In taught, but rather comes from within. Siddhartha states,

In Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha becomes a leader of his own path to enlightenment by fighting against his beliefs, destroying parts of himself, and using the river as a continuous support system. The river has always been a part of Siddhartha’s life, from grows up alongside a river bank, and continuously bathes in it in order to perform Brahmin rituals or his spending his final moments with Govinda. Water is used as a literary device to serve as a symbol for Siddhartha’s constant rebirth and death, and clearly exhibits the obstacles with Self he had to overcome in order to pave his personal path to enlightenment. Hesse, overall, shows Siddhartha’s journey through suffering, while using water through the river as a symbol of his transforming personas. Siddhartha believes in order to reach Nirvana, enlightenment cannot be taught, but rather comes from within. Siddhartha states, “I shall no longer be instructed by the Yoga Veda or the Aharva Veda, or the ascetics, or any other doctrine whatsoever. I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself; I will learn from myself the secret of Siddhartha” (Hesse 39). At first, Siddhartha searches for enlightenment through forms of organized religion and later resorts to the material world of Kamala and Kamaswami, traveling through the the river that separates his spiritual and acquisitive backgrounds. Throughout this process, he is completely dissatisfied with the knowledge he attains, and creates his own means of wisdom. Siddhartha loses Self to an extent to which he is lost, and is unsure of who he truly is. When Siddhartha abandons his constant denial of accepting Self, he takes first step to reach enlightenment. Although the teachers do not give Siddhartha enlightenment, they give him experiences which help him build onto the process of attaining Nirvana. Rather than being enslaved and losing his inner voice, Siddhartha realizes wisdom is learned through experience.Every visit Siddhartha makes to the river marks a new period of enlightenment. When Siddhartha falls asleep beside the river, after being exhausted from a rich lifestyle, yet prior to contemplating suicide, he stands in between the river, and attains unity of both worlds, and exists as a shadow of two worlds. He dies within the river but is born once again into a profoundly new man. Rather than controlling his life, he must allow life to take its path naturally. The power of Om ultimately is the epitome of enlightenment, and further allows Siddhartha to reach a period of inner peace and cleanse. Siddhartha states, “Above all, it taught him how to listen, to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting, open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinion (Hesse 106).” Vasudeva serves as Siddhartha’s guide, and directs him to listen to the river and make his own beliefs upon it. The river to Sidhartha is seen as a body of nature that can be all places at once, and where time is nonexistent, since our present can teach us everything. The river is a depiction of existing unity and eternity, and directs the thoughts of someone who is ready to listen and conceal their hardships. Siddhartha is hesitant to understand Self, and the river serves as a spiritual journey to find Self, and finding overall unity, and his smile is able to resemble that of the Buddha, truly illustrious. As a ferryman, Siddhartha will be given the opportunity to pass the message of the river to travelers, and guide those who need guidance. His profession as a ferryman is suited to his needs – allowing wisdom to flow to those who are certainly passionate. Siddhartha and Govinda have always had two different mindsets to reach one ultimate goal, Nirvana. Siddhartha exclaims, “These are things and one can love things. But one cannot love words. Therefore teaching are of no use to me; they have no hardness, no softness… – they have nothing but words” (Hesse 146). Enlightenment cannot be put into words, and Govinda’s constant battle upon understanding his own knowledge and wisdom creates a tier between a seeker and a leader. Siddhartha, towards the end of the novel, is unable to communicate through fatal words, and kisses Govinda on his forehead, embodying the true meaning of Nirvana. To Siddhartha, Nirvana can be attained at any given time, and while using various teachings in attempt to reach enlightenment, it is a state already obtained as one continuously seeks for it. Nirvana, overall, can be attained through the means of believing in oneself and one’s own set of values and beliefs. The river, overall, serves as Siddhartha’s support system in a spiritual manner. Through the river, he is able to cancel out his anxiousness and reach inner peace and serenity. The river is his escape from the places that failed to give him any sort of wisdom or knowledge, and served as a companion, someone who truly understands Siddhartha’s concerns. The river, moreover, was able to lead Siddhartha to the mystery of himself, and the satisfaction of his own experience was able to lead him to ultimate enlightenment.

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