Siddhartha Second Part
by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha book cover
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Kamala

SIDDHARTHA 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 forest-covered mountains and setting over the distant palm beaches. 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 deep blue. He saw trees, stars, animals, clouds, rainbows, rocks, herbs, flowers, stream and river, the glistening dew in the bushes in the morning, distant high mountains pale and blue, singing birds and the bees, wind wafting like silver through the rice fields. All of these thousands of colorful things had always been there; the sun and the moon had always shone, rivers had always roared and bees had always buzzed, but in former times all of this had been nothing more to Siddhartha than a fleeting, deceptive veil before his eyes. He had looked upon these with mistrust, as if their destiny was to be penetrated and destroyed by thought, since material things were not essential to existence, the essence of which lay beyond, on the other side of what was visible. But now, his liberated eyes stayed on this side; he saw and became aware of that which was visible and sought to be at home in this world. He did not search for true essence and did not aim at a world beyond. It was beautiful and wonderful to go through the world in this childlike way. The moon and the stars were beautiful, as were the stream and the riverbanks, the forest and the rocks, the goat and the gold beetle, the flower and the butterfly. It was lovely and beautiful to walk through the world like this, childlike and fully awake, open to what is near and without mistrust. The sun shone differently upon the head, the shade of the forest cooled him differently, the stream and the cistern were different, the pumpkin and the banana tasted different. The days were short, the nights also short; every hour sped swiftly away like a sail on the sea, and under the sail was a ship full of treasures and joy. Siddhartha saw a troop of monkeys moving through the high canopy of the forest 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 its dinner; he saw young fish propelling themselves away from it in fear, wiggling and sparkling, jumping in droves out of the water. The scent of strength and passion came forcefully out of the swift eddies of the water which were stirred up by the pike, who hunted endlessly.

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, and the stars and moon ran through his heart.

On the way, Siddhartha also recollected everything he had experienced in the Garden of Jetavana: the teaching he had heard there, the divine Buddha, the farewell from Govinda, his conversation with the exalted one. He remembered again the words that 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. What he had said to Gotama—that is, that the Buddha's treasure and secret was not the teachings, but the ineffable and non-transferable thing that he had experienced in the hour of his enlightenment—it was this very thing which he had now gone to experience and now began to experience. He now 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 he had never really found this self because he had wanted to capture it in the snare of thought. The body was certainly not the self, and the game of the senses wasn't, and in the same way neither thoughts, nor the rational mind, nor learned wisdom, nor the learned ability to draw conclusions and to develop new thoughts from prior ones was the...

(The entire section is 28,110 words.)