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Call For Paper : Vol. 9, Issue 5 2022

ISSN : 2456-1304 (Online)

Perils and Pitfalls In The Process Of Transformation- A Psycho- Spiritual Study of Siddhartha of Hermann Hesse

Author : Dr Anmol 1 2

Date of Publication :15th March 2018

Abstract: Siddhartha portrays the life of Siddhartha, a triumphant quest hero who is presented by Hesse as a contemporary of Gautama Buddha, the Enlightened One which lends a certain charm and mystique to his character. As a spiritual seeker, Siddhartha can be compared to Larry and Paphnutius. Siddhartha embarks upon the road to spiritual realization and salvation. Siddhartha seeks out spiritual enlightenment and leaves home, joins the ascetics, performs terrible austerities, subject himself to heat and cold, undertakes fasts and practices. Although he gains mastery over his senses yet true enlightenment still eludes him. He realizes that one cannot attain enlightenment by renouncing the world or suppressing the senses; Experience of secular life is essential for growth and development. He comes under the influence of Kamala, a lovely courtesan, who teaches him the art of erotic lovemaking. He gradually becomes a rich man under the guidance of Kamaswami, a merchant who befriends him. Siddhartha starts drinking and leads a life of ease and comfort. Years roll by and suddenly one day Siddhartha realizes that he has squandered his life. The dormant ascetic in him is reawakened and he leaves the world to become a wandering mendicant again. He becomes a companion to Vasudeva the ferryman and gradually attains enlightenment in his guidance. Siddhartha, now a ferryman, learns the essence of his journey from the running river. Siddhartha’s awakening comes out of the totality of experiences attained by immersing oneself in the carnal pleasures of the world and the accompanying pain of Samsara. He learns that experience is the aggregate of conscious events experienced by a human in life. Many characters in Siddhartha have a clear connotative connection with the oriental mythology and resemble with Vrittis i.e. Kama, Krodh, Moha, and Maya

Reference :

    1. Atman is a Sanskrit word which means "essence, breath, soul. Ātman is synonymous with Soul, Self. The earliest use of word "Ātman" in Indian texts is found in the Rig Veda (RV X.97.11). Yāska, the ancient Indian grammarian, commenting on this Rigvedic verse, accepts the following meanings of Ātman: the pervading principle, the organism in which other elements are united and the ultimate sentient principle. Ātman is a central idea in all the Upanishads, and "Know your Ātman" their thematic focus. These texts state that the core of every person's self is not the body, nor the mind, nor the ego, but Ātman - "Soul" or "Self‖. Atman is the spiritual essence in all creatures, their real innermost essential being. It is eternal, it is the essence, and it is ageless. Atman is that which one is at the deepest level of one's existence
    2. Sri Aurobindo, The Essential Aurobindo: Writings of Sri Aurobindo, 163
    3. Leroy Shaw in his ―Time and the Structure of Hermann Hesse‘s Siddhartha‖ (Symposium, 11(1957) 204-224 sates that ―the life of Hesse‘s protagonist runs almost parallel to ―the Buddha‘s‖ (206) and that ―this parallelism….from the structural backbone‖ of the novel (207).
    4. Sannyāsa in Sanskrit means "renunciation of the world" and "abandonment". It is a composite word of saṃ- which means "together, all", ni- which means "down" and āsa from the root as, meaning "to throw" or "to put". A literal translation of Sannyāsa is thus "to put down everything, all of it". Sannyasa is sometimes spelled as Samnyasa. Sanyasis are also known as Bhiksu, Pravrajita/Pravrajitā, Yatin, Parivraja/Parivrajaka, Sadhu, Siddha, Sramana, Tyagis and Vairagis. See: Monier-Williams' Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon, Germany.
    5. Eugene Timpe in his ―Hesse‘s Siddhartha and the Bhagavad Gita (Comparative Literature, 22(1970) 346-57, undertakes to show ―that Hesse was influenced largely by Bhagavad Gita.‖
    6. The word "Mantra" comes from the root "man" to think. "Man" is the first syllable of manana or thinking. It is also the root of the word "Man" who alone of all creation is properly a Thinker. "Tra" comes from the root "tra," for the effect of a Mantra when used with that end, is to save him who utters and realizes it. Tra is the first syllable of Trana or liberation from the Samsara. By combination of man and tra, that is called Mantra which, from the religious stand-point, calls forth (Amantrana) the four aims (Caturvarga) of sentient being as happiness in the world and eternal bliss in Liberation. Mantra is thus Thought-movement vehicled by, and expressed in, speech. Its Svarupa is, like all else, consciousness (Cit) which is the Shabda-Brahman. A Mantra is not merely sound or letters. This is a form in which Shakti manifests herself. The mere utterance of a Mantra without knowing its meaning, without realization of the consciousness which Mantra manifests is a mere movement of the lips and nothing else. We are then in the outer husk of consciousness; just as we are when we identify ourselves with any other form of gross matter which is, as it were, the "crust" (as a friend of mine has aptly called it) of those subtler forces which emerge from the Yoni or Cause of all, who is, in Herself Consciousness (Cidrupini). When the Sadhaka knows the meaning of the Mantra he makes an advance. But this is not enough. He must, through his consciousness, realize that Consciousness which appears in the form of the Mantra, and thus attain Mantra- Caitanya. At this point, thought is vitalized by contact with the center of all thinking. At this point again thought becomes truly vital and creative. Then an effect is created by the realization thus induced. See: Arthur Avalon, Sakti and Sakta (London: Luzac & Co., 1918) 268.

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