AUTHOR: HERMAN HESSE
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE: GERMAN
TRANSLATOR: HILDA ROSNER (translated from German)
An important book on the potential of a human being.
People are privileged in much more ways than perhaps I can comprehend and write here. I am blessed to be hale and healthy and have my senses working and organs intact. Many like me are around, and I am sorrowful when I see them while away time and fade away without reaching their potential. But before that, there is a pertinent question that bothers me, have I realised my potential. Have I at least understood what my potential? What I can do in a day, if I can stick to a regime and perform the activities? Have I ever experienced or lived a day to my full potential yet? I have passed days, months, years and reached this point. Is it too late to realise that too much of time wasted? Is it the right time to reflect and see, what are the good things that I can continue, and what are the things I need not keep and things where I need to change? Oh, too many questions and I am privileged again to be in space, where I am with people I want to be. Privilege if taken for granted culminates into death (the purpose of existence will be defeated). After I read the book, I am more grateful for the privileges that I have.
I read the book two times, I must confess. First time when I read, I took it for a story of a boy. Siddhartha, the eponymous boy who is contemporary to Buddha (referred to as 'Gotama' in the book), travels a path like that of Buddha, yet when encountered, he decides to go his way and find peace and bliss on his own. The second time, I read with few questions in mind "What does the book tell? What is the author's intention behind writing the book and telling the story?" Answers enlightened me. It talks about life, human culture, beings, river, flow. I am amazed by the insights. The book is indeed a spiritual journey and thus triggered the questions; I mentioned in the above paragraph.
Among the chapters, I especially loved "The Ferryman". Life is like a river. Patience, listening, and perseverance; characteristics that I took from the chapter.
The style of the author is lyrical, it flows like a river and culminates beautifully. The journey, the transitions, the learnings are well put and are precise. There is preach certainly, but more than preach, I call them dialogues. In conversations, there is a lot of understanding on life.
I quote from the book
"Did you," so he asked him at one time, "did you too learn that secret from the river: that there is no time?"
Vasudeva's face was filled with a bright smile. "Yes, Siddhartha," he spoke. "It is this what you mean, isn't it: that the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future?"
Also, I loved many verses as below. Here Siddhartha has a conversation with his friend Govinda (worthy one)
"When someone is seeking," said Siddhartha, "it happens quite easily that he sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking,because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you do not see many things that are under your nose."
I am happy to have found and read this. A recommended read. I need to find my voice now; it can be an Om, a song from my favorite composer or it can be mere silence. I need to have my voice.