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Comparative Analysis of The Bhagavad-gita and The Siddhartha

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The Bhagavad-Gita is known as one of the most influential forms of text in the Hindu religion. Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, dating back more than 4,000 years. The Siddhartha is a book written by Hermann Hesse.

The Gita suggest that Hinduism is a way of life that parents are expected to teach their children, passing on the lessons, from generation to generation. This alone creates an “oral” tradition. During a person’s life, they are faced with things that could potentially take them father away from self-awareness or bring them closer to it. The farther away they go, the more karma they will have to work off in the end. Hinduism and Buddhism both share common principles of life, but the Bhagavad-Gita suggests that enlightenment is taught while Siddhartha suggests that it is something you gain from your experiences throughout life.

The Gita, in all is a conversation between a man named Krishna and a man named Arjuna. Arjuna doesn’t want to fight or shed his family’s blood over a kingdom that he simply does not want. To Krishna, killing is very evil and very sinful and to kill his family would be the greatest sin of them all. He ultimately decides that in the end, none of it is worth it. Arjuna tells Krishna that it is his “dharmic duty” to kill them to restore his karma. Krishna disagree with Arjuna that the mind is to be controlled and that it is crucial for the work of duty. Krishna then begins to tell Arjuna that there are three main concepts for the mind, body and soul. In the book, Siddhartha begins to practice meditation, which was inspired by the Samanas. During his time with the Samanas, he realized he wanted to find that inner peace and enlightenment of the mind and soul that he had been longing for. With no luck, he soon realized that to find what he was looking for, he would have to simply find it on his own. He then decided to find and interpret the teachings of Buddha himself, only to find the same outcome of looking for one’s own enlightenment in someone or something else cannot lead you to personal peace.

One literary device that is used in the novel is symbolism. Siddhartha is captivated by the river and the meaningfulness of it, along with its simplicity and peace. The new voice that he has found inside him speaks to him and says, “Love the river, stay by it and learn from it” ( pg. 84). Siddhartha then begins to think of his life and realizes that his life could also be symbolized as a river, teaching him to “go with the flow” and accept things as they are.

In the Hinduism Vasudeva was the father of Krishna and in the novel, we can see the ferryman Vasudeva acting as a father-figure to Siddhartha. His advice to Siddhartha is that a father has to eventually let go and that his son should experience his own suffering, just like Siddhartha’s father had once experienced. This illustrates one of the important themes of the novel, that knowledge can be taught but wisdom comes from experience. From the river Siddhartha hears various voices, which were heard to form the one word “OM‟. In this process he gains peace and he had come to realization with the sense of unity. Towards the end of the novel, Siddhartha’s friend Govinda, a Buddhist monk, searches for enlightenment and meets him to enquire about the teachings that had brought him peace. From this, Siddhartha replies that knowledge can be communicated but wisdom cannot. By lifting a stone from the ground, Siddhartha explains to Govinda that the stone within a certain length of time will perhaps become soil and from the soil becomes plant and man. Therefore he respects and loves it because it always is everything. In the Gita Chapter 14 “The Gunas‟, Krishna talks about the same.

In the Gita Chapter 2 “Transcendental Knowledge”, it is said “There was never a time when I or you did not exist. Just as the embodied soul experiences the different stages of the body like the childhood, adulthood and old age, so will it acquire another body after death. The river can be compared to one’s soul which is “eternal”, “birthless”, “deathless”, and is also “without a beginning on an end”.

In the Hinduism Vasudeva was the father of Krishna and in the novel we can see the ferryman Vasudeva acting as a father-figure to Siddhartha. His advice to Siddhartha is that a father has to eventually let go and that his son should experience his own suffering, just like Siddhartha’s father had once experienced. This illustrates one of the important themes of the novel, that knowledge can be taught but wisdom comes from experience. From the river Siddhartha hears many voices which were heard to form the one word “OM‟. In this process he gains peace and he had come to realization with the sense of unity. Towards the end of the novel, Siddhartha’s friend Govinda, a Buddhist monk, searches for enlightenment and meets him to enquire about the teachings that had brought him peace. From this, Siddhartha replies that knowledge can be communicated but wisdom cannot. By lifting up a stone from the ground, Siddhartha explains to Govinda that the stone within a certain length of time will perhaps become soil and from the soil becomes plant and man. Therefore, he respects and loves it because it always is everything.

In the Gita Chapter 14 “The Gunas‟, Krishna talks about the same. To quote from the Gita, “One who remains unwavering, who treats sorrow and success equally, to whom a lump of earth, a stone and gold are one and the same, who regards equally the desirable and the undesirable is said to have transcended the three modes of nature and attains Brahma” In chapter 6 “Yoga of self-control‟ verse 8. Krishna says, “Immersed in scriptural knowledge and control of senses, one who is able to see that a stone, a piece of gold and this earth are one and the same, attains yoga”. Here we can see that Siddhartha has attained yoga. When Govinda is asked to kiss his forehead, he sees multiple faces appear and then disappear but also seemed to be there at the same time. This vision can be compared to Arjuna’s mystic vision of the cosmic universe in one place within the body of Krishna. Govinda is overwhelmed with awe and love by seeing the mystic form of Siddhartha just like what Arjuna had experienced.

To conclude, it can be said that it is this faith and love of oneself and everything in the universe. Siddartha realizes this and experiences throughout his journey, a true sense of enlightenment and realizes that it is not something that can be taught, rather learned unlike the teachings of the Gita. 

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Comparative Analysis Of The Bhagavad-gita And The Siddhartha. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-the-bhagavad-gita-and-the-siddhartha/
“Comparative Analysis Of The Bhagavad-gita And The Siddhartha.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-the-bhagavad-gita-and-the-siddhartha/
Comparative Analysis Of The Bhagavad-gita And The Siddhartha. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-the-bhagavad-gita-and-the-siddhartha/> [Accessed 22 Oct. 2021].
Comparative Analysis Of The Bhagavad-gita And The Siddhartha [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Aug 06 [cited 2021 Oct 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/comparative-analysis-of-the-bhagavad-gita-and-the-siddhartha/
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