Siddhartha leaves the city and all the riches he has acquired behind. He walks through the forest and stops by the river, where he ponders over his life. He feels goalless, without any real thing to seek or look forward to. He is disgusted by the miserable and shameful life he has lived through the years and yearns to commit suicide.
Instead, he falls into a deep sleep and wakes up a very happy man. He decides to live near the river to learn from it. He is hosted by the ferryman Vasudeva, to whom he tells the story of how he found contentment after a deep sleep by the riverside. According to Vasudeva, Siddhartha has learned that it is “good to strive downwards, to sink, to seek depth”. Earlier on, while seated by the riverside, Siddhartha had observed that the river always moved happily downhill. This means that one can move to a lower status, yet derive more satisfaction in life. He has learned from the river how to “listen, to pay close attention, with a quiet heart, without judgment or opinion." He has learned that “the river is everywhere at once." The life of a person can be likened to the flow of a...
river, so that the different phases such as childhood, adulthood, and old age are all one, rather than disparate features of the person. He has learned that “the river has many voices," and when it speaks in all of its voices at once, it says the words of the Holy Om.
Ultimately, Siddhartha learns that “all voices, all goals, all yearning, all suffering, all pleasure, all good and bad” are what the world is made up of. All of these things make up the music of life. He learns that in order to achieve Om, the perfection; a person has to detach himself from only listening to a single voice, among the many voices of life, one must learn to listen to all of the voices at once. This means that one accepts his fate as it is, delighting in a knowledge that is “not opposed by any will,” a knowledge that agrees with the flow of life.