Notes on Siddhartha Themes

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Siddhartha Topic Tracking: Teacher

Teacher 1: Siddhartha becomes restless after hearing the Brahmins' Hindu teachings. They are limited and leave many questions unanswered. After he has been taught everything that these old men know, Siddhartha realizes that there is nothing left that they can teach him.

Teacher 2: The Brahmin is reluctant to allow his son to leave their family village and venture out into the world as a Samana. Siddhartha is determined, however, and waits patiently until his father consents to his request. The Brahmin does not understand why his son is dissatisfied with the Hindu teachings and vainly tries to control him.

Teacher 3: Siddhartha realizes that the Samanas' teachings do not answer his questions. Gradually, he believes that learning from teachings shall never answer his questions since teachings are knowledge from others. Siddhartha wants to discover his own knowledge; Govinda disagrees and thinks that the Samana teachings help one to get closer to the answers.

Teacher 4: Govinda decides to become Buddha's disciple, and Siddhartha reminds him that his individual identity, all that he is, has been surrendered and now he must obediently follow Buddha's teachings. Siddhartha has rejected learning others' teachings to understand life, continuing on his journey alone.

Teacher 5: Although Siddhartha does not wish to become Buddha's follower, he admires the Buddha because he has achieved enlightenment. Siddhartha recognizes his own potential to become just as enlightened by pursuing his own self-discovery rather than studying others' teachings.

Teacher 6: Siddhartha does not regret that he has been a Samana or raised by a Brahmin, for it is by learning these teachings that he is able to reject them and continue searching. They are a part of who he is, although now he embraces the world for what it is rather than what his teachers have portrayed it to be, an illusion.

Teacher 7: After rejecting others' teachings, Siddhartha decides to enjoy the desires of his body by lovemaking. Kamala is chosen to be his teacher, and Siddhartha remains afraid of women due to his lack of experience. Experience is what he seeks to learn now rather than studying Hindu scriptures or meditation.

Teacher 8: Kamaswami turns Siddhartha into a merchant while Kamala instructs him in lovemaking. Yet Siddhartha still does not feel as if he is one of the people, even though he behaves as if he fits in with them. Life in Samsara is all a silly game to him, and he studies these people instead of becoming one of them.

Teacher 9: The two lovers Kamala and Siddhartha have both taught each other. Not only has Siddhartha learned about Kamala's art of lovemaking, but Kamala has also learned from Siddhartha how to be spiritual since he had once been a Samana. Together they progress; Kamala becomes increasingly spiritual while Siddhartha becomes a better lover.

Teacher 10: Govinda has remained unchanging, still devoutly following the Buddha's teachings, but Siddhartha, who rejected these teachings and has experienced the world for himself, has changed a great deal. Govinda does not understand Siddhartha any longer since he has not developed like Siddhartha has.

Teacher 11: The river teaches Siddhartha many things about the cycle of life. He learns to listen to the world rather than selfishly worrying about himself. Siddhartha realizes that his life is a part of the greater cycle of nature, of Om and the unity of things. Vasudeva has shown him how to hear the voice of the river, and together the two men grow old.

Teacher 12: Siddhartha tries to shelter his son from the suffering of the world, although he has already experienced much hardship himself. Because of his love for Young Siddhartha, the father refuses to let him leave the river to return to materialistic Samsara. He wants his son to become wise like him without having any experience in the world.

Teacher 13: Young Siddhartha has fled into Samsara, never to return. Siddhartha finally accepts that his son is gone after recalling how much he looks like his father, the Brahmin. He had left his own father and never saw him again, so why does he fret now when his son runs away from him, rejecting the life the elder Siddhartha has chosen? Siddhartha laughs at the world's cycle of transitory appearances because he understands it now.

Teacher 14: Siddhartha has achieved his goal of becoming just as enlightened as the Buddha had been by discovering knowledge through his own personal experience, after rejecting Buddha's teachings. Govinda has remained a devout follower of Buddha for many years and remains unchanged, undeveloped, forever seeking to understand the meaning of life. Siddhartha becomes wise, while Govinda stagnates.

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