Siddhartha Questions and Answers
by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha book cover
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What dies by the river? Is it Siddhartha's soul, or is it his ego? 

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Before his ego dies by the river, Siddhartha considers his love for his son and his fear of losing the boy. His ferryman friend, Vasudeva, tells him that he must give these feelings up in order to lose his ego. Siddhartha has become completely ego-driven with his son around, like the "childlike people" who suffer and become a fool for that love; he knows that this is samsara. His son eventually runs away in order to escape Siddhartha's gentleness, piety, and devotion. Siddhartha follows his son to the city, but he eventually realizes that he must cease this pursuit and allow his wound to "blossom." It takes some time, but Siddhartha is finally able to heed Vasudeva's instruction to "'Listen better!'" to the river.

He was now nothing but a listener, completely concentrated on listening, completely empty, he felt, that he had now finished learning to listen [. . .]. Already, he could no longer tell the many voices apart [. . .]. And when Siddhartha was listening attentively to this river,...

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