Hermann Hesse's classic novel Siddhartha, takes place in ancient India around the time of the Buddha (6th century BC). Siddhartha and his companion Govinda set out in search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes through a series of changes and realizations as he attempts to achieve this goal. Siddhartha joins the ascetics, visits Gotama, embraces his earthly desires, and finally communes with nature, all in an attempt to attain Nirvana. The novel shows how the path to enlightenment cannot be conferred to another person because it is different for everyone and will likely never be achieved simply by listening to or obeying an enlightened one. Words and teachings may describe the truth but are not the Truth itself; being concepts, they trap you, since enlightenment means release from concepts.
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- Sandra Diaz