Siddhartha Chapter 10 Summary

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
After the death of Kamala, and well into his life, we finally see how Siddhartha deals with interpersonal love in the tenth chapter of 'Siddhartha', as well as how he handles heartbreak.

Siddhartha So Far

By the time we reach chapter 10 of Siddhartha, quite a bit has changed for the title character. Born into a priestly family of Brahmins, Siddhartha rejects prayers and rituals for the life of a traveling ascetic. However, he is unable to find deeper meaning through rejecting the material world, so he instead embraces it as a merchant and a lover to a beautiful courtesan. Ultimately, this leaves Siddhartha unfilled as well, so we find him on the riverside with Vasudeva, learning Enlightenment from the river. Meanwhile, his old lover Kamala comes along and is killed by a snake, but not before informing Siddhartha that he is a father.

A Troubled Son

This son, also named Siddhartha, is not taking the death of his mother well. He especially is not taking the fact that his apparent father is a ferryman well either. Routinely, Siddhartha the Younger abuses Siddhartha, mocking him, making him care for him, and generally being spoiled. Siddhartha the elder tries to get through this, knowing that he has a son underneath. However, no matter what the father does, the son continues to reject him and everything that he stands for. It is clear that he is craving his old life, and that the simple life by the river is not satisfactory.

Question of Fatherhood

This leaves Siddhartha the elder with a problem. On one hand, he really wants to be a good father for his son. On the other hand, all of this frustration is completely derailing his attempts at gaining Enlightenment. None of this is lost on Vasudeva, who offers to counsel Siddhartha the elder. Quoth Vasudeva: 'Bring him into the city, bring him into his mother's house, there'll still be servants around, give him to them.' In short, Vasudeva may appear to be saying to get rid of him, but what he is really saying is that, just as Siddhartha the elder had a different path than his father, so too does Siddhartha the younger have a different path from his father.

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