The river exists as the kernel of life. Even in the driest of comeuppances, a lone river brings nutriment for all life beings ; grass, animate beings, and worlds all aggregate around its Bankss. However, the river ‘s symbolism extends farther beyond affairs of geographics. Herman Hesse evokes its deeper significance in his beautiful work of literature, Siddhartha. Thirsty for cognition, Siddhartha travels the Indian countryside in hunt of enlightenment. Throughout his womb-to-tomb journey, this “ one who seeks his ends ” encounters the river several times. ( Lachotta ) Each brush signifies a different stage of his ego, and finally leads him to his redemption. The river presents itself in Siddhartha ‘s spiritualty, provides the way to his lecherousness, and grants him true integrity in the terminal. Indeed, the river holds great importance to the narrative.
The river presents itself in the really first chapter. As a young person, Siddhartha grows up aboard a riverside. Born as the boy of a Brahmin, he bathes and performs his ritual ablutions in the H2O. “ Dreams ” and “ disruptive ideas ” flow to his psyche from this “ river H2O. ” However, Siddhartha grows unsated with this simple life ; it does non “ slake his religious thirst. ” ( Hesse ) This “ religious thirst ” parallels a physical thirst, both of which become quenched by H2O. The thirst facet throughout the fresh preliminaries to the lessons the river offers. Failing to see the replies already in forepart of him, Siddhartha leaves against his male parent ‘s wants, and lives a life of asceticism with the samanas. Although he achieves the “ peace of an emptied bosom, ” he still thirsts for farther religious cognition. ( Hesse ) After three old ages, he and his close friend, Govinda, get down a different way, a way that leads to Gotama. After run intoing the exalted Buddha, nevertheless, Siddhartha once more becomes fascinated with a deeper spiritualty. He believes that true peace can non be taught ; one must see it themselves. He leaves Gotama and Govinda, get downing a new lone way through nature. One dark, he sleeps in the straw hut of a ferryman beside a river. In a adumbrative dream, Siddhartha embraces Govinda, who so transforms into a adult female. Describing this dream as “ intoxicating, ” he begins to savor the chest of the adult female. When he awakens, he foremost takes sight of the “ pale river ” shimmering in the room access. ( Hesse ) This preludes to his following stage in life with Kamala. Upon daytime, the ferryman takes Siddhartha across the river, and informs him that “ one can larn a great trade ” from it. He besides proclaims that “ everything returns, ” and that Siddhartha himself will return to the river every bit good. ( Hesse )
As Siddhartha physically crosses the river, he metaphorically crosses it, and unwittingly leaves his spiritualty for a life of lecherousness. He enters a metropolis, and allows it to “ imbibe him in. ” This exists as the binary resistance to himself slaking his thirst with the river. In an attempt to affect the beautiful Kamala, he allows a Barber to shave his face fungus, cut his hair, and rub it with all right scented oils – all of which he detests while amongst the samanas. He so goes to bathe in the river, which signifies the rinsing off of his old life, and metempsychosis of his new one. Kamala tells Siddhartha he must obtain money in order to larn the art of love from her. Therefore, under Kamaswami ‘s wing, he becomes a comfortable merchandiser. For 20 old ages he plays metaphorical key fruit “ among the kid people. ” ( Hesse ) As he makes love to Kamala, he becomes a captive to gaming, vino, and dancing misss ; he becomes the bird in the aureate coop. Lust and desire carry through his psyche alternatively of spiritualty. Although he notices this transmutation, he becomes paralyzed to move against it. He lives as the hollow work forces do in the “ dusky land. ” ( Eliot ) Once he realizes his errors, he leaves Kamala and the metropolis to roll the wood. Upon his reaching to the river, he reminisces on his last visit as the immature adult male go forthing Gotama. Full of desperation, he grasps a coconut thenar on the riverside, and lets himself immerse down into the river, “ down toward decease. ” All of the sudden, the “ OM ” of “ perfect completion ” penetrates his consciousness. ( Hesse ) He realizes the foolishness of his self-destruction effort, and through the “ OM, ” knows “ once more of everything Godhead. ” He gazes at the river, observing that the voice of its current speaks “ strong and beautiful. ” In kernel, Siddhartha dies in the H2O, but becomes born-again anew. Through this, he obtains his redemption.
The river separates the two sides of Siddhartha ‘s character. On one side lie his life with the Brahmin, samanas, and Gotama. The other side holds Kamala, Kamaswami, and the metropolis. ( Siddhartha, River ) When Siddhartha attempts to submerge himself, he stands on neither side of the river, but symbolically in the center. This signifies the “ OM ” of perfect harmoniousness that Siddhartha hears. Therefore, he attains the integrity of both universes, and becomes one with the ego. Up until this point, he merely exists in the other two universes as a shadow. After Siddhartha reaches this 3rd stage of his journey, he achieves his harmonious relationship with the universe ; he achieves nirvana. Furthermore, Siddhartha learns to understand every facet of life through his contemplation of the river. As he gazes upon its streamlined H2O, he notices that “ it ever [ runs ] , and yet it ever [ remains ] at that place. ” It exists ever the same and yet “ at every minute new. ” ( Hesse ) This paradox symbolizes the circle of life, for both Siddhartha and world. There exists many smaller rhythms in the circle of life itself, each stand foring obstructions one must get the better of in the journey of understanding. Metaphorically, in each rhythm, one dies and becomes reborn in order to turn, such as the serpent that sheds its tegument to turn. ( Lachotta ) However, throughout each new stage of one ‘s life, they remain the same psyche.
In farther guess, the river besides stands to analyze how everything in life comes full circle, merely has Vasudeva the ferryman tells him in his first crossing of the river. Siddhartha contemplates how the river flows “ to the waterfall, to the lake, to the rapids, to the sea, ” and after it reaches all of its ends, becomes H2O vapour in the celestial spheres. From at that place, it plummets down from the sky as rain, from where it becomes a wellhead, so a creek, so a river once more and therefore, comes full circle. This at the same times mentions back to the paradox, for the river still exists as the same but comes back anew. The river besides illustrates this lesson through small Siddhartha and Govinda ; the river brought them both to Siddhartha. His boy ‘s rebelliousness resembles his ain towards his male parent in the beginning, and therefore, demonstrates life ‘s full circle. He and Govinda take separate roads, but become reunited by the river. Through this lesson, the river besides teaches him that clip has no being, merely as the river has neither a past nor a hereafter ; it merely flows everlastingly. ( Siddhartha, Metaphor ) Siddhartha ‘s psyche, even after his physical decease, shall go on to flux everlastingly.
The river symbolizes life, but in Siddhartha, Herman Hesse explores the deeper interconnected significances of that life. Siddhartha seeks enlightenment, but becomes dead in his journey, for he struggles to understand ego. The river presents itself in his religious journey, provides the way to his journey of lecherousness, and finally grants him redemption. It guides Siddhartha through the entireness of the narrative, enabling him to happen integrity among his experiences. Indeed, it stands as the individual most of import symbol of the narrative. Once Siddhartha achieves his integrity through the river, he smiles as the perfect Buddha does, for he achieves true enlightenment.