of the hero. The meaning of the journey can be really important; it’s something that would open up the mind of the book to the reader. Significantly, the meaning of the story would teach the reader either of everyday life struggles or the true meaning of life. Most of the time, the author would express such thing through the actions of the hero and not through the mind of the hero. But in Herman Hesse’s point of view, it’s a whole new different hero’s story. In Hesse’s story, he did not express the teaching of life through the hero’s actions but actually through the hero’s mind. Hesse’s most respectable work is “Siddhartha,” in which he used a young Brahmin Indian, Siddhartha, to expresses his intellect. . In “Siddhartha,” there is no expression through the action of the hero, but only through the language of the hero or through the thought of the hero.

Hesse expresses that everyone’s has a journey in their life, such as the Brahmin has a journey to reach Nirvana, to become the “Illustrious One.” The significant thing of Hesse’s intellect is that he uses only Siddhartha’s journey to express what he wanted to tell his reader of self-knowledge in the Buddhism’s world, even though Hesse is not from the Buddhism’s world. In the beginning, Hesse expresses that Siddhartha is just an ordinary Brahmin, but also a clever and handsome one. At first, Siddhartha did not know the real meaning of life, he was never happy for most of his life. Siddhartha was not happy until he set out a journey with his friend Govinda and by himself to find out what’s this happiness that he’s missing. As his journey continue on, Siddhartha learned that love seemed to be the most important thing in life, as he struggles from his cleverness, and improved his most important aspect, self-knowledge.

Siddhartha at first was just a simple Brahmin that has “no joy in his own heart” (5). He never realized why he is never happy, even with all the love from other around him, especially the one from his best friend’s Govinda. After he had saw the Samanas living their life through nothing but their bare hands and mind, Siddhartha set out on a journey to let go of his old life and become a new one. But what Siddhartha never notices is that his first mistakes was to “bowed to his father and went to his mother to do what had been told to him” (12). From that point, Siddhartha leaves back a very valuable thing in life, and that is love. He leaves his parent and journey on his quest, never thinking of anyone else but only of himself. Siddhartha goes through many obstacles and knowledge, but it’s not until the end when he realizes that for the whole time he has been missing love.

That is when Kamala passed away and left Siddhartha back their son, it was then that he start struggling to know what love is. But he is never able to look after his son as his son loathes him and run away from him. After his son have left him, Siddhartha continues on his life as a ferryman, where he first notices that “so many people possess this very great happiness” (129) and asked himself why he doesn’t he has it. Siddhartha notices that “even wicked people, thieves and robbers have children, love them and are loved by them” (129) but except him. Through all those years of learning from the Samanas, Gotama, Kamala, Vasudeva, and himself, Siddhartha finally realizes that he has now become like the ordinary people and that he was “so childishly and illogically did he now reason” (129) that love is the most important thing in life. But Hesse did not personally expresses it until at the end when Siddhartha told Govinda that “love is the most important thing in the world” (147).

Even though in every story a hero does many good deeds, but no matter what there will always be a point that a hero must struggle in his life. In Siddhartha, Hesse clearly foreshadows what Siddhartha will be struggling against with. Hesse does not express this through Siddhartha but actually through the Illustrious One, Gotama, himself, when Gotama tells Siddhartha to “be on guard against too much cleverness” (35). Even if Gotama had fully warned Siddhartha to be aware of his cleverness, but Siddhartha had never noticed anything about it. Siddhartha being ignorance of believing in only himself and not the teaching of others, he went through an obstacle where he finally notices what he had done wrong. It’s the time when he first Kamala and falls for the trickery deception of cleverness and beauty. After he met Kamala, Siddhartha used his cleverness of what he had learned so far to try to win the trust of Kamala. Siddhartha may be using a simple process of think, fast, and wait, but what he didn’t know is that this is his cleverness.

For the whole time in Samsara, Siddhartha uses this simple process to become the most riches merchant in town; he even overcomes his own employer, Kamaswami. Being a rich merchant, Siddhartha lost a great magnitude of his learning and goal. His purpose of becoming the Illustrious One had been demolished by his cleverness. As his riches had belonged to him, Siddhartha started to play a game of trickery, and that is gambling. Through gambling, Siddhartha “show more clearly and mockingly his contempt for riche, the false deity of businessman” (79) and lost everything, as he starts to be “hating himself, mocking himself” (79). Because of his cleverness, Siddhartha had now become what known as wicked people, people that only enjoy life torturing others and themselves.

It is not until Siddhartha had lost everything of his, and sat under his own mango tree that he realizes something is wrong with him. Under the mango tree, Siddhartha dreams of Kamala’s bird “was dead and lay stiff on the floor” (82). After he has awakened, Siddhartha noticed that “he had spent his life in a worthless and senseless manner” (82). Siddhartha finally realized that his cleverness had led him a place that had ruined his life, a place that had no purpose and no position in life. He even asked himself that “he left all these in order to become a Kamaswami” (84). The “all these” that he’s talking are his father, Govinda, Gotama, and his “Self,” these are the things that’s really important to him and also the reasons why he’s on this journey.

Something significant about Siddhartha in the story is his self-knowledge. Even though he had struggled from his own cleverness, but it is also his cleverness that makes Govinda becomes amazed of him. At first, Siddhartha did not know much of the real world; he was just beginning his quest on trying to learn the meaning of life. But not until he has learned that learning from other “does not contain the secret of what the Illustrious One himself experienced” (34). When he was talking to Gotama, he told Gotama, “I am going on my way – not to seek another and better doctrine, for I know there is none, but to leave all doctrines and all teachers and to reach my goal alone – or die” (34). After he has learned from the great Illustrious One himself, Siddhartha decided to go on the journey himself. Siddhartha then reached a river where he met Vasudeva and acknowledged Vasudeva.

Vasudeva told Siddhartha of the river and that the river can teach one many things but it does not teach one like a human did but one must learn from it on himself. Siddhartha tends to live with Vasudeva and everyday sat by the river to listen to it patiently. From the river, Siddhartha has learned on himself “to wait, to have patience, to listen” are some of the most important things to do in life. In the end, when Govinda met Siddhartha for one last time, Siddhartha told Govinda that “teachings are of no use” (146). And also from that time, Siddhartha had become the Illustrious One all by himself and his self-knowledge.

Herman Hesse efficiently expressed his intellect through a simple Brahmin Indian. Siddhartha are just like everyone else, he has a journey and has learned well from his journey. But he makes mistakes along the way of the journey, and from these mistakes, he learns the real meaning of life, which love is important, cleverness is a trickery deception, and learning on oneself is the best solution. Basically, all these are something that one must all goes through, including self-knowledge. It may not seem to others, but everyone actually learn on themselves, and not through others. Herman Hesse could possibly be one of the best writer to express these intellects of his through such a magnificence novel.

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