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    The Teachers of Siddhartha Hesse Siddharthas Essay

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    The Teachers of Siddhartha

    In the book Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, the main character Siddhartha

    had many teachers along his quest for happiness. Throughout his life he

    denounced teachers and their teachings. In his last meeting with his lifelong

    friend, Govinda, he mentions five in which he was indebted : a beautiful

    courtesan, a rich merchant, a dice player, a Buddhist monk, and Vasudeva.

    The first of these teachers along his way was Kamala a beautiful courtesan.

    Kamala taught him the wonderful pleasures of love and the importance of wealth

    and riches in society .

    ³It had never been my experience that a Samana from

    the woods should come to me and desire to learn from me. Never has a Samana

    with long hair and an old torn loin cloth come to me. Many young men come to me,

    including Brahmin’s sons but they come to me in fine clothes, in fine shoes;

    there is scent in their hair and money in their purses. That is how these young

    men come to me, O Samana.² These teachings in which Kamala placed upon him

    helped him to seek out the riches and wealth that would supposedly bring him


    Another of the people who Siddhartha obtained knowledge from was the rich

    merchant Kamaswami.

    Kamaswami taught Siddhartha the secrets of making money

    and living the life of a rich man. While working for Kamaswami many of

    Siddhartha’s values stayed intact but, slowly these values began to slip away.

    In many ways Kamaswami taught Siddhartha the dark side of life.

    As the days went on Siddhartha began hating himself more and more. He

    viewed his riches as worthless, for they did not truly bring him happiness.

    Slowly he began squandering his money playing dice.

    He won thousands and lost

    thousands in order to reach the high he felt when he carelessly bet his money

    away. This taught him the worthless value of money, for money only brought

    more and more sadness.

    Finally after rejecting this life of sin he vowed to leave the city and

    never return. As he retreated into the forest he decided to go to the river.

    At the river he found his friend Govinda, who had watched over Siddhartha while

    he had slept. Govinda was now a Buddhist monk who searched for happiness.


    believe this showed Siddhartha that their two lives were still very similar.

    They both still seeked happiness and they were both in transitory.

    The final teacher along Siddhartha’s quest for happiness was Vasudeva, the

    ferrymen. Vasudeva taught Siddhartha how to listen to people and the river

    which in turn helped Siddhartha on the road to happiness. ³You will learn

    it,but not from me. The river knows everything; one can learn everything from


    You have already learned from the river that it is good to strive downwards,

    to sink, to seek the depths. The rich and distinguished Siddhartha will become

    a rower; Siddhartha the learned Brahmin will become a ferryman. You have also

    learned this from the river. You will learn the other thing too.²

    Throughout this book Siddhartha distrusts teachers, but in the end he

    becomes one. Although he shy’s away from this classification, towards the end

    he begins to share the knowledge he has gained throughout the many different

    phases of his life.


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