Afterthoughts: Siddartha by Hermann Hesse

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Siddartha is a story about a monk’s journey to find the meaning of life by Hermann Hesse. A philosophical excursion disguised as a novel, it is delicately and deliberately crafted. Siddartha goes through different phases in pursuit of reaching a spiritual state of enlightenment.

“One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking — a detour, an error.”

Hermann Hesse

This book is very much capture’s the detours most of us are likely to take. Broken down into three distinct parts, Hesse begins with exploring eastern philosophical ideas, followed by western individualism, and finally exploring our place as a part of the natural order. I am by no means clued up on many (if any) philosophical doctrines. Hesse’s writing was simple without sacrificing any depth, so it didn’t matter. I am sure that a background in philosophy would allow for a richer reading experience, but I was more than hooked without one. I can understand now why it is a popular text for high school English classes in the USA, it is a shame that it is not in NZ.

This book feels like when you are witness to a majestic sea cliff view, in solitude, with a the wind hitting your face. You try staying still and take it in. Perhaps you close your eyes, and then an involuntary smile appears. It is such a delight to read. I would be hard-pressed to believe there exists one person in the world today that wouldn’t feel hopeful, empowered, or glad after reading Siddartha.


Highly recommended. Siddartha is a timeless story that will grow in meaning after every read. It is simply and economically written while still sustaining incredible depth. As of May 12th, 2020, it stands as my favourite piece of fiction. I only wish I had discovered it sooner.

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