Chapter 1 - 6
Indian Tale by Hermann
To Romain Rolland, my
THE SON OF THE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
was thus loved by everyone. He was a source of joy for everybody, he was
a delight for them all.
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.
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?
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?
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.
were Siddhartha's thoughts, this was his thirst, this was his suffering.
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.
Siddhartha spoke to his friend, "Govinda, my dear, come with me under
the Banyan tree, let's practise meditation."
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:
is the bow, the arrow is soul,
Brahman is the arrow's target,
one should incessantly hit.
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.
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.
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."
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
Siddhartha," he exclaimed, "will your father permit you to do that?"
looked over as if he was just waking up. Arrow-fast he read in Govinda´s
soul, read the fear, read the submission.
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."
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."
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."
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
the Brahman rose; Siddhartha stood silently, his arms folded.
are you waiting for?" asked the father.
Siddhartha: "You know what."
the father left the chamber; indignant, he went to his bed and lay
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.
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.
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.
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.
he spoke, "what are you waiting for?"
you always stand that way and wait, until it'll becomes morning, noon,
will stand and wait.
will become tired, Siddhartha."
will become tired."
will fall asleep, Siddhartha."
will not fall asleep."
will die, Siddhartha."
would you rather die, than obey your father?"
has always obeyed his father."
will you abandon your plan?"
will do what his father will tell him to do."
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.
Father touched Siddhartha's shoulder.
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."
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
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.
have come," said Siddhartha and smiled.
have come," said Govinda.
WITH THE SAMANAS
the evening of this day they caught up with the ascetics, the skinny
Samanas, and offered them their companionship and--obedience. They were
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
do you think, Govinda," Siddhartha spoke one day while begging this way,
"how do you think did we progress? Did we reach any goals?"
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: "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."
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?"
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."
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
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."
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?
we get closer to salvation? Or do we perhaps live in a circle-- we, who
have thought we were escaping the cycle?"
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."
answered: "How old, would you think, is our oldest Samana, our venerable
Govinda: "Our oldest one might be about sixty years of age."
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.
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."
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?"
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."
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
Govinda mumbled a verse to himself, a verse from an Upanishad:
who ponderingly, of a purified spirit, loses himself in the.meditation
of Atman, unexpressable by words is his blissfulness of his heart.
Siddhartha remained silent. He thought about the words which Govinda had
said to him and thought the words through to their end.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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?".
"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."
"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?"
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
"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.
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."
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
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
..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
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."
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?"
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
we'll hear the teachings from his mouth." said Govinda.
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
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.
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?"
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!"
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!"
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
he exclaimed lamentingly.
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?"
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.
Siddhartha walked through the grove, lost in thought.
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."
you please," the venerable one spoke politely.
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.
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
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."
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."
Buddha's eyes quietly looked to the ground; quietly, in
perfect.equanimity his inscrutable face was smiling.
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!"
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
are wise, oh Samana.", the venerable one spoke.
know how to talk wisely, my friend. Be aware of too much wisdom!"
Buddha turned away, and his glance and half of a smile remained.forever
etched in Siddhartha's memory.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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."
thinking this thoughts, Siddhartha stopped once again, suddenly, as.if
there was a snake lying in front of him on the path.
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."
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?
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.
Wilhelm Gundert, my cousin in Japan.KAMALA
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."
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
At this, Kamala
"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?"
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?"
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
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
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. But yes,
I can also write poetry. Would you like to give me.a kiss for a
"I would like to,
if I'll like your poem. What would be its title?"
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.
clapped her hands, so that the golden bracelets clanged.
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
"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--"
interrupted him. "You're able to read? And write?"
"Certainly, I can
do this. Many people can do this."
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
In this moment, a
maid came running in and whispered a message into.her mistress's
"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
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.
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
"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.
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
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
lucky," she said when they parted, "I'm opening one door.after another
for you. How come? Do you have a spell?"
"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!"
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.
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.
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."
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
what are you planning to live of, being without possessions?"
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
you've lived of the possessions of others."
this is how it is. After all, a merchant also lives of.what other people
said. But he wouldn't take anything from another person for nothing; he
would give his merchandise in return."
it seems to be indeed. Everyone takes, everyone gives, such is life."
if you don't mind me asking: being without possessions, what would you
like to give?"
gives what he has. The warrior gives strength, the merchant gives
merchandise, the teacher teachings, the farmer rice, the fisher
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?"
can think. I can wait. I can fast."
believe, that's everything!"
what's the use of that? For example, the fasting-- what is it good
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
right, Samana. Wait for a moment."
left the room and returned with a scroll, which he handed to his guest
while asking: "Can you read this?"
looked at the scroll, on which a sales-contract had been written down,
and began to read out its contents.
said Kamaswami. "And would you write something for me on this piece of
handed him a piece of paper and a pen, and Siddhartha wrote and returned
read: "Writing is good, thinking is better. Being smart is good, being
patient is better."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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."
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?"
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
all people are smart," said Kamala.
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
looked at him with a smile. "Again, you're talking about him," she said,
"again, you're having a Samana's thoughts."
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.
courtesan bent over him, took a long look at his face, at his eyes,
which had grown tired.
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?"
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?
people of our kind can't love. The childlike people can; that's their
1- 6] [Chapter
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