Book Review: "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse

This is an interesting little novel, recommended to me perhaps for two reasons—that it had a cult like readership among young people during the 1960’s, and that it bears some resemblance to Kerouac’s novel, in which the beatniks maintain a fascination with Eastern philosophy and demonstrate a hunger for spiritual illumination.

The novel is only 120 pages, and you could probably read it in one sitting if you were so inclined.

The novel tracks the coming-of-age and spiritual evolution of a man living in India at the time of the Buddha.

It’s a story about the human soul and the ego, and about the journey of an individual to find himself—the Self, beyond personality, beyond genetic predisposition, and beyond environmental conditioning.

Something I gained from the novel is the understanding that people can alter reality by altering their perception of it. If you look at the world differently, the world changes. When you look at your refrigerator, you don’t see the refrigerator, rather you see your thoughts about the refrigerator informed by previous experience and by what you have been taught to believe about it.

Similarly, how could you know yourself if you only see your thoughts about yourself, if you think your thoughts are you?

This novel will help you begin the quest of finding your true self, beyond all the illusions.