Vietnamese

 Quang Duc Homepage

English

Zen Stories


...... ... .


Siddharta

Hermann Hess

---o0o---


Chapter 1 - 6

 

Chapter 1

SIDDHARTHA
An Indian Tale
by Hermann Hesse


FIRST PART

To Romain Rolland, my dear friend


 

THE SON OF THE BRAHMAN

In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew up, the handsome son of the Brahman, the young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, son of a Brahman. The suntanned his light shoulders by the banks of the river when bathing, performing the sacred ablutions, the sacred offerings. In the mango grove, shade poured into his black eyes, when playing as a boy, when his mother sang, when the sacred offerings were made, when his father, the scholar, taught him, when the wise men talked. For a long time, Siddhartha had been partaking in the discussions of the wise men, practising debate with Govinda, practising with Govinda the art of reflection, the service of meditation. He already knew how to speak the Om silently, the word of words, to speak it silently into himself while inhaling, to speak it silently out of himself while exhaling, with all the concentration of his soul, the forehead surrounded by the glow of the clear-thinking spirit. He already knew to feel Atman in the depths of his being, indestructible, one with the universe.

Joy leapt in his father's heart for his son who was quick to learn,.thirsty for knowledge; he saw him growing up to become great wise man and priest, a prince among the Brahmans.

Bliss leapt in his mother's breast when she saw him, when she saw him walking, when she saw him sit down and get up, Siddhartha, strong, handsome, he who was walking on slender legs, greeting her with perfect respect.

Love touched the hearts of the Brahmans' young daughters when Siddhartha walked through the lanes of the town with the luminous forehead, with the eye of a king, with his slim hips.

But more than all the others he was loved by Govinda, his friend, the son of a Brahman. He loved Siddhartha's eye and sweet voice, he loved his walk and the perfect decency of his movements, he loved everything Siddhartha did and said and what he loved most was his spirit, his transcendent, fiery thoughts, his ardent will, his high calling. Govinda knew: he would not become a common Brahman, not a lazy official in charge of offerings; not a greedy merchant with magic spells; not a vain, vacuous speaker; not a mean, deceitful priest; and also not a decent, stupid sheep in the herd of the many. No, and he, Govinda, as well did not want to become one of those, not one of those tens of thousands of Brahmans. He wanted to follow Siddhartha, the beloved, the splendid. And in days to come, when Siddhartha would become a god, when he would join the glorious, then Govinda wanted to follow him as his friend, his companion, his servant, his spear-carrier, his shadow.

Siddhartha was thus loved by everyone. He was a source of joy for everybody, he was a delight for them all.

But he, Siddhartha, was not a source of joy for himself, he found no delight in himself. Walking the rosy paths of the fig tree garden, sitting in the bluish shade of the grove of contemplation, washing his limbs daily in the bath of repentance, sacrificing in the dim shade of the mango forest, his gestures of perfect decency, everyone's love and joy, he still lacked all joy in his heart. Dreams and restless thoughts came into his mind, flowing from the water of the river, sparkling from the stars of the night, melting from the beams of the sun, dreams came to him and a restlessness of the soul, fuming from the sacrifices, breathing forth from the verses of the Rig-Veda, being infused into him, drop by drop, from the teachings of the old Brahmans.

Siddhartha had started to nurse discontent in himself, he had started to feel that the love of his father and the love of his mother, and also the love of his friend, Govinda, would not bring him joy for ever and ever, would not nurse him, feed him, satisfy him. He had started to suspect that his venerable father and his other teachers, that the wise Brahmans had already revealed to him the most and best of their wisdom, that they had already filled his expecting vessel with their richness, and the vessel was not full, the spirit was not content, the soul was not calm, the heart was not satisfied. The ablutions were good, but they were water, they did not wash off the sin, they did not heal the spirit's thirst, they did not relieve the fear in his heart. The sacrifices and the invocation of the gods were excellent--but was that all? Did the sacrifices give a happy fortune? And what about the gods? Was it really Prajapati who had created the world? Was it not the Atman, He, the only one, the singular one? Were the gods not creations, created like me and you, subject to time, mortal? Was it therefore good, was it right, was it meaningful and the highest occupation to make offerings to the gods? For whom else were offerings to me made, who else was to be worshipped but Him, the only one, the Atman? And where was Atman to be found, where did He reside, where did his eternal heart beat, where else but in one's own self, in its innermost part, in its indestructible part, which everyone had in himself? But where, where was this self, this innermost part, this ultimate part? It was not flesh and bone, it was neither thought nor consciousness, thus the wisest ones taught. So, where, where was it? To reach this place, the self, myself, the Atman, there was another way, which was worthwhile looking for? Alas, and nobody showed this way, nobody knew it, not the father, and not the teachers and wise men, not the holy sacrificial songs! They knew everything, the Brahmans and their holy books, they knew everything, they had taken care of everything and of more than everything, the creation of the world, the origin of speech, of food, of inhaling, of exhaling, the arrangement of the senses, the acts of the gods, they knew infinitely much--but was it valuable to know all of this, not knowing that one and only thing, the most important thing, the solely important thing?

Surely, many verses of the holy books, particularly in the Upanishades of Samaveda, spoke of this innermost and ultimate thing, wonderful verses. "Your soul is the whole world", was written there, and it was written that man in his sleep, in his deep sleep, would meet with his innermost part and would reside in the Atman. Marvellous wisdom was in these verses, all knowledge of the wisest ones had been collected here in magic words, pure as honey collected by bees. No, not to be looked down upon was the tremendous amount of enlightenment which lay here collected and preserved by innumerable generations of wise Brahmans.-- But where were the Brahmans, where the priests, where the wise men or penitents, who had succeeded in not just knowing this deepest of all knowledge but also to live it? Where was the knowledgeable one who wove his spell to bring his familiarity with the Atman out of the sleep into the state of being awake, into the life, into every step of the way, into word and deed? Siddhartha knew many venerable Brahmans, chiefly his father, the pure one, the scholar, the most venerable one. His father was to be admired, quiet and noble were his manners, pure his life, wise his words, delicate and noble thoughts lived behind its brow --but even he, who knew so much, did he live in blissfulness, did he have peace, was he not also just a searching man, a thirsty man? Did he not, again and again, have to drink from holy sources, as a thirsty man, from the offerings, from the books, from the disputes of the Brahmans?

Why did he, the irreproachable one, have to wash off sins every day, strive for a cleansing every day, over and over every day? Was not Atman in him, did not the pristine source spring from his heart? It had to be found, the pristine source in one's own self, it had to be possessed! Everything else was searching, was a detour, was getting lost.

Thus were Siddhartha's thoughts, this was his thirst, this was his suffering.

Often he spoke to himself from a Chandogya-Upanishad the words: "Truly, the name of the Brahman is satyam--verily, he who knows such a thing, will enter the heavenly world every day." Often, it seemed near, the heavenly world, but never he had reached it completely, never he had quenched the ultimate thirst. And among all the wise and wisest men, he knew and whose instructions he had received, among all of them there was no one, who had reached it completely, the heavenly world, who had quenched it completely, the eternal thirst.

"Govinda," Siddhartha spoke to his friend, "Govinda, my dear, come with me under the Banyan tree, let's practise meditation."

They went to the Banyan tree, they sat down, Siddhartha right here, Govinda twenty paces away. While putting himself down, ready to speak the Om, Siddhartha repeated murmuring the verse:

Om is the bow, the arrow is soul,

The Brahman is the arrow's target,

That one should incessantly hit.

After the usual time of the exercise in meditation had passed, Govinda rose. The evening had come, it was time to perform the evening's ablution. He called Siddhartha's name. Siddhartha did not answer. Siddhartha sat there lost in thought, his eyes were rigidly focused towards a very distant target, the tip of his tongue was protruding a little between the teeth, he seemed not to breathe. Thus sat he, wrapped up in contemplation, thinking Om, his soul sent after the Brahman as an arrow.

Once, Samanas had travelled through Siddhartha's town, ascetics on a pilgrimage, three skinny, withered men, neither old nor young, with dusty and bloody shoulders, almost naked, scorched by the sun, surrounded by loneliness, strangers and enemies to the world, strangers and lank jackals in the realm of humans. Behind them blew a hot scent of quiet passion, of destructive service, of merciless self-denial.

In the evening, after the hour of contemplation, Siddhartha spoke to Govinda: "Early tomorrow morning, my friend, Siddhartha will go to the Samanas. He will become a Samana."

Govinda turned pale, when he heard these words and read the decision in the motionless face of his friend, unstoppable like the arrow shot from the bow. Soon and with the first glance, Govinda realized: Now it is beginning, now Siddhartha is taking his own way, now his fate is beginning to sprout, and with his, my own. And he turned pale like a dry banana-skin.

"O Siddhartha," he exclaimed, "will your father permit you to do that?"

Siddhartha looked over as if he was just waking up. Arrow-fast he read in Govinda┬┤s soul, read the fear, read the submission.

"O Govinda," he spoke quietly, "let's not waste words. Tomorrow, at daybreak I will begin the life of the Samanas. Speak no more of it."

Siddhartha entered the chamber, where his father was sitting on a mat of bast, and stepped behind his father and remained standing there, until his father felt that someone was standing behind him. Quoth the Brahman: "Is that you, Siddhartha? Then say what you came to say."

Quoth Siddhartha: "With your permission, my father. I came to tell you that it is my longing to leave your house tomorrow and go to the ascetics. My desire is to become a Samana. May my father not oppose this."

The Brahman fell silent, and remained silent for so long that the stars in the small window wandered and changed their relative positions, 'ere the silence was broken. Silent and motionless stood the son with his arms folded, silent and motionless sat the father on the mat, and the stars traced their paths in the sky. Then spoke the father: "Not proper it is for a Brahman to speak harsh and angry words. But indignation is in my heart. I wish not to hear this request for a second time from your mouth."

Slowly, the Brahman rose; Siddhartha stood silently, his arms folded.

"What are you waiting for?" asked the father.

Quoth Siddhartha: "You know what."

Indignant, the father left the chamber; indignant, he went to his bed and lay down.

After an hour, since no sleep had come over his eyes, the Brahman stood up, paced to and fro, and left the house. Through the small window of the chamber he looked back inside, and there he saw Siddhartha standing, his arms folded, not moving from his spot. Pale shimmered his bright robe. With anxiety in his heart, the father returned to his bed.

After another hour, since no sleep had come over his eyes, the Brahman stood up again, paced to and fro, walked out of the house and saw that the moon had risen. Through the window of the chamber he looked back inside; there stood Siddhartha, not moving from his spot, his arms folded, moonlight reflecting from his bare shins. With worry in his heart, the father went back to bed.

And he came back after an hour, he came back after two hours, looked through the small window, saw Siddhartha standing, in the moon light, by the light of the stars, in the darkness. And he came back hour after hour, silently, he looked into the chamber, saw him standing in the same place, filled his heart with anger, filled his heart with unrest, filled his heart with anguish, filled it with sadness.

And in the night's last hour, before the day began, he returned, stepped into the room, saw the young man standing there, who seemed tall and like a stranger to him.

"Siddhartha," he spoke, "what are you waiting for?"

"You know what."

"Will you always stand that way and wait, until it'll becomes morning, noon, and evening?"

"I will stand and wait.

"You will become tired, Siddhartha."

"I will become tired."

"You will fall asleep, Siddhartha."

"I will not fall asleep."

"You will die, Siddhartha."

"I will die."

"And would you rather die, than obey your father?"

"Siddhartha has always obeyed his father."

"So will you abandon your plan?"

"Siddhartha will do what his father will tell him to do."

The first light of day shone into the room. The Brahman saw that.Siddhartha was trembling softly in his knees. In Siddhartha's face he saw no trembling, his eyes were fixed on a distant spot. Then his father  realized that even now Siddhartha no longer dwelt with him in his home, that he had already left him.

The Father touched Siddhartha's shoulder.

"You will," he spoke, "go into the forest and be a Samana. When you'll have found blissfulness in the forest, then come back and teach me to be blissful. If you'll find disappointment, then return and let us once again make offerings to the gods together. Go now and kiss your mother, tell her where you are going to. But for me it is time to go to the river and to perform the first ablution."

He took his hand from the shoulder of his son and went outside. Siddhartha wavered to the side, as he tried to walk. He put his limbs back under control, bowed to his father, and went to his mother to do as his father had said.

As he slowly left on stiff legs in the first light of day the still quiet town, a shadow rose near the last hut, who had crouched there, and joined the pilgrim--Govinda.

"You have come," said Siddhartha and smiled.

"I have come," said Govinda.

 

 

Chapter 2

WITH THE SAMANAS

In the evening of this day they caught up with the ascetics, the skinny Samanas, and offered them their companionship and--obedience. They were accepted.

Siddhartha gave his garments to a poor Brahman in the street. He wore nothing more than the loincloth and the earth-coloured, unsown cloak. He ate only once a day, and never something cooked. He fasted for fifteen days. He fasted for twenty-eight days. The flesh waned from his thighs and cheeks. Feverish dreams flickered from his enlarged eyes, long nails grew slowly on his parched fingers and a dry, shaggy beard grew on his chin. His glance turned to icy when he encountered women; his mouth twitched with contempt, when he walked through a city of nicely dressed people. He saw merchants trading, princes hunting, mourners wailing for their dead, whores offering themselves, physicians trying to help the sick, priests determining the most suitable day for seeding, lovers loving, mothers nursing their children--and all of this was not worthy of one look from his eye, it all lied, it all stank, it all stank of lies, it all pretended to be meaningful and joyful and beautiful, and it all was just concealed putrefaction. The world tasted bitter. Life was torture.

A goal stood before Siddhartha, a single goal: to become empty, empty of thirst, empty of wishing, empty of dreams, empty of joy and sorrow. Dead to himself, not to be a self any more, to find tranquility with an emptied heard, to be open to miracles in unselfish thoughts, that was his goal. Once all of my self was overcome and had died, once every desire and every urge was silent in the heart, then the ultimate part of me had to awake, the innermost of my being, which is no longer my self, the great secret.

Silently, Siddhartha exposed himself to burning rays of the sun directly above, glowing with pain, glowing with thirst, and stood there, until he neither felt any pain nor thirst any more. Silently, he stood there in the rainy season, from his hair the water was dripping over freezing shoulders, over freezing hips and legs, and the penitent stood there, until he could not feel the cold in his shoulders and legs any more, until they were silent, until they were quiet. Silently, he cowered in the thorny bushes, blood dripped from the burning skin, from festering wounds dripped pus, and Siddhartha stayed rigidly, stayed motionless, until no blood flowed any more, until nothing stung any more, until nothing burned any more.

Siddhartha sat upright and learned to breathe sparingly, learned to get along with only few breathes, learned to stop breathing. He learned, beginning with the breath, to calm the beat of his heart, leaned to reduce the beats of his heart, until they were only a few and.almost none.

Instructed by the oldest if the Samanas, Siddhartha practised self-denial, practised meditation, according to a new Samana rules. A heron flew over the bamboo forest--and Siddhartha accepted the heron into his soul, flew over forest and mountains, was a heron, ate fish, felt the pangs of a heron's hunger, spoke the heron's croak, died a heron's death. A dead jackal was lying on the sandy bank, and Siddhartha's soul slipped inside the body, was the dead jackal, lay on the banks, got bloated, stank, decayed, was dismembered by hyaenas, was skinned by vultures, turned into a skeleton, turned to dust, was blown across the fields. And Siddhartha's soul returned, had died, had decayed, was scattered as dust, had tasted the gloomy intoxication of the cycle, awaited in new thirst like a hunter in the gap, where he could escape from the cycle, where the end of the causes, where an eternity without suffering began. He killed his senses, he killed his memory, he slipped out of his self into thousands of other forms, was an animal, was carrion, was stone, was wood, was water, and awoke every time to find his old self again, sun shone or moon, was his self again, turned round in the cycle, felt thirst, overcame the thirst, felt new thirst.

Siddhartha learned a lot when he was with the Samanas, many ways leading away from the self he learned to go. He went the way of self-denial by means of pain, through voluntarily suffering and overcoming pain, hunger, thirst, tiredness. He went the way of self-denial by means of meditation, through imagining the mind to be void of all conceptions.

These and other ways he learned to go, a thousand times he left his self, for hours and days he remained in the non-self. But though the ways led away from the self, their end nevertheless always led back to the self. Though Siddhartha fled from the self a thousand times, stayed in nothingness, stayed in the animal, in the stone, the return was inevitable, inescapable was the hour, when he found himself back in the sunshine or in the moonlight, in the shade or in the rain, and was once again his self and Siddhartha, and again felt the agony of the cycle which had been forced upon him.

By his side lived Govinda, his shadow, walked the same paths, undertook the same efforts. They rarely spoke to one another, than the service and the exercises required. Occasionally the two of them went through the villages, to beg for food for themselves and their teachers.

"How do you think, Govinda," Siddhartha spoke one day while begging this way, "how do you think did we progress? Did we reach any goals?"

Govinda answered: "We have learned, and we'll continue learning. You'll be a great Samana, Siddhartha. Quickly, you've learned every exercise, often the old Samanas have admired you. One day, you'll be a holy man, oh Siddhartha."

Quoth Siddhartha: "I can't help but feel that it is not like this, my.friend. What I've learned, being among the Samanas, up to this day,.this, oh Govinda, I could have learned more quickly and by simpler means. In every tavern of that part of a town where the whorehouses.are, my friend, among carters and gamblers I could have learned it."

Quoth Govinda: "Siddhartha is putting me on. How could you have learned meditation, holding your breath, insensitivity against hunger and pain there among these wretched people?"

And Siddhartha said quietly, as if he was talking to himself: "What is meditation? What is leaving one's body? What is fasting? What is holding one's breath? It is fleeing from the self, it is a short escape of the agony of being a self, it is a short numbing of the senses against the pain and the pointlessness of life. The same escape, the same short numbing is what the driver of an ox-cart finds in the inn, drinking a few bowls of rice-wine or fermented coconut-milk. Then he won't feel his self any more, then he won't feel the pains of life any more, then he finds a short numbing of the senses. When he falls asleep over his bowl of rice-wine, he'll find the same what Siddhartha.and Govinda find when they escape their bodies through long exercises, staying in the non-self. This is how it is, oh Govinda."

Quoth Govinda: "You say so, oh friend, and yet you know that Siddhartha is no driver of an ox-cart and a Samana is no drunkard. It's true that a drinker numbs his senses, it's true that he briefly escapes and rests, but he'll return from the delusion, finds everything to be unchanged, has not become wiser, has gathered no enlightenment,--has not risen several steps."

And Siddhartha spoke with a smile: "I do not know, I've never been a drunkard. But that I, Siddhartha, find only a short numbing of the senses in my exercises and meditations and that I am just as far removed from wisdom, from salvation, as a child in the mother's womb, this I know, oh Govinda, this I know." 

And once again, another time, when Siddhartha left the forest together with Govinda, to beg for some food in the village for their brothers and teachers, Siddhartha began to speak and said: "What now, oh Govinda, might we be on the right path? Might we get closer to enlightenment?

Might we get closer to salvation? Or do we perhaps live in a circle-- we, who have thought we were escaping the cycle?"

Quoth Govinda: "We have learned a lot, Siddhartha, there is still.much to learn. We are not going around in circles, we are moving up,.the circle is a spiral, we have already ascended many a level."

Siddhartha answered: "How old, would you think, is our oldest Samana, our venerable teacher?"

Quoth Govinda: "Our oldest one might be about sixty years of age."

And Siddhartha: "He has lived for sixty years and has not reached the nirvana. He'll turn seventy and eighty, and you and me, we will grow just as old and will do our exercises, and will fast, and will meditate.

But we will not reach the nirvana, he won't and we won't. Oh Govinda, I believe out of all the Samanas out there, perhaps not a single one, not a single one, will reach the nirvana. We find comfort, we find numbness, we learn feats, to deceive others. But the most important thing, the path of paths, we will not find."

"If you only," spoke Govinda, "wouldn't speak such terrible words, Siddhartha! How could it be that among so many learned men, among so many Brahmans, among so many austere and venerable Samanas, among so many who are searching, so many who are eagerly trying, so many holy men, no one will find the path of paths?"

But Siddhartha said in a voice which contained just as much sadness as mockery, with a quiet, a slightly sad, a slightly mocking voice: "Soon, Govinda, your friend will leave the path of the Samanas, he has walked along your side for so long. I'm suffering of thirst, oh Govinda, and on this long path of a Samana, my thirst has remained as strong as ever. I always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions. I have asked the Brahmans, year after year, and I have asked the holy Vedas, year after year, and I have asked the devote Samanas, year after year. Perhaps, oh Govinda, it had been just as well, had been just as smart and just as profitable, if I had asked the hornbill-bird or the chimpanzee. It took me a long time and am not finished learning this yet, oh Govinda: that there is nothing to be learned! There is indeed no such thing, so I believe, as what we refer to as `learning'. There is, oh my friend, just one knowledge, this is everywhere, this is Atman, this is within me and within you and within every creature. And so I'm starting to believe that this knowledge has no worser enemy than the desire to know it, than learning."

At this, Govinda stopped on the path, rose his hands, and spoke: "If you, Siddhartha, only would not bother your friend with this kind of talk! Truly, you words stir up fear in my heart. And just consider: what would become of the sanctity of prayer, what of the venerability of the Brahmans' caste, what of the holiness of the Samanas, if it was as you say, if there was no learning?! What, oh Siddhartha, what would then become of all of this what is holy, what is precious, what is venerable on earth?!"

And Govinda mumbled a verse to himself, a verse from an Upanishad:

He who ponderingly, of a purified spirit, loses himself in the.meditation of Atman, unexpressable by words is his blissfulness of his heart.

But Siddhartha remained silent. He thought about the words which Govinda had said to him and thought the words through to their end.

Yes, he thought, standing there with his head low, what would remain of all that which seemed to us to be holy? What remains? What can stand the test? And he shook his head.

At one time, when the two young men had lived among the Samanas for about three years and had shared their exercises, some news, a rumour, a myth reached them after being retold many times: A man had appeared, Gotama by name, the exalted one, the Buddha, he had overcome the suffering of the world in himself and had halted the cycle of rebirths.

He was said to wander through the land, teaching, surrounded by disciples, without possession, without home, without a wife, in the.yellow cloak of an ascetic, but with a cheerful brow, a man of bliss, and Brahmans and princes would bow down before him and would become his students.

This myth, this rumour, this legend resounded, its fragrants rose up, here and there; in the towns, the Brahmans spoke of it and in the.forest, the Samanas; again and again, the name of Gotama, the Buddha reached the ears of the young men, with good and with bad talk, with praise and with defamation.

It was as if the plague had broken out in a country and news had been spreading around that in one or another place there was a man, a wise man, a knowledgeable one, whose word and breath was enough to heal everyone who had been infected with the pestilence, and as such news would go through the land and everyone would talk about it, many would believe, many would doubt, but many would get on their way as soon as possible, to seek the wise man, the helper, just like this this myth ran through the land, that fragrant myth of Gotama, the Buddha, the wise man of the family of Sakya. He possessed, so the believers said, the highest enlightenment, he remembered his previous lives, he had reached the nirvana and never returned into the cycle, was never again submerged in the murky river of physical forms. Many wonderful and.unbelievable things were reported of him, he had performed miracles, had overcome the devil, had spoken to the gods. But his enemies and disbelievers said, this Gotama was a vain seducer, he would spent his days in luxury, scorned the offerings, was without learning, and knew neither exercises nor self-castigation.

The myth of Buddha sounded sweet. The scent of magic flowed from these reports. After all, the world was sick, life was hard to bear--and behold, here a source seemed to spring forth, here a messenger seemed to call out, comforting, mild, full of noble promises. Everywhere where the rumour of Buddha was heard, everywhere in the lands of India,.the young men listened up, felt a longing, felt hope, and among the.Brahmans' sons of the towns and villages every pilgrim and stranger was.welcome, when he brought news of him, the exalted one, the Sakyamuni.

The myth had also reached the Samanas in the forest, and also.Siddhartha, and also Govinda, slowly, drop by drop, every drop laden.with hope, every drop laden with doubt. They rarely talked about it,.because the oldest one of the Samanas did not like this myth. He had.heard that this alleged Buddha used to be an ascetic before and had.lived in the forest, but had then turned back to luxury and worldly.pleasures, and he had no high opinion of this Gotama..."Oh Siddhartha," Govinda spoke one day to his friend. "Today, I was.in the village, and a Brahman invited me into his house, and in his.house, there was the son of a Brahman from Magadha, who has seen the.Buddha with his own eyes and has heard him teach. Verily, this made.my chest ache when I breathed, and thought to myself: If only I would.too, if only we both would too, Siddhartha and me, live to see the.hour when we will hear the teachings from the mouth of this perfected.man! Speak, friend, wouldn't we want to go there too and listen to the.teachings from the Buddha's mouth?".

Quoth Siddhartha: "Always, oh Govinda, I had thought, Govinda would.stay with the Samanas, always I had believed his goal was to live to be.sixty and seventy years of age and to keep on practising those feats and.exercises, which are becoming a Samana. But behold, I had not known.Govinda well enough, I knew little of his heart. So now you, my.faithful friend, want to take a new path and go there, where the Buddha.spreads his teachings."

Quoth Govinda: "You're mocking me. Mock me if you like, Siddhartha!.But have you not also developed a desire, an eagerness, to hear these.teachings? And have you not at one time said to me, you would not walk.the path of the Samanas for much longer?"

At this, Siddhartha laughed in his very own manner, in which his voice.assumed a touch of sadness and a touch of mockery, and said: "Well,.Govinda, you've spoken well, you've remembered correctly. If you.only remembered the other thing as well, you've heard from me, which is.that I have grown distrustful and tired against teachings and learning,.and that my faith in words, which are brought to us by teachers, is.small. But let's do it, my dear, I am willing to listen to these.teachings--though in my heart I believe that we've already tasted the.best fruit of these teachings."

Quoth Govinda: "Your willingness delights my heart. But tell me, how.should this be possible? How should the Gotama's teachings, even before.we have heard them, have already revealed their best fruit to us?"..Quoth Siddhartha: "Let us eat this fruit and wait for the rest, oh.Govinda! But this fruit, which we already now received thanks to the.Gotama, consisted in him calling us away from the Samanas! Whether he.has also other and better things to give us, oh friend, let us await.with calm hearts."

On this very same day, Siddhartha informed the oldest one of the Samanas.of his decision, that he wanted to leave him. He informed the oldest.one with all the courtesy and modesty becoming to a younger one and a.student. But the Samana became angry, because the two young men wanted.to leave him, and talked loudly and used crude swearwords.

Govinda was startled and became embarrassed. But Siddhartha put his.mouth close to Govinda's ear and whispered to him: "Now, I want to show.the old man that I've learned something from him."

Positioning himself closely in front of the Samana, with a concentrated.soul, he captured the old man's glance with his glances, deprived him of.his power, made him mute, took away his free will, subdued him under his.own will, commanded him, to do silently, whatever he demanded him to do..The old man became mute, his eyes became motionless, his will was.paralysed, his arms were hanging down; without power, he had fallen.victim to Siddhartha's spell. But Siddhartha's thoughts brought the.Samana under their control, he had to carry out, what they commanded..And thus, the old man made several bows, performed gestures of blessing, spoke stammeringly a godly wish for a good journey. And the young men returned the bows with thanks, returned the wish, went on their way with salutations.

On the way, Govinda said: "Oh Siddhartha, you have learned more from the Samanas than I knew. It is hard, it is very hard to cast a spell.on an old Samana. Truly, if you had stayed there, you would soon have.learned to walk on water."

"I do not seek to walk on water," said Siddhartha. "Let old Samanas be content with such feats!"  

 

Chapter 3

GOTAMA



 

..In the town of Savathi, every child knew the name of the exalted Buddha,.and every house was prepared to fill the alms-dish of Gotama's.disciples, the silently begging ones. Near the town was Gotama's.favourite place to stay, the grove of Jetavana, which the rich merchant.Anathapindika, an obedient worshipper of the exalted one, had given him.and his people for a gift.

.All tales and answers, which the two young ascetics had received in.their search for Gotama's abode, had pointed them towards this area..And arriving at Savathi, in the very first house, before the door of.which they stopped to beg, food has been offered to them, and they.accepted the food, and Siddhartha asked the woman, who handed them the.food:.."We would like to know, oh charitable one, where the Buddha dwells, the.most venerable one, for we are two Samanas from the forest and have.come, to see him, the perfected one, and to hear the teachings from his.mouth."..Quoth the woman: "Here, you have truly come to the right place, you.Samanas from the forest. You should know, in Jetavana, in the garden.of Anathapindika is where the exalted one dwells. There you pilgrims.shall spent the night, for there is enough space for the innumerable,.who flock here, to hear the teachings from his mouth."

.This made Govinda happy, and full of joy he exclaimed: "Well so, thus.we have reached our destination, and our path has come to an end! But.tell us, oh mother of the pilgrims, do you know him, the Buddha, have.you seen him with your own eyes?"

.Quoth the woman: "Many times I have seen him, the exalted one. On many.days, I have seen him, walking through the alleys in silence, wearing.his yellow cloak, presenting his alms-dish in silence at the doors of.the houses, leaving with a filled dish."

.Delightedly, Govinda listened and wanted to ask and hear much more..But Siddhartha urged him to walk on. They thanked and left and hardly.had to ask for directions, for rather many pilgrims and monks as well.from Gotama's community were on their way to the Jetavana. And since.they reached it at night, there were constant arrivals, shouts, and.talk of those who sought shelter and got it. The two Samanas,.accustomed to life in the forest, found quickly and without making any.noise an place to stay and rested there until the morning.

.At sunrise, they saw with astonishment what a large crowd of believers.and curious people had spent the night here. On all paths of the.marvellous grove, monks walked in yellow robes, under the trees they.sat here and there, in deep contemplation--or in a conversation about.spiritual matters, the shady gardens looked like a city, full of people,.bustling like bees. The majority of the monks went out with their.alms-dish, to collect food in town for their lunch, the only meal of the.day. The Buddha himself, the enlightened one, was also in the habit of.taking this walk to beg in the morning.

.Siddhartha saw him, and he instantly recognised him, as if a god had.pointed him out to him. He saw him, a simple am in a yellow robe,.bearing the alms-dish in his hand, walking silently.

."Look here!" Siddhartha said quietly to Govinda. "This one is the.Buddha."..Attentively, Govinda looked at the monk in the yellow robe, who seemed.to be in no way different from the hundreds of other monks. And soon,.Govinda also realized: This is the one. And they followed him and.observed him...The Buddha went on his way, modestly and deep in his thoughts, his.calm face was neither happy nor sad, it seemed to smile quietly and.inwardly. With a hidden smile, quiet, calm, somewhat resembling a.healthy child, the Buddha walked, wore the robe and placed his feet.just as all of his monks did, according to a precise rule. But his.face and his walk, his quietly lowered glance, his quietly dangling hand.and even every finger of his quietly dangling hand expressed peace,.expressed perfection, did not search, did not imitate, breathed softly.in an unwhithering calm, in an unwhithering light, an untouchable peace.

.Thus Gotama walked towards the town, to collect alms, and the two.Samanas recognised him solely by the perfection of his calm, by the.quietness of his appearance, in which there was no searching, no desire,.no imitation, no effort to be seen, only light and peace.

."Today, we'll hear the teachings from his mouth." said Govinda.

.Siddhartha did not answer. He felt little curiosity for the teachings,.he did not believe that they would teach him anything new, but he had,.just as Govinda had, heard the contents of this Buddha's teachings.again and again, though these reports only represented second- or.third-hand information. But attentively he looked at Gotama's head,.his shoulders, his feet, his quietly dangling hand, and it seemed to.him as if every joint of every finger of this hand was of these.teachings, spoke of, breathed of, exhaled the fragrant of, glistened of.truth. This man, this Buddha was truthful down to the gesture of his.last finger. This man was holy. Never before, Siddhartha had venerated.a person so much, never before he had loved a person as much as this.one...They both followed the Buddha until they reached the town and then.returned in silence, for they themselves intended to abstain from from.on this day. They saw Gotama returning--what he ate could not even have.satisfied a bird's appetite, and they saw him retiring into the shade.of the mango-trees.

.But in the evening, when the heat cooled down and everyone in the camp.started to bustle about and gathered around, they heard the Buddha.teaching. They heard his voice, and it was also perfected, was of.perfect calmness, was full of peace. Gotama taught the teachings of.suffering, of the origin of suffering, of the way to relieve suffering..Calmly and clearly his quiet speech flowed on. Suffering was life,.full of suffering was the world, but salvation from suffering had been.found: salvation was obtained by him who would walk the path of the.Buddha. Wit a soft, yet firm voice the exalted one spoke, taught the.four main doctrines, taught the eightfold path, patiently he went the.usual path of the teachings, of the examples, of the repetitions,.brightly and quietly his voice hovered over the listeners, like a light,.like a starry sky.

.When the Buddha--night had already fallen--ended his speech, many a.pilgrim stepped forward and asked to accepted into the community, sought.refuge in the teachings. And Gotama accepted them by speaking: "You.have heard the teachings well, it has come to you well. Thus join us.and walk in holiness, to put an end to all suffering."..Behold, then Govinda, the shy one, also stepped forward and spoke: "I.also take my refuge in the exalted one and his teachings," and he asked.to accepted into the community of his disciples and was accepted...Right afterwards, when the Buddha had retired for the night, Govinda.turned to Siddhartha and spoke eagerly: "Siddhartha, it is not my place.to scold you. We have both heard the exalted one, be have both.perceived the teachings. Govinda has heard the teachings, he has taken.refuge in it. But you, my honoured friend, don't you also want to walk.the path of salvation? Would you want to hesitate, do you want to wait.any longer?"

.Siddhartha awakened as if he had been asleep, when he heard Govinda's.words. For a long tome, he looked into Govinda's face. Then he spoke.quietly, in a voice without mockery: "Govinda, my friend, now you have.taken this step, now you have chosen this path. Always, oh Govinda,.you've been my friend, you've always walked one step behind me. Often I.have thought: Won't Govinda for once also take a step by himself,.without me, out of his own soul? Behold, now you've turned into a man.and are choosing your path for yourself. I wish that you would go it up.to its end, oh my friend, that you shall find salvation!"

.Govinda, not completely understanding it yet, repeated his question in.an impatient tone: "Speak up, I beg you, my dear! Tell me, since it.could not be any other way, that you also, my learned friend, will take.your refuge with the exalted Buddha!"

.Siddhartha placed his hand on Govinda's shoulder: "You failed to hear.my good wish for you, oh Govinda. I'm repeating it: I wish that you.would go this path up to its end, that you shall find salvation!"..In this moment, Govinda realized that his friend had left him, and he.started to weep.

."Siddhartha!" he exclaimed lamentingly.

.Siddhartha kindly spoke to him: "Don't forget, Govinda, that you are.now one of the Samanas of the Buddha! You have renounced your home.and your parents, renounced your birth and possessions, renounced your.free will, renounced all friendship. This is what the teachings.require, this is what the exalted one wants. This is what you wanted.for yourself. Tomorrow, oh Govinda, I'll leave you."..For a long time, the friends continued walking in the grove; for a long.time, they lay there and found no sleep. And over and over again,.Govinda urged his friend, he should tell him why he would not want to.seek refuge in Gotama's teachings, what fault he would find in these.teachings. But Siddhartha turned him away every time and said: "Be.content, Govinda! Very good are the teachings of the exalted one, how.could I find a fault in them?"

.Very early in the morning, a follower of Buddha, one of his oldest.monks, went through the garden and called all those to him who had as.novices taken their refuge in the teachings, to dress them up in the.yellow robe and to instruct them in the first teachings and duties of.their position. Then Govinda broke loose, embraced once again his.childhood friend and left with the novices.

.But Siddhartha walked through the grove, lost in thought.

.Then he happened to meet Gotama, the exalted one, and when he greeted.him with respect and the Buddha's glance was so full of kindness and.calm, the young man summoned his courage and asked the venerable one for.the permission to talk to him. Silently the exalted one nodded his.approval...Quoth Siddhartha: "Yesterday, oh exalted one, I had been privileged to.hear your wondrous teachings. Together with my friend, I had come from.afar, to hear your teachings. And now my friend is going to stay with.your people, he has taken his refuge with you. But I will again start.on my pilgrimage."

."As you please," the venerable one spoke politely.

."Too bold is my speech," Siddhartha continued, "but I do not want to.leave the exalted one without having honestly told him my thoughts..Does it please the venerable one to listen to me for one moment longer?"..Silently, the Buddha nodded his approval.

.Quoth Siddhartha: "One thing, oh most venerable one, I have admired in.your teachings most of all. Everything in your teachings is perfectly.clear, is proven; you are presenting the world as a perfect chain, a.chain which is never and nowhere broken, an eternal chain the links of.which are causes and effects. Never before, this has been seen so.clearly; never before, this has been presented so irrefutably; truly,.the heart of every Brahman has to beat stronger with love, once he has.seen the world through your teachings perfectly connected, without gaps,.clear as a crystal, not depending on chance, not depending on gods..Whether it may be good or bad, whether living according to it would be.suffering or joy, I do not wish to discuss, possibly this is not.essential--but the uniformity of the world, that everything which.happens is connected, that the great and the small things are all.encompassed by the same forces of time, by the same law of causes, of.coming into being and of dying, this is what shines brightly out of your.exalted teachings, oh perfected one. But according to your very own.teachings, this unity and necessary sequence of all things is.nevertheless broken in one place, through a small gap, this world of.unity is invaded by something alien, something new, something which had.not been there before, and which cannot be demonstrated and cannot be.proven: these are your teachings of overcoming the world, of salvation..But with this small gap, with this small breach, the entire eternal and.uniform law of the world is breaking apart again and becomes void..Please forgive me for expressing this objection."

.Quietly, Gotama had listened to him, unmoved. Now he spoke, the.perfected one, with his kind, with his polite and clear voice: "You've.heard the teachings, oh son of a Brahman, and good for you that you've.thought about it thus deeply. You've found a gap in it, an error. You.should think about this further. But be warned, oh seeker of knowledge,.of the thicket of opinions and of arguing about words. There is nothing.to opinions, they may be beautiful or ugly, smart or foolish, everyone.can support them or discard them. But the teachings, you've heard from.me, are no opinion, and their goal is not to explain the world to those.who seek knowledge. They have a different goal; their goal is salvation.from suffering. This is what Gotama teaches, nothing else."

."I wish that you, oh exalted one, would not be angry with me," said the.young man. "I have not spoken to you like this to argue with you, to.argue about words. You are truly right, there is little to opinions..But let me say this one more thing: I have not doubted in you for a.single moment. I have not doubted for a single moment that you are.Buddha, that you have reached the goal, the highest goal towards which.so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of Brahmans are on their way..You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course.of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through.meditation, through realizations, through enlightenment. It has not.come to you by means of teachings! And--thus is my thought, oh exalted.one,--nobody will obtain salvation by means of teachings! You will not.be able to convey and say to anybody, oh venerable one, in words and.through teachings what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!.The teachings of the enlightened Buddha contain much, it teaches many to.live righteously, to avoid evil. But there is one thing which these so.clear, these so venerable teachings do not contain: they do not contain.the mystery of what the exalted one has experienced for himself, he.alone among hundreds of thousands. This is what I have thought and.realized, when I have heard the teachings. This is why I am continuing.my travels--not to seek other, better teachings, for I know there are.none, but to depart from all teachings and all teachers and to reach my.goal by myself or to die. But often, I'll think of this day, oh exalted.one, and of this hour, when my eyes beheld a holy man."

.The Buddha's eyes quietly looked to the ground; quietly, in perfect.equanimity his inscrutable face was smiling.

."I wish," the venerable one spoke slowly, "that your thoughts shall not.be in error, that you shall reach the goal! But tell me: Have you seen.the multitude of my Samanas, my many brothers, who have taken refuge in.the teachings? And do you believe, oh stranger, oh Samana, do you.believe that it would be better for them all the abandon the teachings.and to return into the life the world and of desires?".."Far is such a thought from my mind," exclaimed Siddhartha. "I wish.that they shall all stay with the teachings, that they shall reach their.goal! It is not my place to judge another person's life. Only for.myself, for myself alone, I must decide, I must chose, I must refuse..Salvation from the self is what we Samanas search for, oh exalted one..If I merely were one of your disciples, oh venerable one, I'd fear that.it might happen to me that only seemingly, only deceptively my self.would be calm and be redeemed, but that in truth it would live on and.grow, for then I had replaced my self with the teachings, my duty to.follow you, my love for you, and the community of the monks!"

.With half of a smile, with an unwavering openness and kindness,.Gotama looked into the stranger's eyes and bid him to leave with a.hardly noticeable gesture.

."You are wise, oh Samana.", the venerable one spoke.

."You know how to talk wisely, my friend. Be aware of too much wisdom!"

.The Buddha turned away, and his glance and half of a smile remained.forever etched in Siddhartha's memory.

.I have never before seen a person glance and smile, sit and walk this.way, he thought; truly, I wish to be able to glance and smile, sit and.walk this way, too, thus free, thus venerable, thus concealed, thus.open, thus child-like and mysterious. Truly, only a person who has.succeeded in reaching the innermost part of his self would glance and.walk this way. Well so, I also will seek to reach the innermost part.of my self.

.I saw a man, Siddhartha thought, a single man, before whom I would have.to lower my glance. I do not want to lower my glance before any other,.not before any other. No teachings will entice me any more, since this.man's teachings have not enticed me.

.I am deprived by the Buddha, thought Siddhartha, I am deprived, and.even more he has given to me. He has deprived me of my friend, the one.who had believed in me and now believes in him, who had been my shadow.and is now Gotama's shadow. But he has given me Siddhartha, myself.

 

Chapter 4

AWAKENING



 

..When Siddhartha left the grove, where the Buddha, the perfected one,.stayed behind, where Govinda stayed behind, then he felt that in this.grove his past life also stayed behind and parted from him. He pondered.about this sensation, which filled him completely, as he was slowly.walking along. He pondered deeply, like diving into a deep water he.let himself sink down to the ground of the sensation, down to the place.where the causes lie, because to identify the causes, so it seemed to.him, is the very essence of thinking, and by this alone sensations turn.into realizations and are not lost, but become entities and start to.emit like rays of light what is inside of them.

.Slowly walking along, Siddhartha pondered. He realized that he was no.youth any more, but had turned into a man. He realized that one thing.had left him, as a snake is left by its old skin, that one thing no.longer existed in him, which had accompanied him throughout his youth.and used to be a part of him: the wish to have teachers and to listen to.teachings. He had also left the last teacher who had appeared on his.path, even him, the highest and wisest teacher, the most holy one,.Buddha, he had left him, had to part with him, was not able to accept.his teachings.

.Slower, he walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: "But what.is this, what you have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers,.and what they, who have taught you much, were still unable to teach.you?" And he found: "It was the self, the purpose and essence of which.I sought to learn. It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which.I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome it, could only.deceive it, could only flee from it, only hide from it. Truly, no.thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own.self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being.separated and isolated from all others, of me being Siddhartha! And.there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about.Siddhartha!"..Having been pondering while slowly walking along, he now stopped as.these thoughts caught hold of him, and right away another thought sprang.forth from these, a new thought, which was: "That I know nothing about.myself, that Siddhartha has remained thus alien and unknown to me, stems.from one cause, a single cause: I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing.from myself! I searched Atman, I searched Brahman, I was willing to.to dissect my self and peel off all of its layers, to find the core of.all peels in its unknown interior, the Atman, life, the divine part, the.ultimate part. But I have lost myself in the process."

.Siddhartha opened his eyes and looked around, a smile filled his face.and a feeling of awakening from long dreams flowed through him from his.head down to his toes. And it was not long before he walked again,.walked quickly like a man who knows what he has got to do..."Oh," he thought, taking a deep breath, "now I would not let Siddhartha.escape from me again! No longer, I want to begin my thoughts and my.life with Atman and with the suffering of the world. I do not want to.kill and dissect myself any longer, to find a secret behind the ruins..Neither Yoga-Veda shall teach me any more, nor Atharva-Veda, nor the.ascetics, nor any kind of teachings. I want to learn from myself, want.to be my student, want to get to know myself, the secret of Siddhartha."..He looked around, as if he was seeing the world for the first time..Beautiful was the world, colourful was the world, strange and mysterious.was the world! Here was blue, here was yellow, here was green, the sky.and the river flowed, the forest and the mountains were rigid, all of it.was beautiful, all of it was mysterious and magical, and in its midst was.he, Siddhartha, the awakening one, on the path to himself. All of this,.all this yellow and blue, river and forest, entered Siddhartha for the.first time through the eyes, was no longer a spell of Mara, was no.longer the veil of Maya, was no longer a pointless and coincidental.diversity of mere appearances, despicable to the deeply thinking Brahman,.who scorns diversity, who seeks unity. Blue was blue, river was river,.and if also in the blue and the river, in Siddhartha, the singular and.divine lived hidden, so it was still that very divinity's way and.purpose, to be here yellow, here blue, there sky, there forest, and here.Siddhartha. The purpose and the essential properties were not somewhere.behind the things, they were in them, in everything..."How deaf and stupid have I been!" he thought, walking swiftly along.."When someone reads a text, wants to discover its meaning, he will not.scorn the symbols and letters and call them deceptions, coincidence,.and worthless hull, but he will read them, he will study and love them,.letter by letter. But I, who wanted to read the book of the world and.the book of my own being, I have, for the sake of a meaning I had.anticipated before I read, scorned the symbols and letters, I called the.visible world a deception, called my eyes and my tongue coincidental.and worthless forms without substance. No, this is over, I have.awakened, I have indeed awakened and have not been born before this.very day."

.In thinking this thoughts, Siddhartha stopped once again, suddenly, as.if there was a snake lying in front of him on the path.

.Because suddenly, he had also become aware of this: He, who was indeed.like someone who had just woken up or like a new-born baby, he had to.start his life anew and start again at the very beginning. When he had.left in this very morning from the grove Jetavana, the grove of that.exalted one, already awakening, already on the path towards himself, he.he had every intention, regarded as natural and took for granted, that.he, after years as an ascetic, would return to his home and his father..But now, only in this moment, when he stopped as if a snake was lying on.his path, he also awoke to this realization: "But I am no longer the.one I was, I am no ascetic any more, I am not a priest any more, I am no.Brahman any more. Whatever should I do at home and at my father's.place? Study? Make offerings? Practise meditation? Bat all this is.over, all of this is no longer alongside my path."

.Motionless, Siddhartha remained standing there, and for the time of.one moment and breath, his heart felt cold, he felt a cold in his chest,.as a small animal, a bird or a rabbit, would when seeing how alone he.was. For many years, he had been without home and had felt nothing..Now, he felt it. Still, even in the deepest meditation, he had been.his father's son, had been a Brahman, of a high caste, a cleric. Now,.he was nothing but Siddhartha, the awoken one, nothing else was left..Deeply, he inhaled, and for a moment, he felt cold and shivered..Nobody was thus alone as he was. There was no nobleman who did not.belong to the noblemen, no worker that did not belong to the workers,.and found refuge with them, shared their life, spoke their language..No Brahman, who would not be regarded as Brahmans and lived with them,.no ascetic who would not find his refuge in the caste of the Samanas,.and even the most forlorn hermit in the forest was not just one and.alone, he was also surrounded by a place he belonged to, he also.belonged to a caste, in which he was at home. Govinda had become a.monk, and a thousand monks were his brothers, wore the same robe as he,.believed in his faith, spoke his language. But he, Siddhartha, where.did he belong to? With whom would he share his life? Whose language.would he speak?

.Out of this moment, when the world melted away all around him, when he.stood alone like a star in the sky, out of this moment of a cold and.despair, Siddhartha emerged, more a self than before, more firmly.concentrated. He felt: This had been the last tremor of the awakening,.the last struggle of this birth. And it was not long until he walked.again in long strides, started to proceed swiftly and impatiently,.heading no longer for home, no longer to his father, no longer back.

  

 

 

Chapter 5

SECOND PART



 

..Dedicated to Wilhelm Gundert, my cousin in Japan.KAMALA

.Siddhartha learned something new on every step of his path, for the.world was transformed, and his heart was enchanted. He saw the sun.rising over the mountains with their forests and setting over the.distant beach with its palm-trees. At night, he saw the stars in the.sky in their fixed positions and the crescent of the moon floating like.a boat in the blue. He saw trees, stars, animals, clouds, rainbows,.rocks, herbs, flowers, stream and river, the glistening dew in the.bushes in the morning, distant hight mountains which were blue and.pale, birds sang and bees, wind silverishly blew through the rice-field..All of this, a thousand-fold and colorful, had always been there,.always the sun and the moon had shone, always rivers had roared and.bees had buzzed, but in former times all of this had been nothing more.to Siddhartha than a fleeting, deceptive veil before his eyes,.looked upon in distrust, destined to be penetrated and destroyed by.thought, since it was not the essential existence, since this essence.lay beyond, on the other side of, the visible. But now, his liberated.eyes stayed on this side, he saw and became aware of the visible, sought.to be at home in this world, did not search for the true essence, did.not aim at a world beyond. Beautiful was this world, looking at it thus,.without searching, thus simply, thus childlike. Beautiful were the moon.and the stars, beautiful was the stream and the banks, the forest and.the rocks, the goat and the gold-beetle, the flower and the butterfly..Beautiful and lovely it was, thus to walk through the world, thus.childlike, thus awoken, thus open to what is near, thus without.distrust. Differently the sun burnt the head, differently the shade.of the forest cooled him down, differently the stream and the cistern,.the pumpkin and the banana tasted. Short were the days, short the.nights, every hour sped swiftly away like a sail on the sea, and under.the sail was a ship full of treasures, full of joy. Siddhartha saw a.group of apes moving through the high canopy of the forest, high in the.branches, and heard their savage, greedy song. Siddhartha saw a male.sheep following a female one and mating with her. In a lake of reeds,.he saw the pike hungrily hunting for its dinner; propelling themselves.away from it, in fear, wiggling and sparkling, the young fish jumped in.droves out of the water; the scent of strength and passion came.forcefully out of the hasty eddies of the water, which the pike stirred.up, impetuously hunting.

All of this had always existed, and he had not seen it; he had not been.with it. Now he was with it, he was part of it. Light and shadow.ran through his eyes, stars and moon ran through his heart.

On the way, Siddhartha also remembered everything he had experienced in.the Garden Jetavana, the teaching he had heard there, the divine Buddha,.the farewell from Govinda, the conversation with the exalted one. Again.he remembered his own words, he had spoken to the exalted one, every.word, and with astonishment he became aware of the fact that there he.had said things which he had not really known yet at this time. What he.had said to Gotama: his, the Buddha's, treasure and secret was not the.teachings, but the unexpressable and not teachable, which he had.experienced in the hour of his enlightenment--it was nothing but this.very thing which he had now gone to experience, what he now began to.experience. Now, he had to experience his self. It is true that he had.already known for a long time that his self was Atman, in its essence.bearing the same eternal characteristics as Brahman. But never, he had.really found this self, because he had wanted to capture it in the net.of thought. With the body definitely not being the self, and not the.spectacle of the senses, so it also was not the thought, not the.rational mind, not the learned wisdom, not the learned ability to draw.conclusions and to develop previous thoughts in to new ones. No, this.world of thought was also still on this side, and nothing could be.achieved by killing the random self of the senses, if the random self of.thoughts and learned knowledge was fattened on the other hand. Both,.the thoughts as well as the senses, were pretty things, the ultimate.meaning was hidden behind both of them, both had to be listened to, both.had to be played with, both neither had to be scorned nor overestimated,.from both the secret voices of the innermost truth had to be attentively.perceived. He wanted to strive for nothing, except for what the voice.commanded him to strive for, dwell on nothing, except where the voice.would advise him to do so. Why had Gotama, at that time, in the hour.of all hours, sat down under the bo-tree, where the enlightenment hit.him? He had heard a voice, a voice in his own heart, which had.commanded him to seek rest under this tree, and he had neither preferred.self-castigation, offerings, ablutions, nor prayer, neither food nor.drink, neither sleep nor dream, he had obeyed the voice. To obey like.this, not to an external command, only to the voice, to be ready like.this, this was good, this was necessary, nothing else was necessary...In the night when he slept in the straw hut of a ferryman by the river,.Siddhartha had a dream: Govinda was standing in front of him, dressed.in the yellow robe of an ascetic. Sad was how Govinda looked like,.sadly he asked: Why have you forsaken me? At this, he embraced.Govinda, wrapped his arms around him, and as he was pulling him close.to his chest and kissed him, it was not Govinda any more, but a woman,.and an full breast popped out of the woman's dress, at which Siddhartha.lay and drank, sweetly and strongly tasted the milk from this breast..It tasted of woman and man, of sun and forest, of animal and flower,.of every fruit, of every joyful desire. It intoxicated him and rendered.him unconscious.--When Siddhartha woke up, the pale river shimmered.through the door of the hut, and in the forest, a dark call of an owl.resounded deeply and and pleasantly.

When the day began, Siddhartha asked his host, the ferryman, to get him.across the river. The ferryman got him across the river on his.bamboo-raft, the wide water shimmered reddishly in the light of the.morning..."This is a beautiful river," he said to his companion.

"Yes," said the ferryman, "a very beautiful river, I love it more than.anything. Often I have listened to it, often I have looked into its.eyes, and always I have learned from it. Much can be learned from a.river.".."I than you, my benefactor," spoke Siddhartha, disembarking on the other.side of the river. "I have no gift I could give you for your.hospitality, my dear, and also no payment for your work. I am a man.without a home, a son of a Brahman and a Samana."

"I did see it," spoke the ferryman, "and I haven't expected any payment.from you and no gift which would be the custom for guests to bear. You.will give me the gift another time."

"Do you think so?" asked Siddhartha amusedly.

"Surely. This too, I have learned from the river: everything is coming.back! You too, Samana, will come back. Now farewell! Let your.friendship be my reward. Commemorate me, when you'll make offerings to.the gods."

Smiling, they parted. Smiling, Siddhartha was happy about the.friendship and the kindness of the ferryman. "He is like Govinda," he.thought with a smile, "all I meet on my path are like Govinda. All are.thankful, though they are the ones who would have a right to receive.thanks. All are submissive, all would like to be friends, like to.obey, think little. Like children are all people."

At about noon, he came through a village. In front of the mud cottages,.children were rolling about in the street, were playing with.pumpkin-seeds and sea-shells, screamed and wrestled, but they all.timidly fled from the unknown Samana. In the end of the village, the.path led through a stream, and by the side of the stream, an young.woman was kneeling and washing clothes. When Siddhartha greeted her,.she lifted her head and looked up to him with a smile, so that he saw.the white in her eyes glistening. He called out a blessing to her, as.it is the custom among travellers, and asked how far he still had to go.to reach the large city. Then she got up and came to him, beautifully.her wet mouth was shimmering in her young face. She exchanged humorous.banter with him, asked whether he had eaten already, and whether it was.true that the Samanas slept alone in the forest at night and were not.allowed to have any women with them. While talking, she put her left.foot on his right one and made a movement as a woman does who would want.to initiate that kind of sexual pleasure with a man, which the textbooks.call "climbing a tree". Siddhartha felt his blood heating up, and since.in this moment he had to think of his dream again, he bend slightly.down to the woman and kissed with his lips the brown nipple of her.breast. Looking up, he saw her face smiling full of lust and her.eyes, with contracted pupils, begging with desire.

Siddhartha also felt desire and felt the source of his sexuality moving;.but since he had never touched a woman before, he hesitated for a.moment, while his hands were already prepared to reach out for her. And.in this moment he heard, shuddering with awe, the voice if his innermost.self, and this voice said No. Then, all charms disappeared from the.young woman's smiling face, he no longer saw anything else but the damp.glance of a female animal in heat. Politely, he petted her cheek,.turned away from her and disappeared away from the disappointed woman.with light steps into the bamboo-wood.

On this day, he reached the large city before the evening, and was.happy, for he felt the need to be among people. For a long time, he.had lived in the forests, and the straw hut of the ferryman, in which.he had slept that night, had been the first roof for a long time he has.had over his head.

Before the city, in a beautifully fenced grove, the traveller came.across a small group of servants, both male and female, carrying.baskets. In their midst, carried by four servants in an ornamental.sedan-chair, sat a woman, the mistress, on red pillows under a colourful.canopy. Siddhartha stopped at the entrance to the pleasure-garden and.watched the parade, saw the servants, the maids, the baskets, saw the.sedan-chair and saw the lady in it. Under black hair, which made to.tower high on her head, he saw a very fair, very delicate, very smart.face, a brightly red mouth, like a freshly cracked fig, eyebrows which.were well tended and painted in a high arch, smart and watchful dark.eyes, a clear, tall neck rising from a green and golden garment, resting.fair hands, long and thin, with wide golden bracelets over the wrists...Siddhartha saw how beautiful she was, and his heart rejoiced. He bowed.deeply, when the sedan-chair came closer, and straightening up again,.he looked at the fair, charming face, read for a moment in the smart.eyes with the high arcs above, breathed in a slight fragrant, he did.not know. With a smile, the beautiful women nodded for a moment and.disappeared into the grove, and then the servant as well.

Thus I am entering this city, Siddhartha thought, with a charming omen..He instantly felt drawn into the grove, but he thought about it, and.only now he became aware of how the servants and maids had looked at him.at the entrance, how despicable, how distrustful, how rejecting.

I am still a Samana, he thought, I am still an ascetic and beggar. I.must not remain like this, I will not be able to enter the grove like.this. And he laughed.

The next person who came along this path he asked about the grove and.for the name of the woman, and was told that this was the grove of.Kamala, the famous courtesan, and that, aside from the grove, she owned.a house in the city.

Then, he entered the city. Now he had a goal.

Pursuing his goal, he allowed the city to suck him in, drifted through.the flow of the streets, stood still on the squares, rested on the.stairs of stone by the river. When the evening came, he made friends.with barber's assistant, whom he had seen working in the shade of an.arch in a building, whom he found again praying in a temple of Vishnu,.whom he told about stories of Vishnu and the Lakshmi. Among the boats.by the river, he slept this night, and early in the morning, before the.first customers came into his shop, he had the barber's assistant shave.his beard and cut his hair, comb his hair and anoint it with fine oil..Then he went to take his bath in the river...When late in the afternoon, beautiful Kamala approached her grove in her.sedan-chair, Siddhartha was standing at the entrance, made a bow and.received the courtesan's greeting. But that servant who walked at the.very end of her train he motioned to him and asked him to inform his.mistress that a young Brahman would wish to talk to her. After a while,.the servant returned, asked the him, who had been waiting, to follow him.conducted him, who was following him, without a word into a pavilion,.where Kamala was lying on a couch, and left him alone with her.

"Weren't you already standing out there yesterday, greeting me?" asked Kamala..."It's true that I've already seen and greeted you yesterday."

"But didn't you yesterday wear a beard, and long hair, and dust in your.hair?"

"You have observed well, you have seen everything. You have seen.Siddhartha, the son of a Brahman, how has left his home to become a.Samana, and who has been a Samana for three years. But now, I have.left that path and came into this city, and the first one I met, even.before I had entered the city, was you. To say this, I have come to.you, oh Kamala! You are the first woman whom Siddhartha is not.addressing with his eyes turned to the ground. Never again I want to.turn my eyes to the ground, when I'm coming across a beautiful woman."..Kamala smiled and played with her fan of peacocks' feathers. And asked:."And only to tell me this, Siddhartha has come to me?"

"To tell you this and to thank you for being so beautiful. And if it.doesn't displease you, Kamala, I would like to ask you to be my friend.and teacher, for I know nothing yet of that art which you have mastered.in the highest degree."

At this, Kamala laughed aloud.

"Never before this has happened to me, my friend, that a Samana from the.forest came to me and wanted to learn from me! Never before this has.happened to me, that a Samana came to me with long hair and an old, torn.loin-cloth! Many young men come to me, and there are also sons of.Brahmans among them, but they come in beautiful clothes, they come in.fine shoes, they have perfume in their hair and money in their pouches..This is, oh Samana, how the young men are like who come to me."..Quoth Siddhartha: "Already I am starting to learn from you. Even.yesterday, I was already learning. I have already taken off my beard,.have combed the hair, have oil in my hair. There is little which is.still missing in me, oh excellent one: fine clothes, fine shoes, money.in my pouch. You shall know, Siddhartha has set harder goals for.himself than such trifles, and he has reached them. How shouldn't I.reach that goal, which I have set for myself yesterday: to be your.friend and to learn the joys of love from you! You'll see that I'll.learn quickly, Kamala, I have already learned harder things than what.you're supposed to teach me. And now let's get to it: You aren't.satisfied with Siddhartha as he is, with oil in his hair, but without.clothes, without shoes, without money?"

Laughing, Kamala exclaimed: "No, my dear, he doesn't satisfy me yet..Clothes are what he must have, pretty clothes, and shoes, pretty shoes,.and lots of money in his pouch, and gifts for Kamala. Do you know it.now, Samana from the forest? Did you mark my words?"

"Yes, I have marked your words," Siddhartha exclaimed. "How should I.not mark words which are coming from such a mouth! Your mouth is like.a freshly cracked fig, Kamala. My mouth is red and fresh as well, it.will be a suitable match for yours, you'll see.--But tell me, beautiful.Kamala, aren't you at all afraid of the Samana from the forest, who has.come to learn how to make love?"

"Whatever for should I be afraid of a Samana, a stupid Samana from the.forest, who is coming from the jackals and doesn't even know yet what.women are?"

"Oh, he's strong, the Samana, and he isn't afraid of anything. He could.force you, beautiful girl. He could kidnap you. He could hurt you."

"No, Samana, I am not afraid of this. Did any Samana or Brahman ever.fear, someone might come and grab him and steal his learning, and his.religious devotion, and his depth of thought? No, for they are his very.own, and he would only give away from those whatever he is willing to.give and to whomever he is willing to give. Like this it is, precisely.like this it is also with Kamala and with the pleasures of love..Beautiful and red is Kamala's mouth, but just try to kiss it against.Kamala's will, and you will not obtain a single drop of sweetness from.it, which knows how to give so many sweet things! You are learning.easily, Siddhartha, thus you should also learn this: love can be.obtained by begging, buying, receiving it as a gift, finding it in the.street, but it cannot be stolen. In this, you have come up with the.wrong path. No, it would be a pity, if a pretty young man like you.would want to tackle it in such a wrong manner."

Siddhartha bowed with a smile. "It would be a pity, Kamala, you are so.right! It would be such a great pity. No, I shall not lose a single.drop of sweetness from your mouth, nor you from mine! So it is settled:.Siddhartha will return, once he'll have have what he still lacks:.clothes, shoes, money. But speak, lovely Kamala, couldn't you still.give me one small advice?"

"An advice?" Why not? Who wouldn't like to give an advice to a poor,.ignorant Samana, who is coming from the jackals of the forest?"

"Dear Kamala, thus advise me where I should go to, that I'll find these.three things most quickly?"

"Friend, many would like to know this. You must do what you've learned.and ask for money, clothes, and shoes in return. There is no other way.for a poor man to obtain money. What might you be able to do?"

"I can think. I can wait. I can fast."

"Nothing else?"

"Nothing. But yes, I can also write poetry. Would you like to give me.a kiss for a poem?"

"I would like to, if I'll like your poem. What would be its title?"

Siddhartha spoke, after he had thought about it for a moment, these.verses:

Into her shady grove stepped the pretty Kamala,.At the grove's entrance stood the brown Samana..Deeply, seeing the lotus's blossom,.Bowed that man, and smiling Kamala thanked..More lovely, thought the young man, than offerings for gods,.More lovely is offering to pretty Kamala.

Kamala loudly clapped her hands, so that the golden bracelets clanged.

"Beautiful are your verses, oh brown Samana, and truly, I'm losing.nothing when I'm giving you a kiss for them."

She beckoned him with her eyes, he tilted his head so that his face.touched hers and placed his mouth on that mouth which was like a.freshly cracked fig. For a long time, Kamala kissed him, and with a.deep astonishment Siddhartha felt how she taught him, how wise she was,.how she controlled him, rejected him, lured him, and how after this first.one there was to be a long, a well ordered, well tested sequence of.kisses, everyone different from the others, he was still to receive..Breathing deeply, he remained standing where he was, and was in this.moment astonished like a child about the cornucopia of knowledge and.things worth learning, which revealed itself before his eyes..."Very beautiful are your verses," exclaimed Kamala, "if I was rich, I.would give you pieces of gold for them. But it will be difficult for.you to earn thus much money with verses as you need. For you need a lot.of money, if you want to be Kamala's friend."

"The way you're able to kiss, Kamala!" stammered Siddhartha.

"Yes, this I am able to do, therefore I do not lack clothes, shoes,.bracelets, and all beautiful things. But what will become of you?.Aren't you able to do anything else but thinking, fasting, making.poetry?"

"I also know the sacrificial songs," said Siddhartha, "but I do not want.to sing them any more. I also know magic spells, but I do not want to.speak them any more. I have read the scriptures--"

"Stop," Kamala interrupted him. "You're able to read? And write?"

"Certainly, I can do this. Many people can do this."

"Most people can't. I also can't do it. It is very good that you're.able to read and write, very good. You will also still find use for.the magic spells."

In this moment, a maid came running in and whispered a message into.her mistress's ear.

"There's a visitor for me," exclaimed Kamala. "Hurry and get yourself.away, Siddhartha, nobody may see you in here, remember this! Tomorrow,.I'll see you again."

But to the maid she gave the order to give the pious Brahman white.upper garments. Without fully understanding what was happening to him,.Siddhartha found himself being dragged away by the maid, brought into.a garden-house avoiding the direct path, being given upper garments as a.gift, led into the bushes, and urgently admonished to get himself out of.the grove as soon as possible without being seen.

Contently, he did as he had been told. Being accustomed to the forest,.he managed to get out of the grove and over the hedge without making a.sound. Contently, he returned to the city, carrying the rolled up.garments under his arm. At the inn, where travellers stay, he.positioned himself by the door, without words he asked for food, without.a word he accepted a piece of rice-cake. Perhaps as soon as tomorrow,.he thought, I will ask no one for food any more.

.Suddenly, pride flared up in him. He was no Samana any more, it was no.longer becoming to him to beg. He gave the rice-cake to a dog and.remained without food.

"Simple is the life which people lead in this world here," thought.Siddhartha. "It presents no difficulties. Everything was difficult,.toilsome, and ultimately hopeless, when I was still a Samana. Now,.everything is easy, easy like that lessons in kissing, which Kamala is.giving me. I need clothes and money, nothing else; this a small, near.goals, they won't make a person lose any sleep."

He had already discovered Kamala's house in the city long before, there.he turned up the following day.

"Things are working out well," she called out to him. "They are.expecting you at Kamaswami's, he is the richest merchant of the city..If he'll like you, he'll accept you into his service. Be smart, brown.Samana. I had others tell him about you. Be polite towards him, he is.very powerful. But don't be too modest! I do not want you to become.his servant, you shall become his equal, or else I won't be satisfied.with you. Kamaswami is starting to get old and lazy. If he'll like.you, he'll entrust you with a lot."

Siddhartha thanked her and laughed, and when she found out that he had.not eaten anything yesterday and today, she sent for bread and fruits.and treated him to it.

"You've been lucky," she said when they parted, "I'm opening one door.after another for you. How come? Do you have a spell?"

Siddhartha said: "Yesterday, I told you I knew how to think, to wait,.and to fast, but you thought this was of no use. But it is useful for.many things, Kamala, you'll see. You'll see that the stupid Samanas are.learning and able to do many pretty things in the forest, which the.likes of you aren't capable of. The day before yesterday, I was still a.shaggy beggar, as soon as yesterday I have kissed Kamala, and soon I'll.be a merchant and have money and all those things you insist upon.".."Well yes," she admitted. "But where would you be without me? What.would you be, if Kamala wasn't helping you?".."Dear Kamala," said Siddhartha and straightened up to his full height,."when I came to you into your grove, I did the first step. It was my.resolution to learn love from this most beautiful woman. From that.moment on when I had made this resolution, I also knew that I would.carry it out. I knew that you would help me, at your first glance at.the entrance of the grove I already knew it."

"But what if I hadn't been willing?"

"You were willing. Look, Kamala: Wen you throw a rock into the water,.it will speed on the fastest course to the bottom of the water. This.is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal, a resolution. Siddhartha does.nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the things.of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without.stirring; he is drawn, he lets himself fall. His goal attracts him,.because he doesn't let anything enter his soul which might oppose the.goal. This is what Siddhartha has learned among the Samanas. This is.what fools call magic and of which they think it would be effected by.means of the daemons. Nothing is effected by daemons, there are no.daemons. Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if.he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast."

Kamala listened to him. She loved his voice, she loved the look from.his eyes.

"Perhaps it is so," she said quietly, "as you say, friend. But perhaps.it is also like this: that Siddhartha is a handsome man, that his glance.pleases the women, that therefore good fortune is coming towards him."..Wit one kiss, Siddhartha bid his farewell. "I wish that it should be.this way, my teacher; that my glance shall please you, that always.good fortune shall come to me out of your direction!"

 

 

Chapter 6

WITH THE CHILDLIKE PEOPLE

 

Siddhartha went to Kamaswami the merchant, he was directed into a rich house, servants led him between precious carpets into a chamber, where he awaited the master of the house.

Kamaswami entered, a swiftly, smoothly moving man with very gray hair, with very intelligent, cautious eyes, with a greedy mouth. Politely, the host and the guest greeted one another.

"I have been told," the merchant began, "that you were a Brahman, a learned man, but that you seek to be in the service of a merchant. Might you have become destitute, Brahman, so that you seek to serve?" "No," said Siddhartha, "I have not become destitute and have never been destitute. You should know that I'm coming from the Samanas, with whom I have lived for a long time."

"If you're coming from the Samanas, how could you be anything but destitute? Aren't the Samanas entirely without possessions?" "I am without possessions," said Siddhartha, "if this is what you mean. Surely, I am without possessions. But I am so voluntarily, and therefore I am not destitute."

"But what are you planning to live of, being without possessions?"

"I haven't thought of this yet, sir. For more than three years, I have been without possessions, and have never thought about of what I should live."

"So you've lived of the possessions of others."

"Presumable this is how it is. After all, a merchant also lives of.what other people own."

"Well said. But he wouldn't take anything from another person for nothing; he would give his merchandise in return."

"So it seems to be indeed. Everyone takes, everyone gives, such is life."

"But if you don't mind me asking: being without possessions, what would you like to give?"

"Everyone gives what he has. The warrior gives strength, the merchant gives merchandise, the teacher teachings, the farmer rice, the fisher fish."

"Yes indeed. And what is it now what you've got to give? What is it that you've learned, what you're able to do?"

"I can think. I can wait. I can fast."

"That's everything?"

"I believe, that's everything!"

"And what's the use of that? For example, the fasting-- what is it good for?"

"It is very good, sir. When a person has nothing to eat, fasting is the smartest thing he could do. When, for example, Siddhartha hadn't learned to fast, he would have to accept any kind of service before this day is up, whether it may be with you or wherever, because hunger would force him to do so. But like this, Siddhartha can wait calmly, he knows no impatience, he knows no emergency, for a long time he can allow hunger to besiege him and can laugh about it. This, sir, is what fasting is good for."

"You're right, Samana. Wait for a moment."

Kamaswami left the room and returned with a scroll, which he handed to his guest while asking: "Can you read this?"

Siddhartha looked at the scroll, on which a sales-contract had been written down, and began to read out its contents.

"Excellent," said Kamaswami. "And would you write something for me on this piece of paper?"

He handed him a piece of paper and a pen, and Siddhartha wrote and returned the paper.

Kamaswami read: "Writing is good, thinking is better. Being smart is good, being patient is better."

"It is excellent how you're able to write," the merchant praised him. "Many a thing we will still have to discuss with one another. For today, I'm asking you to be my guest and to live in this house."

Siddhartha thanked and accepted, and lived in the dealers house from now on. Clothes were brought to him, and shoes, and every day, a servant prepared a bath for him. Twice a day, a plentiful meal was served, but Siddhartha only ate once a day, and ate neither meat nor did he drink wine. Kamaswami told him about his trade, showed him the merchandise and storage-rooms, showed him calculations. Siddhartha got to know many new things, he heard a lot and spoke little. And thinking of Kamala's words, he was never subservient to the merchant, forced him to treat him as an equal, yes even more than an equal. Kamaswami conducted his business with care and often with passion, but Siddhartha looked upon all of this as if it was a game, the rules of which he tried hard to learn precisely, but the contents of which did not touch his heart.

He was not in Kamaswami's house for long, when he already took part in his landlords business. But daily, at the hour appointed by her, he visited beautiful Kamala, wearing pretty clothes, fine shoes, and soon he brought her gifts as well. Much he learned from her red, smart mouth. Much he learned from her tender, supple hand. Him, who was, regarding love, still a boy and had a tendency to plunge blindly and insatiably into lust like into a bottomless pit, him she taught, thoroughly starting with the basics, about that school of thought which teaches that pleasure cannot be be taken without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every look, every spot of the body, however small it was, had its secret, which would bring happiness to those who know about it and unleash it. She taught him, that lovers must not part from one another after celebrating love, without one admiring the other, without being just as defeated as they have been victorious, so that with none of them should start feeling fed up or bored and get that evil feeling of having abused or having been abused. Wonderful hours he spent with the beautiful and smart artist, became her student, her lover, her friend. Here with Kamala was the worth and purpose of his present life, nit with the business of Kamaswami.

The merchant passed to duties of writing important letters and contracts on to him and got into the habit of discussing all important affairs with him. He soon saw that Siddhartha knew little about rice and wool, shipping and trade, but that he acted in a fortunate manner, and that Siddhartha surpassed him, the merchant, in calmness and equanimity, and in the art of listening and deeply understanding previously unknown people. "This Brahman," he said to a friend, "is no proper merchant and will never be one, there is never any passion in his soul when he conducts our business. But he has that mysterious quality of those people to whom success comes all by itself, whether this may be a good star of his birth, magic, or something he has learned among Samanas.

He always seems to be merely playing with out business-affairs, they never fully become a part of him, they never rule over him, he is never afraid of failure, he is never upset by a loss."

The friend advised the merchant: "Give him from the business he conducts for you a third of the profits, but let him also be liable for the same amount of the losses, when there is a loss. Then, he'll become more zealous."

Kamaswami followed the advice. But Siddhartha cared little about this. When he made a profit, he accepted it with equanimity; when he made losses, he laughed and said: "Well, look at this, so this one turned out badly!"

It seemed indeed, as if he did not care about the business. At one time, he travelled to a village to buy a large harvest of rice there. But when he got there, the rice had already been sold to another merchant. Nevertheless, Siddhartha stayed for several days in that village, treated the farmers for a drink, gave copper-coins to their children, joined in the celebration of a wedding, and returned extremely satisfied from his trip. Kamaswami held against him that he had not turned back right away, that he had wasted time and money. Siddhartha answered: "Stop scolding, dear friend! Nothing was ever achieved by scolding. If a loss has occurred, let me bear that loss. I am very satisfied with this trip. I have gotten to know many kinds of people, a Brahman has become my friend, children have sat on my knees, farmers have shown me their fields, nobody knew that I was a merchant."

"That's all very nice," exclaimed Kamaswami indignantly, "but in fact, you are a merchant after all, one ought to think! Or might you have only travelled for your amusement?"

"Surely," Siddhartha laughed, "surely I have travelled for my amusement. For what else? I have gotten to know people and places, I have received kindness and trust, I have found friendship. Look, my dear, if I had been Kamaswami, I would have travelled back, being annoyed and in a hurry, as soon as I had seen that my purchase had been rendered impossible, and time and money would indeed have been lost. But like this, I've had a few good days, I've learned, had joy, I've neither harmed myself nor others by annoyance and hastiness. And if I'll ever return there again, perhaps to buy an upcoming harvest, of for whatever purpose it might be, friendly people will receive me in a friendly and happy manner, and I will praise myself for not showing any hurry and displeasure at that time. So, leave it as it is, my friend, and don't harm yourself by scolding! If the day will come, when you will see:  this Siddhartha is harming me, then speak a word and Siddhartha will go on his own path. But until then, let's be satisfied with one another."

Futile were also the merchant's attempts, to convince Siddhartha that he should eat his bread. Siddhartha ate his own bread, or rather they both ate other people's bread, all people's bread. Siddhartha never listened to Kamaswami's worries and Kamaswami had many worries. Whether there was a business-deal going on which was in danger of failing, or whether a shipment of merchandise seemed to have been lost, or a debtor seemed to be unable to pay, Kamaswami could never convince his partner that it would be useful to utter a few words of worry or anger, to have wrinkles on the forehead, to sleep badly. When, one day, Kamaswami held against him that he had learned everything he knew from him, he replied: "Would you please not kid me with such jokes! What I've learned from you is how much a basket of fish costs and how much interests may be charged on loaned money. These are your areas of expertise. I haven't learned to think from you, my dear Kamaswami, you ought to be the one seeking to lean from me."

Indeed his soul was not with the trade. The business was good enough to provide him with the money for Kamala, and it earned him much more than he needed. Besides from this, Siddhartha's interest and curiosity was only concerned with the people, whose businesses, crafts, worries, pleasures, and acts of foolishness used to be as alien and distant to him as the moon. However easily he succeeded in talking to all of them, in living with all of them, in learning from all of them, he was still aware that there was something which separated him from them and this separating factor was him being a Samana. He saw mankind going trough life in a childlike or animallike manner, which he loved and also despised at the same time. He saw them toiling, saw them suffering, and becoming gray for the sake of things which seemed to him to entirely unworthy of this price, for money, for little pleasures, for being slightly honoured, he saw them scolding and insulting each other, he saw them complaining about pain at which a Samana would only smile, and suffering because of deprivations which a Samana would not feel.

He was open to everything, these people brought his way. Welcome was the merchant who offered him linen for sale, welcome was the debtor who sought another loan, welcome was the beggar who told him for one hour the story of his poverty and who was not half as poor as any given Samana. He did not treat the rich foreign merchant any different than the servant who shaved him and the street-vendor whom he let cheat him out of some small change when buying bananas. When Kamaswami came to him, to complain about his worries or to reproach him concerning his business, he listened curiously and happily, was puzzled by him, tried to understand him, consented that he was a little bit right, only as much as he considered indispensable, and turned away from him, towards the next person who would ask for him. And there were many who came to him, many to do business with him, many to cheat him, many to draw some secret out of him, many to appeal to his sympathy, many to get his advice. He gave advice, he pitied, he made gifts, he let them cheat him a bit, and this entire game and the passion with which all people played this game occupied his thoughts just as much as the gods and Brahmans used to occupy them.

At times he felt, deep in his chest, a dying, quiet voice, which admonished him quietly, lamented quietly; he hardly perceived it. And then, for an hour, he became aware of the strange life he was leading, of him doing lots of things which were only a game, of, though being happy and feeling joy at times, real life still passing him by and not touching him. As a ball-player plays with his balls, he played with his business-deals, with the people around him, watched them, found amusement in them; with his heart, with the source of his being, he was not with them. The source ran somewhere, far away from him, ran and ran invisibly, had nothing to do with his life any more. And at several times he suddenly became scared on account of such thoughts and wished that he would also be gifted with the ability to participate in all of this childlike-naive occupations of the daytime with passion and with his heart, really to live, really to act, really to enjoy and to live instead of just standing by as a spectator. But again and again, he came back to beautiful Kamala, learned the art of love, practised the cult of lust, in which more than in anything else giving and taking becomes one, chatted with her, learned from her, gave her advice, received advice. She understood him better than Govinda used to understand him, she was more similar to him.

Once, he said to her: "You are like me, you are different from most people. You are Kamala, nothing else, and inside of you, there is a peace and refuge, to which you can go at every hour of the day and be at home at yourself, as I can also do. Few people have this, and yet all could have it."

"Not all people are smart," said Kamala.

"No," said Siddhartha, "that's not the reason why. Kamaswami is just as smart as I, and still has no refuge in himself. Others have it, who are small children with respect to their mind. Most people, Kamala, are like a falling leaf, which is blown and is turning around through the air, and wavers, and tumbles to the ground. But others, a few, are like stars, they go on a fixed course, no wind reaches them, in themselves they have their law and their course. Among all the learned men and Samanas, of which I knew many, there was one of this kind, a perfected one, I'll never be able to forget him. It is that Gotama, the exalted one, who is spreading that teachings. Thousands of followers are listening to his teachings every day, follow his instructions every hour, but they are all falling leaves, not in themselves they have teachings and a law."

Kamala looked at him with a smile. "Again, you're talking about him," she said, "again, you're having a Samana's thoughts."

Siddhartha said nothing, and they played the game of love, one of the thirty or forty different games Kamala knew. Her body was flexible like that of a jaguar and like the bow of a hunter; he who had learned from her how to make love, was knowledgeable of many forms of lust, many secrets. For a long time, she played with Siddhartha, enticed him, rejected him, forced him, embraced him: enjoyed his masterful skills, until he was defeated and rested exhausted by her side.

The courtesan bent over him, took a long look at his face, at his eyes, which had grown tired.

"You are the best lover," she said thoughtfully, "I ever saw. You're stronger than others, more supple, more willing. You've learned my art well, Siddhartha. At some time, when I'll be older, I'd want to bear your child. And yet, my dear, you've remained a Samana, and yet you do not love me, you love nobody. Isn't it so?"

"It might very well be so," Siddhartha said tiredly. "I am like you. You also do not love--how else could you practise love as a craft?

Perhaps, people of our kind can't love. The childlike people can; that's their secret."

 

---o0o---

[Contents] [Chapter 1- 6] [Chapter 7-12]

---o0o---

Source:  http://www.online-literature.com

---o0o---

Layout: Nhi Tuong
Update : 01-2-2003


Webmaster:quangduc@quangduc.com

 Back to Zen Stories

Top of page

 

Webmaster :Ven. Thich  Nguyen Tang
For comments, contributions, questions and other requests to the Editor, 
please send email to Ven. Thich Nguyen Tang: quangduc@quangduc.com