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How is rebirth represented in Siddhartha?

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raniashawky | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted December 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM via web

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How is rebirth represented in Siddhartha?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 17, 2012 at 1:52 PM (Answer #1)

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Rebirth is presented as the continual state of the cyclical nature of life in this novel. This is most clearly seen at the end of the text, when both Govinda and Siddhartha reach their goal of Enlightenment. When Govinda kisses Siddharta on the forehead at his behest, he has an incredible experience as he sees Siddhartha in all of his former lives that he has been reborn into through the ages:

He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha. Instead he saw other faces, many faces, a long series, a continuous stream of faces--hundreds, thousands, which all came and disappeared and yet all seemed to be there at the same time, which all continually changed and renewed themselves and which were yet all Siddhartha.

Govinda sees Siddhartha in the form of various animals and humans and sees this collection of lives as "a passionate, painful example of all that is transtory." The continual cycle of rebirth means that none of these forms truly die and are merely subject to a transformation through the process of rebirth. Rebirth in this novel is therefore presented as the continuation of the essence of one life form in different guises, but with the same inherent nature of that individual remaining unchanged as they live their many lives in the search for Nirvana.

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