Book Reviews, The Noble Nobel Project
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Siddhartha – Herman Hesse

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse


I was confused then. I was scouring the classics section of a book store. I didn’t know which book to buy. So many books, so little cash. So I texted my old flame. Which do you think is better, this one or Siddhartha. He went for Siddhartha.

I was half-wishing for him to choose the other one, which I cannot recall. It must have been a more commercial or more popular classic. So I bought Siddhartha half-heartedly. You see, I still have a weak will over random matters.

This is just like last week’s Rhapsody, but this is a little different. How come?

The Rhapsody

This is the story of a young man named Siddhartha who explored the world and led different lives. He became a lot of things, but I distinctly remember him leading a lustful life. Not necessarily a prostitute though. A playboy, perhaps.

It is a spiritual journey, one that aims to find the meaning of one’s life. He ran away from home, suffered destitution, experienced luxuries, went through other various phases. He sinned and transcended. It is quite short book, but the musings in it can be really tough. I do not recommend it for the beginner reader because he might find it a little complicated.

I read this one years ago. I found myself rereading some parts again and again, mostly because I didn’t get them at the first run, and other times because it’s just so beautiful reading and pondering upon them.

There is an analogy between a river and life here. It’s a popular one, and I am convinced that that analogy originated from this book. It says that a river can never be the same at any given time. If a man steps his foot on the river and steps out of it again, the river doesn’t resume to its former self. Although the river still seems the same to the naked eye, it can no longer be the way it was because time has passed. And so on.

Such is life. Whatever we do with it at any moment can change the shape of its course. Whether we make minor or major decisions, the path can never be the same, and we can never go back. We just have to go with its flow until we reach the big ocean, where we merge with all the rivers and waters of the world into one.

We just keep on going. There are beautiful sceneries to pass, wide curves to skirt, treacherous parts to surpass. The flow can be as tranquil as the midnight with its full moon hanging and lustrous stars in the canopy, and it can be as harsh as the summer storms with their howls of deafening winds and bolts of blinding lightning.

Such is life. We cannot avoid all those; that must be the grand design of living. For what would life be worthy of if it ran in a mere straight line?  Besides, we will always have a destination. We will definitely reach it.

3 star - liked itFinal Notes

I met this guy on a gay social networking site just a few days back. He caught my attention because the user name that he is using is my real name. I messaged him, asking him if that was his real name. He said no. And in his profile, he quoted a passage from this book.

We had a little talk about the book, and he claimed it to be the book of his life. He said that it was his older brother’s copy, dog-eared and filled with marginalia. He read it over and over again. I wish I could get some time to reread this book. Truth is I want to reread a lot of books. But I am pressed for time. We only have so little, and we seem to have a lot of things to do.

I read it only once, and all I could share was this river thing. It was enough though. He was not disappointed. We carried on. At some point, we stopped exchanging messages. Surely, we both weren’t there just to talk about this book. He must be one of the beautiful sceneries that my river passed.

And our rivers keep on flowing.


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