Quotes or quotations are phrases, sentences, lines and paragraphs taken from a literary piece. These quotes express universal truths or situations that the characters go through. Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha has quotes that show the universality of emotions and situations inspired by Buddhist culture. Some important quotes from Siddhartha have been analyzed below.
Quotes in Siddhartha
Surely, many verses of the holy books, particularly in the Upanishads of Samaveda, spoke of this innermost and ultimate thing, wonderful verses. “Your soul is the whole world”
Siddhartha is very doubtful about scriptures. He questions that the Upanishads, the religious books of Brahmins. These holy books have very good verses to teach about the spiritual reality that the human soul is the whole world. In other words, ‘Your soul is the whole world’ also means ‘you are the creator of your destiny’.
He killed his senses, he killed his memory, he slipped out of his self into thousands of other forms, was an animal, was carrion, was stone, was wood, was water, and awoke every time to find his old self again, sun shone or moon, was his self again, turned round in the cycle, felt thirst, overcame the thirst, felt new thirst.
Siddhartha is trying to destroy his self to achieve Nirvana or enlightenment. The narrator states that Siddhartha has tried to kill everything that is achieved or associated with the self. However, he keeps repeating to his old self. The author compares his return to old habits to thirst.
And so I’m starting to believe that this knowledge has no worser enemy than the desire to know it, than learning.
Siddhartha thinks that Atman is everywhere. Atman means soul and is compared to infinite knowledge. He believes that the enemy of this inner knowledge is the desire to learn. It means that this is even dangerous than the knowledge itself.
They have a different goal; their goal is salvation from suffering. This is what Gautama teaches, nothing else.”
Siddhartha meets Gautama Buddha and questions him about the errors in his teaching philosophy. He tells him that his goal is not to give him knowledge but to end the sufferings of the people. This what he teaches and does not teach anything specific. Here, Siddhartha doesn’t believe in denying materialistic things to achieve knowledge or enlightenment.
I want to learn from myself, want to be my student, want to get to know myself, the secret of Siddhartha.
Siddhartha comes to the point that he should learn knowledge from himself. Therefore, he says that he wants to be his own student to learn the secret of his persona. In other words, he is immersed in the mystery of his own personality. The quote also means that a person can learn by himself or herself if they are determined to know the truth. Hence, you don’t need a spiritual guide for enlightenment.
Siddhartha leaves Gotama, The Buddha and Govinda after a few days. He realizes that he is now awakened and is aware of his personality. He feels a sense of satisfaction and inhales deeply. Then he feels that he is only one – Siddhartha, alone in this world without any family member around him. Here Siddhartha feels alone and yet liberated as he realized that by giving up everything, one cannot achieve Nirvana.
You are learning easily, Siddhartha, thus you should also learn this: love can be obtained by begging, buying, receiving it as a gift, finding it in the street, but it cannot be stolen.
Kamala is speaking to Siddhartha to tell him how to get love. She reminds him that love is precious but cannot be stolen. She further explains how people try to obtain love. You can beg other people to love you. You can make them love you by giving expensive gifts or you may fall in love by chance.
Then, out of remote areas of his soul, out of past times of his now weary life, a sound stirred up. It was a word, a syllable, which he, without thinking, with a slurred voice, spoke to himself, the old word which is the beginning and the end of all prayers of the Brahmans, the holy “Om.”
Siddhartha is experiencing extreme despair. Suddenly it occurs to him that there is a sound in his soul that is coming out of his soul. He then pays attention to this sound of ‘Om’. Om is a holy name for a word in the Hindu religion. According to the Brahmins, a Hindu community, all the prayers start and end with this word.
Now, he thought, since all these most easily perishing things have slipped from me again, now I’m standing here under the sun again just as I have been standing here a little child, nothing is mine, I have no abilities, there is nothing I could bring about, I have learned nothing. How wondrous is this!
Siddhartha is amused at his current situation after he had understood the truth and purpose of life. He thinks that all the things around him will perish one day. He realizes that he is like an innocent child who doesn’t have any ability to bring any change. Instead of feeling sorry, he begins to feel wonderful to have achieved a level of understanding.
And everything together, all voices, all goals, all yearning, all suffering, all pleasure, all that was good and evil, all of this together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.
While Siddhartha is listening to the river intently, he thinks that all the voices have merged with each other. All the good and evil and suffering and pleasures have merged in these voices. This was the world that he could hear now differently from his previous attempts to hear voices. He achieves his enlightenment after spending time with the humble ferryman. He also realizes that he didn’t have to leave anything behind. The presence of both good and the bad formed this world together. Siddhartha also compares all the events of life with music.