Representation of Path to Enlightenment in Siddhartha: Analytical Essay

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In the Bhagvad-Gita, the author implies that enlightenment is gained through teachings whereas in the Siddhartha it is implied through one's own experiences.

Siddhartha spends most of his life doing things that most everyone tends to do, living by the ways and rules of society. He abides by all the foundations, makes a way to perform the rituals and does what is expected of him by all the individuals of his village and his father but remains unhappy. Day after day, still ensuring to uphold his religion to everyday life and still, nothing. Siddhartha begins to long for one thing much more; enlightenment.

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When a group of half-naked and starved men pass through the village, Siddhartha begins to wonder if they have reached true enlightenment. He knows that they have been taught differently than the way he had known and sought out find the answers he had been looking for, so he joined them, alongside his best friend Govinda.

Through their journey, Govinda begins to feel a sense of true peace and congratulates them, however, Siddhartha remains unsatisfied and decides to look for other options. He hears about a man named Bhudda and makes the decision to find him for answers. At first, Siddhartha is incredibly proud of him and his teachings but continues to be questioned by his own faith. He questions Bhudda and his followers and decides that they just simply do not have the answers that he is trying to find, so he leaves.

Siddhartha is now on his own, meditating and living an awfully religious life. During this time, he is faced with a river. He follows the river until he reaches a small town. There, he meets a woman that catches his eye and makes him believe that she could teach, show and tell him all the aspects of love and the world of it. Kamala refuses, until he learns the life of being a market keeper, in which he does, so she teaches him all that she knows within the world of love.

Siddhartha begins to make more and more money and shortly becomes incredibly wealthy. All this wealth and status goes straight to his head. He then begins to travel through a downwardly spiral and loses himself and yet again, ultimately making him decide to leave.

Siddhartha sought-after the same man that he had remembered for his sense of enlightenment and happiness that he had met years and years before on the river. The man and Siddhartha begin to exchange words and Sidharth exclaims to the man that he wants nothing more than to feel as he feels and try and do what he does during a sense of peace. The man proclaims to him that through his life, he has learned and adapted this manner by simply studying the river. To Siddhartha, this was a surprise, but will search to the ends of the earth to find his answers, so he does so, and begins to work beside the man and study the river. During the novel, the boater man can be used as an allusion to God himself, sending us on our way to find inner peace within ourselves with the triumphs that life gives us as compared to the man guiding and leading people up, down and across the river.

While studying the river, Siddhartha is yet again faced with triumph. Kamala is presented to him with an 11-year-old boy that she explains is his son in her last dying words. The son refuses to live the life that he lives and runs away, taking all his money. He tries to find his son, but the boatman insists on returning to the river and tells him to find sanity in it. By using allegory, the author suggest that the river represents more than just a body of water, it is meant to be interpreted by the reader as life and its entirety. The river taught Siddhartha all he needed to know, without any spoken words, just like life. It also completes the flow of life that it interpreted through the flow of the river; water continues to return, in many forms, just like life.

After many more years, Siddhartha is finally enlightened, even so much so that Govinda approaches the river to hunt what Siddhartha once sought-after, only to realize that the wise man he was trying to find was Siddhartha himself. Siddhartha exclaimed to Govinda the teachings that he has learned through his journey of life and easily states that knowledge, peace and enlightenment cannot be educated through spoken words, solely through one’s own experiences.

The Bhagavad-Gita is a conversation held between two people about a war within one's self and his morals. In the story, Arjuna is faced with the chance to obtain his kingdom back and continue on the path of good karma, he must first kill his family to do so. Arjuna, like most people, view the act of murdering as a sin and killing one’s own flesh would be the epitome of sin. Krishna proclaims to Arjuna that people die, and their “atman” remains but obtain form in someone or something else. To pursue Arjuna into killing his family, Krishna teaches him about “yoga”, a sense of obtaining an emotional detachment in order to accomplish things that one is called to do.

Krishna endures many things on his journey to teach Arjuna the right pathway but is determined to keep him on track. With the knowledge of Krishna embedded into arjuna, he decides to go to war to keep his good karma. He realizes that without the teachings of Krishna, he would never have been led towards a more knowledgeable, enlightened state that he is so familiar with now.

In conclusion, without the trial and error that Siddhartha had faced on his path to enlightenment, he would have continued to look for all the wrong things to become at peace with himself in all the wrong places. No one held his hand and taught him how to be sane, he had to experience life and all it threw at him by himself. Arjuna was faced with many triumphs as well but unlike Siddhartha, he was taught how to obtain peace and realized that he could detach himself with things that were going to lead him down the wrong paths.

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