What occurs when Siddhartha meditates in Siddhartha?

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In the chapter entitled "Om," Siddharta is shown to spend a long time meditating on the loss of his son as he lives his life as the ferryman on the river. This process of meditation is shown to benefit him and to increase his understanding and empathy of other humans and of the lot of man. Note how the benefits of his meditation are described in this quote:

Within Siddharta there slowly grew and ripened the knowledge of what wisdom really was and the goal of his long seeking. It was nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.

Meditation therefore is shown to be something that brings Siddharta closer to his goal of Enlightenment, even though it does little to soothe the pain of the loss of his son. Note the way that this process of meditation is described as a "preparation of the soul" that helps Siddharta become more aware of the unity of life and grows him slowly towards the "goal of his long seeking."

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What does Siddhartha experience while he meditates in Siddharta?

As Siddhartha meditates on the river at the direction of Vasudeva he listens to the river and what it has to say to him. Having already heard only the laugh of the river, Vasudeva encourages him to listen harder. When he hears the final word "Om--perfection" in the river, Siddharta experiences the healing that he has been desiring for so long. Note how his transformation is described as he comes to mirror the same serenity as Vasudeva possesses:

His smile was radiant as he looked at his friend, and now the same smile appeared on Siddharta's face. His wound was healing, his pain was dispersing; his Self had merged into unity.

Through the act of meditating therefore, Siddhartha experiences the feeling of forgetting his self and allowing himself to merge into the unity that he hears expressed in the single word "Om" that he hears in the river. This gives Siddhartha "the serenity of knowledge" as he is able to surrender himself to life and is living in harmony with what happens to him.

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