Siddhartha, one of the major works Hermann Hesse’s was published in 1962. Other novels written by hesse are Demian, Narcissus and Goldmund, Steppenwolf and The Glass Bead Game. Each story of Hesse revolves around a man and his experience to seek

understanding. But Siddhartha is the only novel of Hesse in which the search is resolved.
Siddhartha, the protagonist of this novel is not Gautama, the Buddha. It is another Siddhartha. The readers can clearly see the difference between Siddhartha-The Gautama and Siddhartha –The leading character of this novel. However, reason behind keeping Buddha’s picture on the cover of the novel is still not clear.

Gautama, the Buddha was born in kshatriya caste. While, the protagonist Siddhartha of this novel took birth in the Brahmana caste of priest. Being a Brahmana, the protagonist is socially and intellectually very rich, which is the main difference in him and Siddhartha, the Gautama.

Siddhartha, the Gautama in his early life was deficient in knowledge. As a prince he enjoyed his life to the fullest. He got married, had a child, he enjoyed dancing girls and enjoyed the luxuries of life. His spiritual language was very limited. One day suddenly he realizes about the sufferings of the outer world, the world outside the luxurious life. He realized about sickness, old age and death, the things his father doesn’t wanted him to know it was the time, when he decided to leave home to explore his inner self to find peace.

On the other hand, the protagonist Siddhartha was very familiar to the sufferings of the world and did not experienced worldliness. Still he breaks from his caste and left. In this book Hesse’s clever distinction of different characters give birth to Interesting comparisons.

In this book there are Samanas, a group of travelling ascetics who believe that a life of deprivation and wandering is the path to self actualization or self realization. The Samanas initially captivate Siddhartha and Govinda, but the two eventually forsake them to follow the teachings of Gautama. Siddhartha and Gautama both were failed to achieve enlightenment. They did not found what they want even after attempting extreme asceticism.

Like Gautama, Siddhartha in his intellectual stage also delayed true enlightenment. He wanted to go for the place where Gautama experienced his youth. He wants to go there with good food, fine clothes, and with an offer of employment. Hesse describes that place in words with respect to the western pattern. Where there is the presence of idealized religious education in youth and rebellion in adolescence. But this western Siddhartha model was uncertain and going to depend upon the chances because of the priorities set by him, Priorities of experiencing the different ways of life to find the right way, hence finding enlightenment.

This novel is very engaging and has strong psychological premises. This novel tends to build tension in the minds of reader. Several questions revolve in the minds of reader-will Siddhartha stay in this world or he will leave? Will he continue the search for enlightenment? Hesse recreated the western pattern very naturally for the ease of western audience and for that eastern audience which are not aware of their traditions.

Siddhartha leaving his father, tiredness of the samana path, his collaboration with Govinda to follow the Buddha’s path are the moments parallel to the life of Buddha. But these are not the real matter of tension. Whereas the main tension created for the reader is to know whether Siddhartha will be able to escape from the psychological grip of the kamala, kamaswami and siddhartha(as a corrupt man) himself.

It is very clear fact that Siddhartha is not going to come back to search enlightenment without the presence of spirituality in his life.

In this novel Vasudeva, the ferryman-hermit is represented as the true model of enlightenment. Vasudeva is different from the other mentors of Siddhartha as unlike other mentors he not only teaches knowledge but was able to guide Siddhartha to wisdom. Vasudeva has no caste or could be from any caste as not mention in the book. He is god to Siddhartha who is guiding him to find enlightenment.

There is the time in novel when Siddhartha is having argument with Govinda that he will not accept teaching from anyone. At the same time Siddhartha calls Gautama, kamala, kamaswami, vasudeva and the river as his teachers. These kind of twist and turns of reunion of west and east Hesse has offered in this novel. There is a time when Siddhartha used the term maya(illusion) for his past worldly life. Then there is another time when he provides justification to his deeds as the necessary part of his life to attain enlightenment. If Siddhartha changing upon his heart, mind and memories in this way, can he really get calmness later in his life? This kind of frequent question arises in the mind of reader.

Hessey, with the help of calm and compassionate Vasudeva and the nature’s silent teaching in the form of river redeeming and using many other things has redeemed the necessity of experience and its consequences. Siddhartha is a novel which has attracted the peoples of different ages which engages the reader throughout the end. It is like a spiritual journey in which should be experienced by everyone.