Siddhartha: Love Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

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

''Siddhartha'' by Hermann Hesse is the story of Siddhartha's journey towards enlightenment. As Siddhartha travels, he grows from seeing love as insufficient to realizing that love is the only thing that matters.

Searching for Enlightenment

Have you ever walked away from a great thing and not realized until much later that it is what you really wanted all along? Siddhartha, the protagonist, is loved by his family, friends, and community, but feels like something is missing. He walks away from everyone that cares about him in the search for enlightenment. He learns many things through his journey, but ultimately discovers love. In this lesson we will examine quotes about love from Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

Brotherly Love

Siddhartha always had people around who love him. His good looks, intelligence, and leadership ability secured admiration among those in his community. The narrator explains, 'But more than all the others he was loved by Govinda, his friend, the son of a Brahman. He loved Siddhartha's eye and sweet voice, he loved his walk and the perfect decency of his movements, he loved everything Siddhartha did and said and what he loved most was his spirit, his transcendent, fiery thoughts, his ardent will, his high calling.' Govinda proves his love for Siddhartha by following Siddhartha even though Siddhartha takes him for granted.

As a matter of fact, Siddhartha takes everyone for granted. The narrator writes, 'Siddhartha had started to nurse discontent in himself, he had started to feel that the love of his father and the love of his mother, and also the love of his friend, Govinda, would not bring him joy for ever and ever, would not nurse him, feed him, satisfy him.' Siddhartha doesn't appreciate how lucky he is to be loved and is compelled to go out into the world to find something new. Govinda stays with Siddhartha through his discontent with his family and the Samanas, but when Siddhartha decides to leave Gotama the Buddha, Govinda chooses to stay behind.

Physical Love

Siddhartha's next stop is into the city where he meets a courtesan named Kamala. Siddhartha asks Kamala to teach him about love. Kamala teaches him to dress nice and make money so that he can receive physical love. Siddhartha spends twenty years with Kamala, in which they enjoy love-making, but they realize that neither of them knows how to love. Siddhartha says, 'I am like you. You also do not love--how else could you practise love as a craft? Perhaps, people of our kind can't love. The childlike people can; that's their secret.'

Siddhartha feels a sort of superiority over most people because of his spiritual enlightenment. Although he wishes he could feel love like the 'childlike people,' he feels as if he has moved beyond their possessive love. After Siddhartha leaves the city, Kamala discovers she is pregnant with Siddhartha's child.

Fatherly Love

For eleven years, Siddhartha is not aware of his son's existence. However, as Kamala is dying, she and Siddhartha find each other again. When Kamala dies, the boy goes to the hut to live with Siddhartha. For the first time, Siddhartha feels something. He noted that, 'He loved him, and he preferred the suffering and worries of love over happiness and joy without the boy.'

However, the boy is used to wealth and not happy living in poverty. He wants to return to the home of his mother. Vasudeva, the enlightened ferryman who has become Siddhartha's friend, advises, 'Don't you shackle him with your love?' But Siddhartha can't help himself. He loves the boy too much to voluntarily let him go. As a result, the boy runs away. In his heart, Siddhartha knows that his son is safe, but feels compelled to go to him to try to keep him safe.

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