....and all that jazZ

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I started reading a new book today. Malgudi Days - R.K Narayan. The author's preface made me smile. He is a man with great insights into people and the workings of their simple minds. But before i go on with it i want to put down something, my two pence, for the book I last read that made me smile too. But smile in a different way. Smile because I understood exactly what the author was trying to say and its struck a deep resonant chord. The book was Siddhartha By Hermann Hesse.

To start, I want to recount one of my favourite Krishna tales. Mischievous as the little God was, he sat out eating mud as all little ones do. Yashoda seeing that, comes running out picks him up and says in a loving mock anger "you have been eating mud again, haven't you.." to which little krishna shakes his head in denial. Her mouth curving int a smile she says "open your mouth and let me see.. " and he does... only but that she finds in there The entire cosmos.

The story telling that He/God/Supreme contains the universe in him. Or as i see it, everything in this universe holds a part of Him. That He is time, the beginning the middle and the end all at once. That I am part of His being and He a part of me. The good the bad the beautiful the ugly all of it. Siddhartha is a reaffirmation of that faith of mine.

Siddhartha could be any of us. He is searching for an answer to a question that has but one answer, existence or life as we know it itself. With all its trappings. His journey reminds me vaguely of someone I know, someone who once left in search himself, of himself perhaps. Here is a part of my reply to one such discussion,

"But I will say, (not entirely in the line of your thought though) that
at some base level, all of us find ourselves faced with the same or
similar questions. I feel that we are always seeking answers, but they
lie in the truths around us and we just cannot see them, because we are
trapped by our own failings and our perception is limited by every
faculty of our senses and our own intelligence. I dont know know if that
makes any sense to you.. ! Even if it does, you probably dont agree.
Every moment we live is a piece in the puzzle fitted. Look around you.
In every leaf and stone is the Truth you search for. In the very air
you breathe. Every morning is a miracle. Whoever you are, however you
are , You are a part of the Truth you seek."

Siddhartha re-iterated it. Anyone who has read and understood Siddhartha will know.

On different note, its not a work of literature. Its a work of profound thought. Its not a story or work of fiction. Its a philosophy told through siddhartha's experiences. Its beauty is in its simplicity. siddhartha was also the young prince who went on to become Gautama Buddha. The choice of the name is a great analogy. Our protaginist meets the Buddha and rejects his teachings. Because he believes little or not that his answers lie in another man's words. Like the prince he goes through a whole myriad of experiences ( of the world and the renounced alike) before he makes his peace. With his surroundings. With nature. With the Cosmos. With himself.
The book tells of his journey from seeking to finding that state of harmony. From siddhartha to Buddha.

On a completely different note, I dont know who translated the one that I read. It had a few typos which are very annoying in a good book. I might reread it if I can lay my hands on a different one. :)


  • After a long wait, Lady Murugan unfolds her golden petals that blossom so bright that the Sun might blink its eyes soon :)

    Okay, I know that went a bit too far, but weel, I tried to explore something there! All in all, a beautiful post the kind of which I expect from you everytime I come to your blog :)

    The next step you must take - 'Buy' Demian by Hesse and fall in love with it! Take my word!

    -- Akshaya

    Originally @ Aug 25, 2005 02:29 PST

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:10 PM  

  • Thank you and Will Do : ) !

    Originally @ Aug 25, 2005 09:07 PST

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:11 PM  

  • Didn't Herman Hesse win the Nobel Prize for literature? BTW, there is a movie adaptation of Siddhartha with Shashi Kapoor and Simi Garewal. Haven't seen it though

    Originally @ Aug 25, 2005 15:15 PST

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:11 PM  

  • Yes he did. Oh I didnt know that there was such a movie.. by whom ?

    Originally @ Aug 25, 2005 23:21 PST

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:11 PM  

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