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Siddhartha. (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Dezember 1981

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  • Taschenbuch: 160 Seiten
  • Verlag: Bantam; Auflage: Reissue (1. Dezember 1981)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0553208845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553208849
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 10,6 x 1,2 x 17,4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (172 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.894 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)



Blends elements of psychoanalysis and Asian religions to probe an Indian aristocrat's efforts to renounce sensual and material pleasures and discover ultimate spiritual truths.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Chapter 1

The Son of the Brahmin

In the shade of the house, in the sunlight on the riverbank where the boats were moored, in the shade of the sal wood and the shade of the fig tree, Siddhartha grew up, the Brahmin’s handsome son, the young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, the son of a Brahmin. Sunlight darkened his fair shoulders on the riverbank as he bathed, performed the holy ablutions, the holy sacrifices. Shade poured into his dark eyes in the mango grove as he played with the other boys, listened to his mother’s songs, performed the holy sacrifices, heard the teachings of his learned father and the wise men’s counsels. Siddhartha had long since begun to join in the wise men’s counsels, to practice with Govinda the art of wrestling with words, to practice with Govinda the art of contemplation, the duty of meditation. He had mastered Om, the Word of Words, learned to speak it soundlessly into himself while drawing a breath, to speak it out soundlessly as his breath was released, his soul collected, brow shining with his mind’s clear thought. He had learned to feel Atman’s presence at the core of his being, inextinguishable, one with the universe.

Joy leaped into his father’s heart at the thought of his son, this studious boy with his thirst for knowledge; he envisioned him growing up to be a great wise man and priest, a prince among Brahmins.

Delight leaped into his mother’s breast when she beheld him, watched him as he walked and sat and stood, Siddhartha, the strong handsome boy walking on slender legs, greeting her with flawless grace.

Love stirred in the hearts of the young Brahmin girls when Siddhartha walked through the streets of their town with his radiant brow, his regal eye, his narrow hips.

But none of them loved him more dearly than Govinda, his friend, the Brahmin’s son. He loved Siddhartha’s eyes and his sweet voice, loved the way he walked and the flawless grace of his movements; he loved all that Siddhartha did and all he said and most of all he loved his mind, his noble, passionate thoughts, his ardent will, his noble calling. Govinda knew: This would be no ordinary Brahmin, no indolent pen pusher overseeing the sacrifices, no greedy hawker of incantations, no vain, shallow orator, no wicked, deceitful priest, and no foolish, good sheep among the herd of the multitude. Nor did he, Govinda, have any intention of becoming such a creature, one of the tens of thousands of ordinary Brahmins. His wish was to follow Siddhartha, the beloved, splendid one. And if Siddhartha should ever become a god, if he were ever to take his place among the Radiant Ones, Govinda wished to follow him, as his friend, his companion, his servant, his spear bearer, his shadow.

Thus was Siddhartha beloved by all. He brought them all joy, filled them with delight.

To himself, though, Siddhartha brought no joy, gave no delight. Strolling along the rosy pathways of the fig garden, seated in the blue-tinged shade of the Grove of Contemplation, washing his limbs in the daily expiatory baths, performing sacrifices in the deep-shadowed mango wood, with his gestures of flawless grace, he was beloved by all, a joy to all, yet was his own heart bereft of joy. Dreams assailed him, and troubled thoughts—eddying up from the waves of the river, sparkling down from the stars at night, melting out of the sun’s rays; dreams came to him, and a disquiet of the soul wafting in the smoke from the sacrifices, murmuring among the verses of the Rig-Veda, welling up in the teachings of the old Brahmins.

Siddhartha had begun to harbor discontent. He had begun to feel that his father’s love and the love of his mother, even the love of his friend Govinda, would not always and forever suffice to gladden him, content him, sate him, fulfill him. He had begun to suspect that his venerable father and his other teachers, all wise Brahmins, had already given him the richest and best part of their wisdom, had already poured their plenty into his waiting vessel, yet the vessel was not full: His mind was not content, his soul not at peace, his heart restless. The ablutions were good, but they were only water; they could not wash away sin, could not quench his mind’s thirst or dispel his heart’s fear. The sacrifices and the invocations of the gods were most excellent—but was this all? Did the sacrifices bring happiness? And what of the gods? Was it really Prajapati who had created the world? Was it not rather Atman, He, the Singular, the One and Only? Weren’t the gods mere shapes, creations like you and me, subject to time, transitory? And was it then good, was it proper, was it meaningful, a noble act, to sacrifice to the gods? To whom else should one sacrifice, to whom else show devotion, if not to Him, the Singular, Atman? And where was Atman to be found, where did He reside, where did His eternal heart lie beating? Where else but within oneself, in the innermost indestructible core each man carries inside him. But where, where was this Self, this innermost, utmost thing? It was not flesh and bone, it was not thought and not consciousness, at least according to the wise men’s teachings. Where was it then, where? To penetrate to this point, to reach the Self, oneself, Atman—could there be any other path worth seeking? Yet this was a path no one was showing him; it was a path no one knew, not his father, not the teachers and wise men, not the holy songs intoned at the sacrifices! They knew everything, these Brahmins and their holy books, everything, and they had applied themselves to everything, more than everything: to the creation of the world, the origins of speech, of food, of inhalation and exhalation; to the orders of the senses, the deeds of the gods—they knew infinitely many things—but was there value in knowing all these things without knowing the One, the Only thing, that which was important above all else, that was, indeed, the sole matter of importance?

To be sure, many verses in the holy books, above all the Upanishads of the Sama-Veda, spoke of this innermost, utmost thing: splendid verses. “Your soul is the entire world” was written there, and it was written as well that in sleep, the deepest sleep, man entered the innermost core of his being and dwelt in Atman. There was glorious wisdom in these verses; all the knowledge of the wisest men was collected here in magic words, pure as the honey collected by bees. It was not to be disregarded, this massive sum of knowledge that had been collected here by countless generations of wise Brahmins.

But where were the Brahmins, where the priests, where the wise men or penitents who had succeeded not merely in knowing this knowledge but in living it? Where was the master who had been able to transport his own being-at-home-in-Atman from sleep to the waking realm, to life, to all his comings and goings, his every word and deed?

Siddhartha knew a great many venerable Brahmins, above all his father, a pure, learned, utterly venerable man. Worthy of admiration was his father, still and regal his bearing, his life pure, his words full of wisdom; fine and noble thoughts resided in his brow. But even he, who was possessed of such knowledge, did he dwell in bliss, did he know peace? Was not he too only a seeker, a man tormented by thirst? Was he not compelled to drink again and again from the holy springs, a thirsty man drinking in the sacrifices, the books, the dialogues of the Brahmins? Why must he, who was without blame, wash away sin day after day, labor daily to...

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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von am 27. März 1999
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book blends Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity into a poignant, comforting embrace for the soul. It is not a novel for the literal reader or the action-seeker. Also, the reader must not be fooled by its simplistic narrative style. It is rich in symbolic import and philosophical vision. I am particularly fond of the novel's philosophy of time--that it does not exist; and if time does not exist, death is an illusion as well. And while the book's major thought is that no teacher, no doctrine, no religion can afford you wisdom, it pays reverent homage to the valuable mentors in life that help us find our way. No matter how many times I read this novel, I always leave it with a sense of peace and humility.
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT am 1. September 2007
Format: Taschenbuch
Siddhartha is that most unusual of all stories -- one that follows a character throughout most of his life . . . and describes that life in terms of a spiritual journey. For those who are ready to think about what their spiritual journey can be, Siddhartha will be a revelation. For those who are not yet looking for "enlightenment," the book will seem pecular, odd, and out-of-joint. That's because Hesse was presenting a mystery story, also, for each reader to solve for herself or himself. The mystery is simply to unravel the meaning of life.

As the son of a Brahmin, Siddhartha would naturally have enjoyed access to all of the finest lessons and things of life. Knowing of his natural superiority in many ways, he becomes disenchanted with teachers and his companions. In a burst of independence, he insists on being allowed to leave home to become a wandering Shramana (or Samana, depending on which translation you read). After three years or so, he tires of this as well. Near the end of that part of his life, Siddharta meets Gotama, the Buddha, and admires him greatly. But Siddharta continues to feel that teachers cannot convey the wisdom of what they know. Words are too fragile a vessel for that purpose. He sees a beautiful courtesan and asks her to teach him about love. Thus, Siddhartha begins his third quest for meaning by embracing the ordinary life that most people experience. Eventually, disgusted by this (and he does behave disgustingly), he tires of life. Then, he suddenly reconnects with the Universe, and decides to become a ferryman and learn from the river. In this fourth stage of his life, he comes to develop the wisdom to match the knowledge that direct experiences of the "good" and the "sensual" life have provided to him.
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 25. Oktober 1997
Format: Hörkassette
I read this book when I was 19. I am now 51. Having just discovered Amazon Books, I was "surfing" and searching out titles that came to memory. I also read the lyrical version in German in those now distant days, and spent much time looking for "Suleika", or "Zuleika". It brought me great peace of mind at that time, as I had to interrupt my college days in order to enter the Army and go to Vietnam. The book reads like the flowing river, and is in some ways an eternal story of search for meaning in life and realization. Like Sidhartha our search for meaning often ends at the beginning. Ultimately, we return to the basic and simple truths that were there when we were born. Growing up is a kind of struggle. Sidhartha is a story of idealism and virtue that survives ignorance, futility and evil. If in the end, we retain that idealism, our lives can be heroic and our conscience pure. Sometimes, I remember and recall the words: "From Sidhartha to Sidhartha is my coming and my going." It is a book of haunting beauty and depth of meaning. W. H. L./Bellevue
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von am 3. Januar 1998
Format: Taschenbuch
I rarely give tens to anything. However, I feel very strongly that this book is a must-read for anyone who feels lost. I read this book last year, as a high school senior, at the suggestion of my English teacher. After wading through a beginning that I thought was somewhat discouraging, I found myself being spoken to on a level that I have never found before. At a time in my life when I felt lost in a whirlwind of forced maturity, I found myself calmed and comforted by a book I thought was just an assignment. Alongside Siddhartha, I found myself learning from my hardships and seeking out my own path. That was a much-needed dose of courage when I had none. Now I find myself in college. My first semester was not what I had long hoped for, and I again feel lost. I find solace in Siddhartha, relearning the lessons that he taught me. Hermann Hesse wrote a masterful book about finding one's path, and by doing so, he showed me the way. In this cynical world, inspiration like that is hard to come by....
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 30. Juni 1999
Format: Hörkassette
Siddhartha is a beautiful story from start to finish! For the three hours'time the story runs on cassette tape, the listener is treated to a magical journey to the river of life as he or she accompanies Siddhartha, son of a wealthy Brahmin, and his lifelong friend, Govinda, on Siddhartha's search for enlightment. What is more is that there is just as much beauty in finding that one does not need to live a life of material wealth to find true happiness. I also found a certain beauty learning about the Buddhist religion, including nirvana, through Derek Jacobi's mellifluous reading, and that death is not an end to be feared, but rather a beginning to another life--a life in which we are free from pain, hunger, and thirst, because we know that these needs will be met. I would favorably suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of Derek Jacobi's work and wants a relaxing read for the summer months, too.
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