In the chapter “Samsara” Siddhartha has a dream of a songbird that his lover, Kamala, keeps in a cage. He dreamed that one morning he found the bird dead. Siddhartha took the dead bird and threw it out into the street. At that time, Siddhartha felt “as if he had thrown away from himself everything good or valuable by throwing out this dead bird” (32). The songbird symbolizes Siddhartha’s inner voice.
Symbolically, later in the same chapter Kamala releases the same songbird that Siddhartha had dreamt about.
Later on in the chapter “The River,” “Dead was the bird in his heart” (34) and Siddhartha was ready to succumb to suicide until (at the moment of plunging himself in to the river) he heard the word “om,” which is the beginning and end of Hindu prayers. It brought him out of his darkness and reminded him of the indestructibility of life and the futileness of his actions (in regards to reincarnation). At that point, Siddhartha realized that the bird inside his chest had not died. “Siddhartha laughed because the bird, that joyful source and the voice within him was still alive after all” (38).