I'm sure I wasn't ten yet when my hippie father handed me his dog-eared copy of Siddhartha; I've lost track of how many times I've read it since. Images remain with me: a child losing their innocence in the face of the world's pain and suffering, a youth flirting first with self denial, then reaching for success in business and love, then an older Siddhartha who finds meaning in service and reading the river. These images remain part of my inner landscape; invite them into yours.
Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt--a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love affair with the beautiful courtesan Kamala, the temptation of success and riches, the heartache of struggle with his own son, to final renunciation and self-knowledge The name "Siddhartha" is one often given to the Buddha himself--perhaps a clue to Hesse's aims in contrasting the traditional legendary figure with his own conception, as a European (Hesse was Swiss), of a spiritual explorer.