A Journey Towards Self-discovery By: Gabrielle Revelo Behind all the endeavors of Siddhartha are prompts that steer him to a different path. Thus, he experiences many different faces of the world throughout his journey of discovering the truth within himself. In attaining truth, it is essential for Siddhartha to discover the unity of the world. One cannot find the reality in ones being if the world itself is disintegrated; a vital parcel of self-discovery is unity of the world.
It is in the unity of the physical world where Siddhartha discovers the key concept of finding truth in his own persona. Therefore, finding unity with the world can co-exist with profound personal satisfaction in life. Everything that happens to Siddhartha piles up to realizations, because through his experiences he gains adequate understanding, which eventually leads him to the ultimate knowledge, which satisfies all his worldly desires. In the end, Siddhartha’s encounter with Vasudeva really matters the greatest in his quest of finding truth.
It is the ferryman who served as the catalyst for his self-discovery. Finding the unity of the mortal world is a constituent in achieving self-discovery; Siddhartha only attains the truth within him through discovering the unity of the world. When Siddhartha exposes himself in a disunited world of materialism with Kamala and Kamaswami, which Siddhartha denotes as the game of Samsara, he ends up with a vital realization; “Then Siddhartha knew that the game was finished, that he could play it no longer. A shudder passed through his body; he felt as if something had died” (85).
As Siddhartha recognizes the disunity of the world, he feels nauseated with himself, and shares a mutual perspective on how he perceives the world. Through Siddhartha’s perception of a disunited world, he is unable to find the unity in himself. But as Siddhartha escapes the world of spirituality, in being a Brahmin, or a Samana and when he flees his life of materialism with Kamala and Kamaswami, Siddhartha ventures in the first representation of the unity of nature, the river; this is when Siddhartha reaches to a the ultimate discovery; “From that hour ceased to fight against his destiny.
There shone in his face the serenity of knowledge, of one who is no longer confronted with conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the stream of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream belonging to the unity of all things. ” (136). Through the unity of nature, Siddhartha hears the sound of perfection or the sound of contentment within him. It is when he witnesses transcendence of the world where he discovers his being.
Govinda wanders in the riverbanks to hear for himself the words of a pious ferryman who has been the talk of the town. He then discovers that the ferryman is no other than his childhood friend Siddhartha; as their conversation concludes Govinda notices in his friends appearance; “He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha. Instead, he saw other faces, many faces, a long series, a continuous stream of faces– hundreds, thousands, which all came and disappeared and yet all seemed to be there at the same time, which all continually changed and renewed themselves and which were yet all Siddhartha” (150).
Through Govinda’s divine impression of Siddhartha’s physique, it ascertains Siddhartha’s achievement of peace. He is the sole witness of Siddhartha’s self-discovery. Siddhartha’s life from being a clever Brahmin, a patient Samana, a lavish businessman, and as a ferryman are all essential towards his self-discovery for they have indicated directions to Siddartha and eventually those prompts leads him towards self-discovery.
As Siddhartha departs his life with his parents, the Brahmins, he follows the way of the Ascetics; after so many years of living the life of an Ascetic, Siddhartha moves further to seek enlightenment from the Gotama, the Buddha; “This fruit, for which we are already indebted to Gotama, consists of the fact that he has enticed us away from the Samanas. Whether there are still other and better fruits, let us patiently wait and see” (23). As Siddhartha absorbs the knowledge that the Samanas once imparted to him, it directs him to a different path.
Through his constant longing for discovering truth, Siddhartha acquires more understanding that was essential to decode the puzzle towards truth. By the time Siddhartha absorbs the teachings of his previous spiritual life as a Brahmin and a Samana, and as he parts ways with the promise of Buddha’s enlightenment he goes to the town and experiences the domain of materialism; it took many years for Siddhartha to crash upon another realization; “I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew.
But it was right that it should be so; my eyes and heart acclaim it” (96-7). Through experiencing another perspective of life, Siddhartha finally grasps the notion that truth is not defined by materialism. It is another milestone in his life, which forces him to reevaluate his life. Finally as Siddhartha encounters nature, represented by the river he finally locates the final parcel of his realization; “Within Siddhartha 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 his soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life” (131). In the terminal phase of Siddhartha’s realization, wisdom is reflected on his journey. Various directions prompt Siddartha to take up different lifestyles. Siddhartha’s encounter with the ferryman, Vasudeva impacts him the most in his journey towards self-unity; it is the ferryman who introduces the vast knowledge of nature to Siddhartha, whom Siddhartha eventually perceives, and ultimately attains peace.
After Siddhartha awakens from his long unconsciousness to reality, he approaches a ferryman whom he adores his capabilities; “ I also thank you, Vasudeva, for listening so well. There are few people who know how to listen and I have not met anybody who can do so like you. I will also learn from you from this respect” (105). Siddhartha’s appreciation of the ferryman’s listening capacity, the very first time they decide to venture together, directly highlights the ferryman’s importance to Siddhartha’s search. The peace that Siddhartha observes from Vasudeva’s image becomes his goal.
When Sidhartha recognizes the ultimate power of the nature, in the moment of self-discovery, he remembers an essential person; “This knowledge matured in him slowly, and it was reflected in Vasudeva’s old childlike face: harmony, knowledge of the eternal perfection of the world and unity” (131). Through Siddhartha’s comparison of perfection to Vasudeva, demonstrates Siddhartha’s recognition of his predecessor’s great contribution to his realization. Moreover, Siddhartha exhibits his owed learning to the ferryman through recollecting his image to his experience of peace.
Siddhartha explains to Govinda the great realization that Vasudeva came about; “When this holy man went off into the woods, he new everything; he knew more than you and I, without teachers, without books, just because he believed in the river” (147). Siddhartha illustrates the greatness of Vasudeva through explaining to his friend the realization that the ferryman once imparted to him. Through Sidhartha’s demonstration of his shared understanding with Vasudeva to Govinda, ascertains the vitality of Vasudeva in his search for truth.
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