DescriptionThe title of this novel is a combination of two Sanskrit words, "siddha," which is defined as "achieved," and "artha" which is defined as "meaning" or "wealth." The invented word serves as the name for the principal character, a man on a spiritual journey of self-discovery during the time of the Buddha. The titular character Siddhartha is the son of a wealthy Brahmin family who decides to leave his home in the hopes of gaining spiritual illumination. Siddhartha is joined by his best friend Govinda; the two renounce their earthly possessions, engage in ritual fasting and intense meditation and ultimately seek out and speak with Gautam, the famous Buddha. Here the two go their separate ways, Govinda joining the order of the Buddha, Siddhartha traveling on in order to find his spiritual enlightenment. In order to complete this novel Hesse immersed himself in the sacred teachings of both Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and lived a semi-reclusive life in order to achieve his own spiritual enlightenment. "Siddhartha" is considered one of Hesse's most important works and remains one of his most popular; a work that deals with the quest that we all undertake in some way or another, the quest to define our lives in an environment of conflicting dualities and ultimately find spiritual awareness.
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About the Author
Hermann Hesse was a highly acclaimed German author. He was known most famously for his novels Steppenwolfand Siddhartha and his novel The Glass Bead Game earned Hesse a Nobel prize in Literature in 1946. Many of his works explore topics pertaining to self-prescribed societal ostracization. Hesse was fascinated with ways in which one could break the molds of traditional society in an effort to dig deeper into the conventions of selfhood. His fascination with personal awareness earned himself something of a following in the later part of his career. Perceived thus as a sort of "cult-figure" for many young English readers, Hesse's works were a gateway into their expanding understanding of eastern mysticism and spirituality. Despite Hesse's personal fame, Siddhartha, was not an immediate success. It was only later that his works received noticeable recognition, largely with audiences internationally. The Glass Bead Game was Hermann Hesse's final novel, though he continued to express his beliefs through varying forms of art including essays, poems, and even watercolor paintings.