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An Indian Tale

by Hermann Hesse


To Romain Rollandmy dear friend


In the shade of the housein the sunshine of the riverbank near the
boatsin the shade of the Sal-wood forestin the shade of the fig tree is
where Siddhartha grew upthe handsome son of the Brahmanthe young
falcontogether with his friend Govindason of a Brahman. The sun
tanned his light shoulders by the banks of the river when bathing
performing the sacred ablutionsthe sacred offerings. In the mango
groveshade poured into his black eyeswhen playing as a boywhen
his mother sangwhen the sacred offerings were madewhen his father
the scholartaught himwhen the wise men talked. For a long time
Siddhartha had been partaking in the discussions of the wise men
practising debate with Govindapractising with Govinda the art of
reflectionthe service of meditation. He already knew how to speak the
Om silentlythe word of wordsto speak it silently into himself while
inhalingto speak it silently out of himself while exhalingwith all
the concentration of his soulthe forehead surrounded by the glow of
the clear-thinking spirit. He already knew to feel Atman in the depths
of his beingindestructibleone with the universe.

Joy leapt in his father's heart for his son who was quick to learn
thirsty for knowledge; he saw him growing up to become great wise man
and priesta prince among the Brahmans.

Bliss leapt in his mother's breast when she saw himwhen she saw him
walkingwhen she saw him sit down and get upSiddharthastrong
handsomehe who was walking on slender legsgreeting her with perfect

Love touched the hearts of the Brahmans' young daughters when
Siddhartha walked through the lanes of the town with the luminous
foreheadwith the eye of a kingwith his slim hips.

But more than all the others he was loved by Govindahis friendthe
son of a Brahman. He loved Siddhartha's eye and sweet voicehe loved
his walk and the perfect decency of his movementshe loved everything
Siddhartha did and said and what he loved most was his spirithis
transcendentfiery thoughtshis ardent willhis high calling.
Govinda knew: he would not become a common Brahmannot a lazy official
in charge of offerings; not a greedy merchant with magic spells; not a
vainvacuous speaker; not a meandeceitful priest; and also not a

decentstupid sheep in the herd of the many. Noand heGovindaas
well did not want to become one of thosenot one of those tens of
thousands of Brahmans. He wanted to follow Siddharthathe beloved
the splendid. And in days to comewhen Siddhartha would become a god
when he would join the gloriousthen Govinda wanted to follow him as
his friendhis companionhis servanthis spear-carrierhis shadow.

Siddhartha was thus loved by everyone. He was a source of joy for
everybodyhe was a delight for them all.

But heSiddharthawas not a source of joy for himselfhe found no
delight in himself. Walking the rosy paths of the fig tree garden
sitting in the bluish shade of the grove of contemplationwashing his
limbs daily in the bath of repentancesacrificing in the dim shade of
the mango foresthis gestures of perfect decencyeveryone's love and
joyhe still lacked all joy in his heart. Dreams and restless thoughts
came into his mindflowing from the water of the riversparkling from
the stars of the nightmelting from the beams of the sundreams came
to him and a restlessness of the soulfuming from the sacrifices
breathing forth from the verses of the Rig-Vedabeing infused into him
drop by dropfrom the teachings of the old Brahmans.

Siddhartha had started to nurse discontent in himselfhe had started
to feel that the love of his father and the love of his motherand also
the love of his friendGovindawould not bring him joy for ever and
everwould not nurse himfeed himsatisfy him. He had started to
suspect that his venerable father and his other teachersthat the wise
Brahmans had already revealed to him the most and best of their wisdom
that they had already filled his expecting vessel with their richness
and the vessel was not fullthe spirit was not contentthe soul was
not calmthe heart was not satisfied. The ablutions were goodbut
they were waterthey did not wash off the sinthey did not heal the
spirit's thirstthey did not relieve the fear in his heart. The
sacrifices and the invocation of the gods were excellent--but was that
all? Did the sacrifices give a happy fortune? And what about the gods?
Was it really Prajapati who had created the world? Was it not the
AtmanHethe only onethe singular one? Were the gods not creations
created like me and yousubject to timemortal? Was it therefore
goodwas it rightwas it meaningful and the highest occupation to make
offerings to the gods? For whom else were offerings to me madewho
else was to be worshipped but Himthe only onethe Atman? And where
was Atman to be foundwhere did He residewhere did his eternal heart
beatwhere else but in one's own selfin its innermost partin its
indestructible partwhich everyone had in himself? But wherewhere
was this selfthis innermost partthis ultimate part? It was not
flesh and boneit was neither thought nor consciousnessthus the
wisest ones taught. Sowherewhere was it? To reach this placethe
selfmyselfthe Atmanthere was another waywhich was worthwhile
looking for? Alasand nobody showed this waynobody knew itnot the
fatherand not the teachers and wise mennot the holy sacrificial
songs! They knew everythingthe Brahmans and their holy booksthey
knew everythingthey had taken care of everything and of more than
everythingthe creation of the worldthe origin of speechof foodof
inhalingof exhalingthe arrangement of the sensesthe acts of the
godsthey knew infinitely much--but was it valuable to know all of
thisnot knowing that one and only thingthe most important thingthe
solely important thing?

Surelymany verses of the holy booksparticularly in the Upanishades
of Samavedaspoke of this innermost and ultimate thingwonderful
verses. "Your soul is the whole world"was written thereand it was
written that man in his sleepin his deep sleepwould meet with his
innermost part and would reside in the Atman. Marvellous wisdom was in
these versesall knowledge of the wisest ones had been collected here

in magic wordspure as honey collected by bees. Nonot to be looked
down upon was the tremendous amount of enlightenment which lay here
collected and preserved by innumerable generations of wise Brahmans.--
But where were the Brahmanswhere the priestswhere the wise men or
penitentswho had succeeded in not just knowing this deepest of all
knowledge but also to live it? Where was the knowledgeable one who wove
his spell to bring his familiarity with the Atman out of the sleep into
the state of being awakeinto the lifeinto every step of the way
into word and deed? Siddhartha knew many venerable Brahmanschiefly
his fatherthe pure onethe scholarthe most venerable one. His
father was to be admiredquiet and noble were his mannerspure his
lifewise his wordsdelicate and noble thoughts lived behind its brow
--but even hewho knew so muchdid he live in blissfulnessdid he
have peacewas he not also just a searching mana thirsty man? Did he
notagain and againhave to drink from holy sourcesas a thirsty man
from the offeringsfrom the booksfrom the disputes of the Brahmans?
Why did hethe irreproachable onehave to wash off sins every day
strive for a cleansing every dayover and over every day? Was not
Atman in himdid not the pristine source spring from his heart? It had
to be foundthe pristine source in one's own selfit had to be
possessed! Everything else was searchingwas a detourwas getting

Thus were Siddhartha's thoughtsthis was his thirstthis was his

Often he spoke to himself from a Chandogya-Upanishad the words:
Truly, the name of the Brahman is satyam--verily, he who knows such a
thing, will enter the heavenly world every day.Oftenit seemed near
the heavenly worldbut never he had reached it completelynever he had
quenched the ultimate thirst. And among all the wise and wisest menhe
knew and whose instructions he had receivedamong all of them there was
no onewho had reached it completelythe heavenly worldwho had
quenched it completelythe eternal thirst.

Govinda,Siddhartha spoke to his friendGovinda, my dear, come with
me under the Banyan tree, let's practise meditation.

They went to the Banyan treethey sat downSiddhartha right here
Govinda twenty paces away. While putting himself downready to speak
the OmSiddhartha repeated murmuring the verse:

Om is the bowthe arrow is soul#1#
The Brahman is the arrow's target#1#
That one should incessantly hit.#1#

After the usual time of the exercise in meditation had passedGovinda
rose. The evening had comeit was time to perform the evening's ablution.
He called Siddhartha's name. Siddhartha did not answer. Siddhartha sat
there lost in thoughthis eyes were rigidly focused towards a very
distant targetthe tip of his tongue was protruding a little between
the teethhe seemed not to breathe. Thus sat hewrapped up in
contemplationthinking Omhis soul sent after the Brahman as an arrow.

OnceSamanas had travelled through Siddhartha's townascetics on a
pilgrimagethree skinnywithered menneither old nor youngwith
dusty and bloody shouldersalmost nakedscorched by the sun
surrounded by lonelinessstrangers and enemies to the worldstrangers
and lank jackals in the realm of humans. Behind them blew a hot scent
of quiet passionof destructive serviceof merciless self-denial.

In the eveningafter the hour of contemplationSiddhartha spoke to
Govinda: "Early tomorrow morningmy friendSiddhartha will go to the
Samanas. He will become a Samana."

Govinda turned palewhen he heard these words and read the decision in
the motionless face of his friendunstoppable like the arrow shot from
the bow. Soon and with the first glanceGovinda realized: Now it is
beginningnow Siddhartha is taking his own waynow his fate is
beginning to sproutand with hismy own. And he turned pale like a
dry banana-skin.

O Siddhartha,he exclaimedwill your father permit you to do that?

Siddhartha looked over as if he was just waking up. Arrow-fast he read
in Govinda´s soulread the fearread the submission.

O Govinda,he spoke quietlylet's not waste words. Tomorrow, at
daybreak I will begin the life of the Samanas. Speak no more of it.

Siddhartha entered the chamberwhere his father was sitting on a mat of
bastand stepped behind his father and remained standing thereuntil
his father felt that someone was standing behind him. Quoth the
Brahman: "Is that youSiddhartha? Then say what you came to say."

Quoth Siddhartha: "With your permissionmy father. I came to tell you
that it is my longing to leave your house tomorrow and go to the
ascetics. My desire is to become a Samana. May my father not oppose

The Brahman fell silentand remained silent for so long that the stars
in the small window wandered and changed their relative positions'ere
the silence was broken. Silent and motionless stood the son with his
arms foldedsilent and motionless sat the father on the matand the
stars traced their paths in the sky. Then spoke the father: "Not
proper it is for a Brahman to speak harsh and angry words. But
indignation is in my heart. I wish not to hear this request for a
second time from your mouth."

Slowlythe Brahman rose; Siddhartha stood silentlyhis arms folded.

What are you waiting for?asked the father.

Quoth Siddhartha: "You know what."

Indignantthe father left the chamber; indignanthe went to his bed
and lay down.

After an hoursince no sleep had come over his eyesthe Brahman stood
uppaced to and froand left the house. Through the small window of
the chamber he looked back insideand there he saw Siddhartha standing
his arms foldednot moving from his spot. Pale shimmered his bright
robe. With anxiety in his heartthe father returned to his bed.

After another hoursince no sleep had come over his eyesthe Brahman
stood up againpaced to and frowalked out of the house and saw that
the moon had risen. Through the window of the chamber he looked back
inside; there stood Siddharthanot moving from his spothis arms
foldedmoonlight reflecting from his bare shins. With worry in his
heartthe father went back to bed.

And he came back after an hourhe came back after two hourslooked
through the small windowsaw Siddhartha standingin the moon light
by the light of the starsin the darkness. And he came back hour after
hoursilentlyhe looked into the chambersaw him standing in the same
placefilled his heart with angerfilled his heart with unrestfilled
his heart with anguishfilled it with sadness.

And in the night's last hourbefore the day beganhe returnedstepped
into the roomsaw the young man standing therewho seemed tall and
like a stranger to him.

Siddhartha,he spokewhat are you waiting for?

You know what.

Will you always stand that way and wait, until it'll becomes morning,
noon, and evening?

I will stand and wait.

You will become tiredSiddhartha."

I will become tired.

You will fall asleep, Siddhartha.

I will not fall asleep.

You will die, Siddhartha.

I will die.

And would you rather die, than obey your father?

Siddhartha has always obeyed his father.

So will you abandon your plan?

Siddhartha will do what his father will tell him to do.

The first light of day shone into the room. The Brahman saw that
Siddhartha was trembling softly in his knees. In Siddhartha's face he
saw no tremblinghis eyes were fixed on a distant spot. Then his
father realized that even now Siddhartha no longer dwelt with him in his
homethat he had already left him.

The Father touched Siddhartha's shoulder.

You will,he spokego into the forest and be a Samana. When
you'll have found blissfulness in the forest, then come back and teach
me to be blissful. If you'll find disappointment, then return and let
us once again make offerings to the gods together. Go now and kiss your
mother, tell her where you are going to. But for me it is time to go to
the river and to perform the first ablution.

He took his hand from the shoulder of his son and went outside.
Siddhartha wavered to the sideas he tried to walk. He put his limbs
back under controlbowed to his fatherand went to his mother to do as
his father had said.

As he slowly left on stiff legs in the first light of day the still
quiet towna shadow rose near the last hutwho had crouched there
and joined the pilgrim--Govinda.

You have come,said Siddhartha and smiled.

I have come,said Govinda.


In the evening of this day they caught up with the asceticsthe skinny
Samanasand offered them their companionship and--obedience. They
were accepted.

Siddhartha gave his garments to a poor Brahman in the street. He wore
nothing more than the loincloth and the earth-colouredunsown cloak.
He ate only once a dayand never something cooked. He fasted for
fifteen days. He fasted for twenty-eight days. The flesh waned from
his thighs and cheeks. Feverish dreams flickered from his enlarged
eyeslong nails grew slowly on his parched fingers and a dryshaggy
beard grew on his chin. His glance turned to icy when he encountered
women; his mouth twitched with contemptwhen he walked through a city
of nicely dressed people. He saw merchants tradingprinces hunting
mourners wailing for their deadwhores offering themselvesphysicians
trying to help the sickpriests determining the most suitable day for
seedinglovers lovingmothers nursing their children--and all of this
was not worthy of one look from his eyeit all liedit all stank
it all stank of liesit all pretended to be meaningful and joyful and
beautifuland it all was just concealed putrefaction. The world tasted
bitter. Life was torture.

A goal stood before Siddharthaa single goal: to become emptyempty of
thirstempty of wishingempty of dreamsempty of joy and sorrow.
Dead to himselfnot to be a self any moreto find tranquility with an
emptied heardto be open to miracles in unselfish thoughtsthat was
his goal. Once all of my self was overcome and had diedonce every
desire and every urge was silent in the heartthen the ultimate part
of me had to awakethe innermost of my beingwhich is no longer my
selfthe great secret.

SilentlySiddhartha exposed himself to burning rays of the sun directly
aboveglowing with painglowing with thirstand stood thereuntil he
neither felt any pain nor thirst any more. Silentlyhe stood there in
the rainy seasonfrom his hair the water was dripping over freezing
shouldersover freezing hips and legsand the penitent stood there
until he could not feel the cold in his shoulders and legs any more
until they were silentuntil they were quiet. Silentlyhe cowered in
the thorny bushesblood dripped from the burning skinfrom festering
wounds dripped pusand Siddhartha stayed rigidlystayed motionless
until no blood flowed any moreuntil nothing stung any moreuntil
nothing burned any more.

Siddhartha sat upright and learned to breathe sparinglylearned to
get along with only few breatheslearned to stop breathing. He
learnedbeginning with the breathto calm the beat of his heart
leaned to reduce the beats of his heartuntil they were only a few and
almost none.

Instructed by the oldest if the SamanasSiddhartha practised
self-denialpractised meditationaccording to a new Samana rules.
A heron flew over the bamboo forest--and Siddhartha accepted the heron
into his soulflew over forest and mountainswas a heronate fish
felt the pangs of a heron's hungerspoke the heron's croakdied a
heron's death. A dead jackal was lying on the sandy bankand
Siddhartha's soul slipped inside the bodywas the dead jackallay on
the banksgot bloatedstankdecayedwas dismembered by hyaenaswas
skinned by vulturesturned into a skeletonturned to dustwas blown
across the fields. And Siddhartha's soul returnedhad diedhad
decayedwas scattered as dusthad tasted the gloomy intoxication of
the cycleawaited in new thirst like a hunter in the gapwhere he
could escape from the cyclewhere the end of the causeswhere an
eternity without suffering began. He killed his senseshe killed his

memoryhe slipped out of his self into thousands of other formswas an
animalwas carrionwas stonewas woodwas waterand awoke every
time to find his old self againsun shone or moonwas his self again
turned round in the cyclefelt thirstovercame the thirstfelt new

Siddhartha learned a lot when he was with the Samanasmany ways leading
away from the self he learned to go. He went the way of self-denial
by means of painthrough voluntarily suffering and overcoming pain
hungerthirsttiredness. He went the way of self-denial by means of
meditationthrough imagining the mind to be void of all conceptions.
These and other ways he learned to goa thousand times he left his
selffor hours and days he remained in the non-self. But though the
ways led away from the selftheir end nevertheless always led back to
the self. Though Siddhartha fled from the self a thousand timesstayed
in nothingnessstayed in the animalin the stonethe return was
inevitableinescapable was the hourwhen he found himself back in the
sunshine or in the moonlightin the shade or in the rainand was once
again his self and Siddharthaand again felt the agony of the cycle which
had been forced upon him.

By his side lived Govindahis shadowwalked the same pathsundertook
the same efforts. They rarely spoke to one anotherthan the service
and the exercises required. Occasionally the two of them went through
the villagesto beg for food for themselves and their teachers.

How do you think, Govinda,Siddhartha spoke one day while begging
this wayhow do you think did we progress? Did we reach any goals?

Govinda answered: "We have learnedand we'll continue learning.
You'll be a great SamanaSiddhartha. Quicklyyou've learned every
exerciseoften the old Samanas have admired you. One dayyou'll be
a holy manoh Siddhartha."

Quoth Siddhartha: "I can't help but feel that it is not like thismy
friend. What I've learnedbeing among the Samanasup to this day
thisoh GovindaI could have learned more quickly and by simpler
means. In every tavern of that part of a town where the whorehouses
aremy friendamong carters and gamblers I could have learned it."

Quoth Govinda: "Siddhartha is putting me on. How could you have
learned meditationholding your breathinsensitivity against hunger
and pain there among these wretched people?"

And Siddhartha said quietlyas if he was talking to himself: "What is
meditation? What is leaving one's body? What is fasting? What is
holding one's breath? It is fleeing from the selfit is a short
escape of the agony of being a selfit is a short numbing of the
senses against the pain and the pointlessness of life. The same escape
the same short numbing is what the driver of an ox-cart finds in the
inndrinking a few bowls of rice-wine or fermented coconut-milk. Then
he won't feel his self any morethen he won't feel the pains of life
any morethen he finds a short numbing of the senses. When he falls
asleep over his bowl of rice-winehe'll find the same what Siddhartha
and Govinda find when they escape their bodies through long exercises
staying in the non-self. This is how it isoh Govinda."

Quoth Govinda: "You say sooh friendand yet you know that Siddhartha
is no driver of an ox-cart and a Samana is no drunkard. It's true that
a drinker numbs his sensesit's true that he briefly escapes and rests
but he'll return from the delusionfinds everything to be unchangedhas
not become wiserhas gathered no enlightenment--has not risen several

And Siddhartha spoke with a smile: "I do not knowI've never been a
drunkard. But that ISiddharthafind only a short numbing of the
senses in my exercises and meditations and that I am just as far removed
from wisdomfrom salvationas a child in the mother's wombthis I
knowoh Govindathis I know."

And once againanother timewhen Siddhartha left the forest together
with Govindato beg for some food in the village for their brothers and
teachersSiddhartha began to speak and said: "What nowoh Govinda
might we be on the right path? Might we get closer to enlightenment?
Might we get closer to salvation? Or do we perhaps live in a circle-we
who have thought we were escaping the cycle?"

Quoth Govinda: "We have learned a lotSiddharthathere is still
much to learn. We are not going around in circleswe are moving up
the circle is a spiralwe have already ascended many a level."

Siddhartha answered: "How oldwould you thinkis our oldest Samana
our venerable teacher?"

Quoth Govinda: "Our oldest one might be about sixty years of age."

And Siddhartha: "He has lived for sixty years and has not reached the
nirvana. He'll turn seventy and eightyand you and mewe will grow
just as old and will do our exercisesand will fastand will meditate.
But we will not reach the nirvanahe won't and we won't. Oh Govinda
I believe out of all the Samanas out thereperhaps not a single one
not a single onewill reach the nirvana. We find comfortwe find
numbnesswe learn featsto deceive others. But the most important
thingthe path of pathswe will not find."

If you only,spoke Govindawouldn't speak such terrible words,
Siddhartha! How could it be that among so many learned men, among so
many Brahmans, among so many austere and venerable Samanas, among so
many who are searching, so many who are eagerly trying, so many holy
men, no one will find the path of paths?

But Siddhartha said in a voice which contained just as much sadness as
mockerywith a quieta slightly sada slightly mocking voice: "Soon
Govindayour friend will leave the path of the Samanashe has walked
along your side for so long. I'm suffering of thirstoh Govindaand
on this long path of a Samanamy thirst has remained as strong as ever.
I always thirsted for knowledgeI have always been full of questions.
I have asked the Brahmansyear after yearand I have asked the holy
Vedasyear after yearand I have asked the devote Samanasyear after
year. Perhapsoh Govindait had been just as wellhad been just as
smart and just as profitableif I had asked the hornbill-bird or the
chimpanzee. It took me a long time and am not finished learning this
yetoh Govinda: that there is nothing to be learned! There is indeed
no such thingso I believeas what we refer to as `learning'. There
isoh my friendjust one knowledgethis is everywherethis is Atman
this is within me and within you and within every creature. And so I'm
starting to believe that this knowledge has no worser enemy than the
desire to know itthan learning."

At thisGovinda stopped on the pathrose his handsand spoke: "If
youSiddharthaonly would not bother your friend with this kind of
talk! Trulyyou words stir up fear in my heart. And just consider:
what would become of the sanctity of prayerwhat of the venerability of
the Brahmans' castewhat of the holiness of the Samanasif it was as
you sayif there was no learning?! Whatoh Siddharthawhat would
then become of all of this what is holywhat is preciouswhat is
venerable on earth?!"

And Govinda mumbled a verse to himselfa verse from an Upanishad:

He who ponderinglyof a purified spiritloses himself in the
meditation of Atmanunexpressable by words is his blissfulness of his

But Siddhartha remained silent. He thought about the words which
Govinda had said to him and thought the words through to their end.

Yeshe thoughtstanding there with his head lowwhat would remain of
all that which seemed to us to be holy? What remains? What can stand
the test? And he shook his head.

At one timewhen the two young men had lived among the Samanas for
about three years and had shared their exercisessome newsa rumoura
myth reached them after being retold many times: A man had appeared
Gotama by namethe exalted onethe Buddhahe had overcome the
suffering of the world in himself and had halted the cycle of rebirths.
He was said to wander through the landteachingsurrounded by
discipleswithout possessionwithout homewithout a wifein the
yellow cloak of an asceticbut with a cheerful browa man of bliss
and Brahmans and princes would bow down before him and would become his

This myththis rumourthis legend resoundedits fragrants rose up
here and there; in the townsthe Brahmans spoke of it and in the
forestthe Samanas; again and againthe name of Gotamathe Buddha
reached the ears of the young menwith good and with bad talkwith
praise and with defamation.

It was as if the plague had broken out in a country and news had been
spreading around that in one or another place there was a mana wise
mana knowledgeable onewhose word and breath was enough to heal
everyone who had been infected with the pestilenceand as such news
would go through the land and everyone would talk about itmany would
believemany would doubtbut many would get on their way as soon as
possibleto seek the wise manthe helperjust like this this myth
ran through the landthat fragrant myth of Gotamathe Buddhathe
wise man of the family of Sakya. He possessedso the believers said
the highest enlightenmenthe remembered his previous liveshe had
reached the nirvana and never returned into the cyclewas never again
submerged in the murky river of physical forms. Many wonderful and
unbelievable things were reported of himhe had performed miracles
had overcome the devilhad spoken to the gods. But his enemies and
disbelievers saidthis Gotama was a vain seducerhe would spent his
days in luxuryscorned the offeringswas without learningand knew
neither exercises nor self-castigation.

The myth of Buddha sounded sweet. The scent of magic flowed from these
reports. After allthe world was sicklife was hard to bear--and
beholdhere a source seemed to spring forthhere a messenger seemed
to call outcomfortingmildfull of noble promises. Everywhere
where the rumour of Buddha was heardeverywhere in the lands of India
the young men listened upfelt a longingfelt hopeand among the
Brahmans' sons of the towns and villages every pilgrim and stranger was
welcomewhen he brought news of himthe exalted onethe Sakyamuni.

The myth had also reached the Samanas in the forestand also
Siddharthaand also Govindaslowlydrop by dropevery drop laden
with hopeevery drop laden with doubt. They rarely talked about it
because the oldest one of the Samanas did not like this myth. He had
heard that this alleged Buddha used to be an ascetic before and had
lived in the forestbut had then turned back to luxury and worldly
pleasuresand he had no high opinion of this Gotama.

Oh Siddhartha,Govinda spoke one day to his friend. "TodayI was
in the villageand a Brahman invited me into his houseand in his
housethere was the son of a Brahman from Magadhawho has seen the
Buddha with his own eyes and has heard him teach. Verilythis made
my chest ache when I breathedand thought to myself: If only I would
tooif only we both would tooSiddhartha and melive to see the
hour when we will hear the teachings from the mouth of this perfected
man! Speakfriendwouldn't we want to go there too and listen to the
teachings from the Buddha's mouth?"

Quoth Siddhartha: "Alwaysoh GovindaI had thoughtGovinda would
stay with the Samanasalways I had believed his goal was to live to be
sixty and seventy years of age and to keep on practising those feats and
exerciseswhich are becoming a Samana. But beholdI had not known
Govinda well enoughI knew little of his heart. So now youmy
faithful friendwant to take a new path and go therewhere the Buddha
spreads his teachings."

Quoth Govinda: "You're mocking me. Mock me if you likeSiddhartha!
But have you not also developed a desirean eagernessto hear these
teachings? And have you not at one time said to meyou would not walk
the path of the Samanas for much longer?"

At thisSiddhartha laughed in his very own mannerin which his voice
assumed a touch of sadness and a touch of mockeryand said: "Well
Govindayou've spoken wellyou've remembered correctly. If you
only remembered the other thing as wellyou've heard from mewhich is
that I have grown distrustful and tired against teachings and learning
and that my faith in wordswhich are brought to us by teachersis
small. But let's do itmy dearI am willing to listen to these
teachings--though in my heart I believe that we've already tasted the
best fruit of these teachings."

Quoth Govinda: "Your willingness delights my heart. But tell mehow
should this be possible? How should the Gotama's teachingseven before
we have heard themhave already revealed their best fruit to us?"

Quoth Siddhartha: "Let us eat this fruit and wait for the restoh
Govinda! But this fruitwhich we already now received thanks to the
Gotamaconsisted in him calling us away from the Samanas! Whether he
has also other and better things to give usoh friendlet us await
with calm hearts."

On this very same daySiddhartha informed the oldest one of the Samanas
of his decisionthat he wanted to leave him. He informed the oldest
one with all the courtesy and modesty becoming to a younger one and a
student. But the Samana became angrybecause the two young men wanted
to leave himand talked loudly and used crude swearwords.

Govinda was startled and became embarrassed. But Siddhartha put his
mouth close to Govinda's ear and whispered to him: "NowI want to show
the old man that I've learned something from him."

Positioning himself closely in front of the Samanawith a concentrated
soulhe captured the old man's glance with his glancesdeprived him of
his powermade him mutetook away his free willsubdued him under his
own willcommanded himto do silentlywhatever he demanded him to do.
The old man became mutehis eyes became motionlesshis will was
paralysedhis arms were hanging down; without powerhe had fallen
victim to Siddhartha's spell. But Siddhartha's thoughts brought the
Samana under their controlhe had to carry outwhat they commanded.
And thusthe old man made several bowsperformed gestures of blessing
spoke stammeringly a godly wish for a good journey. And the young men

returned the bows with thanksreturned the wishwent on their way with

On the wayGovinda said: "Oh Siddharthayou have learned more from
the Samanas than I knew. It is hardit is very hard to cast a spell
on an old Samana. Trulyif you had stayed thereyou would soon have
learned to walk on water."

I do not seek to walk on water,said Siddhartha. "Let old Samanas be
content with such feats!"


In the town of Savathievery child knew the name of the exalted Buddha
and every house was prepared to fill the alms-dish of Gotama's
disciplesthe silently begging ones. Near the town was Gotama's
favourite place to staythe grove of Jetavanawhich the rich merchant
Anathapindikaan obedient worshipper of the exalted onehad given him
and his people for a gift.

All tales and answerswhich the two young ascetics had received in
their search for Gotama's abodehad pointed them towards this area.
And arriving at Savathiin the very first housebefore the door of
which they stopped to begfood has been offered to themand they
accepted the foodand Siddhartha asked the womanwho handed them the

We would like to know, oh charitable one, where the Buddha dwells, the
most venerable one, for we are two Samanas from the forest and have
come, to see him, the perfected one, and to hear the teachings from his

Quoth the woman: "Hereyou have truly come to the right placeyou
Samanas from the forest. You should knowin Jetavanain the garden
of Anathapindika is where the exalted one dwells. There you pilgrims
shall spent the nightfor there is enough space for the innumerable
who flock hereto hear the teachings from his mouth."

This made Govinda happyand full of joy he exclaimed: "Well sothus
we have reached our destinationand our path has come to an end! But
tell usoh mother of the pilgrimsdo you know himthe Buddhahave
you seen him with your own eyes?"

Quoth the woman: "Many times I have seen himthe exalted one. On many
daysI have seen himwalking through the alleys in silencewearing
his yellow cloakpresenting his alms-dish in silence at the doors of
the housesleaving with a filled dish."

DelightedlyGovinda listened and wanted to ask and hear much more.
But Siddhartha urged him to walk on. They thanked and left and hardly
had to ask for directionsfor rather many pilgrims and monks as well
from Gotama's community were on their way to the Jetavana. And since
they reached it at nightthere were constant arrivalsshoutsand
talk of those who sought shelter and got it. The two Samanas
accustomed to life in the forestfound quickly and without making any
noise an place to stay and rested there until the morning.

At sunrisethey saw with astonishment what a large crowd of believers
and curious people had spent the night here. On all paths of the
marvellous grovemonks walked in yellow robesunder the trees they
sat here and therein deep contemplation--or in a conversation about

spiritual mattersthe shady gardens looked like a cityfull of people
bustling like bees. The majority of the monks went out with their
alms-dishto collect food in town for their lunchthe only meal of the
day. The Buddha himselfthe enlightened onewas also in the habit of
taking this walk to beg in the morning.

Siddhartha saw himand he instantly recognised himas if a god had
pointed him out to him. He saw hima simple am in a yellow robe
bearing the alms-dish in his handwalking silently.

Look here!Siddhartha said quietly to Govinda. "This one is the

AttentivelyGovinda looked at the monk in the yellow robewho seemed
to be in no way different from the hundreds of other monks. And soon
Govinda also realized: This is the one. And they followed him and
observed him.

The Buddha went on his waymodestly and deep in his thoughtshis
calm face was neither happy nor sadit seemed to smile quietly and
inwardly. With a hidden smilequietcalmsomewhat resembling a
healthy childthe Buddha walkedwore the robe and placed his feet
just as all of his monks didaccording to a precise rule. But his
face and his walkhis quietly lowered glancehis quietly dangling hand
and even every finger of his quietly dangling hand expressed peace
expressed perfectiondid not searchdid not imitatebreathed softly
in an unwhithering calmin an unwhithering lightan untouchable peace.

Thus Gotama walked towards the townto collect almsand the two
Samanas recognised him solely by the perfection of his calmby the
quietness of his appearancein which there was no searchingno desire
no imitationno effort to be seenonly light and peace.

Today, we'll hear the teachings from his mouth.said Govinda.

Siddhartha did not answer. He felt little curiosity for the teachings
he did not believe that they would teach him anything newbut he had
just as Govinda hadheard the contents of this Buddha's teachings
again and againthough these reports only represented second- or
third-hand information. But attentively he looked at Gotama's head
his shouldershis feethis quietly dangling handand it seemed to
him as if every joint of every finger of this hand was of these
teachingsspoke ofbreathed ofexhaled the fragrant ofglistened of
truth. This manthis Buddha was truthful down to the gesture of his
last finger. This man was holy. Never beforeSiddhartha had venerated
a person so muchnever before he had loved a person as much as this

They both followed the Buddha until they reached the town and then
returned in silencefor they themselves intended to abstain from from
on this day. They saw Gotama returning--what he ate could not even have
satisfied a bird's appetiteand they saw him retiring into the shade
of the mango-trees.

But in the eveningwhen the heat cooled down and everyone in the camp
started to bustle about and gathered aroundthey heard the Buddha
teaching. They heard his voiceand it was also perfectedwas of
perfect calmnesswas full of peace. Gotama taught the teachings of
sufferingof the origin of sufferingof the way to relieve suffering.
Calmly and clearly his quiet speech flowed on. Suffering was life
full of suffering was the worldbut salvation from suffering had been
found: salvation was obtained by him who would walk the path of the
Buddha. Wit a softyet firm voice the exalted one spoketaught the
four main doctrinestaught the eightfold pathpatiently he went the

usual path of the teachingsof the examplesof the repetitions
brightly and quietly his voice hovered over the listenerslike a light
like a starry sky.

When the Buddha--night had already fallen--ended his speechmany a
pilgrim stepped forward and asked to accepted into the communitysought
refuge in the teachings. And Gotama accepted them by speaking: "You
have heard the teachings wellit has come to you well. Thus join us
and walk in holinessto put an end to all suffering."

Beholdthen Govindathe shy onealso stepped forward and spoke: "I
also take my refuge in the exalted one and his teachings and he asked
to accepted into the community of his disciples and was accepted.

Right afterwards, when the Buddha had retired for the night, Govinda
turned to Siddhartha and spoke eagerly: Siddharthait is not my place
to scold you. We have both heard the exalted onebe have both
perceived the teachings. Govinda has heard the teachingshe has taken
refuge in it. But youmy honoured frienddon't you also want to walk
the path of salvation? Would you want to hesitatedo you want to wait
any longer?"

Siddhartha awakened as if he had been asleepwhen he heard Govinda's
words. For a long tomehe looked into Govinda's face. Then he spoke
quietlyin a voice without mockery: "Govindamy friendnow you have
taken this stepnow you have chosen this path. Alwaysoh Govinda
you've been my friendyou've always walked one step behind me. Often I
have thought: Won't Govinda for once also take a step by himself
without meout of his own soul? Beholdnow you've turned into a man
and are choosing your path for yourself. I wish that you would go it up
to its endoh my friendthat you shall find salvation!"

Govindanot completely understanding it yetrepeated his question in
an impatient tone: "Speak upI beg youmy dear! Tell mesince it
could not be any other waythat you alsomy learned friendwill take
your refuge with the exalted Buddha!"

Siddhartha placed his hand on Govinda's shoulder: "You failed to hear
my good wish for youoh Govinda. I'm repeating it: I wish that you
would go this path up to its endthat you shall find salvation!"

In this momentGovinda realized that his friend had left himand he
started to weep.

Siddhartha!he exclaimed lamentingly.

Siddhartha kindly spoke to him: "Don't forgetGovindathat you are
now one of the Samanas of the Buddha! You have renounced your home
and your parentsrenounced your birth and possessionsrenounced your
free willrenounced all friendship. This is what the teachings
requirethis is what the exalted one wants. This is what you wanted
for yourself. Tomorrowoh GovindaI'll leave you."

For a long timethe friends continued walking in the grove; for a long
timethey lay there and found no sleep. And over and over again
Govinda urged his friendhe should tell him why he would not want to
seek refuge in Gotama's teachingswhat fault he would find in these
teachings. But Siddhartha turned him away every time and said: "Be
contentGovinda! Very good are the teachings of the exalted onehow
could I find a fault in them?"

Very early in the morninga follower of Buddhaone of his oldest
monkswent through the garden and called all those to him who had as
novices taken their refuge in the teachingsto dress them up in the

yellow robe and to instruct them in the first teachings and duties of
their position. Then Govinda broke looseembraced once again his
childhood friend and left with the novices.

But Siddhartha walked through the grovelost in thought.

Then he happened to meet Gotamathe exalted oneand when he greeted
him with respect and the Buddha's glance was so full of kindness and
calmthe young man summoned his courage and asked the venerable one for
the permission to talk to him. Silently the exalted one nodded his

Quoth Siddhartha: "Yesterdayoh exalted oneI had been privileged to
hear your wondrous teachings. Together with my friendI had come from
afarto hear your teachings. And now my friend is going to stay with
your peoplehe has taken his refuge with you. But I will again start
on my pilgrimage."

As you please,the venerable one spoke politely.

Too bold is my speech,Siddhartha continuedbut I do not want to
leave the exalted one without having honestly told him my thoughts.
Does it please the venerable one to listen to me for one moment longer?

Silentlythe Buddha nodded his approval.

Quoth Siddhartha: "One thingoh most venerable oneI have admired in
your teachings most of all. Everything in your teachings is perfectly
clearis proven; you are presenting the world as a perfect chaina
chain which is never and nowhere brokenan eternal chain the links of
which are causes and effects. Never beforethis has been seen so
clearly; never beforethis has been presented so irrefutably; truly
the heart of every Brahman has to beat stronger with loveonce he has
seen the world through your teachings perfectly connectedwithout gaps
clear as a crystalnot depending on chancenot depending on gods.
Whether it may be good or badwhether living according to it would be
suffering or joyI do not wish to discusspossibly this is not
essential--but the uniformity of the worldthat everything which
happens is connectedthat the great and the small things are all
encompassed by the same forces of timeby the same law of causesof
coming into being and of dyingthis is what shines brightly out of your
exalted teachingsoh perfected one. But according to your very own
teachingsthis unity and necessary sequence of all things is
nevertheless broken in one placethrough a small gapthis world of
unity is invaded by something aliensomething newsomething which had
not been there beforeand which cannot be demonstrated and cannot be
proven: these are your teachings of overcoming the worldof salvation.
But with this small gapwith this small breachthe entire eternal and
uniform law of the world is breaking apart again and becomes void.
Please forgive me for expressing this objection."

QuietlyGotama had listened to himunmoved. Now he spokethe
perfected onewith his kindwith his polite and clear voice: "You've
heard the teachingsoh son of a Brahmanand good for you that you've
thought about it thus deeply. You've found a gap in itan error. You
should think about this further. But be warnedoh seeker of knowledge
of the thicket of opinions and of arguing about words. There is nothing
to opinionsthey may be beautiful or uglysmart or foolisheveryone
can support them or discard them. But the teachingsyou've heard from
meare no opinionand their goal is not to explain the world to those
who seek knowledge. They have a different goal; their goal is salvation
from suffering. This is what Gotama teachesnothing else."

I wish that you, oh exalted one, would not be angry with me,said the

young man. "I have not spoken to you like this to argue with youto
argue about words. You are truly rightthere is little to opinions.
But let me say this one more thing: I have not doubted in you for a
single moment. I have not doubted for a single moment that you are
Buddhathat you have reached the goalthe highest goal towards which
so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of Brahmans are on their way.
You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course
of your own searchon your own paththrough thoughtsthrough
meditationthrough realizationsthrough enlightenment. It has not
come to you by means of teachings! And--thus is my thoughtoh exalted
one--nobody will obtain salvation by means of teachings! You will not
be able to convey and say to anybodyoh venerable onein words and
through teachings what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!
The teachings of the enlightened Buddha contain muchit teaches many to
live righteouslyto avoid evil. But there is one thing which these so
clearthese so venerable teachings do not contain: they do not contain
the mystery of what the exalted one has experienced for himselfhe
alone among hundreds of thousands. This is what I have thought and
realizedwhen I have heard the teachings. This is why I am continuing
my travels--not to seek otherbetter teachingsfor I know there are
nonebut to depart from all teachings and all teachers and to reach my
goal by myself or to die. But oftenI'll think of this dayoh exalted
oneand of this hourwhen my eyes beheld a holy man."

The Buddha's eyes quietly looked to the ground; quietlyin perfect
equanimity his inscrutable face was smiling.

I wish,the venerable one spoke slowlythat your thoughts shall not
be in error, that you shall reach the goal! But tell me: Have you seen
the multitude of my Samanas, my many brothers, who have taken refuge in
the teachings? And do you believe, oh stranger, oh Samana, do you
believe that it would be better for them all the abandon the teachings
and to return into the life the world and of desires?

Far is such a thought from my mind,exclaimed Siddhartha. "I wish
that they shall all stay with the teachingsthat they shall reach their
goal! It is not my place to judge another person's life. Only for
myselffor myself aloneI must decideI must choseI must refuse.
Salvation from the self is what we Samanas search foroh exalted one.
If I merely were one of your disciplesoh venerable oneI'd fear that
it might happen to me that only seeminglyonly deceptively my self
would be calm and be redeemedbut that in truth it would live on and
growfor then I had replaced my self with the teachingsmy duty to
follow youmy love for youand the community of the monks!"

With half of a smilewith an unwavering openness and kindness
Gotama looked into the stranger's eyes and bid him to leave with a
hardly noticeable gesture.

You are wise, oh Samana.the venerable one spoke.

You know how to talk wisely, my friend. Be aware of too much wisdom!

The Buddha turned awayand his glance and half of a smile remained
forever etched in Siddhartha's memory.

I have never before seen a person glance and smilesit and walk this
wayhe thought; trulyI wish to be able to glance and smilesit and
walk this waytoothus freethus venerablethus concealedthus
openthus child-like and mysterious. Trulyonly a person who has
succeeded in reaching the innermost part of his self would glance and
walk this way. Well soI also will seek to reach the innermost part
of my self.

I saw a manSiddhartha thoughta single manbefore whom I would have
to lower my glance. I do not want to lower my glance before any other
not before any other. No teachings will entice me any moresince this
man's teachings have not enticed me.

I am deprived by the Buddhathought SiddharthaI am deprivedand
even more he has given to me. He has deprived me of my friendthe one
who had believed in me and now believes in himwho had been my shadow
and is now Gotama's shadow. But he has given me Siddharthamyself.


When Siddhartha left the grovewhere the Buddhathe perfected one
stayed behindwhere Govinda stayed behindthen he felt that in this
grove his past life also stayed behind and parted from him. He pondered
about this sensationwhich filled him completelyas he was slowly
walking along. He pondered deeplylike diving into a deep water he
let himself sink down to the ground of the sensationdown to the place
where the causes liebecause to identify the causesso it seemed to
himis the very essence of thinkingand by this alone sensations turn
into realizations and are not lostbut become entities and start to
emit like rays of light what is inside of them.

Slowly walking alongSiddhartha pondered. He realized that he was no
youth any morebut had turned into a man. He realized that one thing
had left himas a snake is left by its old skinthat one thing no
longer existed in himwhich had accompanied him throughout his youth
and used to be a part of him: the wish to have teachers and to listen to
teachings. He had also left the last teacher who had appeared on his
patheven himthe highest and wisest teacherthe most holy one
Buddhahe had left himhad to part with himwas not able to accept
his teachings.

Slowerhe walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: "But what
is thiswhat you have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers
and what theywho have taught you muchwere still unable to teach
you?" And he found: "It was the selfthe purpose and essence of which
I sought to learn. It was the selfI wanted to free myself fromwhich
I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome itcould only
deceive itcould only flee from itonly hide from it. Trulyno
thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busyas this my very own
selfthis mystery of me being aliveof me being one and being
separated and isolated from all othersof me being Siddhartha! And
there is no thing in this world I know less about than about meabout

Having been pondering while slowly walking alonghe now stopped as
these thoughts caught hold of himand right away another thought sprang
forth from thesea new thoughtwhich was: "That I know nothing about
myselfthat Siddhartha has remained thus alien and unknown to mestems
from one causea single cause: I was afraid of myselfI was fleeing
from myself! I searched AtmanI searched BrahmanI was willing to
to dissect my self and peel off all of its layersto find the core of
all peels in its unknown interiorthe Atmanlifethe divine partthe
ultimate part. But I have lost myself in the process."

Siddhartha opened his eyes and looked arounda smile filled his face
and a feeling of awakening from long dreams flowed through him from his
head down to his toes. And it was not long before he walked again
walked quickly like a man who knows what he has got to do.

Oh,he thoughttaking a deep breathnow I would not let Siddhartha
escape from me again! No longer, I want to begin my thoughts and my
life with Atman and with the suffering of the world. I do not want to
kill and dissect myself any longer, to find a secret behind the ruins.
Neither Yoga-Veda shall teach me any more, nor Atharva-Veda, nor the
ascetics, nor any kind of teachings. I want to learn from myself, want
to be my student, want to get to know myself, the secret of Siddhartha.

He looked aroundas if he was seeing the world for the first time.
Beautiful was the worldcolourful was the worldstrange and mysterious
was the world! Here was bluehere was yellowhere was greenthe sky
and the river flowedthe forest and the mountains were rigidall of it
was beautifulall of it was mysterious and magicaland in its midst was
heSiddharthathe awakening oneon the path to himself. All of this
all this yellow and blueriver and forestentered Siddhartha for the
first time through the eyeswas no longer a spell of Marawas no
longer the veil of Mayawas no longer a pointless and coincidental
diversity of mere appearancesdespicable to the deeply thinking Brahman
who scorns diversitywho seeks unity. Blue was blueriver was river
and if also in the blue and the riverin Siddharthathe singular and
divine lived hiddenso it was still that very divinity's way and
purposeto be here yellowhere bluethere skythere forestand here
Siddhartha. The purpose and the essential properties were not somewhere
behind the thingsthey were in themin everything.

How deaf and stupid have I been!he thoughtwalking swiftly along.
When someone reads a text, wants to discover its meaning, he will not
scorn the symbols and letters and call them deceptions, coincidence,
and worthless hull, but he will read them, he will study and love them,
letter by letter. But I, who wanted to read the book of the world and
the book of my own being, I have, for the sake of a meaning I had
anticipated before I read, scorned the symbols and letters, I called the
visible world a deception, called my eyes and my tongue coincidental
and worthless forms without substance. No, this is over, I have
awakened, I have indeed awakened and have not been born before this
very day.

In thinking this thoughtsSiddhartha stopped once againsuddenlyas
if there was a snake lying in front of him on the path..

Because suddenlyhe had also become aware of this: Hewho was indeed
like someone who had just woken up or like a new-born babyhe had to
start his life anew and start again at the very beginning. When he had
left in this very morning from the grove Jetavanathe grove of that
exalted onealready awakeningalready on the path towards himselfhe
he had every intentionregarded as natural and took for grantedthat
heafter years as an asceticwould return to his home and his father.
But nowonly in this momentwhen he stopped as if a snake was lying on
his pathhe also awoke to this realization: "But I am no longer the
one I wasI am no ascetic any moreI am not a priest any moreI am no
Brahman any more. Whatever should I do at home and at my father's
place? Study? Make offerings? Practise meditation? Bat all this is
overall of this is no longer alongside my path."

MotionlessSiddhartha remained standing thereand for the time of
one moment and breathhis heart felt coldhe felt a cold in his chest
as a small animala bird or a rabbitwould when seeing how alone he
was. For many yearshe had been without home and had felt nothing.
Nowhe felt it. Stilleven in the deepest meditationhe had been
his father's sonhad been a Brahmanof a high castea cleric. Now
he was nothing but Siddharthathe awoken onenothing else was left.
Deeplyhe inhaledand for a momenthe felt cold and shivered.
Nobody was thus alone as he was. There was no nobleman who did not
belong to the noblemenno worker that did not belong to the workers

and found refuge with themshared their lifespoke their language.
No Brahmanwho would not be regarded as Brahmans and lived with them
no ascetic who would not find his refuge in the caste of the Samanas
and even the most forlorn hermit in the forest was not just one and
alonehe was also surrounded by a place he belonged tohe also
belonged to a castein which he was at home. Govinda had become a
monkand a thousand monks were his brotherswore the same robe as he
believed in his faithspoke his language. But heSiddharthawhere
did he belong to? With whom would he share his life? Whose language
would he speak?

Out of this momentwhen the world melted away all around himwhen he
stood alone like a star in the skyout of this moment of a cold and
despairSiddhartha emergedmore a self than beforemore firmly
concentrated. He felt: This had been the last tremor of the awakening
the last struggle of this birth. And it was not long until he walked
again in long stridesstarted to proceed swiftly and impatiently
heading no longer for homeno longer to his fatherno longer back.


Dedicated to Wilhelm Gundertmy cousin in Japan


Note: Most errors in the German text I could easily ignore (e.g.
Seelelobviously ought to be "Seele!"Lebeillought to be
Leben!sanf Lenought to be "sanften"Sifinought to be
When I came across possible errorsI was not so sure ofI put
down {???} and added a comment in curly brackets.

Siddhartha learned something new on every step of his pathfor the
world was transformedand his heart was enchanted. He saw the sun
rising over the mountains with their forests and setting over the
distant beach with its palm-trees. At nighthe saw the stars in the
sky in their fixed positions and the crescent of the moon floating like
a boat in the blue. He saw treesstarsanimalscloudsrainbows
rocksherbsflowersstream and riverthe glistening dew in the
bushes in the morningdistant hight mountains which were blue and
palebirds sang and beeswind silverishly blew through the rice-field.
All of thisa thousand-fold and colorfulhad always been there
always the sun and the moon had shonealways rivers had roared and
bees had buzzedbut in former times all of this had been nothing more
to Siddhartha than a fleetingdeceptive veil before his eyes
looked upon in distrustdestined to be penetrated and destroyed by
thoughtsince it was not the essential existencesince this essence
lay beyondon the other side ofthe visible. But nowhis liberated
eyes stayed on this sidehe saw and became aware of the visiblesought
to be at home in this worlddid not search for the true essencedid
not aim at a world beyond. Beautiful was this worldlooking at it thus
without searchingthus simplythus childlike. Beautiful were the moon

and the starsbeautiful was the stream and the banksthe forest and
the rocksthe goat and the gold-beetlethe flower and the butterfly.
Beautiful and lovely it wasthus to walk through the worldthus
childlikethus awokenthus open to what is nearthus without
distrust. Differently the sun burnt the headdifferently the shade
of the forest cooled him downdifferently the stream and the cistern
the pumpkin and the banana tasted. Short were the daysshort the
nightsevery hour sped swiftly away like a sail on the seaand under
the sail was a ship full of treasuresfull of joy. Siddhartha saw a
group of apes moving through the high canopy of the foresthigh in the
branchesand heard their savagegreedy song. Siddhartha saw a male
sheep following a female one and mating with her. In a lake of reeds
he saw the pike hungrily hunting for its dinner; propelling themselves
away from itin fearwiggling and sparklingthe young fish jumped in
droves out of the water; the scent of strength and passion came
forcefully out of the hasty eddies of the waterwhich the pike stirred
upimpetuously hunting.

All of this had always existedand he had not seen it; he had not been
with it. Now he was with ithe was part of it. Light and shadow
ran through his eyesstars and moon ran through his heart.

On the waySiddhartha also remembered everything he had experienced in
the Garden Jetavanathe teaching he had heard therethe divine Buddha
the farewell from Govindathe conversation with the exalted one. Again
he remembered his own wordshe had spoken to the exalted oneevery
wordand with astonishment he became aware of the fact that there he
had said things which he had not really known yet at this time. What he
had said to Gotama: histhe Buddha'streasure and secret was not the
teachingsbut the unexpressable and not teachablewhich he had
experienced in the hour of his enlightenment--it was nothing but this
very thing which he had now gone to experiencewhat he now began to
experience. Nowhe had to experience his self. It is true that he had
already known for a long time that his self was Atmanin its essence
bearing the same eternal characteristics as Brahman. But neverhe had
really found this selfbecause he had wanted to capture it in the net
of thought. With the body definitely not being the selfand not the
spectacle of the sensesso it also was not the thoughtnot the
rational mindnot the learned wisdomnot the learned ability to draw
conclusions and to develop previous thoughts in to new ones. Nothis
world of thought was also still on this sideand nothing could be
achieved by killing the random self of the sensesif the random self of
thoughts and learned knowledge was fattened on the other hand. Both
the thoughts as well as the senseswere pretty thingsthe ultimate
meaning was hidden behind both of themboth had to be listened toboth
had to be played withboth neither had to be scorned nor overestimated
from both the secret voices of the innermost truth had to be attentively
perceived. He wanted to strive for nothingexcept for what the voice
commanded him to strive fordwell on nothingexcept where the voice
would advise him to do so. Why had Gotamaat that timein the hour
of all hourssat down under the bo-treewhere the enlightenment hit
him? He had heard a voicea voice in his own heartwhich had
commanded him to seek rest under this treeand he had neither preferred
self-castigationofferingsablutionsnor prayerneither food nor
drinkneither sleep nor dreamhe had obeyed the voice. To obey like
thisnot to an external commandonly to the voiceto be ready like
thisthis was goodthis was necessarynothing else was necessary.

In the night when he slept in the straw hut of a ferryman by the river
Siddhartha had a dream: Govinda was standing in front of himdressed
in the yellow robe of an ascetic. Sad was how Govinda looked like
sadly he asked: Why have you forsaken me? At thishe embraced
Govindawrapped his arms around himand as he was pulling him close
to his chest and kissed himit was not Govinda any morebut a woman

and an full breast popped out of the woman's dressat which Siddhartha
lay and dranksweetly and strongly tasted the milk from this breast.
It tasted of woman and manof sun and forestof animal and flower
of every fruitof every joyful desire. It intoxicated him and rendered
him unconscious.--When Siddhartha woke upthe pale river shimmered
through the door of the hutand in the foresta dark call of an owl
resounded deeply and and pleasantly.

When the day beganSiddhartha asked his hostthe ferrymanto get him
across the river. The ferryman got him across the river on his
bamboo-raftthe wide water shimmered reddishly in the light of the

This is a beautiful river,he said to his companion.

Yes,said the ferrymana very beautiful river, I love it more than
anything. Often I have listened to it, often I have looked into its
eyes, and always I have learned from it. Much can be learned from a

I than you, my benefactor,spoke Siddharthadisembarking on the other
side of the river. "I have no gift I could give you for your
hospitalitymy dearand also no payment for your work. I am a man
without a homea son of a Brahman and a Samana."

I did see it,spoke the ferrymanand I haven't expected any payment
from you and no gift which would be the custom for guests to bear. You
will give me the gift another time.

Do you think so?asked Siddhartha amusedly.

Surely. This too, I have learned from the river: everything is coming
back! You too, Samana, will come back. Now farewell! Let your
friendship be my reward. Commemorate me, when you'll make offerings to
the gods.

Smilingthey parted. SmilingSiddhartha was happy about the
friendship and the kindness of the ferryman. "He is like Govinda he
thought with a smile, all I meet on my path are like Govinda. All are
thankfulthough they are the ones who would have a right to receive
thanks. All are submissiveall would like to be friendslike to
obeythink little. Like children are all people."

At about noonhe came through a village. In front of the mud cottages
children were rolling about in the streetwere playing with
pumpkin-seeds and sea-shellsscreamed and wrestledbut they all
timidly fled from the unknown Samana. In the end of the villagethe
path led through a streamand by the side of the streaman young
woman was kneeling and washing clothes. When Siddhartha greeted her
she lifted her head and looked up to him with a smileso that he saw
the white in her eyes glistening. He called out a blessing to heras
it is the custom among travellersand asked how far he still had to go
to reach the large city. Then she got up and came to himbeautifully
her wet mouth was shimmering in her young face. She exchanged humorous
banter with himasked whether he had eaten alreadyand whether it was
true that the Samanas slept alone in the forest at night and were not
allowed to have any women with them. While talkingshe put her left
foot on his right one and made a movement as a woman does who would want
to initiate that kind of sexual pleasure with a manwhich the textbooks
call "climbing a tree". Siddhartha felt his blood heating upand since
in this moment he had to think of his dream againhe bend slightly
down to the woman and kissed with his lips the brown nipple of her
breast. Looking uphe saw her face smiling full of lust and her
eyeswith contracted pupilsbegging with desire.

Siddhartha also felt desire and felt the source of his sexuality moving;
but since he had never touched a woman beforehe hesitated for a
momentwhile his hands were already prepared to reach out for her. And
in this moment he heardshuddering with awethe voice if his innermost
selfand this voice said No. Thenall charms disappeared from the
young woman's smiling facehe no longer saw anything else but the damp
glance of a female animal in heat. Politelyhe petted her cheek
turned away from her and disappeared away from the disappointed woman
with light steps into the bamboo-wood.

On this dayhe reached the large city before the eveningand was
happyfor he felt the need to be among people. For a long timehe
had lived in the forestsand the straw hut of the ferrymanin which
he had slept that nighthad been the first roof for a long time he has
had over his head.

Before the cityin a beautifully fenced grovethe traveller came
across a small group of servantsboth male and femalecarrying
baskets. In their midstcarried by four servants in an ornamental
sedan-chairsat a womanthe mistresson red pillows under a colourful
canopy. Siddhartha stopped at the entrance to the pleasure-garden and
watched the paradesaw the servantsthe maidsthe basketssaw the
sedan-chair and saw the lady in it. Under black hairwhich made to
tower high on her headhe saw a very fairvery delicatevery smart
facea brightly red mouthlike a freshly cracked figeyebrows which
were well tended and painted in a high archsmart and watchful dark
eyesa cleartall neck rising from a green and golden garmentresting
fair handslong and thinwith wide golden bracelets over the wrists.

Siddhartha saw how beautiful she wasand his heart rejoiced. He bowed
deeplywhen the sedan-chair came closerand straightening up again
he looked at the faircharming faceread for a moment in the smart
eyes with the high arcs abovebreathed in a slight fragranthe did
not know. With a smilethe beautiful women nodded for a moment and
disappeared into the groveand then the servant as well.

Thus I am entering this citySiddhartha thoughtwith a charming omen.
He instantly felt drawn into the grovebut he thought about itand
only now he became aware of how the servants and maids had looked at him
at the entrancehow despicablehow distrustfulhow rejecting.

I am still a Samanahe thoughtI am still an ascetic and beggar. I
must not remain like thisI will not be able to enter the grove like
this. And he laughed.

The next person who came along this path he asked about the grove and
for the name of the womanand was told that this was the grove of
Kamalathe famous courtesanand thataside from the groveshe owned
a house in the city.

Thenhe entered the city. Now he had a goal.

Pursuing his goalhe allowed the city to suck him indrifted through
the flow of the streetsstood still on the squaresrested on the
stairs of stone by the river. When the evening camehe made friends
with barber's assistantwhom he had seen working in the shade of an
arch in a buildingwhom he found again praying in a temple of Vishnu
whom he told about stories of Vishnu and the Lakshmi. Among the boats
by the riverhe slept this nightand early in the morningbefore the
first customers came into his shophe had the barber's assistant shave
his beard and cut his haircomb his hair and anoint it with fine oil.
Then he went to take his bath in the river.

When late in the afternoonbeautiful Kamala approached her grove in her
sedan-chairSiddhartha was standing at the entrancemade a bow and
received the courtesan's greeting. But that servant who walked at the
very end of her train he motioned to him and asked him to inform his
mistress that a young Brahman would wish to talk to her. After a while
the servant returnedasked the himwho had been waitingto follow him
conducted himwho was following himwithout a word into a pavilion
where Kamala was lying on a couchand left him alone with her.

Weren't you already standing out there yesterday, greeting me?asked

It's true that I've already seen and greeted you yesterday.

But didn't you yesterday wear a beard, and long hair, and dust in your

You have observed well, you have seen everything. You have seen
Siddhartha, the son of a Brahman, how has left his home to become a
Samana, and who has been a Samana for three years. But now, I have
left that path and came into this city, and the first one I met, even
before I had entered the city, was you. To say this, I have come to
you, oh Kamala! You are the first woman whom Siddhartha is not
addressing with his eyes turned to the ground. Never again I want to
turn my eyes to the ground, when I'm coming across a beautiful woman.

Kamala smiled and played with her fan of peacocks' feathers. And asked:
And only to tell me this, Siddhartha has come to me?

To tell you this and to thank you for being so beautiful. And if it
doesn't displease you, Kamala, I would like to ask you to be my friend
and teacher, for I know nothing yet of that art which you have mastered
in the highest degree.

At thisKamala laughed aloud.

Never before this has happened to me, my friend, that a Samana from the
forest came to me and wanted to learn from me! Never before this has
happened to me, that a Samana came to me with long hair and an old, torn
loin-cloth! Many young men come to me, and there are also sons of
Brahmans among them, but they come in beautiful clothes, they come in
fine shoes, they have perfume in their hair and money in their pouches.
This is, oh Samana, how the young men are like who come to me.

Quoth Siddhartha: "Already I am starting to learn from you. Even
yesterdayI was already learning. I have already taken off my beard
have combed the hairhave oil in my hair. There is little which is
still missing in meoh excellent one: fine clothesfine shoesmoney
in my pouch. You shall knowSiddhartha has set harder goals for
himself than such triflesand he has reached them. How shouldn't I
reach that goalwhich I have set for myself yesterday: to be your
friend and to learn the joys of love from you! You'll see that I'll
learn quicklyKamalaI have already learned harder things than what
you're supposed to teach me. And now let's get to it: You aren't
satisfied with Siddhartha as he iswith oil in his hairbut without
clotheswithout shoeswithout money?"

LaughingKamala exclaimed: "Nomy dearhe doesn't satisfy me yet.
Clothes are what he must havepretty clothesand shoespretty shoes
and lots of money in his pouchand gifts for Kamala. Do you know it
nowSamana from the forest? Did you mark my words?"

Yes, I have marked your words,Siddhartha exclaimed. "How should I
not mark words which are coming from such a mouth! Your mouth is like

a freshly cracked figKamala. My mouth is red and fresh as wellit
will be a suitable match for yoursyou'll see.--But tell mebeautiful
Kamalaaren't you at all afraid of the Samana from the forestwho has
come to learn how to make love?"

Whatever for should I be afraid of a Samana, a stupid Samana from the
forest, who is coming from the jackals and doesn't even know yet what
women are?

Oh, he's strong, the Samana, and he isn't afraid of anything. He could
force you, beautiful girl. He could kidnap you. He could hurt you.

No, Samana, I am not afraid of this. Did any Samana or Brahman ever
fear, someone might come and grab him and steal his learning, and his
religious devotion, and his depth of thought? No, for they are his very
own, and he would only give away from those whatever he is willing to
give and to whomever he is willing to give. Like this it is, precisely
like this it is also with Kamala and with the pleasures of love.
Beautiful and red is Kamala's mouth, but just try to kiss it against
Kamala's will, and you will not obtain a single drop of sweetness from
it, which knows how to give so many sweet things! You are learning
easily, Siddhartha, thus you should also learn this: love can be
obtained by begging, buying, receiving it as a gift, finding it in the
street, but it cannot be stolen. In this, you have come up with the
wrong path. No, it would be a pity, if a pretty young man like you
would want to tackle it in such a wrong manner.

Siddhartha bowed with a smile. "It would be a pityKamalayou are so
right! It would be such a great pity. NoI shall not lose a single
drop of sweetness from your mouthnor you from mine! So it is settled:
Siddhartha will returnonce he'll have have what he still lacks:
clothesshoesmoney. But speaklovely Kamalacouldn't you still
give me one small advice?"

An advice?Why not? Who wouldn't like to give an advice to a poor
ignorant Samanawho is coming from the jackals of the forest?"

Dear Kamala, thus advise me where I should go to, that I'll find these
three things most quickly?

Friend, many would like to know this. You must do what you've learned
and ask for money, clothes, and shoes in return. There is no other way
for a poor man to obtain money. What might you be able to do?

I can think. I can wait. I can fast.

Nothing else?

Nothing. But yes, I can also write poetry. Would you like to give me
a kiss for a poem?

I would like to, if I'll like your poem. What would be its title?

Siddhartha spokeafter he had thought about it for a momentthese

Into her shady grove stepped the pretty Kamala
At the grove's entrance stood the brown Samana.
Deeplyseeing the lotus's blossom
Bowed that manand smiling Kamala thanked.
More lovelythought the young manthan offerings for gods
More lovely is offering to pretty Kamala.

Kamala loudly clapped her handsso that the golden bracelets clanged.

Beautiful are your verses, oh brown Samana, and truly, I'm losing
nothing when I'm giving you a kiss for them.

She beckoned him with her eyeshe tilted his head so that his face
touched hers and placed his mouth on that mouth which was like a
freshly cracked fig. For a long timeKamala kissed himand with a
deep astonishment Siddhartha felt how she taught himhow wise she was
how she controlled himrejected himlured himand how after this first
one there was to be a longa well orderedwell tested sequence of
kisseseveryone different from the othershe was still to receive.
Breathing deeplyhe remained standing where he wasand was in this
moment astonished like a child about the cornucopia of knowledge and
things worth learningwhich revealed itself before his eyes.

Very beautiful are your verses,exclaimed Kamalaif I was rich, I
would give you pieces of gold for them. But it will be difficult for
you to earn thus much money with verses as you need. For you need a lot
of money, if you want to be Kamala's friend.

The way you're able to kiss, Kamala!stammered Siddhartha.

Yes, this I am able to do, therefore I do not lack clothes, shoes,
bracelets, and all beautiful things. But what will become of you?
Aren't you able to do anything else but thinking, fasting, making

I also know the sacrificial songs,said Siddharthabut I do not want
to sing them any more. I also know magic spells, but I do not want to
speak them any more. I have read the scriptures--

Stop,Kamala interrupted him. "You're able to read? And write?"

Certainly, I can do this. Many people can do this.

Most people can't. I also can't do it. It is very good that you're
able to read and write, very good. You will also still find use for
the magic spells.

In this momenta maid came running in and whispered a message into
her mistress's ear.

There's a visitor for me,exclaimed Kamala. "Hurry and get yourself
awaySiddharthanobody may see you in hereremember this! Tomorrow
I'll see you again."

But to the maid she gave the order to give the pious Brahman white
upper garments. Without fully understanding what was happening to him
Siddhartha found himself being dragged away by the maidbrought into
a garden-house avoiding the direct pathbeing given upper garments as a
giftled into the bushesand urgently admonished to get himself out of
the grove as soon as possible without being seen.

Contentlyhe did as he had been told. Being accustomed to the forest
he managed to get out of the grove and over the hedge without making a
sound. Contentlyhe returned to the citycarrying the rolled up
garments under his arm. At the innwhere travellers stayhe
positioned himself by the doorwithout words he asked for foodwithout
a word he accepted a piece of rice-cake. Perhaps as soon as tomorrow
he thoughtI will ask no one for food any more.

Suddenlypride flared up in him. He was no Samana any moreit was no
longer becoming to him to beg. He gave the rice-cake to a dog and
remained without food.

Simple is the life which people lead in this world here,thought
Siddhartha. "It presents no difficulties. Everything was difficult
toilsomeand ultimately hopelesswhen I was still a Samana. Now
everything is easyeasy like that lessons in kissingwhich Kamala is
giving me. I need clothes and moneynothing else; this a smallnear
goalsthey won't make a person lose any sleep."

He had already discovered Kamala's house in the city long beforethere
he turned up the following day.

Things are working out well,she called out to him. "They are
expecting you at Kamaswami'she is the richest merchant of the city.
If he'll like youhe'll accept you into his service. Be smartbrown
Samana. I had others tell him about you. Be polite towards himhe is
very powerful. But don't be too modest! I do not want you to become
his servantyou shall become his equalor else I won't be satisfied
with you. Kamaswami is starting to get old and lazy. If he'll like
youhe'll entrust you with a lot."

Siddhartha thanked her and laughedand when she found out that he had
not eaten anything yesterday and todayshe sent for bread and fruits
and treated him to it.

You've been lucky,she said when they partedI'm opening one door
after another for you. How come? Do you have a spell?

Siddhartha said: "YesterdayI told you I knew how to thinkto wait
and to fastbut you thought this was of no use. But it is useful for
many thingsKamalayou'll see. You'll see that the stupid Samanas are
learning and able to do many pretty things in the forestwhich the
likes of you aren't capable of. The day before yesterdayI was still a
shaggy beggaras soon as yesterday I have kissed Kamalaand soon I'll
be a merchant and have money and all those things you insist upon."

Well yes,she admitted. "But where would you be without me? What
would you beif Kamala wasn't helping you?"

Dear Kamala,said Siddhartha and straightened up to his full height
when I came to you into your grove, I did the first step. It was my
resolution to learn love from this most beautiful woman. From that
moment on when I had made this resolution, I also knew that I would
carry it out. I knew that you would help me, at your first glance at
the entrance of the grove I already knew it.

But what if I hadn't been willing?

You were willing. Look, Kamala: Wen you throw a rock into the water,
it will speed on the fastest course to the bottom of the water. This
is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal, a resolution. Siddhartha does
nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the things
of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without
stirring; he is drawn, he lets himself fall. His goal attracts him,
because he doesn't let anything enter his soul which might oppose the
goal. This is what Siddhartha has learned among the Samanas. This is
what fools call magic and of which they think it would be effected by
means of the daemons. Nothing is effected by daemons, there are no
daemons. Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if
he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.

Kamala listened to him. She loved his voiceshe loved the look from
his eyes.

Perhaps it is so,she said quietlyas you say, friend. But perhaps

it is also like this: that Siddhartha is a handsome man, that his glance
pleases the women, that therefore good fortune is coming towards him.

Wit one kissSiddhartha bid his farewell. "I wish that it should be
this waymy teacher; that my glance shall please youthat always
good fortune shall come to me out of your direction!"


Siddhartha went to Kamaswami the merchanthe was directed into a rich
houseservants led him between precious carpets into a chamberwhere
he awaited the master of the house.

Kamaswami entereda swiftlysmoothly moving man with very gray hair
with very intelligentcautious eyeswith a greedy mouth. Politely
the host and the guest greeted one another.

I have been told,the merchant beganthat you were a Brahman, a
learned man, but that you seek to be in the service of a merchant.
Might you have become destitute, Brahman, so that you seek to serve?

No,said SiddharthaI have not become destitute and have never been
destitute. You should know that I'm coming from the Samanas, with
whom I have lived for a long time.

If you're coming from the Samanas, how could you be anything but
destitute? Aren't the Samanas entirely without possessions?

I am without possessions,said Siddharthaif this is what you mean.
Surely, I am without possessions. But I am so voluntarily, and
therefore I am not destitute.

But what are you planning to live of, being without possessions?

I haven't thought of this yet, sir. For more than three years, I have
been without possessions, and have never thought about of what I should

So you've lived of the possessions of others.

Presumable this is how it is. After all, a merchant also lives of
what other people own.

Well said. But he wouldn't take anything from another person for
nothing; he would give his merchandise in return.

So it seems to be indeed. Everyone takes, everyone gives, such is

But if you don't mind me asking: being without possessions, what would
you like to give?

Everyone gives what he has. The warrior gives strength, the merchant
gives merchandise, the teacher teachings, the farmer rice, the fisher

Yes indeed. And what is it now what you've got to give? What is it
that you've learned, what you're able to do?

I can think. I can wait. I can fast.

That's everything?

I believe, that's everything!

And what's the use of that? For example, the fasting-- what is it
good for?

It is very good, sir. When a person has nothing to eat, fasting is the
smartest thing he could do. When, for example, Siddhartha hadn't
learned to fast, he would have to accept any kind of service before this
day is up, whether it may be with you or wherever, because hunger would
force him to do so. But like this, Siddhartha can wait calmly, he knows
no impatience, he knows no emergency, for a long time he can allow
hunger to besiege him and can laugh about it. This, sir, is what
fasting is good for.

You're right, Samana. Wait for a moment.

Kamaswami left the room and returned with a scrollwhich he handed to
his guest while asking: "Can you read this?"

Siddhartha looked at the scrollon which a sales-contract had been
written downand began to read out its contents.

Excellent,said Kamaswami. "And would you write something for me on
this piece of paper?"

He handed him a piece of paper and a penand Siddhartha wrote and
returned the paper.

Kamaswami read: "Writing is goodthinking is better. Being smart is
goodbeing patient is better."

It is excellent how you're able to write,the merchant praised him.
Many a thing we will still have to discuss with one another. For
today, I'm asking you to be my guest and to live in this house.

Siddhartha thanked and acceptedand lived in the dealers house from now
on. Clothes were brought to himand shoesand every daya servant
prepared a bath for him. Twice a daya plentiful meal was servedbut
Siddhartha only ate once a dayand ate neither meat nor did he drink
wine. Kamaswami told him about his tradeshowed him the merchandise
and storage-roomsshowed him calculations. Siddhartha got to know
many new thingshe heard a lot and spoke little. And thinking of
Kamala's wordshe was never subservient to the merchantforced him
to treat him as an equalyes even more than an equal. Kamaswami
conducted his business with care and often with passionbut Siddhartha
looked upon all of this as if it was a gamethe rules of which he
tried hard to learn preciselybut the contents of which did not touch
his heart.

He was not in Kamaswami's house for longwhen he already took part in
his landlords business. But dailyat the hour appointed by herhe
visited beautiful Kamalawearing pretty clothesfine shoesand soon
he brought her gifts as well. Much he learned from her redsmart
mouth. Much he learned from her tendersupple hand. Himwho was
regarding lovestill a boy and had a tendency to plunge blindly and
insatiably into lust like into a bottomless pithim she taught
thoroughly starting with the basicsabout that school of thought which
teaches that pleasure cannot be be taken without giving pleasureand
that every gestureevery caressevery touchevery lookevery spot
of the bodyhowever small it washad its secretwhich would bring
happiness to those who know about it and unleash it. She taught him
that lovers must not part from one another after celebrating love

without one admiring the otherwithout being just as defeated as they
have been victoriousso that with none of them should start feeling
fed up or bored and get that evil feeling of having abused or having
been abused. Wonderful hours he spent with the beautiful and smart
artistbecame her studenther loverher friend. Here with Kamala
was the worth and purpose of his present lifenit with the business
of Kamaswami.

The merchant passed to duties of writing important letters and contracts
on to him and got into the habit of discussing all important affairs
with him. He soon saw that Siddhartha knew little about rice and wool
shipping and tradebut that he acted in a fortunate mannerand that
Siddhartha surpassed himthe merchantin calmness and equanimityand
in the art of listening and deeply understanding previously unknown
people. "This Brahman he said to a friend, is no proper merchant and
will never be onethere is never any passion in his soul when he
conducts our business. But he has that mysterious quality of those
people to whom success comes all by itselfwhether this may be a good
star of his birthmagicor something he has learned among Samanas.
He always seems to be merely playing with out business-affairsthey
never fully become a part of himthey never rule over himhe is never
afraid of failurehe is never upset by a loss."

The friend advised the merchant: "Give him from the business he
conducts for you a third of the profitsbut let him also be liable for
the same amount of the losseswhen there is a loss. Thenhe'll become
more zealous."

Kamaswami followed the advice. But Siddhartha cared little about this.
When he made a profithe accepted it with equanimity; when he made
losseshe laughed and said: "Welllook at thisso this one turned
out badly!"

It seemed indeedas if he did not care about the business. At one
timehe travelled to a village to buy a large harvest of rice there.
But when he got therethe rice had already been sold to another
merchant. NeverthelessSiddhartha stayed for several days in that
villagetreated the farmers for a drinkgave copper-coins to their
childrenjoined in the celebration of a weddingand returned extremely
satisfied from his trip. Kamaswami held against him that he had not
turned back right awaythat he had wasted time and money. Siddhartha
answered: "Stop scoldingdear friend! Nothing was ever achieved by
scolding. If a loss has occurredlet me bear that loss. I am very
satisfied with this trip. I have gotten to know many kinds of people
a Brahman has become my friendchildren have sat on my kneesfarmers
have shown me their fieldsnobody knew that I was a merchant."

That's all very nice,exclaimed Kamaswami indignantlybut in fact,
you are a merchant after all, one ought to think! Or might you have
only travelled for your amusement?

Surely,Siddhartha laughedsurely I have travelled for my amusement.
For what else? I have gotten to know people and places, I have received
kindness and trust, I have found friendship. Look, my dear, if I had
been Kamaswami, I would have travelled back, being annoyed and in a
hurry, as soon as I had seen that my purchase had been rendered
impossible, and time and money would indeed have been lost. But like
this, I've had a few good days, I've learned, had joy, I've neither
harmed myself nor others by annoyance and hastiness. And if I'll ever
return there again, perhaps to buy an upcoming harvest, of for whatever
purpose it might be, friendly people will receive me in a friendly and
happy manner, and I will praise myself for not showing any hurry and
displeasure at that time. So, leave it as it is, my friend, and don't
harm yourself by scolding! If the day will come, when you will see:

this Siddhartha is harming me, then speak a word and Siddhartha will go
on his own path. But until then, let's be satisfied with one another.

Futile were also the merchant's attemptsto convince Siddhartha that he
should eat his bread. Siddhartha ate his own breador rather they both
ate other people's breadall people's bread. Siddhartha never listened
to Kamaswami's worries and Kamaswami had many worries. Whether there
was a business-deal going on which was in danger of failingor whether
a shipment of merchandise seemed to have been lostor a debtor seemed
to be unable to payKamaswami could never convince his partner that it
would be useful to utter a few words of worry or angerto have wrinkles
on the foreheadto sleep badly. Whenone dayKamaswami held against
him that he had learned everything he knew from himhe replied: "Would
you please not kid me with such jokes! What I've learned from you is
how much a basket of fish costs and how much interests may be charged on
loaned money. These are your areas of expertise. I haven't learned to
think from youmy dear Kamaswamiyou ought to be the one seeking to
lean from me."

Indeed his soul was not with the trade. The business was good enough
to provide him with the money for Kamalaand it earned him much more
than he needed. Besides from thisSiddhartha's interest and curiosity
was only concerned with the peoplewhose businessescraftsworries
pleasuresand acts of foolishness used to be as alien and distant to
him as the moon. However easily he succeeded in talking to all of them
in living with all of themin learning from all of themhe was still
aware that there was something which separated him from them and this
separating factor was him being a Samana. He saw mankind going trough
life in a childlike or animallike mannerwhich he loved and also
despised at the same time. He saw them toilingsaw them suffering
and becoming gray for the sake of things which seemed to him to entirely
unworthy of this pricefor moneyfor little pleasuresfor being
slightly honouredhe saw them scolding and insulting each otherhe
saw them complaining about pain at which a Samana would only smileand
suffering because of deprivations which a Samana would not feel.

He was open to everythingthese people brought his way. Welcome was
the merchant who offered him linen for salewelcome was the debtor who
sought another loanwelcome was the beggar who told him for one hour
the story of his poverty and who was not half as poor as any given
Samana. He did not treat the rich foreign merchant any different than
the servant who shaved him and the street-vendor whom he let cheat him
out of some small change when buying bananas. When Kamaswami came to
himto complain about his worries or to reproach him concerning his
businesshe listened curiously and happilywas puzzled by himtried
to understand himconsented that he was a little bit rightonly as
much as he considered indispensableand turned away from himtowards
the next person who would ask for him. And there were many who came to
himmany to do business with himmany to cheat himmany to draw some
secret out of himmany to appeal to his sympathymany to get his
advice. He gave advicehe pitiedhe made giftshe let them cheat him
a bitand this entire game and the passion with which all people played
this game occupied his thoughts just as much as the gods and Brahmans
used to occupy them.

At times he feltdeep in his chesta dyingquiet voicewhich
admonished him quietlylamented quietly; he hardly perceived it. And
thenfor an hourhe became aware of the strange life he was leading
of him doing lots of things which were only a gameofthough being
happy and feeling joy at timesreal life still passing him by and not
touching him. As a ball-player plays with his ballshe played with
his business-dealswith the people around himwatched themfound
amusement in them; with his heartwith the source of his beinghe was
not with them. The source ran somewherefar away from himran and

ran invisiblyhad nothing to do with his life any more. And at several
times he suddenly became scared on account of such thoughts and wished
that he would also be gifted with the ability to participate in all of
this childlike-naive occupations of the daytime with passion and with
his heartreally to livereally to actreally to enjoy and to live
instead of just standing by as a spectator. But again and againhe
came back to beautiful Kamalalearned the art of lovepractised the
cult of lustin which more than in anything else giving and taking
becomes onechatted with herlearned from hergave her advice
received advice. She understood him better than Govinda used to
understand himshe was more similar to him.

Oncehe said to her: "You are like meyou are different from most
people. You are Kamalanothing elseand inside of youthere is a
peace and refugeto which you can go at every hour of the day and be
at home at yourselfas I can also do. Few people have thisand yet
all could have it."

Not all people are smart,said Kamala.

No,said Siddharthathat's not the reason why. Kamaswami is just as
smart as I, and still has no refuge in himself. Others have it, who are
small children with respect to their mind. Most people, Kamala, are
like a falling leaf, which is blown and is turning around through the
air, and wavers, and tumbles to the ground. But others, a few, are
like stars, they go on a fixed course, no wind reaches them, in
themselves they have their law and their course. Among all the learned
men and Samanas, of which I knew many, there was one of this kind, a
perfected one, I'll never be able to forget him. It is that Gotama,
the exalted one, who is spreading that teachings. Thousands of
followers are listening to his teachings every day, follow his
instructions every hour, but they are all falling leaves, not in
themselves they have teachings and a law.

Kamala looked at him with a smile. "Againyou're talking about him
she said, againyou're having a Samana's thoughts."

Siddhartha said nothingand they played the game of loveone of the
thirty or forty different games Kamala knew. Her body was flexible
like that of a jaguar and like the bow of a hunter; he who had learned
from her how to make lovewas knowledgeable of many forms of lustmany
secrets. For a long timeshe played with Siddharthaenticed him
rejected himforced himembraced him: enjoyed his masterful skills
until he was defeated and rested exhausted by her side.

The courtesan bent over himtook a long look at his faceat his eyes
which had grown tired.

You are the best lover,she said thoughtfullyI ever saw. You're
stronger than others, more supple, more willing. You've learned my art
well, Siddhartha. At some time, when I'll be older, I'd want to bear
your child. And yet, my dear, you've remained a Samana, and yet you
do not love me, you love nobody. Isn't it so?

It might very well be so,Siddhartha said tiredly. "I am like you.
You also do not love--how else could you practise love as a craft?
Perhapspeople of our kind can't love. The childlike people can;
that's their secret."


For a long timeSiddhartha had lived the life of the world and of lust
though without being a part of it. His senseswhich he had killed off
in hot years as a Samanahad awoken againhe had tasted richeshad
tasted lusthad tasted power; nevertheless he had still remained in his
heart for a long time a Samana; Kamalabeing smarthad realized this
quite right. It was still the art of thinkingof waitingof fasting
which guided his life; still the people of the worldthe childlike
peoplehad remained alien to him as he was alien to them.

Years passed by; surrounded by the good lifeSiddhartha hardly felt
them fading away. He had become richfor quite a while he possessed a
house of his own and his own servantsand a garden before the city by
the river. The people liked himthey came to himwhenever they needed
money or advicebut there was nobody close to himexcept Kamala.

That highbright state of being awakewhich he had experienced that
one time at the height of his youthin those days after Gotama's
sermonafter the separation from Govindathat tense expectationthat
proud state of standing alone without teachings and without teachers
that supple willingness to listen to the divine voice in his own heart
hat slowly become a memoryhad been fleeting; distant and quietthe
holy source murmuredwhich used to be nearwhich used to murmur within
himself. Neverthelessmany things he had learned from the Samanashe
had learned from Gotamahe had learned from his father the Brahman
had remained within him for a long time afterwards: moderate living
joy of thinkinghours of meditationsecret knowledge of the self
of his eternal entitywhich is neither body nor consciousness. Many
a part of this he still hadbut one part after another had been
submerged and had gathered dust. Just as a potter's wheelonce it has
been set in motionwill keep on turning for a long time and only slowly
lose its vigour and come to a stopthus Siddhartha's soul had kept on
turning the wheel of asceticismthe wheel of thinkingthe wheel of
differentiation for a long timestill turningbut it turned slowly and
hesitantly and was close to coming to a standstill. Slowlylike
humidity entering the dying stem of a treefilling it slowly and
making it rotthe world and sloth had entered Siddhartha's soul
slowly it filled his soulmade it heavymade it tiredput it to
sleep. On the other handhis senses had become alivethere was much
they had learnedmuch they had experienced.

Siddhartha had learned to tradeto use his power over peopleto enjoy
himself with a womanhe had learned to wear beautiful clothesto give
orders to servantsto bathe in perfumed waters. He had learned to eat
tenderly and carefully prepared foodeven fisheven meat and poultry
spices and sweetsand to drink winewhich causes sloth and
forgetfulness. He had learned to play with dice and on a chess-board
to watch dancing girlsto have himself carried about in a sedan-chair
to sleep on a soft bed. But still he had felt different from and
superior to the others; always he had watched them with some mockery
some mocking disdainwith the same disdain which a Samana constantly
feels for the people of the world. When Kamaswami was ailingwhen he
was annoyedwhen he felt insultedwhen he was vexed by his worries as
a merchantSiddhartha had always watched it with mockery. Just slowly
and imperceptiblyas the harvest seasons and rainy seasons passed by
his mockery had become more tiredhis superiority had become more
quiet. Just slowlyamong his growing richesSiddhartha had assumed
something of the childlike people's ways for himselfsomething of their
childlikeness and of their fearfulness. And yethe envied themenvied
them just the morethe more similar he became to them. He envied them
for the one thing that was missing from him and that they hadthe
importance they were able to attach to their livesthe amount of
passion in their joys and fearsthe fearful but sweet happiness of
being constantly in love. These people were all of the time in love
with themselveswith womenwith their childrenwith honours or money

with plans or hopes. But he did not learn this from themthis out of
all thingsthis joy of a child and this foolishness of a child; he
learned from them out of all things the unpleasant oneswhich he
himself despised. It happened more and more often thatin the morning
after having had company the night beforehe stayed in bed for a long
timefelt unable to think and tired. It happened that he became angry
and impatientwhen Kamaswami bored him with his worries. It happened
that he laughed just too loudwhen he lost a game of dice. His face
was still smarter and more spiritual than othersbut it rarely laughed
and assumedone after anotherthose features which are so often
found in the faces of rich peoplethose features of discontentof
sicklinessof ill-humourof slothof a lack of love. Slowly the
disease of the soulwhich rich people havegrabbed hold of him.

Like a veillike a thin misttiredness came over Siddharthaslowly
getting a bit denser every daya bit murkier every montha bit heavier
every year. As a new dress becomes old in timeloses its beautiful
colour in timegets stainsgets wrinklesgets worn off at the seams
and starts to show threadbare spots here and therethus Siddhartha's
new lifewhich he had started after his separation from Govindahad
grown oldlost colour and splendour as the years passed bywas
gathering wrinkles and stainsand hidden at bottomalready showing its
ugliness here and theredisappointment and disgust were waiting.
Siddhartha did not notice it. He only noticed that this bright and
reliable voice inside of himwhich had awoken in him at that time and
had ever guided him in his best timeshad become silent.

He had been captured by the worldby lustcovetousnessslothand
finally also by that vice which ha had used to despise and mock the
most as the most foolish one of all vices: greed. Property
possessionsand riches also had finally captured him; they were no
longer a game and trifles to himhad become a shackle and a burden.
On a strange and devious waySiddhartha had gotten into this final and
most base of all dependenciesby means of the game of dice. It was
since that timewhen he had stopped being a Samana in his heartthat
Siddhartha began to play the game for money and precious thingswhich
he at other times only joined with a smile and casually as a custom of
the childlike peoplewith an increasing rage and passion. He was a
feared gamblerfew dared to take him onso high and audacious were his
stakes. He played the game due to a pain of his heartlosing and
wasting his wretched money in the game brought him an angry joyin no
other way he could demonstrate his disdain for wealththe merchants'
false godmore clearly and more mockingly. Thus he gambled with high
stakes and mercilesslyhating himselfmocking himselfwon thousands
threw away thousandslost moneylost jewelrylost a house in the
countrywon againlost again. That fearthat terrible and petrifying
fearwhich he felt while he was rolling the dicewhile he was worried
about losing high stakesthat fear he loved and sought to always renew
italways increase italways get it to a slightly higher levelfor in
this feeling alone he still felt something like happinesssomething
like a intoxicationsomething like an elevated form of life in the
midst of his saturatedlukewarmdull life.

And after each big losshis mind was set on new richespursued the
trade more zealouslyforced his debtors more strictly to paybecause
he wanted to continue gamblinghe wanted to continue squandering
continue demonstrating his disdain of wealth. Siddhartha lost his
calmness when losses occurredlost his patience when he was not payed
on timelost his kindness towards beggarslost his disposition for
giving away and loaning money to those who petitioned him. Hewho
gambled away tens of thousands at one roll of the dice and laughed at
itbecame more strict and more petty in his businessoccasionally
dreaming at night about money! And whenever he woke up from this ugly
spellwhenever he found his face in the mirror at the bedroom's wall to

have aged and become more uglywhenever embarrassment and disgust came
over himhe continued fleeingfleeing into a new gamefleeing into a
numbing of his mind brought on by sexby wineand from there he fled
back into the urge to pile up and obtain possessions. In this pointless
cycle he rangrowing tiredgrowing oldgrowing ill.

Then the time came when a dream warned him. He had spend the hours of
the evening with Kamalain her beautiful pleasure-garden. They had
been sitting under the treestalkingand Kamala had said thoughtful
wordswords behind which a sadness and tiredness lay hidden. She had
asked him to tell her about Gotamaand could not hear enough of him
how clear his eyeshow still and beautiful his mouthhow kind his
smilehow peaceful his walk had been. For a long timehe had to tell
her about the exalted Buddhaand Kamala had sighed and had said: "One
dayperhaps soonI'll also follow that Buddha. I'll give him my
pleasure-garden for a gift and take my refuge in his teachings." But
after thisshe had aroused himand had tied him to her in the act
of making love with painful fervourbiting and in tearsas ifonce
moreshe wanted to squeeze the last sweet drop out of this vain
fleeting pleasure. Never beforeit had become so strangely clear to
Siddharthahow closely lust was akin to death. Then he had lain by
her sideand Kamala's face had been close to himand under her eyes
and next to the corners of her mouth he hadas clearly as never before
read a fearful inscriptionan inscription of small linesof slight
groovesan inscription reminiscent of autumn and old agejust as
Siddhartha himselfwho was only in his fortieshad already noticed
here and theregray hairs among his black ones. Tiredness was written
on Kamala's beautiful facetiredness from walking a long pathwhich
has no happy destinationtiredness and the beginning of withering
and concealedstill unsaidperhaps not even conscious anxiety: fear of
old agefear of the autumnfear of having to die. With a sighhe had
bid his farewell to herthe soul full of reluctanceand full of
concealed anxiety.

ThenSiddhartha had spent the night in his house with dancing girls
and winehad acted as if he was superior to them towards the
fellow-members of his castethough this was no longer truehad drunk
much wine and gone to bed a long time after midnightbeing tired and
yet excitedclose to weeping and despairand had for a long time
sought to sleep in vainhis heart full of misery which he thought he
could not bear any longerfull of a disgust which he felt penetrating
his entire body like the lukewarmrepulsive taste of the winethe
just too sweetdull musicthe just too soft smile of the dancing
girlsthe just too sweet scent of their hair and breasts. But more
than by anything elsehe was disgusted by himselfby his perfumed
hairby the smell of wine from his mouthby the flabby tiredness and
listlessness of his skin. Like when someonewho has eaten and drunk
far too muchvomits it back up again with agonising pain and is
nevertheless glad about the reliefthus this sleepless man wished to
free himself of these pleasuresthese habits and all of this pointless
life and himselfin an immense burst of disgust. Not until the light
of the morning and the beginning of the first activities in the street
before his city-househe had slightly fallen asleephad found for a
few moments a half unconsciousnessa hint of sleep. In those moments
he had a dream:

Kamala owned a smallrare singing bird in a golden cage. Of this bird
he dreamt. He dreamt: this bird had become mutewho at other times
always used to sing in the morningand since this arose his attention
he stepped in front of the cage and looked inside; there the small bird
was dead and lay stiff on the ground. He took it outweighed it for a
moment in his handand then threw it awayout in the streetand in
the same momenthe felt terribly shockedand his heart hurtas if he
had thrown away from himself all value and everything good by throwing

out this dead bird.

Starting up from this dreamhe felt encompassed by a deep sadness.
Worthlessso it seemed to himworthless and pointless was the way he
had been going through life; nothing which was alivenothing which was
is some way delicious or worth keeping he had left in his hands. Alone
he stood there and empty like a castaway on the shore.

With a gloomy mindSiddhartha went to the pleasure-garden he owned
locked the gatesat down under a mango-treefelt death in his heart
and horror in his chestsat and sensed how everything died in him
withered in himcame to an end in him. By and byhe gathered his
thoughtsand in his mindhe once again went the entire path of his
lifestarting with the first days he could remember. When was there
ever a time when he had experienced happinessfelt a true bliss? Oh
yesseveral times he had experienced such a thing. In his years as a
boyhe has had a taste of itwhen he had obtained praise from the
Brahmanshe had felt it in his heart: "There is a path in front of
the one who has distinguished himself in the recitation

{It seems to meas if there are a few words missing from

the German textwhich I can only guess. My guess isthat

it should read: Ein Weg liegt vor demder sich im Hersagen

der heiligen Verse...}

of the holy versesin the dispute with the learned onesas an
assistant in the offerings." Thenhe had felt it in his heart: "There
is a path in front of youyou are destined forthe gods are awaiting
you." And againas a young manwhen the ever risingupward fleeing
goal of all thinking had ripped him out of and up from the multitude of
those seeking the same goalwhen he wrestled in pain for the purpose of
Brahmanwhen every obtained knowledge only kindled new thirst in him
then again he hadin the midst of the thirstin the midst of the pain
felt this very same thing: "Go on! Go on! You are called upon!" He
had heard this voice when he had left his home and had chosen the life
of a Samanaand again when he had gone away from the Samanas to that
perfected oneand also when he had gone away from him to the uncertain.
For how long had he not heard this voice any morefor how long had he
reached no height any morehow even and dull was the manner in which
his path had passed through lifefor many long yearswithout a high
goalwithout thirstwithout elevationcontent with small lustful
pleasures and yet never satisfied! For all of these many yearswithout
knowing it himselfhe had tried hard and longed to become a man like
those manylike those childrenand in all thishis life had been
much more miserable and poorer than theirsand their goals were not
hisnor their worries; after allthat entire world of the
Kamaswami-people had only been a game to hima dance he would watcha
comedy. Only Kamala had been dearhad been valuable to him--but was
she still thus? Did he still need heror she him? Did they not play
a game without an ending? Was it necessary to live for this? Noit
was not necessary! The name of this game was Sansaraa game for
childrena game which was perhaps enjoyable to play oncetwiceten
times--but for ever and ever over again?

ThenSiddhartha knew that the game was overthat he could not play it
any more. Shivers ran over his bodyinside of himso he felt
something had died.

That entire dayhe sat under the mango-treethinking of his father
thinking of Govindathinking of Gotama. Did he have to leave them to
become a Kamaswami? He still sat therewhen the night had fallen.
Whenlooking uphe caught sight of the starshe thought: "Here I'm
sitting under my mango-treein my pleasure-garden." He smiled a little
--was it really necessarywas it rightwas it not as foolish game

that he owned a mango-treethat he owned a garden?

He also put an end to thisthis also died in him. He rosebid his
farewell to the mango-treehis farewell to the pleasure-garden. Since
he had been without food this dayhe felt strong hungerand thought
of his house in the cityof his chamber and bedof the table with the
meals on it. He smiled tiredlyshook himselfand bid his farewell to
these things.

In the same hour of the nightSiddhartha left his gardenleft the
cityand never came back. For a long timeKamaswami had people look
for himthinking that he had fallen into the hands of robbers. Kamala
had no one look for him. When she was told that Siddhartha had
disappearedshe was not astonished. Did she not always expect it? Was
he not a Samanaa man who was at home nowherea pilgrim? And most of
allshe had felt this the last time they had been togetherand she was
happyin spite of all the pain of the lossthat she had pulled him so
affectionately to her heart for this last timethat she had felt one
more time to be so completely possessed and penetrated by him.

When she received the first news of Siddhartha's disappearanceshe went
to the windowwhere she held a rare singing bird captive in a golden
cage. She opened the door of the cagetook the bird out and let it
fly. For a long timeshe gazed after itthe flying bird. From this
day onshe received no more visitors and kept her house locked. But
after some timeshe became aware that she was pregnant from the last
time she was together with Siddhartha.


Siddhartha walked through the forestwas already far from the cityand
knew nothing but that one thingthat there was no going back for him
that this lifeas he had lived it for many years until nowwas over
and done away withand that he had tasted all of itsucked everything
out of it until he was disgusted with it. Dead was the singing birdhe
had dreamt of. Dead was the bird in his heart. Deeplyhe had been
entangled in Sansarahe had sucked up disgust and death from all sides
into his bodylike a sponge sucks up water until it is full. And full
he wasfull of the feeling of been sick of itfull of miseryfull of
deaththere was nothing left in this world which could have attracted
himgiven him joygiven him comfort.

Passionately he wished to know nothing about himself anymoreto have
restto be dead. If there only was a lightning-bolt to strike him
dead! If there only was a tiger a devour him! If there only was a
winea poison which would numb his sensesbring him forgetfulness and
sleepand no awakening from that! Was there still any kind of filth
he had not soiled himself witha sin or foolish act he had not
committeda dreariness of the soul he had not brought upon himself?
Was it still at all possible to be alive? Was it possibleto breathe
in again and againto breathe outto feel hungerto eat againto
sleep againto sleep with a woman again? Was this cycle not exhausted
and brought to a conclusion for him?

Siddhartha reached the large river in the forestthe same river over
which a long time agowhen he had still been a young man and came from
the town of Gotamaa ferryman had conducted him. By this river he
stoppedhesitantly he stood at the bank. Tiredness and hunger had
weakened himand whatever for should he walk onwherever toto which
goal? Nothere were no more goalsthere was nothing left but the
deeppainful yearning to shake off this whole desolate dreamto spit

out this stale wineto put an end to this miserable and shameful life.

A hang bent over the bank of the rivera coconut-tree; Siddhartha
leaned against its trunk with his shoulderembraced the trunk with one
armand looked down into the green waterwhich ran and ran under him
looked down and found himself to be entirely filled with the wish to
let go and to drown in these waters. A frightening emptiness was
reflected back at him by the wateranswering to the terrible emptiness
in his soul. Yeshe had reached the end. There was nothing left for
himexcept to annihilate himselfexcept to smash the failure into
which he had shaped his lifeto throw it awaybefore the feet of
mockingly laughing gods. This was the great vomiting he had longed for:
deaththe smashing to bits of the form he hated! Let him be food for
fishesthis dog Siddharthathis lunaticthis depraved and rotten
bodythis weakened and abused soul! Let him be food for fishes and
crocodileslet him be chopped to bits by the daemons!

With a distorted facehe stared into the watersaw the reflection of
his face and spit at it. In deep tirednesshe took his arm away from
the trunk of the tree and turned a bitin order to let himself fall
straight downin order to finally drown. With his eyes closedhe
slipped towards death.

Thenout of remote areas of his soulout of past times of his now
weary lifea sound stirred up. It was a worda syllablewhich he
without thinkingwith a slurred voicespoke to himselfthe old word
which is the beginning and the end of all prayers of the Brahmansthe
holy "Om"which roughly means "that what is perfect" or "the
completion". And in the moment when the sound of "Om" touched
Siddhartha's earhis dormant spirit suddenly woke up and realized the
foolishness of his actions.

Siddhartha was deeply shocked. So this was how things were with him
so doomed was heso much he had lost his way and was forsaken by all
knowledgethat he had been able to seek deaththat this wishthis
wish of a childhad been ale to grow in him: to find rest by
annihilating his body! What all agony of these recent timesall
sobering realizationsall desperation had not brought aboutthis was
brought on by this momentwhen the Om entered his consciousness: he
became aware of himself in his misery and in his error.

Om! he spoke to himself: Om! and again he knew about Brahmanknew
about the indestructibility of lifeknew about all that is divine
which he had forgotten.

But this was only a momentflash. By the foot of the coconut-tree
Siddhartha collapsedstruck down by tirednessmumbling Omplaced his
head on the root of the tree and fell into a deep sleep.

Deep was his sleep and without dreamsfor a long time he had not known
such a sleep any more. When he woke up after many hourshe felt as if
ten years had passedhe heard the water quietly flowingdid not know
where he was and who had brought him hereopened his eyessaw with
astonishment that there were trees and the sky above himand he
remembered where he was and how he got here. But it took him a long
while for thisand the past seemed to him as if it had been covered by
a veilinfinitely distantinfinitely far awayinfinitely meaningless.
He only knew that his previous life (in the first moment when he thought
about itthis past life seemed to him like a very oldprevious
incarnationlike an early pre-birth of his present self)--that his
previous life had been abandoned by himthatfull of disgust and
wretchednesshe had even intended to throw his life awaybut that by a
riverunder a coconut-treehe has come to his sensesthe holy word
Om on his lipsthat then he had fallen asleep and had now woken up and

was looking at the world as a new man. Quietlyhe spoke the word Om to
himselfspeaking which he had fallen asleepand it seemed to him as if
his entire long sleep had been nothing but a long meditative recitation
of Oma thinking of Oma submergence and complete entering into Om
into the namelessthe perfected.

What a wonderful sleep had this been! Never before by sleephe had
been thus refreshedthus renewedthus rejuvenated! Perhapshe had
really diedhad drowned and was reborn in a new body? But nohe knew
himselfhe knew his hand and his feetknew the place where he lay
knew this self in his chestthis Siddharthathe eccentricthe weird
onebut this Siddhartha was nevertheless transformedwas renewed
was strangely well restedstrangely awakejoyful and curious.

Siddhartha straightened upthen he saw a person sitting opposite to him
an unknown mana monk in a yellow robe with a shaven headsitting in
the position of pondering. He observed the manwho had neither hair
on his head nor a beardand he had not observed him for long when he
recognised this monk as Govindathe friend of his youthGovinda who
had taken his refuge with the exalted Buddha. Govinda had agedhe too
but still his face bore the same featuresexpressed zealfaithfulness
searchingtimidness. But when Govinda nowsensing his gazeopened
his eyes and looked at himSiddhartha saw that Govinda did not
recognise him. Govinda was happy to find him awake; apparentlyhe had
been sitting here for a long time and been waiting for him to wake up
though he did not know him.

I have been sleeping,said Siddhartha. "However did you get here?"

You have been sleeping,answered Govinda. "It is not good to be
sleeping in such placeswhere snakes often are and the animals of the
forest have their paths. Ioh siram a follower of the exalted
Gotamathe Buddhathe Sakyamuniand have been on a pilgrimage
together with several of us on this pathwhen I saw you lying and
sleeping in a place where it is dangerous to sleep. ThereforeI sought
to wake you upoh sirand since I saw that your sleep was very deep
I stayed behind from my group and sat with you. And thenso it seems
I have fallen asleep myselfI who wanted to guard your sleep. Badly
I have served youtiredness has overwhelmed me. But now that you're
awakelet me go to catch up with my brothers."

I thank you, Samana, for watching out over my sleep,spoke Siddhartha.
You're friendly, you followers of the exalted one. Now you may go

I'm going, sir. May you, sir, always be in good health.

I thank you, Samana.

Govinda made the gesture of a salutation and said: "Farewell."

Farewell, Govinda,said Siddhartha.

The monk stopped.

Permit me to ask, sir, from where do you know my name?

NowSiddhartha smiled.

I know you, oh Govinda, from your father's hut, and from the school
of the Brahmans, and from the offerings, and from our walk to the
Samanas, and from that hour when you took your refuge with the exalted
one in the grove Jetavana.

You're Siddhartha,Govinda exclaimed loudly. NowI'm recognising
youand don't comprehend any more how I couldn't recognise you right
away. Be welcomeSiddharthamy joy is greatto see you again."

It also gives me joy, to see you again. You've been the guard of my
sleep, again I thank you for this, though I wouldn't have required any
guard. Where are you going to, oh friend?

I'm going nowhere. We monks are always travelling, whenever it is not
the rainy season, we always move from one place to another, live
according to the rules if the teachings passed on to us, accept alms,
move on. It is always like this. But you, Siddhartha, where are you
going to?

Quoth Siddhartha: "With me toofriendit is as it is with you. I'm
going nowhere. I'm just travelling. I'm on a pilgrimage."

Govinda spoke: "You're saying: you're on a pilgrimageand I believe in
you. Butforgive meoh Siddharthayou do not look like a pilgrim.
You're wearing a rich man's garmentsyou're wearing the shoes of a
distinguished gentlemanand your hairwith the fragrance of perfume
is not a pilgrim's hairnot the hair of a Samana."

Right so, my dear, you have observed well, your keen eyes see
everything. But I haven't said to you that I was a Samana. I said:
I'm on a pilgrimage. And so it is: I'm on a pilgrimage.

You're on a pilgrimage,said Govinda. "But few would go on a
pilgrimage in such clothesfew in such shoesfew with such hair.
Never I have met such a pilgrimbeing a pilgrim myself for many years."

I believe you, my dear Govinda. But now, today, you've met a pilgrim
just like this, wearing such shoes, such a garment. Remember, my dear:
Not eternal is the world of appearances, not eternal, anything but
eternal are our garments and the style of our hair, and our hair and
bodies themselves. I'm wearing a rich man's clothes, you've seen this
quite right. I'm wearing them, because I have been a rich man, and I'm
wearing my hair like the worldly and lustful people, for I have been
one of them.

And now, Siddhartha, what are you now?

I don't know it, I don't know it just like you. I'm travelling. I was
a rich man and am no rich man any more, and what I'll be tomorrow, I
don't know.

You've lost your riches?

I've lost them or they me. They somehow happened to slip away from me.
The wheel of physical manifestations is turning quickly, Govinda. Where
is Siddhartha the Brahman? Where is Siddhartha the Samana? Where is
Siddhartha the rich man? Non-eternal things change quickly, Govinda,
you know it.

Govinda looked at the friend of his youth for a long timewith doubt in
his eyes. After thathe gave him the salutation which one would use
on a gentleman and went on his way.

With a smiling faceSiddhartha watched him leavehe loved him still
this faithful manthis fearful man. And how could he not have loved
everybody and everything in this momentin the glorious hour after his
wonderful sleepfilled with Om! The enchantmentwhich had happened
inside of him in his sleep and by means of the Omwas this very thing
that he loved everythingthat he was full of joyful love for everything

he saw. And it was this very thingso it seemed to him nowwhich had
been his sickness beforethat he was not able to love anybody or

With a smiling faceSiddhartha watched the leaving monk. The sleep had
strengthened him muchbut hunger gave him much painfor by now he had
not eaten for two daysand the times were long past when he had been
tough against hunger. With sadnessand yet also with a smilehe
thought of that time. In those daysso he rememberedhe had boasted
of three three things to Kamalahad been able to do three noble and
undefeatable feats: fasting--waiting--thinking. These had been his
possessionhis power and strengthhis solid staff; in the busy
laborious years of his youthhe had learned these three featsnothing
else. And nowthey had abandoned himnone of them was his any more
neither fastingnor waitingnor thinking. For the most wretched
thingshe had given them upfor what fades most quicklyfor sensual
lustfor the good lifefor riches! His life had indeed been strange.
And nowso it seemednow he had really become a childlike person.

Siddhartha thought about his situation. Thinking was hard on himhe
did not really feel like itbut he forced himself.

Nowhe thoughtsince all theses most easily perishing things have
slipped from me againnow I'm standing here under the sun again just as
I have been standing here a little childnothing is mineI have no
abilitiesthere is nothing I could bring aboutI have learned nothing.
How wondrous is this! Nowthat I'm no longer youngthat my hair is
already half graythat my strength is fadingnow I'm starting again
at the beginning and as a child! Againhe had to smile. Yeshis fate
had been strange! Things were going downhill with himand now he was
again facing the world void and naked and stupid. But he could not feed
sad about thisnohe even felt a great urge to laughto laugh about
himselfto laugh about this strangefoolish world.

Things are going downhill with you!he said to himselfand laughed
about itand as he was saying ithe happened to glance at the river
and he also saw the river going downhillalways moving on downhill
and singing and being happy through it all. He liked this wellkindly
he smiled at the river. Was this not the river in which he had intended
to drown himselfin past timesa hundred years agoor had he dreamed

Wondrous indeed was my lifeso he thoughtwondrous detours it has
taken. As I boyI had only to do with gods and offerings. As a youth
I had only to do with asceticismwith thinking and meditationwas
searching for Brahmanworshipped the eternal in the Atman. But as a
young manI followed the penitentslived in the forestsuffered of
heat and frostlearned to hungertaught my body to become dead.
Wonderfullysoon afterwardsinsight came towards me in the form of the
great Buddha's teachingsI felt the knowledge of the oneness of the
world circling in me like my own blood. But I also had to leave Buddha
and the great knowledge. I went and learned the art of love with
Kamalalearned trading with Kamaswamipiled up moneywasted money
learned to love my stomachlearned to please my senses. I had to spend
many years losing my spiritto unlearn thinking againto forget the
oneness. Isn't it just as if I had turned slowly and on a long detour
from a man into a childfrom a thinker into a childlike person? And
yetthis path has been very good; and yetthe bird in my chest has
not died. But what a path has this been! I had to pass through so much
stupiditythrough so much vicesthrough so many errorsthrough so
much disgust and disappointments and woejust to become a child again
and to be able to start over. But it was right somy heart says "Yes"
to itmy eyes smile to it. I've had to experience despairI've had to
sink down to the most foolish one of all thoughtsto the thought of

suicidein order to be able to experience divine graceto hear Om
againto be able to sleep properly and awake properly again. I had to
become a foolto find Atman in me again. I had to sinto be able to
live again. Where else might my path lead me to? It is foolishthis
pathit moves in loopsperhaps it is going around in a circle. Let
it go as it likesI want to to take it.

Wonderfullyhe felt joy rolling like waves in his chest.

Wherever fromhe asked his heartwhere from did you get this
happiness? Might it come from that longgood sleepwhich has done me
so good? Or from the word Omwhich I said? Or from the fact that I
have escapedthat I have completely fledthat I am finally free again
and am standing like a child under the sky? Oh how good is it to have
fledto have become free! How clean and beautiful is the air herehow
good to breathe! Therewhere I ran away fromthere everything smelled
of ointmentsof spicesof wineof excessof sloth. How did I hate
this world of the richof those who revel in fine foodof the
gamblers! How did I hate myself for staying in this terrible world for
so long! How did I hate myselfhave deprivepoisonedtortured
myselfhave made myself old and evil! Nonever again I willas I
used to like doing so muchdelude myself into thinking that Siddhartha
was wise! But this one thing I have done wellthis I likethis I must
praisethat there is now an end to that hatred against myselfto that
foolish and dreary life! I praise youSiddharthaafter so many years
of foolishnessyou have once again had an ideahave done something
have heard the bird in your chest singing and have followed it!

Thus he praised himselffound joy in himselflistened curiously to his
stomachwhich was rumbling with hunger. He had nowso he feltin
these recent times and dayscompletely tasted and spit outdevoured up
to the point of desperation and deatha piece of sufferinga piece of
misery. Like thisit was good. For much longerhe could have stayed
with Kamaswamimade moneywasted moneyfilled his stomachand let
his soul die of thirst; for much longer he could have lived in this
softwell upholstered hellif this had not happened: the moment of
complete hopelessness and despairthat most extreme momentwhen he
hang over the rushing waters and was ready to destroy himself. That he
had felt this despairthis deep disgustand that he had not succumbed
to itthat the birdthe joyful source and voice in him was still alive
after allthis was why he felt joythis was why he laughedthis was
why his face was smiling brightly under his hair which had turned gray.

It is good,he thoughtto get a taste of everything for oneself,
which one needs to know. That lust for the world and riches do not
belong to the good things, I have already learned as a child. I have
known it for a long time, but I have experienced only now. And now I
know it, don't just know it in my memory, but in my eyes, in my heart,
in my stomach. Good for me, to know this!

For a long timehe pondered his transformationlistened to the bird
as it sang for joy. Had not this bird died in himhad he not felt its
death? Nosomething else from within him had diedsomething which
already for a long time had yearned to die. Was it not this what he
used to intend to kill in his ardent years as a penitent? Was this not
his selfhis smallfrightenedand proud selfhe had wrestled with
for so many yearswhich had defeated him again and againwhich was
back again after every killingprohibited joyfelt fear? Was it not
thiswhich today had finally come to its deathhere in the forestby
this lovely river? Was it not due to this deaththat he was now like
a childso full of trustso without fearso full of joy?

Now Siddhartha also got some idea of why he had fought this self in
vain as a Brahmanas a penitent. Too much knowledge had held him

backtoo many holy versestoo many sacrificial rulesto much
self-castigationso much doing and striving for that goal! Full of
arrogancehe had beenalways the smartestalways working the most
always one step ahead of all othersalways the knowing and spiritual
onealways the priest or wise one. Into being a priestinto this
arroganceinto this spiritualityhis self had retreatedthere it sat
firmly and grewwhile he thought he would kill it by fasting and
penance. Now he saw it and saw that the secret voice had been right
that no teacher would ever have been able to bring about his salvation.
Thereforehe had to go out into the worldlose himself to lust and
powerto woman and moneyhad to become a merchanta dice-gamblera
drinkerand a greedy personuntil the priest and Samana in him was
dead. Thereforehe had to continue bearing these ugly yearsbearing
the disgustthe emptinessthe pointlessness of a dreary and
wasted life up to the endup to bitter despairuntil Siddhartha the
lustfulSiddhartha the greedy could also die. He had dieda new
Siddhartha had woken up from the sleep. He would also grow oldhe
would also eventually have to diemortal was Siddharthamortal was
every physical form. But today he was youngwas a childthe new
Siddharthaand was full of joy.

He thought these thoughtslistened with a smile to his stomach
listened gratefully to a buzzing bee. Cheerfullyhe looked into the
rushing rivernever before he had like a water so well as this one
never before he had perceived the voice and the parable of the moving
water thus strongly and beautifully. It seemed to himas if the river
had something special to tell himsomething he did not know yetwhich
was still awaiting him. In this riverSiddhartha had intended to
drown himselfin it the oldtireddesperate Siddhartha had drowned
today. But the new Siddhartha felt a deep love for this rushing water
and decided for himselfnot to leave it very soon.


By this river I want to staythought Siddharthait is the same which
I have crossed a long time ago on my way to the childlike peoplea
friendly ferryman had guided me thenhe is the one I want to go to
starting out from his hutmy path had led me at that time into a new
lifewhich had now grown old and is dead--my present pathmy present
new lifeshall also take its start there!

Tenderlyhe looked into the rushing waterinto the transparent green
into the crystal lines of its drawingso rich in secrets. Bright
pearls he saw rising from the deepquiet bubbles of air floating on
the reflecting surfacethe blue of the sky being depicted in it. With
a thousand eyesthe river looked at himwith green oneswith white
oneswith crystal oneswith sky-blue ones. How did he love this
waterhow did it delight himhow grateful was he to it! In his heart
he heard the voice talkingwhich was newly awakingand it told him:
Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yeshe wanted to
learn from ithe wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this
water and its secretsso it seemed to himwould also understand many
other thingsmany secretsall secrets.

But out of all secrets of the riverhe today only saw onethis one
touched his soul. He saw: this water ran and ranincessantly it ran
and was nevertheless always therewas always an at all times the same
and yet new in every moment! Great be he who would grasp this
understand this! He understood and grasped it notonly felt some idea
of it stirringa distant memorydivine voices.

Siddhartha rosethe workings of hunger in his body became unbearable.
In a daze he walked onup the path by the bankup river
listened to the currentlistened to the rumbling hunger in his body.

When he reached the ferrythe boat was just readyand the same
ferryman who had once transported the young Samana across the river
stood in the boatSiddhartha recognised himhe had also aged very

Would you like to ferry me over?he asked.

The ferrymanbeing astonished to see such an elegant man walking along
and on foottook him into his boat and pushed it off the bank.

It's a beautiful life you have chosen for yourself,the passenger
spoke. "It must be beautiful to live by this water every day and to
cruise on it."

With a smilethe man at the oar moved from side to side: "It is
beautifulsirit is as you say. But isn't every lifeisn't every
work beautiful?"

This may be true. But I envy you for yours.

Ah, you would soon stop enjoying it. This is nothing for people
wearing fine clothes.

Siddhartha laughed. "Once beforeI have been looked upon today because
of my clothesI have been looked upon with distrust. Wouldn't you
ferrymanlike to accept these clotheswhich are a nuisance to me
from me? For you must knowI have no money to pay your fare."

You're joking, sir,the ferryman laughed.

I'm not joking, friend. Behold, once before you have ferried me across
this water in your boat for the immaterial reward of a good deed. Thus,
do it today as well, and accept my clothes for it.

And do you, sir, intent to continue travelling without clothes?

Ah, most of all I wouldn't want to continue travelling at all. Most of
all I would like you, ferryman, to give me an old loincloth and kept me
with you as your assistant, or rather as your trainee, for I'll have to
learn first how to handle the boat.

For a long timethe ferryman looked at the strangersearching.

Now I recognise you,he finally said. "At one timeyou've slept in
my hutthis was a long time agopossibly more than twenty years ago
and you've been ferried across the river by meand we parted like good
friends. Haven't you've been a Samana? I can't think of your name any

My name is Siddhartha, and I was a Samana, when you've last seen me.

So be welcome, Siddhartha. My name is Vasudeva.You willso I hope
be my guest today as well and sleep in my hutand tell mewhere you're
coming from and why these beautiful clothes are such a nuisance to you."

They had reached the middle of the riverand Vasudeva pushed the oar
with more strengthin order to overcome the current. He worked calmly
his eyes fixed in on the front of the boatwith brawny arms.
Siddhartha sat and watched himand rememberedhow once beforeon that
last day of his time as a Samanalove for this man had stirred in his

heart. Gratefullyhe accepted Vasudeva's invitation. When they had
reached the bankhe helped him to tie the boat to the stakes; after
thisthe ferryman asked him to enter the hutoffered him bread and
waterand Siddhartha ate with eager pleasureand also ate with eager
pleasure of the mango fruitsVasudeva offered him.

Afterwardsit was almost the time of the sunsetthey sat on a log by
the bankand Siddhartha told the ferryman about where he originally
came from and about his lifeas he had seen it before his eyes today
in that hour of despair. Until late at nightlasted his tale.

Vasudeva listened with great attention. Listening carefullyhe let
everything enter his mindbirthplace and childhoodall that learning
all that searchingall joyall distress. This was among the
ferryman's virtues one of the greatest: like only a fewhe knew how
to listen. Without him having spoken a wordthe speaker sensed how
Vasudeva let his words enter his mindquietopenwaitinghow he
did not lose a single oneawaited not a single one with impatience
did not add his praise or rebukewas just listening. Siddhartha felt
what a happy fortune it isto confess to such a listenerto burry in
his heart his own lifehis own searchhis own suffering.

But in the end of Siddhartha's talewhen he spoke of the tree by the
riverand of his deep fallof the holy Omand how he had felt such
a love for the river after his slumberthe ferryman listened with twice
the attentionentirely and completely absorbed by itwith his eyes

But when Siddhartha fell silentand a long silence had occurredthen
Vasudeva said: "It is as I thought. The river has spoken to you. It
is your friend as wellit speaks to you as well. That is goodthat is
very good. Stay with meSiddharthamy friend. I used to have a wife
her bed was next to minebut she has died a long time agofor a long
timeI have lived alone. Nowyou shall live with methere is space
and food for both."

I thank you,said SiddharthaI thank you and accept. And I also
thank you for this, Vasudeva, for listening to me so well! These people
are rare who know how to listen. And I did not meet a single one who
knew it as well as you did. I will also learn in this respect from

You will learn it,spoke Vasudevabut not from me. The river has
taught me to listen, from it you will learn it as well. It knows
everything, the river, everything can be learned from it. See, you've
already learned this from the water too, that it is good to strive
downwards, to sink, to seek depth. The rich and elegant Siddhartha is
becoming an oarsman's servant, the learned Brahman Siddhartha becomes a
ferryman: this has also been told to you by the river. You'll learn
that other thing from it as well.

Quoth Siddhartha after a long pause: "What other thingVasudeva?"

Vasudeva rose. "It is late he said, let's go to sleep. I can't
tell you that other thingoh friend. You'll learn itor perhaps you
know it already. SeeI'm no learned manI have no special skill in
speakingI also have no special skill in thinking. All I'm able to do
is to listen and to be godlyI have learned nothing else. If I was
able to say and teach itI might be a wise manbut like this I am only
a ferrymanand it is my task to ferry people across the river. I have
transported manythousands; and to all of themmy river has been
nothing but an obstacle on their travels. They travelled to seek money
and businessand for weddingsand on pilgrimagesand the river was
obstructing their pathand the ferryman's job was to get them quickly

across that obstacle. But for some among thousandsa fewfour or
fivethe river has stopped being an obstaclethey have heard its
voicethey have listened to itand the river has become sacred to
themas it has become sacred to me. Let's rest nowSiddhartha."

Siddhartha stayed with the ferryman and learned to operate the boatand
when there was nothing to do at the ferryhe worked with Vasudeva in
the rice-fieldgathered woodplucked the fruit off the banana-trees.
He learned to build an oarand learned to mend the boatand to weave
basketsand was joyful because of everything he learnedand the days
and months passed quickly. But more than Vasudeva could teach himhe
was taught by the river. Incessantlyhe learned from it. Most of all
he learned from it to listento pay close attention with a quiet heart
with a waitingopened soulwithout passionwithout a wishwithout
judgementwithout an opinion.

In a friendly mannerhe lived side by side with Vasudevaand
occasionally they exchanged some wordsfew and at length thought about
words. Vasudeva was no friend of words; rarelySiddhartha succeeded
in persuading him to speak.

Did you,so he asked him at one timedid you too learn that secret
from the river: that there is no time?

Vasudeva's face was filled with a bright smile.

Yes, Siddhartha,he spoke. "It is this what you meanisn't it: that
the river is everywhere at onceat the source and at the mouthat the
waterfallat the ferryat the rapidsin the seain the mountains
everywhere at onceand that there is only the present time for itnot
the shadow of the pastnot the shadow of the future?"

This it is,said Siddhartha. "And when I had learned itI looked at
my lifeand it was also a riverand the boy Siddhartha was only
separated from the man Siddhartha and from the old man Siddhartha by a
shadownot by something real. AlsoSiddhartha's previous births were
no pastand his death and his return to Brahma was no future. Nothing
wasnothing will be; everything iseverything has existence and is

Siddhartha spoke with ecstasy; deeplythis enlightenment had delighted
him. Ohwas not all suffering timewere not all forms of tormenting
oneself and being afraid timewas not everything hardeverything
hostile in the world gone and overcome as soon as one had overcome time
as soon as time would have been put out of existence by one's thoughts?
In ecstatic delighthe had spokenbut Vasudeva smiled at him brightly
and nodded in confirmation.silently he noddedbrushed his hand over
Siddhartha's shoulderturned back to his work.

And once againwhen the river had just increased its flow in the rainy
season and made a powerful noisethen said Siddhartha: "Isn't it so
oh friendthe river has many voicesvery many voices? Hasn't it the
voice of a kingand of a warriorand of a bulland of a bird of the
nightand of a woman giving birthand of a sighing manand a thousand
other voices more?"

So it is,Vasudeva noddedall voices of the creatures are in its

And do you know,Siddhartha continuedwhat word it speaks, when you
succeed in hearing all of its ten thousand voices at once?

HappilyVasudeva's face was smilinghe bent over to Siddhartha and
spoke the holy Om into his ear. And this had been the very thing which

Siddhartha had also been hearing.

And time after timehis smile became more similar to the ferryman's
became almost just as brightalmost just as throughly glowing with
blissjust as shining out of thousand small wrinklesjust as alike to
a child'sjust as alike to an old man's. Many travellersseeing the
two ferrymenthought they were brothers. Oftenthey sat in the
evening together by the bank on the logsaid nothing and both listened
to the waterwhich was no water to thembut the voice of lifethe
voice of what existsof what is eternally taking shape. And it
happened from time to time that bothwhen listening to the river
thought of the same thingsof a conversation from the day before
yesterdayof one of their travellersthe face and fate of whom had
occupied their thoughtsof deathof their childhoodand that they
both in the same momentwhen the river had been saying something good
to themlooked at each otherboth thinking precisely the same thing
both delighted about the same answer to the same question.

There was something about this ferry and the two ferrymen which was
transmitted to otherswhich many of the travellers felt. It happened
occasionally that a travellerafter having looked at the face of one of
the ferrymenstarted to tell the story of his lifetold about pains
confessed evil thingsasked for comfort and advice. It happened
occasionally that someone asked for permission to stay for a night with
them to listen to the river. It also happened that curious people came
who had been told that there were two wise menor sorcerersor holy
men living by that ferry. The curious people asked many questionsbut
they got no answersand they found neither sorcerers nor wise menthey
only found two friendly little old menwho seemed to be mute and to
have become a bit strange and gaga. And the curious people laughed and
were discussing how foolishly and gullibly the common people were
spreading such empty rumours.

The years passed byand nobody counted them. Thenat one timemonks
came by on a pilgrimagefollowers of Gotamathe Buddhawho were
asking to be ferried across the riverand by them the ferrymen were
told that they were were most hurriedly walking back to their great
teacherfor the news had spread the exalted one was deadly sick and
would soon die his last human deathin order to become one with the
salvation. It was not longuntil a new flock of monks came along on
their pilgrimageand another oneand the monks as well as most of the
other travellers and people walking through the land spoke of nothing
else than of Gotama and his impending death. And as people are flocking
from everywhere and from all sideswhen they are going to war or to the
coronation of a kingand are gathering like ants in drovesthus they
flockedlike being drawn on by a magic spellto where the great Buddha
was awaiting his deathwhere the huge event was to take place and the
great perfected one of an era was to become one with the glory.

OftenSiddhartha thought in those days of the dying wise manthe
great teacherwhose voice had admonished nations and had awoken
hundreds of thousandswhose voice he had also once heardwhose holy
face he had also once seen with respect. Kindlyhe thought of himsaw
his path to perfection before his eyesand remembered with a smile
those words which he had onceas a young mansaid to himthe exalted
one. They had beenso it seemed to himproud and precocious words;
with a smilehe remembered them. For a long time he knew that there
was nothing standing between Gotama and him any morethough he was
still unable to accept his teachings. Nothere was no teaching a
truly searching personsomeone who truly wanted to findcould accept.
But he who had foundhe could approve of any teachingsevery path
every goalthere was nothing standing between him and all the other
thousand any more who lived in that what is eternalwho breathed what
is divine.

On one of these dayswhen so many went on a pilgrimage to the dying
BuddhaKamala also went to himwho used to be the most beautiful of
the courtesans. A long time agoshe had retired from her previous
lifehad given her garden to the monks of Gotama as a gifthad taken
her refuge in the teachingswas among the friends and benefactors of
the pilgrims. Together with Siddhartha the boyher sonshe had gone
on her way due to the news of the near death of Gotamain simple
clotheson foot. With her little sonshe was travelling by the river;
but the boy had soon grown tireddesired to go back homedesired to
restdesired to eatbecame disobedient and started whining.

Kamala often hat to take a rest with himhe was accustomed to having
his way against hershe had to feed himhad to comfort himhad to
scold him. He did not comprehend why he had to to go on this exhausting
and sad pilgrimage with his motherto an unknown placeto a stranger
who was holy and about to die. So what if he diedhow did this concern
the boy?

The pilgrims were getting close to Vasudeva's ferrywhen little
Siddhartha once again forced his mother to rest. SheKamala herself
had also become tiredand while the boy was chewing a bananashe
crouched down on the groundclosed her eyes a bitand rested. But
suddenlyshe uttered a wailing screamthe boy looked at her in fear
and saw her face having grown pale from horror; and from under her
dressa smallblack snake fledby which Kamala had been bitten.

Hurriedlythey now both ran along the pathin order to reach people
and got near to the ferrythere Kamala collapsedand was not able to
go any further. But the boy started crying miserablyonly interrupting
it to kiss and hug his motherand she also joined his loud screams for
helpuntil the sound reached Vasudeva's earswho stood at the ferry.
Quicklyhe came walkingtook the woman on his armscarried her into
the boatthe boy ran alongand soon they all reached the hutwere
Siddhartha stood by the stove and was just lighting the fire. He looked
up and first saw the boy's facewhich wondrously reminded him of
somethinglike a warning to remember something he had forgotten. Then
he saw Kamalawhom he instantly recognisedthough she lay unconscious
in the ferryman's armsand now he knew that it was his own sonwhose
face had been such a warning reminder to himand the heart stirred in
his chest.

Kamala's wound was washedbut had already turned black and her body was
swollenshe was made to drink a healing potion. Her consciousness
returnedshe lay on Siddhartha's bed in the hut and bent over her stood
Siddharthawho used to love her so much. It seemed like a dream to
her; with a smileshe looked at her friend's face; just slowly she
realized her situationremembered the bitecalled timidly for the boy.

He's with you, don't worry,said Siddhartha.

Kamala looked into his eyes. She spoke with a heavy tongueparalysed
by the poison. "You've become oldmy dear she said, you've become
gray. But you are like the young Samanawho at one time came without
clotheswith dusty feetto me into the garden. You are much more like
himthan you were like him at that time when you had left me and
Kamaswami. In the eyesyou're like himSiddhartha. AlasI have also
grown oldold--could you still recognise me?"

Siddhartha smiled: "InstantlyI recognised youKamalamy dear."

Kamala pointed to her boy and said: "Did you recognise him as well?
He is your son."

Her eyes became confused and fell shut. The boy weptSiddhartha took
him on his kneeslet him weeppetted his hairand at the sight of
the child's facea Brahman prayer came to his mindwhich he had
learned a long time agowhen he had been a little boy himself. Slowly
with a singing voicehe started to speak; from his past and childhood
the words came flowing to him. And with that singsongthe boy became
calmwas only now and then uttering a sob and fell asleep. Siddhartha
placed him on Vasudeva's bed. Vasudeva stood by the stove and cooked
rice. Siddhartha gave him a lookwhich he returned with a smile.

She'll die,Siddhartha said quietly.

Vasudeva nodded; over his friendly face ran the light of the stove's

Once againKamala returned to consciousness. Pain distorted her face
Siddhartha's eyes read the suffering on her mouthon her pale cheeks.
Quietlyhe read itattentivelywaitinghis mind becoming one with
her suffering. Kamala felt ither gaze sought his eyes.

Looking at himshe said: "Now I see that your eyes have changed as
well. They've become completely different. By what do I still
recognise that you're Siddhartha? It's youand it's not you."

Siddhartha said nothingquietly his eyes looked at hers.

You have achieved it?she asked. "You have found peace?"

He smiled and placed his hand on hers.

I'm seeing it,she saidI'm seeing it. I too will find peace.

You have found it,Siddhartha spoke in a whisper.

Kamala never stopped looking into his eyes. She thought about her
pilgrimage to Gotamawhich wanted to takein order to see the face of
the perfected oneto breathe his peaceand she thought that she had
now found him in his placeand that it was goodjust as goodas if
she had seen the other one. She wanted to tell this to himbut the
tongue no longer obeyed her will. Without speakingshe looked at him
and he saw the life fading from her eyes. When the final pain filled
her eyes and made them grow dimwhen the final shiver ran through her
limbshis finger closed her eyelids.

For a long timehe sat and looked at her peacefully dead face. For a
long timehe observed her mouthher oldtired mouthwith those lips
which had become thinand he rememberedthat he used toin the spring
of his yearscompare this mouth with a freshly cracked fig. For a long
timehe satread in the pale facein the tired wrinklesfilled
himself with this sightsaw his own face lying in the same manner
just as whitejust as quenched outand saw at the same time his face
and hers being youngwith red lipswith fiery eyesand the feeling of
this both being present and at the same time realthe feeling of
eternitycompletely filled every aspect of his being. Deeply he felt
more deeply than ever beforein this hourthe indestructibility of
every lifethe eternity of every moment.

When he roseVasudeva had prepared rice for him. But Siddhartha did
not eat. In the stablewhere their goat stoodthe two old men
prepared beds of straw for themselvesand Vasudeva lay himself down
to sleep. But Siddhartha went outside and sat this night before the
hutlistening to the riversurrounded by the pasttouched and
encircled by all times of his life at the same time. But occasionally
he rosestepped to the door of the hut and listenedwhether the boy

was sleeping.

Early in the morningeven before the sun could be seenVasudeva came
out of the stable and walked over to his friend.

You haven't slept,he said.

No, Vasudeva. I sat here, I was listening to the river. A lot it has
told me, deeply it has filled me with the healing thought, with the
thought of oneness.

You've experienced suffering, Siddhartha, but I see: no sadness has
entered your heart.

No, my dear, how should I be sad? I, who have been rich and happy,
have become even richer and happier now. My son has been given to me.

Your son shall be welcome to me as well. But now, Siddhartha, let's
get to work, there is much to be done. Kamala has died on the same bed,
on which my wife had died a long time ago. Let us also build Kamala's
funeral pile on the same hill on which I had then built my wife's
funeral pile.

While the boy was still asleepthey built the funeral pile.


Timid and weepingthe boy had attended his mother's funeral; gloomy
and shyhe had listened to Siddharthawho greeted him as his son and
welcomed him at his place in Vasudeva's hut. Palehe sat for many
days by the hill of the deaddid not want to eatgave no open look
did not open his heartmet his fate with resistance and denial.

Siddhartha spared him and let him do as he pleasedhe honoured his
mourning. Siddhartha understood that his son did not know himthat
he could not love him like a father. Slowlyhe also saw and understood
that the eleven-year-old was a pampered boya mother's boyand that he
had grown up in the habits of rich peopleaccustomed to finer foodto
a soft bedaccustomed to giving orders to servants. Siddhartha
understood that the mourningpampered child could not suddenly and
willingly be content with a life among strangers and in poverty. He did
not force himhe did many a chore for himalways picked the best piece
of the meal for him. Slowlyhe hoped to win him overby friendly

Rich and happyhe had called himselfwhen the boy had come to him.
Since time had passed on in the meantimeand the boy remained a
stranger and in a gloomy dispositionsince he displayed a proud and
stubbornly disobedient heartdid not want to do any workdid not pay
his respect to the old menstole from Vasudeva's fruit-treesthen
Siddhartha began to understand that his son had not brought him
happiness and peacebut suffering and worry. But he loved himand he
preferred the suffering and worries of love over happiness and joy
without the boy. Since young Siddhartha was in the hutthe old men had
split the work. Vasudeva had again taken on the job of the ferryman all
by himselfand Siddharthain order to be with his sondid the work in
the hut and the field.

For a long timefor long monthsSiddhartha waited for his son to
understand himto accept his loveto perhaps reciprocate it. For
long monthsVasudeva waitedwatchingwaited and said nothing. One

daywhen Siddhartha the younger had once again tormented his father
very much with spite and an unsteadiness in his wishes and had broken
both of his rice-bowlsVasudeva took in the evening his friend aside
and talked to him.

Pardon me.he saidfrom a friendly heart, I'm talking to you. I'm
seeing that you're tormenting yourself, I'm seeing that you're in grief.
You're son, my dear, is worrying you, and he is also worrying me. That
young bird is accustomed to a different life, to a different nest. He
has not, like you, ran away from riches and the city, being disgusted
and fed up with it; against his will, he had to leave all this behind.
I asked the river, oh friend, many times I have asked it. But the river
laughs, it laughs at me, it laughs at you and me, and is shaking with
laughter at out foolishness. Water wants to join water, youth wants to
join youth, your son is not in the place where he can prosper. You too
should ask the river; you too should listen to it!

TroubledSiddhartha looked into his friendly facein the many wrinkles
of which there was incessant cheerfulness.

How could I part with him?he said quietlyashamed. "Give me some
more timemy dear! SeeI'm fighting for himI'm seeking to win his
heartwith love and with friendly patience I intent to capture it.
One daythe river shall also talk to himhe also is called upon."

Vasudeva's smile flourished more warmly. "Oh yeshe too is called
uponhe too is of the eternal life. But do weyou and meknow what
he is called upon to dowhat path to takewhat actions to perform
what pain to endure? Not a small onehis pain will be; after allhis
heart is proud and hardpeople like this have to suffer a loterr a
lotdo much injusticeburden themselves with much sin. Tell memy
dear: you're not taking control of your son's upbringing? You don't
force him? You don't beat him? You don't punish him?"

No, Vasudeva, I don't do anything of this.

I knew it. You don't force him, don't beat him, don't give him orders,
because you know that soft" is stronger than "hard"Water stronger
than rockslove stronger than force. Very goodI praise you. But
aren't you mistaken in thinking that you wouldn't force himwouldn't
punish him? Don't you shackle him with your love? Don't you make him
feel inferior every dayand don't you make it even harder on him with
your kindness and patience? Don't you force himthe arrogant and
pampered boyto live in a hut with two old banana-eatersto whom even
rice is a delicacywhose thoughts can't be hiswhose hearts are old
and quiet and beats in a different pace than his? Isn't forcedisn't
he punished by all this?"

TroubledSiddhartha looked to the ground. Quietlyhe asked: "What
do you think should I do?"

Quoth Vasudeva: "Bring him into the citybring him into his mother's
housethere'll still be servants aroundgive him to them. And when
there aren't any around any morebring him to a teachernot for the
teachings' sakebut so that he shall be among other boysand among
girlsand in the world which is his own. Have you never thought of

You're seeing into my heart,Siddhartha spoke sadly. "OftenI have
thought of this. But lookhow shall I put himwho had no tender heart
anyhowinto this world? Won't he become exuberantwon't he lose
himself to pleasure and powerwon't he repeat all of his father's
mistakeswon't he perhaps get entirely lost in Sansara?"

Brightlythe ferryman's smile lit up; softlyhe touched Siddhartha's
arm and said: "Ask the river about itmy friend! Hear it laugh about
it! Would you actually believe that you had committed your foolish acts
in order to spare your son from committing them too? And could you in
any way protect your son from Sansara? How could you? By means of
teachingsprayeradmonition? My dearhave you entirely forgotten
that storythat story containing so many lessonsthat story about
Siddharthaa Brahman's sonwhich you once told me here on this very
spot? Who has kept the Samana Siddhartha safe from Sansarafrom sin
from greedfrom foolishness? Were his father's religious devotionhis
teachers warningshis own knowledgehis own search able to keep him
safe? Which fatherwhich teacher had been able to protect him from
living his life for himselffrom soiling himself with lifefrom
burdening himself with guiltfrom drinking the bitter drink for
himselffrom finding his path for himself? Would you thinkmy dear
anybody might perhaps be spared from taking this path? That perhaps
your little son would be sparedbecause you love himbecause you would
like to keep him from suffering and pain and disappointment? But even
if you would die ten times for himyou would not be able to take the
slightest part of his destiny upon yourself."

Never beforeVasudeva had spoken so many words. KindlySiddhartha
thanked himwent troubled into the hutcould not sleep for a long
time. Vasudeva had told him nothinghe had not already thought and
known for himself. But this was a knowledge he could not act upon
stronger than the knowledge was his love for the boystronger was his
tendernesshis fear to lose him. Had he ever lost his heart so much
to somethinghad he ever loved any person thusthus blindlythus
sufferinglythus unsuccessfullyand yet thus happily?

Siddhartha could not heed his friend's advicehe could not give up the
boy. He let the boy give him ordershe let him disregard him. He
said nothing and waited; dailyhe began the mute struggle of
friendlinessthe silent war of patience. Vasudeva also said nothing
and waitedfriendlyknowingpatient. They were both masters of

At one timewhen the boy's face reminded him very much of Kamala
Siddhartha suddenly had to think of a line which Kamala a long time
agoin the days of their youthhad once said to him. "You cannot
love she had said to him, and he had agreed with her and had compared
himself with a star, while comparing the childlike people with falling
leaves, and nevertheless he had also sensed an accusation in that line.
Indeed, he had never been able to lose or devote himself completely to
another person, to forget himself, to commit foolish acts for the love
of another person; never he had been able to do this, and this was, as
it had seemed to him at that time, the great distinction which set him
apart from the childlike people. But now, since his son was here, now
he, Siddhartha, had also become completely a childlike person, suffering
for the sake of another person, loving another person, lost to a love,
having become a fool on account of love. Now he too felt, late, once
in his lifetime, this strongest and strangest of all passions, suffered
from it, suffered miserably, and was nevertheless in bliss, was
nevertheless renewed in one respect, enriched by one thing.

He did sense very well that this love, this blind love for his son, was
a passion, something very human, that it was Sansara, a murky source,
dark waters. Nevertheless, he felt at the same time, it was not
worthless, it was necessary, came from the essence of his own being.
This pleasure also had to be atoned for, this pain also had to be
endured, these foolish acts also had to be committed.

Through all this, the son let him commit his foolish acts, let him
court for his affection, let him humiliate himself every day by giving

in to his moods. This father had nothing which would have delighted
him and nothing which he would have feared. He was a good man, this
father, a good, kind, soft man, perhaps a very devout man, perhaps a
saint, all these there no attributes which could win the boy over. He
was bored by this father, who kept him prisoner here in this miserable
hut of his, he was bored by him, and for him to answer every naughtiness
with a smile, every insult with friendliness, every viciousness with
kindness, this very thing was the hated trick of this old sneak. Much
more the boy would have liked it if he had been threatened by him, if he
had been abused by him.

A day came, when what young Siddhartha had on his mind came bursting
forth, and he openly turned against his father. The latter had given
him a task, he had told him to gather brushwood. But the boy did not
leave the hut, in stubborn disobedience and rage he stayed where he was,
thumped on the ground with his feet, clenched his fists, and screamed in
a powerful outburst his hatred and contempt into his father's face.

Get the brushwood for yourself!" he shouted foaming at the mouthI'm
not your servant. I do know, that you won't hit me, you don't dare; I
do know, that you constantly want to punish me and put me down with
your religious devotion and your indulgence. You want me to become like
you, just as devout, just as soft, just as wise! But I, listen up, just
to make you suffer, I rather want to become a highway-robber and
murderer, and go to hell, than to become like you! I hate you, you're
not my father, and if you've ten times been my mother's fornicator!

Rage and grief boiled over in himfoamed at the father in a hundred
savage and evil words. Then the boy ran away and only returned late at

But the next morninghe had disappeared. What had also disappeared was
a small basketwoven out of bast of two coloursin which the ferrymen
kept those copper and silver coins which they received as a fare.
The boat had also disappearedSiddhartha saw it lying by the opposite
bank. The boy had ran away.

I must follow him,said Siddharthawho had been shivering with grief
since those ranting speechesthe boy had made yesterday. "A child
can't go through the forest all alone. He'll perish. We must build a
raftVasudevato get over the water."

We will build a raft,said Vasudevato get our boat back, which the
boy has taken away. But him, you shall let run along, my friend, he is
no child any more, he knows how to get around. He's looking for the
path to the city, and he is right, don't forget that. He's doing what
you've failed to do yourself. He's taking care of himself, he's taking
his course. Alas, Siddhartha, I see you suffering, but you're suffering
a pain at which one would like to laugh, at which you'll soon laugh for

Siddhartha did not answer. He already held the axe in his hands and
began to make a raft of bambooand Vasudeva helped him to tied the
canes together with ropes of grass. Then they crossed overdrifted
far off their coursepulled the raft upriver on the opposite bank.

Why did you take the axe along?asked Siddhartha.

Vasudeva said: "It might have been possible that the oar of our boat
got lost."

But Siddhartha knew what his friend was thinking. He thoughtthe boy
would have thrown away or broken the oar in order to get even and in
order to keep them from following him. And in factthere was no oar

left in the boat. Vasudeva pointed to the bottom of the boat and looked
at his friend with a smileas if he wanted to say: "Don't you see what
your son is trying to tell you? Don't you see that he doesn't want to
be followed?" But he did not say this in words. He started making a
new oar. But Siddhartha bid his farewellto look for the run-away.
Vasudeva did not stop him.

When Siddhartha had already been walking through the forest for a long
timethe thought occurred to him that his search was useless. Either
so he thoughtthe boy was far ahead and had already reached the city
orif he should still be on his wayhe would conceal himself from him
the pursuer. As he continued thinkinghe also found that heon his
partwas not worried for his sonthat he knew deep inside that he had
neither perished nor was in any danger in the forest. Neverthelesshe
ran without stoppingno longer to save himjust to satisfy his desire
just to perhaps see him one more time. And he ran up to just outside of
the city.

Whennear the cityhe reached a wide roadhe stoppedby the entrance
of the beautiful pleasure-gardenwhich used to belong to Kamalawhere
he had seen her for the first time in her sedan-chair. The past rose
up in his soulagain he saw himself standing thereyounga bearded
naked Samanathe hair full of dust. For a long timeSiddhartha stood
there and looked through the open gate into the gardenseeing monks in
yellow robes walking among the beautiful trees.

For a long timehe stood thereponderingseeing imageslistening to
the story of his life. For a long timehe stood therelooked at the
monkssaw young Siddhartha in their placesaw young Kamala walking
among the high trees. Clearlyhe saw himself being served food and
drink by Kamalareceiving his first kiss from herlooking proudly and
disdainfully back on his Brahmanismbeginning proudly and full of
desire his worldly life. He saw Kamaswamisaw the servantsthe
orgiesthe gamblers with the dicethe musicianssaw Kamala's
song-bird in the cagelived through all this once againbreathed
Sansarawas once again old and tiredfelt once again disgustfelt
once again the wish to annihilate himselfwas once again healed by the
holy Om.

After having been standing by the gate of the garden for a long time
Siddhartha realised that his desire was foolishwhich had made him go
up to this placethat he could not help his sonthat he was not
allowed to cling him. Deeplyhe felt the love for the run-away in his
heartlike a woundand he felt at the same time that this wound had
not been given to him in order to turn the knife in itthat it had to
become a blossom and had to shine.

That this wound did not blossom yetdid not shine yetat this hour
made him sad. Instead of the desired goalwhich had drawn him here
following the runaway sonthere was now emptiness. Sadlyhe sat down
felt something dying in his heartexperienced emptinesssaw no joy any
moreno goal. He sat lost in thought and waited. This he had learned
by the riverthis one thing: waitinghaving patiencelistening
attentively. And he sat and listenedin the dust of the roadlistened
to his heartbeating tiredly and sadlywaited for a voice. Many an
hour he crouchedlisteningsaw no images any morefell into
emptinesslet himself fallwithout seeing a path. And when he felt
the wound burninghe silently spoke the Omfilled himself with Om.
The monks in the garden saw himand since he crouched for many hours
and dust was gathering on his gray hairone of them came to him and
placed two bananas in front of him. The old man did not see him.

From this petrified statehe was awoken by a hand touching his
shoulder. Instantlyhe recognised this touchthis tenderbashful

touchand regained his senses. He rose and greeted Vasudevawho had
followed him. And when he looked into Vasudeva's friendly faceinto
the small wrinkleswhich were as if they were filled with nothing but
his smileinto the happy eyesthen he smiled too. Now he saw the
bananas lying in front of himpicked them upgave one to the ferryman
ate the other one himself. After thishe silently went back into the
forest with Vasudevareturned home to the ferry. Neither one talked
about what had happened todayneither one mentioned the boy's name
neither one spoke about him running awayneither one spoke about the
wound. In the hutSiddhartha lay down on his bedand when after a
while Vasudeva came to himto offer him a bowl of coconut-milkhe
already found him asleep.


For a long timethe wound continued to burn. Many a traveller
Siddhartha had to ferry across the river who was accompanied by a son or
a daughterand he saw none of them without envying himwithout
thinking: "So manyso many thousands possess this sweetest of good
fortunes--why don't I? Even bad peopleeven thieves and robbers have
children and love themand are being loved by themall except for me."
Thus simplythus without reason he now thoughtthus similar to the
childlike people he had become.

Differently than beforehe now looked upon peopleless smartless
proudbut instead warmermore curiousmore involved. When he ferried
travellers of the ordinary kindchildlike peoplebusinessmen
warriorswomenthese people did not seem alien to him as they used to:
he understood themhe understood and shared their lifewhich was not
guided by thoughts and insightbut solely by urges and wisheshe felt
like them. Though he was near perfection and was bearing his final
woundit still seemed to him as if those childlike people were his
brotherstheir vanitiesdesires for possessionand ridiculous aspects
were no longer ridiculous to himbecame understandablebecame lovable
even became worthy of veneration to him. The blind love of a mother
for her childthe stupidblind pride of a conceited father for his
only sonthe blindwild desire of a youngvain woman for jewelry and
admiring glances from menall of these urgesall of this childish
stuffall of these simplefoolishbut immensely strongstrongly
livingstrongly prevailing urges and desires were now no childish
notions for Siddhartha any morehe saw people living for their sake
saw them achieving infinitely much for their saketravelling
conducting warssuffering infinitely muchbearing infinitely muchand
he could love them for ithe saw lifethat what is alivethe
indestructiblethe Brahman in each of their passionseach of their
acts. Worthy of love and admiration were these people in their blind
loyaltytheir blind strength and tenacity. They lacked nothingthere
was nothing the knowledgeable onethe thinkerhad to put him above them
except for one little thinga singletinysmall thing: the
consciousnessthe conscious thought of the oneness of all life. And
Siddhartha even doubted in many an hourwhether this knowledgethis
thought was to be valued thus highlywhether it might not also perhaps
be a childish idea of the thinking peopleof the thinking and childlike
people. In all other respectsthe worldly people were of equal rank
to the wise menwere often far superior to themjust as animals too
canafter allin some momentsseem to be superior to humans in their
toughunrelenting performance of what is necessary.

Slowly blossomedslowly ripened in Siddhartha the realisationthe
knowledgewhat wisdom actually waswhat the goal of his long search
was. It was nothing but a readiness of the soulan abilitya secret

artto think every momentwhile living his lifethe thought of
onenessto be able to feel and inhale the oneness. Slowly this
blossomed in himwas shining back at him from Vasudeva's oldchildlike
face: harmonyknowledge of the eternal perfection of the world

But the wound still burnedlongingly and bitterly Siddhartha thought of
his sonnurtured his love and tenderness in his heartallowed the
pain to gnaw at himcommitted all foolish acts of love. Not by itself
this flame would go out.

And one daywhen the wound burned violentlySiddhartha ferried across
the riverdriven by a yearninggot off the boat and was willing to go
to the city and to look for his son. The river flowed softly and
quietlyit was the dry seasonbut its voice sounded strange: it
laughed! It laughed clearly. The river laughedit laughed brightly
and clearly at the old ferryman. Siddhartha stoppedhe bent over the
waterin order to hear even betterand he saw his face reflected in
the quietly moving watersand in this reflected face there was
somethingwhich reminded himsomething he had forgottenand as he
thought about ithe found it: this face resembled another facewhich
he used to know and love and also fear. It resembled his father's face
the Brahman. And he remembered how hea long time agoas a young man
had forced his father to let him go to the penitentshow he had bed his
farewell to himhow he had gone and had never come back. Had his
father not also suffered the same pain for himwhich he now suffered
for his son? Had his father not long since diedalonewithout having
seen his son again? Did he not have to expect the same fate for
himself? Was it not a comedya strange and stupid matterthis
repetitionthis running around in a fateful circle?

The river laughed. Yesso it waseverything came backwhich had not
been suffered and solved up to its endthe same pain was suffered over
and over again. But Siddhartha want back into the boat and ferried back
to the hutthinking of his fatherthinking of his sonlaughed at by
the riverat odds with himselftending towards despairand not less
tending towards laughing along at himself and the entire world.

Alasthe wound was not blossoming yethis heart was still fighting his
fatecheerfulness and victory were not yet shining from his suffering.
Neverthelesshe felt hopeand once he had returned to the huthe felt
an undefeatable desire to open up to Vasudevato show him everything
the master of listeningto say everything.

Vasudeva was sitting in the hut and weaving a basket. He no longer used
the ferry-boathis eyes were starting to get weakand not just his
eyes; his arms and hands as well. Unchanged and flourishing was only
the joy and the cheerful benevolence of his face.

Siddhartha sat down next to the old manslowly he started talking.
What they had never talked abouthe now told him ofof his walk to
the cityat that timeof the burning woundof his envy at the sight
of happy fathersof his knowledge of the foolishness of such wishesof
his futile fight against them. He reported everythinghe was able to
say everythingeven the most embarrassing partseverything could be
saideverything showneverything he could tell. He presented his
woundalso told how he fled todayhow he ferried across the water
a childish run-awaywilling to walk to the cityhow the river had

While he spokespoke for a long timewhile Vasudeva was listening
with a quiet faceVasudeva's listening gave Siddhartha a stronger
sensation than ever beforehe sensed how his painhis fears flowed
over to himhow his secret hope flowed overcame back at him from

his counterpart. To show his wound to this listener was the same as
bathing it in the riveruntil it had cooled and become one with the
river. While he was still speakingstill admitting and confessing
Siddhartha felt more and more that this was no longer Vasudevano
longer a human beingwho was listening to himthat this motionless
listener was absorbing his confession into himself like a tree the rain
that this motionless man was the river itselfthat he was God himself
that he was the eternal itself. And while Siddhartha stopped thinking
of himself and his woundthis realisation of Vasudeva's changed
character took possession of himand the more he felt it and entered
into itthe less wondrous it becamethe more he realised that
everything was in order and naturalthat Vasudeva had already been like
this for a long timealmost foreverthat only he had not quite
recognised ityesthat he himself had almost reached the same state.
He feltthat he was now seeing old Vasudeva as the people see the
godsand that this could not last; in his hearthe started bidding his
farewell to Vasudeva. Thorough all thishe talked incessantly.

When he had finished talkingVasudeva turned his friendly eyeswhich
had grown slightly weakat himsaid nothinglet his silent love and
cheerfulnessunderstanding and knowledgeshine at him. He took
Siddhartha's handled him to the seat by the banksat down with him
smiled at the river.

You've heard it laugh,he said. "But you haven't heard everything.
Let's listenyou'll hear more."

They listened. Softly sounded the riversinging in many voices.
Siddhartha looked into the waterand images appeared to him in the
moving water: his father appearedlonelymourning for his son; he
himself appearedlonelyhe also being tied with the bondage of
yearning to his distant son; his son appearedlonely as wellthe boy
greedily rushing along the burning course of his young wisheseach
one heading for his goaleach one obsessed by the goaleach one
suffering. The river sang with a voice of sufferinglongingly it sang
longinglyit flowed towards its goallamentingly its voice sang.

Do you hear?Vasudeva's mute gaze asked. Siddhartha nodded.

Listen better!Vasudeva whispered.

Siddhartha made an effort to listen better. The image of his father
his own imagethe image of his son mergedKamala's image also appeared
and was dispersedand the image of Govindaand other imagesand they
merged with each otherturned all into the riverheaded allbeing the
riverfor the goallongingdesiringsufferingand the river's voice
sounded full of yearningfull of burning woefull of unsatisfiable
desire. For the goalthe river was headingSiddhartha saw it
hurryingthe riverwhich consisted of him and his loved ones and of
all peoplehe had ever seenall of these waves and waters were
hurryingsufferingtowards goalsmany goalsthe waterfallthe lake
the rapidsthe seaand all goals were reachedand every goal was
followed by a new oneand the water turned into vapour and rose to the
skyturned into rain and poured down from the skyturned into a
sourcea streama riverheaded forward once againflowed on once
again. But the longing voice had changed. It still resoundedfull of
sufferingsearchingbut other voices joined itvoices of joy and of
sufferinggood and bad voiceslaughing and sad onesa hundred voices
a thousand voices.

Siddhartha listened. He was now nothing but a listenercompletely
concentrated on listeningcompletely emptyhe feltthat he had now
finished learning to listen. Often beforehe had heard all thisthese
many voices in the rivertoday it sounded new. Alreadyhe could no

longer tell the many voices apartnot the happy ones from the weeping
onesnot the ones of children from those of menthey all belonged
togetherthe lamentation of yearning and the laughter of the
knowledgeable onethe scream of rage and the moaning of the dying ones
everything was oneeverything was intertwined and connectedentangled
a thousand times. And everything togetherall voicesall goalsall
yearningall sufferingall pleasureall that was good and evilall
of this together was the world. All of it together was the flow of
eventswas the music of life. And when Siddhartha was listening
attentively to this riverthis song of a thousand voiceswhen he
neither listened to the suffering nor the laughterwhen he did not tie
his soul to any particular voice and submerged his self into itbut
when he heard them allperceived the wholethe onenessthen the great
song of the thousand voices consisted of a single wordwhich was Om:
the perfection.

Do you hear,Vasudeva's gaze asked again.

BrightlyVasudeva's smile was shiningfloating radiantly over all the
wrinkles of his old faceas the Om was floating in the air over all the
voices of the river. Brightly his smile was shiningwhen he looked at
his friendand brightly the same smile was now starting to shine on
Siddhartha's face as well. His wound blossomedhis suffering was
shininghis self had flown into the oneness.

In this hourSiddhartha stopped fighting his fatestopped suffering.
On his face flourished the cheerfulness of a knowledgewhich is no
longer opposed by any willwhich knows perfectionwhich is in
agreement with the flow of eventswith the current of lifefull of
sympathy for the pain of othersfull of sympathy for the pleasure of
othersdevoted to the flowbelonging to the oneness.

When Vasudeva rose from the seat by the bankwhen he looked into
Siddhartha's eyes and saw the cheerfulness of the knowledge shining
in themhe softly touched his shoulder with his handin this careful
and tender mannerand said: "I've been waiting for this hourmy dear.
Now that it has comelet me leave. For a long timeI've been waiting
for this hour; for a long timeI've been Vasudeva the ferryman. Now
it's enough. FarewellhutfarewellriverfarewellSiddhartha!"

Siddhartha made a deep bow before him who bid his farewell.

I've known it,he said quietly. "You'll go into the forests?"

I'm going into the forests, I'm going into the oneness,spoke Vasudeva
with a bright smile.

With a bright smilehe left; Siddhartha watched him leaving. With deep
joywith deep solemnity he watched him leavesaw his steps full of
peacesaw his head full of lustresaw his body full of light.


Together with other monksGovinda used to spend the time of rest
between pilgrimages in the pleasure-grovewhich the courtesan Kamala
had given to the followers of Gotama for a gift. He heard talk of an
old ferrymanwho lived one day's journey away by the riverand
who was regarded as a wise man by many. When Govinda went back on his
wayhe chose the path to the ferryeager to see the ferryman.
Becausethough he had lived his entire life by the rulesthough he was
also looked upon with veneration by the younger monks on account of his

age and his modestythe restlessness and the searching still had not
perished from his heart.

He came to the river and asked the old man to ferry him overand when
they got off the boat on the other sidehe said to the old man:
You're very good to us monks and pilgrims, you have already ferried
many of us across the river. Aren't you too, ferryman, a searcher for
the right path?

Quoth Siddharthasmiling from his old eyes: "Do you call yourself a
searcheroh venerable onethough you are already of an old in years
and are wearing the robe of Gotama's monks?"

It's true, I'm old,spoke Govindabut I haven't stopped searching.
Never I'll stop searching, this seems to be my destiny. You too, so it
seems to me, have been searching. Would you like to tell me something,
oh honourable one?

Quoth Siddhartha: "What should I possibly have to tell youoh
venerable one? Perhaps that you're searching far too much? That in all
that searchingyou don't find the time for finding?"

How come?asked Govinda.

When someone is searching,said Siddharthathen it might easily
happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches
for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind,
because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search,
because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching
means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having
no goal. You, oh venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because,
striving for your goal, there are many things you don't see, which are
directly in front of your eyes.

I don't quite understand yet,asked Govindawhat do you mean by

Quoth Siddhartha: "A long time agooh venerable onemany years ago
you've once before been at this river and have found a sleeping man by
the riverand have sat down with him to guard his sleep. Butoh
Govindayou did not recognise the sleeping man."

Astonishedas if he had been the object of a magic spellthe monk
looked into the ferryman's eyes.

Are you Siddhartha?he asked with a timid voice. "I wouldn't have
recognised you this time as well! From my heartI'm greeting you
Siddhartha; from my heartI'm happy to see you once again! You've
changed a lotmy friend.--And so you've now become a ferryman?"

In a friendly mannerSiddhartha laughed. "A ferrymanyes. Many
peopleGovindahave to change a lothave to wear many a robeI am
one of thosemy dear. Be welcomeGovindaand spend the night in my

Govinda stayed the night in the hut and slept on the bed which used to
be Vasudeva's bed. Many questions he posed to the friend of his youth
many things Siddhartha had to tell him from his life.

When in the next morning the time had come to start the day's journey
Govinda saidnot without hesitationthese words: "Before I'll
continue on my pathSiddharthapermit me to ask one more question.
Do you have a teaching? Do you have a faithor a knowledgeyou
followwhich helps you to live and to do right?"

Quoth Siddhartha: "You knowmy dearthat I already as a young manin
those days when we lived with the penitents in the foreststarted to
distrust teachers and teachings and to turn my back to them. I have
stuck with this. NeverthelessI have had many teachers since then. A
beautiful courtesan has been my teacher for a long timeand a rich
merchant was my teacherand some gamblers with dice. Onceeven a
follower of Buddhatravelling on foothas been my teacher; he sat with
me when I hat fallen asleep in the foreston the pilgrimage. I've also
learned from himI'm also grateful to himvery grateful. But most of
allI have learned here from this river and from my predecessorthe
ferryman Vasudeva. He was a very simple personVasudevahe was no
thinkerbut he knew what is necessary just as well as Gotamahe was a
perfect mana saint."

Govinda said: "Stilloh Siddharthayou love a bit to mock peopleas
it seems to me. I believe in you and know that you haven't followed a
teacher. But haven't you found something by yourselfthough you've
found no teachingsyou still found certain thoughtscertain insights
which are your own and which help you to live? If you would like to
tell me some of theseyou would delight my heart."

Quoth Siddhartha: "I've had thoughtsyesand insightagain and
again. Sometimesfor an hour or for an entire dayI have felt
knowledge in meas one would feel life in one's heart. There have
been many thoughtsbut it would be hard for me to convey them to you.
Lookmy dear Govindathis is one of my thoughtswhich I have found:
wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on
to someone always sounds like foolishness."

Are you kidding?asked Govinda.

I'm not kidding. I'm telling you what I've found. Knowledge can be
conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is
possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it
cannot be expressed in words and taught. This was what I, even as a
young man, sometimes suspected, what has driven me away from the
teachers. I have found a thought, Govinda, which you'll again regard as
a joke or foolishness, but which is my best thought. It says: The
opposite of every truth is just as true! That's like this: any truth
can only be expressed and put into words when it is one-sided.
Everything is one-sided which can be thought with thoughts and said with
words, it's all one-sided, all just one half, all lacks completeness,
roundness, oneness. When the exalted Gotama spoke in his teachings of
the world, he had to divide it into Sansara and Nirvana, into deception
and truth, into suffering and salvation. It cannot be done differently,
there is no other way for him who wants to teach. But the world itself,
what exists around us and inside of us, is never one-sided. A person or
an act is never entirely Sansara or entirely Nirvana, a person is never
entirely holy or entirely sinful. It does really seem like this,
because we are subject to deception, as if time was something real.
Time is not real, Govinda, I have experienced this often and often
again. And if time is not real, then the gap which seems to be between
the world and the eternity, between suffering and blissfulness, between
evil and good, is also a deception.

How come?asked Govinda timidly.

Listen well, my dear, listen well! The sinner, which I am and which
you are, is a sinner, but in times to come he will be Brahma again, he
will reach the Nirvana, will be Buddha--and now see: these times to
come" are a deceptionare only a parable! The sinner is not on his
way to become a Buddhahe is not in the process of developingthough
our capacity for thinking does not know how else to picture these

things. Nowithin the sinner is now and today already the future
Buddhahis future is already all thereyou have to worship in himin
youin everyone the Buddha which is coming into beingthe possible
the hidden Buddha. The worldmy friend Govindais not imperfector
on a slow path towards perfection: noit is perfect in every moment
all sin already carries the divine forgiveness in itselfall small
children already have the old person in themselvesall infants already
have deathall dying people the eternal life. It is nor possible for
any person to see how far another one has already progressed on his
path; in the robber and dice-gamblerthe Buddha is waiting; in the
Brahmanthe robber is waiting. In deep meditationthere is the
possibility to put time out of existenceto see all life which was
isand will be as if it was simultaneousand there everything is
goodeverything is perfecteverything is Brahman. ThereforeI see
whatever exists as gooddeath is to me like lifesin like holiness
wisdom like foolishnesseverything has to be as it iseverything only
requires my consentonly my willingnessmy loving agreementto be
good for meto do nothing but work for my benefitto be unable to ever
harm me. I have experienced on my body and on my soul that I needed sin
very muchI needed lustthe desire for possessionsvanityand needed
the most shameful despairin order to learn how to give up all
resistancein order to learn how to love the worldin order to stop
comparing it to some world I wishedI imaginedsome kind of perfection
I had made upbut to leave it as it is and to love it and to enjoy
being a part of it.--Theseoh Govindaare some of the thoughts which
have come into my mind."

Siddhartha bent downpicked up a stone from the groundand weighed it
in his hand.

This,he said playing with itis a stone, and will, after a
certain time, perhaps turn into soil, and will turn from soil into a
plant or animal or human being. In the past, I would have said: This
stone is just a stone, it is worthless, it belongs to the world of the
Maja; but because it might be able to become also a human being and a
spirit in the cycle of transformations, therefore I also grant it
importance. Thus, I would perhaps have thought in the past. But today
I think: this stone is a stone, it is also animal, it is also god, it is
also Buddha, I do not venerate and love it because it could turn into
this or that, but rather because it is already and always everything-and
it is this very fact, that it is a stone, that it appears to me now
and today as a stone, this is why I love it and see worth and purpose in
each of its veins and cavities, in the yellow, in the gray, in the
hardness, in the sound it makes when I knock at it, in the dryness or
wetness of its surface. There are stones which feel like oil or soap,
and others like leaves, others like sand, and every one is special and
prays the Om in its own way, each one is Brahman, but simultaneously and
just as much it is a stone, is oily or juicy, and this is this very fact
which I like and regard as wonderful and worthy of worship.--But let me
speak no more of this. The words are not good for the secret meaning,
everything always becomes a bit different, as soon as it is put into
words, gets distorted a bit, a bit silly--yes, and this is also very
good, and I like it a lot, I also very much agree with this, that this
what is one man's treasure and wisdom always sounds like foolishness to
another person.

Govinda listened silently.

Why have you told me this about the stone?he asked hesitantly after
a pause.

I did it without any specific intention. Or perhaps what I meant was,
that love this very stone, and the river, and all these things we are
looking at and from which we can learn. I can love a stone, Govinda,

and also a tree or a piece of bark. This are things, and things can be
loved. But I cannot love words. Therefore, teachings are no good for
me, they have no hardness, no softness, no colours, no edges, no smell,
no taste, they have nothing but words. Perhaps it are these which keep
you from finding peace, perhaps it are the many words. Because
salvation and virtue as well, Sansara and Nirvana as well, are mere
words, Govinda. There is no thing which would be Nirvana; there is just
the word Nirvana.

Quoth Govinda: "Not just a wordmy friendis Nirvana. It is a

Siddhartha continued: "A thoughtit might be so. I must confess to
youmy dear: I don't differentiate much between thoughts and words.
To be honestI also have no high opinion of thoughts. I have a better
opinion of things. Here on this ferry-boatfor instancea man has
been my predecessor and teachera holy manwho has for many years
simply believed in the rivernothing else. He had noticed that the
river's spoke to himhe learned from itit educated and taught him
the river seemed to be a god to himfor many years he did not know that
every windevery cloudevery birdevery beetle was just as divine and
knows just as much and can teach just as much as the worshipped river.
But when this holy man went into the forestshe knew everythingknew
more than you and mewithout teacherswithout booksonly because he
had believed in the river."

Govinda said: "But is that what you call `things'actually something
realsomething which has existence? Isn't it just a deception of the
Majajust an image and illusion? Your stoneyour treeyour river-are
they actually a reality?"

This too,spoke SiddharthaI do not care very much about. Let the
things be illusions or not, after all I would then also be an illusion,
and thus they are always like me. This is what makes them so dear and
worthy of veneration for me: they are like me. Therefore, I can love
them. And this is now a teaching you will laugh about: love, oh
Govinda, seems to me to be the most important thing of all. To
thoroughly understand the world, to explain it, to despise it, may be
the thing great thinkers do. But I'm only interested in being able to
love the world, not to despise it, not to hate it and me, to be able to
look upon it and me and all beings with love and admiration and great

This I understand,spoke Govinda. "But this very thing was discovered
by the exalted one to be a deception. He commands benevolence
clemencysympathytolerancebut not love; he forbade us to tie our
heart in love to earthly things."

I know it,said Siddhartha; his smile shone golden. "I know it
Govinda. And beholdwith this we are right in the middle of the
thicket of opinionsin the dispute about words. For I cannot denymy
words of love are in a contradictiona seeming contradiction with
Gotama's words. For this very reasonI distrust in words so muchfor
I knowthis contradiction is a deception. I know that I am in
agreement with Gotama. How should he not know lovehewho has
discovered all elements of human existence in their transitorinessin
their meaninglessnessand yet loved people thus muchto use a long
laborious life only to help themto teach them! Even with himeven
with your great teacherI prefer the thing over the wordsplace more
importance on his acts and life than on his speechesmore on the
gestures of his hand than his opinions. Not in his speechnot in his
thoughtsI see his greatnessonly in his actionsin his life."

For a long timethe two old men said nothing. Then spoke Govinda

while bowing for a farewell: "I thank youSiddharthafor telling me
some of your thoughts. They are partially strange thoughtsnot all
have been instantly understandable to me. This being as it mayI thank
youand I wish you to have calm days."

(But secretly he thought to himself: This Siddhartha is a bizarre
personhe expresses bizarre thoughtshis teachings sound foolish.
So differently sound the exalted one's pure teachingsclearerpurer
more comprehensiblenothing strangefoolishor silly is contained in
them. But different from his thoughts seemed to me Siddhartha's hands
and feethis eyeshis foreheadhis breathhis smilehis greeting
his walk. Never againafter our exalted Gotama has become one with the
Nirvananever since then have I met a person of whom I felt: this is a
holy man! Only himthis SiddharthaI have found to be like this. May
his teachings be strangemay his words sound foolish; out of his gaze
and his handhis skin and his hairout of every part of him shines a
purityshines a calmnessshines a cheerfulness and mildness and
holinesswhich I have seen in no other person since the final death of
our exalted teacher.)

As Govinda thought like thisand there was a conflict in his hearthe
once again bowed to Siddharthadrawn by love. Deeply he bowed to him
who was calmly sitting.

Siddhartha,he spokewe have become old men. It is unlikely for
one of us to see the other again in this incarnation. I see, beloved,
that you have found peace. I confess that I haven't found it. Tell me,
oh honourable one, one more word, give my something on my way which I
can grasp, which I can understand! Give me something to be with me on
my path. It it often hard, my path, often dark, Siddhartha.

Siddhartha said nothing and looked at him with the ever unchanged
quiet smile. Govinda stared at his facewith fearwith yearning
sufferingand the eternal search was visible in his looketernal

Siddhartha saw it and smiled.

Bent down to me!he whispered quietly in Govinda's ear. "Bend down to
me! Like thiseven closer! Very close! Kiss my foreheadGovinda!"

But while Govinda with astonishmentand yet drawn by great love and
expectationobeyed his wordsbent down closely to him and touched his
forehead with his lipssomething miraculous happened to him. While his
thoughts were still dwelling on Siddhartha's wondrous wordswhile he
was still struggling in vain and with reluctance to think away timeto
imagine Nirvana and Sansara as onewhile even a certain contempt for
the words of his friend was fighting in him against an immense love and
venerationthis happened to him:

He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddharthainstead he saw
other facesmanya long sequencea flowing river of facesof
hundredsof thousandswhich all came and disappearedand yet all
seemed to be there simultaneouslywhich all constantly changed and
renewed themselvesand which were still all Siddhartha. He saw the
face of a fisha carpwith an infinitely painfully opened mouththe
face of a dying fishwith fading eyes--he saw the face of a new-born
childred and full of wrinklesdistorted from crying--he saw the face
of a murdererhe saw him plunging a knife into the body of another
person--he sawin the same secondthis criminal in bondagekneeling
and his head being chopped off by the executioner with one blow of his
sword--he saw the bodies of men and womennaked in positions and cramps
of frenzied love--he saw corpses stretched outmotionlesscoldvoid-he
saw the heads of animalsof boarsof crocodilesof elephantsof

bullsof birds--he saw godssaw Krishnasaw Agni--he saw all of these
figures and faces in a thousand relationships with one anothereach one
helping the otherloving ithating itdestroying itgiving re-birth
to iteach one was a will to diea passionately painful confession of
transitorinessand yet none of then diedeach one only transformed
was always re-bornreceived evermore a new facewithout any time
having passed between the one and the other face--and all of these
figures and faces restedflowedgenerated themselvesfloated along
and merged with each otherand they were all constantly covered by
something thinwithout individuality of its ownbut yet existinglike
a thin glass or icelike a transparent skina shell or mold or mask of
waterand this mask was smilingand this mask was Siddhartha's smiling
facewhich heGovindain this very same moment touched with his lips.
AndGovinda saw it like thisthis smile of the maskthis smile of
oneness above the flowing formsthis smile of simultaneousness above
the thousand births and deathsthis smile of Siddhartha was precisely
the samewas precisely of the same kind as the quietdelicate
impenetrableperhaps benevolentperhaps mockingwisethousand-fold
smile of Gotamathe Buddhaas he had seen it himself with great
respect a hundred times. Like thisGovinda knewthe perfected ones
are smiling.

Not knowing any more whether time existedwhether the vision had lasted
a second or a hundred yearsnot knowing any more whether there existed
a Siddharthaa Gotamaa me and a youfeeling in his innermost self
as if he had been wounded by a divine arrowthe injury of which tasted
sweetbeing enchanted and dissolved in his innermost selfGovinda
still stood for a little while bent over Siddhartha's quiet facewhich
he had just kissedwhich had just been the scene of all manifestations
all transformationsall existence. The face was unchangedafter under
its surface the depth of the thousandfoldness had closed up againhe
smiled silentlysmiled quietly and softlyperhaps very benevolently
perhaps very mockinglyprecisely as he used to smilethe exalted one.

DeeplyGovinda bowed; tearshe knew nothing ofran down his old face;
like a fire burnt the feeling of the most intimate lovethe humblest
veneration in his heart. Deeplyhe bowedtouching the groundbefore
him who was sitting motionlesslywhose smile reminded him of everything
he had ever loved in his lifewhat had ever been valuable and holy to
him in his life.

. . .

{The remainder of this text is under construction and will be released
at a later time.}