Siddhartha Chapter 7 Summary

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'Sansara', the 7th chapter of 'Siddhartha' by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha begins to realize that it is time to move to the next phase of his journey towards enlightenment.

Siddhartha's Search for Enlightenment

At this point in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha's family and community had high hopes for him as the son of a Brahmin that seemed to be following in his father's footsteps, but the discontent he felt about wanting to learn more than what is father and the elders in his community could teach him led Siddhartha to leave his home to become a Samana. With the Samana, Siddhartha learned how to suffer, but after many years, Siddhartha once again felt as if he had learned all he could. He leaves the Samana to follow Gotama the Buddha, who is believed to be enlightened. Siddhartha learns what he can from Gotama, but then realizes that true enlightenment does not come from a teacher, but from within.

What experiences would a spiritual man need to feel enlightened? Siddhartha decides that he need to explore himself through the physical world. He meets Kamala, a prostitute, and asks her to teach him about love. She instructs him that he needs nice clothes and money. He meets her friend, Kamaswami, who offers Siddhartha a job and a place to stay, but does find Siddhartha's flippant attitude about the business world frustrating. Let's find out if worldly pleasures lead Siddhartha to feel more enlightened in 'Sansara,' the 7th chapter.

Siddhartha Realizes That He Has Become Like the Others

How long do you think a man like Siddhartha will be fulfilled by pleasures of the flesh? At first, Siddhartha views business and wealth as a game he enjoys playing. Siddhartha and Kamala enjoy each other as lovers as Siddhartha enjoys material success for the first time, while still feeling secretly superior to others because he is a Samana. Gradually, however, Siddhartha begins to realize that the inner peace he once felt is disappearing. 'Slowly the disease of the soul, which rich people have, grabbed hold of him.' Once Siddhartha realizes that he is not moving in the right direction, his subconscious leads him to make a change.

The Cycle of Life

Have you ever had a dream that you think was trying to tell you something? Siddhartha's dreams drop hints that it is time to move on. His inner voice that spoke to him when it was time to leave the Brahman, the Samana, and the Buddha once again speaks to him and tells him it is time to go. Siddhartha realizes that although he has immensely enjoyed the pleasures, they are not bringing him any closer to enlightenment. 'The name of this game was Sansara, a game for children, a game which was perhaps enjoyable to play once, twice, ten times--but for ever and ever over again?' Sansara refers to the cycle of life, which is a series of rebirth, development, deterioration, and death.

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