Siddhartha Chapter 8 Summary

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

In Chapter 8 of 'Siddhartha', our main character makes the devastating choice to end his life. What happens, and why does he make this choice? That's what we'll learning in this lesson.

Tough Changes

If you have ever had to make a huge transition in your life, like going to high school or even college, you will be able to relate to Siddhartha in Chapter 8 of Siddhartha. Leaving behind friends and loved ones can take a huge emotional toll, and can even be depressing and heart wrenching. This can be even more intense when it is something that you choose to do. Siddhartha leaves a life of wealth behind when he realizes it is destroying his soul.

Siddhartha is Sick of It All

In the beginning of this chapter, we find Siddhartha wandering through the forest in a mood of disgust. He has just walked away from a life of wealth and lust. He feels disgusted by how attached he was to earthly goods. In other words, he lost his way. To give you an idea of how low he is, note what is said: ''He was, full of the feeling of been sick of it, full of misery, full of death, there was nothing left in this world which could have attracted him, given him joy, given him comfort.'' He then wishes that lightning would strike him or that a tiger would come and devour him.

Siddhartha Rediscovers ''Om''

He decides to jump into the water and commit suicide by drowning himself. He wraps one arm around a tree and leans over the bank. Just as he is about to jump, the word ''Om'' comes into his mind. This word is holy prayer for Siddhartha that represents completeness. Realization washes over him and he collapses in exhaustion under the tree and sleeps deeply. When he wakes, he finds none other then his best friend Govinda standing over him. Since Siddhartha is dressed like a rich man, Govinda does not recognize him until Siddhartha explains who he is. Siddhartha tells Govinda that he is going on a pilgrimage, but since pilgrims are supposed to be humble, Govinda says that he has never in his life seen a pilgrim dressed so well and smelling no nice. Siddhartha simply tells Govinda, ''Well now you have.'' The two friends part ways.

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