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How do religious people react to feelings when someone suffers from death or are dissatisfied with life? There may be some people who are really depressed and dissatisfied with the life because of the sufferings that always exist from time to time. In this case, this type of situation is related to Hermann Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, which relies on how life was like for religious people due to enlightened thinking and satisfaction. Siddhartha is the protagonist who is described as “the Brahmin’s son, grew up with his friend Govinda”. Siddhartha focuses on the main elements of Siddhartha’s beliefs and some of his life stories that reflect his thoughts, such as the teaching of enlightenment, the importance of river, and the journey of life.
In the beginning, Siddhartha tries to become knowledgeable through teachings, where he decides to try out every path in life. Govinda becomes Siddhartha’s friend, and he was the only one who strongly believed him and does whatever he believes based on Buddha’s principles. He chooses to follow Siddhartha’s example in becoming a Samana. Although everyone was content with Siddhartha, they really liked him due to his beliefs and thoughts that make him think deeper. Siddhartha was discontent and felt incomplete because although everyone was happy with him because he was intelligent and had a good future ahead of him. “That was how everybody loved Siddhartha, He delighted and made everybody happy. But Siddhartha himself was not happy”.
In the middle of the story, Siddhartha learns about the importance of river from the ferryman by providing guidance in the right direction. When Siddhartha came to the river, he wanted to end his life and let himself go. By river the crossing, new beginning are being symbolized. “Siddhartha learned something new on every step of his path”, suggesting that Kamala seeks meanings to natural world. The river has many meanings to Siddhartha because he wants everyone to listen to the sound of the river that represents life and path to enlightenment. The river is important to Siddhartha in which he believes that it is important to learn from it by stating, “A friendly ferryman took me across. My path once led from his hut to a new life which is now old and dead. May my present path, my new life, start from there!”. In this case, the river represents a timeline of the person’s start and end of life.
As the story reaches to the end, Siddhartha reminds him of why he has devoted his life to study Buddha because everyone does not follow the same path, and people follow through different perspectives based on the principles of religion. Govinda returns to the river and sees Siddhartha, where they follow the right path by seeking for enlightenment. Siddhartha wanted Govinda to kiss him on the forehead because he felt that Govind always believed on his beliefs on how to sustain a peaceful life through meditation. Moreover, Govinda and Siddhartha believed that life is full of interconnectedness, meaning there is a starting and ending point by stating “all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other, all helping each other, loving, hating, destroying each other and become newly born”.
Although the novel provides real-life stories of Siddhartha on the Buddha’s principles, I liked the way how Siddhartha thinks deeply on how to live a life and how everyone trusts him by making everyone happy. I strongly agree that life has many sufferings, such as tragedy, death, and other events that interferes the person’s thinking. It is difficult to handle this kind of situation, and it is important to believe in religion for peace of mind. In addition, I learned that the spiritual ideas of Buddhism is related to Hinduism, and it is important to live life through peace and meditation. After reading this book, my overall mood has changed to tranquility when Siddhartha goes for searching for his inner peace, which made my mind feel relaxed.
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