If the original Siddhartha opted to renounce worldly life to become Gautama Buddha, the enlightened, it was vice versa for this Siddhartha, who is a contemporary of Gautama Buddha. The young Siddhartha renounced his so called spiritual entity and chose to live with Kamala, a courtesan, who prompted him to amass wealth for a comfortable and luxurious worldly life. The highly intelligent Siddhartha could do it with ease. But after sometime, he chose to abandon his *‘Garhasthya’ to seek fulfilment and finally attained it but not from any guru but a simple ferry man Vasudeva and the river which he used to ferry.
The relationship between Vasudeva and Siddartha, is worth mentioning. An ignorant lay man turned out to be an intellectual’s spiritual guide, so to say!. So impressive is Vasudeva’s and later Siddhartha’s fondness towards the river, which ultimately symbolizes mother nature herself.
Hermann Hesse is the grandson of Dr.Hermann Gundert who had well known Kerala connections.
Now certain quotes from the book:
Siddhartha to Govinda:
"What is meditation? What is leaving one's body?What is fasting?What is holding one's breath?It is fleeing from one's self, it is a short escape of the agony of being a self, it is a brief numbing of the senses against the pain and pointlessness of life."
"We find comfort, we find numbness, we learn feats to deceive others.But the most important thing, the path of paths, we will not find."
Siddhartha to Budha, mentioned in the book as Gotama/the exalted one:
"O, exalted one, no body will obtain salvation by means of teachings.You will not be able to convey to anybody, O, venerable one, in words and through teachings what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment! "