Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

The book:

High notes:

  • Fall like a star, unphased by the wind. Unmoved from your course that was charted from within.
  • Look for no teacher other than time. You cannot be redeemed by another, only yourself.
  • These truths are the same for others. You cannot be their teacher to redeem them. They must travel their full path for of sorrow, joy, and suffering.
  • In these ideas you can find a kind of complex joy that is better than happiness and salted with sorrows that will help you love yourself and the world around you.


Knowlege vs learning

  • There is no such thing as what we call learning. There is only one knowledge it is everywhere. This knowledge has no worse enemy than the wish to know, than learning.
  • There is nothing in the world I know less about than myself. The reason is that I was afraid of myself. I was feeling myself. In learning for learning I myself was lost in the process.
  • Wisdom cannot be communicated. Wisdom that a wise man tries to comunicate always sounds foolish. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.
  • A true seeker could accept no teaching if he truly wished to find.
  • You must act! To live really – to act really, to enjoy really, and to live really instead of merely standing on the side as a spectator.
  • Too much knowledge had hindered him, too many sacred verses, too many sacrificial rules, too much castigation, too much acting and striving. He had been full of pride.
  • Now he saw that the secret voice had been right. No teacher could have ever redeemed him


On capability, on goals, 

  • Seeking means having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal
  • You can read and write? Of course I can, lots of people can. Most cannot. I cannot.
  • The instant I made a resolve, I knew that I would carry it out. When he has a goal, he makes a resolve. The goal draws him. Anyone can work magic, anyone can reach his goals if he can think, if he can wait, if he can fast.
  • Fasting, what good does it do? Had he not learned how to fast, he would have to accept any service today, for hunger would force him. He now can stave off hunger for a long time and he can laugh at it.
  • How wondrous this is! Now that I am no longer young, now that my hair is already half gray, now that my energy is ebbing — I am starting all over again, like a child.
  • I had to spend many years losing my spirit, unlearning how to thing, forgetting the oneness.

On parenting and relationships

  • Siddhartha realized that his son had brought not peace and happiness to him but sorrow and suffering. Still he loved him and he cherished the sorrow and suffering of love more than joy and happiness he experienced without the boy.
  • Do you really believe you committed your follies tot spare your son? And can you shield your son against samsara? How? Through teaching? Do you really believe, dear friend that anyone at all is spared this path? If you died for him ten times over you, you could not take away even the tiniest bit of his destiny.
  • In the past, Siddhartha had liked himself to a falling star and the child people to falling leaves.  No Siddhartha had become a child person, suffering for someone else, loving someone else,s lost in a love, a fool for love. Suffered from it. And yet he was blissful, was somewhat renewed, was somewhat richer.
  • He is doing ghat you yourself have failed to do. He is taking care of himself, he is going his own way.
  • One can get love by begging, by buying, by receiving it as a gift, by finding it in the street, but one cannot steal it.

On business

  • He conducted business and treated it as a game. Whose rules he tried to learn precisely, but whose content did not touch his heart.
  • He had the secret of those people to whom success comes on its own. He seems to only be playing at business. It never fully becomes part of him, it never dominates him, he never fears failures, he is never bothered by a loss.
  • He saw the people living in a childlike and animal fashion, which be both loved and despised

On wealth

  • Beware of the spiritual illness of the rich. The childishness of anxieties. The overimportance placed on one’s life. Men falling in love with themselves, with women, with children, with honor, with money, with plans, with hopes. Life will lose color and luster.
  • He could have gone on living for years in that gentle, well-cushioned hell
  • It is interesting how closely lust is related to death.
  • I have little esteem for thoughts. I have more esteem for things.

On moving for yourself

  • Fall like a star, be unphased by the winds. You must have an inner sanctuary. Most people are like a falling leaf, that wafts and drifts through the air, twisting and tumbling to the ground. Others, however few, are like stars. They have a fixed course, no wind reaches them, they have their law and their course inside them.

On the oneness of things

  • In my body and in my sould I realized that I greatly needed sin, I needed lust … to learn how to give up resistance, to learn how to love the world, …. I learned how to let the world be as it is and to belong to it gladly.
  • At a certain time it wil be soil, from soil become a pant, or an animal, or a human being. This stone is not merely a stone.
  • There is no thing that is Nirvana; there is only the world Nirvana.
  • I looked at my life and it was also a river. And the boy Siddhartha was separated from the adult Siddhartha and the old man Siddhartha only by shadow, no by substance. Siddhartha’s earlier births of the past, and his death and his return to Brahma are no future. Nothing was, nothing will be; everything is, everything has being and is present. Were not all sufferings time?

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