Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Siddhartha"

By Hermann Hesse
New translation by Susan Bernofsky
Copyright 2006
Random House Publishing
Classic Literature

So I thought I would take advantage of being at home today and catch up a little on my blog posts.  I've actually read quite a few books over the past six weeks, so I'll put a few reviews up here today. 

This was a favorite of the books I've read lately.  It is the story of an Indian Brahmin who gives up his life of class and privilege to become a seeker on a spiritual journey.  I'm sure there are some who would read this and compare it to the parables written by Paulo Coelho.  In reality, Siddhartha was written nearly 100 years ago and seemed to me a possible inspiration for some of Coelho's writings.  If you appreciate Coelho's writings, you will enjoy this book as well.

Siddhartha is a young man who one day makes the terrible realization that perhaps the love of his mother and father, and even his best friend Govinda, would not be enough to "forever suffice to gladden him, content him, sate him, fulfill him."  And thus begins Siddhartha's spiritual journey to find the thing that will give him the fulfillment he so desires.

He joins the Samanas, a group of wandering ascetics, who practice strict self discipline to help them on the road to enlightenment.  When he finds that not to be the path to his goal, he leaves the Samanas and finds a road to the merchant class where he lives for many years.  When he discovers that is not the answer either, he finds his way to a ferry station where he lives next to the river and finally finds the answer he is seeking.  It comes down to something so simple, that he can hardly believe it himself once it comes to him.  "....Everything that is appears good to me," he tells his friend Govinda when their paths cross at the end of life.

There were so many wonderful phrases and such descriptive prose in this book.  It was truly enjoyable to read.  At only about 120 short pages, I breezed through it in a short amount of time but did go back and re-read some of my favorite parts.  Highly recommend this one.

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