Symbols and Symbolism in Siddhartha - The Snake, the Bird and the River
645 Words3 Pages
Symbols and Symbolism in Siddhartha - The Snake, the Bird and the River
In Herman Hess's, Siddhartha, Siddhartha's constant growth and spiritual evolution is elucidated through the symbolism of the snake, the bird and the river.
As a snake sheds it's skin in order to continue its physical growth, Siddhartha sheds the skins of his past: " he realized that something had left him, like the old skin a snake sheds/ Something was no longer with him, something that had accompanied him right through his youth and was a part of him" (37). In this way Siddhartha leaves his childhood companion, Govinda, and follows the teachings of the Illustrious one. Siddhartha then journeys on alone and feels vulnerable as his past reveals his lost…show more content…
Subsequently, he ventures out into the world and explores his senses in a desperate attempt to investigate his spiritual needs. He greets love openly and rests satisfied by the splendors his lover Kamalah. Siddhartha's contentment is terminated as he is presented with a controversial dream. He dreams that Kamala's beloved bird is found dead: " The bird, which usually sang in the morning, became mute and as this surprised him, he went up to the cage and looked inside/ The little bird was dead" (82). Siddhartha's freedom from religion and promiscuous behaviors cease along with the birds death, " he felt horror and death in his heart/ He sat and felt himself dying, withering, finishing" (82). He recognizes the materialistic things including love itself, were insufficient: "Then Siddhartha knew that the game was finished, that he could play it no longer...he smiled wearily, shook his head and said goodbye to all these things" (84). Siddhartha's perpetual search for security and internal happiness ventures on.
Siddhartha is constantly flowing down the river of life, "Certainly I have learned that from the river too; everything comes back/ You, too, Samana, will come back" (49). He sees that life is never stagnant. It is constantly changing, ebbing and flowing. It takes a lifetime to satisfy Siddhartha's hunger for religious fulfillment. Siddhartha is found relating to the river: "A chilly emptiness in the water reflected the
Siddhartha - symbolism of the river
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Throughout the pilgrimage of Siddhartha’s life, he went through many different stages. In the beginning, we meet Siddhartha, The Brahmin’s Son. Siddhartha was very intelligent, but wanted to learn more. His mind was not full, and his soul was not at peace. He decided to become a Samana in order to fill his mind and set his soul at peace. He had a goal to become completely empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow. He had the idea that if he could completely lose Self, he would be content. During his time with the Samanas, Siddhartha heard about Gotama, the Buddha, and became distrustful of teachings and decided to leave the Samanas with the belief that what they could teach him was not good enough. He had to learn things for himself by experiencing them.
After listening to Gotama’s teachings, Siddhartha had an awakening. He thought, “The reason why I do not know anythng about myself, the reason why Siddhartha has remained alien and unknown to myself is due to one thing, to one single thing—I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing from myself.” He realized that he was seeking Brahman and wished to destroy himself rather than finding and getting to know himself. This awakening set Siddhartha onto another stage in his journey. During the beginning of this stage, Siddhartha saw things in a completely new way. He saw the sun rise and the stars for the first time. Siddhartha came upon a beautiful young woman, who very much helped lead him into the next step of his life.
Siddhartha believed that he loved her and that she loved him. She led him into thinking that he would be happy if he had money, nice clothes, and her. Siddhartha became a successful merchant and loved money. He believed that with money, he could have what he wanted. After all, was it not money that got him Kamala in the first place? The money that had gotten Siddhartha what he wanted began to destroy him.
Siddhartha began to think that this world of the riches he had become accustomed to was nothing but a game, as was the love he felt for Kamala. This belief led him into the next stage of his pilgrimage. Siddhartha believed that there was nothing left for him in life, and he wanted to end it, but from somewhere in his soul he heard the holy word Om and his soul suddenly, once again, was awakened.
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Siddhartha River Young Woman Next Step New Way Symbolism Heard Alien Clothes Meet
He realized that the only way for him to reach salvation was to have to be put through all of the different stages he had already seen, stages with power, money, women, and drinking. He had to see these things in order for all those parts inside of him to die.
With this belief in mind and his experience at the river in his heart, Siddhartha started the next stage of his life by returning to the same ferry he had crossed on years ago. The ferryman taught Siddhartha to listen to what the river told him. When Siddhartha’s son came and went, he realized that his son had done the same as he had done to his own father many years ago. At the moment his son left, something in his heart died and he learned a lot about love from that experience. Eventually, after allowing his wounds to heal and his wisdom to ripen, Siddhartha could hear the true voice of the river, which, when all of the voices combined said the holy Om. From then on, Siddhartha stopped fighting his destiny. Vasudeva had reached Nirvana and was now, as he said, “going into unity of all things,” which I believe meant that he was dying and moving on to something higher.
Siddhartha continued working the ferry and came across his old friend, Govinda, as he entered into the final stage of his long pilgrimage. As Siddhartha and Govinda talked, Govinda realized that Siddhartha, through all his hardships, had found something Govinda had not. He had found peace. Govinda saw Siddhartha smiling the same smile Gotama had smiled and realized that Siddhartha had finally reached Nirvana.