The Last Days of Socrates and Siddhartha are sources that reveal information about religious or philosophical ideas in the cultures that they focus on. While vast differences exist between the Greek and Indian values that shape their philosophies, they make similar assumptions as they attempt to make sense of the world. Understanding the dichotomous relationship of the soul and the body is integral to grasping the similarities and differences between the classical Greek and Indian paths because the way in which these concepts are understood defines the very nature of truth.
Socrates, the main character in The Last Days of Socrates, and Siddhartha, the central figure in Siddhartha, are both portrayed as learned men searching for truth. The author of The Last Days of Socrates, Plato, conceived the document as a representation of Socrates' method of inquiry. Although it is a primary source from the period (429-347 B.C.E.), the reader must consider that The Last Days of Socrates is a re-creation of events that may have happened, not a verbatim account. Siddhartha is a secondary source that explains an Indian philosophical journey through the perspective of a twentieth century German author. Thus, one must consider the author's bias towards his subject and remember that the ideas presented are one scholar's interpretation of the legend. By attempting to compare and contrast both sources' approaches to truth, one can make some observations about the way Greek and Indian cultures view truth; keeping in mind that the sources each merely represent one account of the historical events and ideas.
Intrinsic to Siddhartha and Socrates' searche...
... middle of paper ...
...th. By becoming aware of the separation of the soul and the body, the indestructible and immortal nature of the soul, and the impossibility of the soul understanding truth while bound to the body, one can begin to understand how this dichotomy has shaped Indian and ancient Greek philosophy.
Baumer, Franz. Hermann Hesse. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1970.
Field, G.W. Hermann Hesse. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1970.
Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. Dover Publications, 1998.
Plato, The Last Days of Socrates. Trans. Hugh Tredennick and Harold Tarrant. London: Penguin, 1993.
Welch, Carolyn Roberts. Cliff's Notes on Hesse's Steppenwolf and Siddhartha. Lincoln: Cliff's Notes Inc., 1973.
Ziolkowski, Theodore. The Novels of Hermann Hesse: A Study in Theme and Structure. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Role of Teachers in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha Throughout history there have been countless numbers of teachers: artisans, craftsmen, ideologist, to name a few. They have all master some skill, gained some wisdom, or comprehended an idea. These teachers have achieved knowledge which allows them to excel and to be above and beyond regular people. Knowledge is something everyone strives for, and many desire. To achieve knowledge, one must have an eye-opening experience, and epiphany that leads to the increase of one’s intellect and skill set.... [tags: Hesse Siddhartha]
1371 words (3.9 pages)
- Finding Enlightenment in Herman Hesse's Siddhartha Growing up, children learn most everything from their elders. Yet, an elder nor a book can help a person to enlightenment. Nor can they teach a person to find their soul. The path to a person’s Atman is a personal journey, one to be endured, not taught. The meaning of a person’s life is not a subject to be read in books. The meaning of life is slowly attained through wisdom, enduring life and searching for the right path along the way. In the novel Siddhartha, Gotama cannot teach enlightenment because that wisdom cannot be communicated through words, only through experience.... [tags: Herman Hesse, Siddhartha]
463 words (1.3 pages)
- River in "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse The river is a source of knowledge. It symbolises a teacher, a guru, one who knows and is aware of this knowledge and who imparts it to those who seek knowledge from it. In Herman Hesse’s novella Siddhartha, the protagonist Siddhartha is deeply mystified by the secrets and puzzles of the river. He seeks to unravel and them and gain knowledge from the river in order to achieve his goal of attaining nirvana, enlightenment. He is helped in his course by a ferryman Vasudeva, who has lived all his life close to the river, transporting people from one side to the other.... [tags: Sidhartha Herman Hesse Essays]
765 words (2.2 pages)
- 'For ages, the river has been a sign of eternity and has served as a symbol of spiritual awareness to many people'(Rahula 39). The river in Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, is an important symbol. Hesse provides many references to the river throughout his novel, and it serves many purposes in his writing. Siddhartha who is the main character, grows up with his father and mother on a riverbank, in India. He decides to leave the world of the Brahmins to seek his own way. Govinda, Siddhartha's companion, follows him to the world of the Samanas.... [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays ]
1359 words (3.9 pages)
- Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha discusses the life and spiritual journey of Siddhartha, a Brahmin contemporary of Gautama Buddha. Siddhartha’s name, a portmanteau of the Sanskrit words for “achieved” and “what was searched for,” invites comparison to the Buddha himself, who went by the same name when he was a prince. Unsatisfied with his spiritual state as a Brahmin, Siddhartha immerses himself in various other life philosophies. In his pursuit of enlightenment, he becomes a Samana, meets Buddha, and attempts a citified materialistic lifestyle, but these options all leave him unfulfilled.... [tags: Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha Essays]
1790 words (5.1 pages)
- Uniting Mind, Body, and Spirit in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha Each of us has innate desire to understand the purpose of our existence. As Hermann Hesse illustrates in his novel Siddhartha, the journey to wisdom may be difficult. Organized religion helps many to find meaning in life but it does not substitute careful introspection. An important message of Siddhartha is that to achieve enlightenment one must unite the experiences of mind, body, and spirit. In the first part of the book, Siddhartha is consumed by his thirst for knowledge. He joined the samanas and listened to the teachings of the Buddha in attempt to discern the true way to Nirvana. Though he perfe... [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays]
764 words (2.2 pages)
- Hesse's Siddhartha as it Parallels Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Several parallels can be drawn between the psychologist Abraham Maslow's theoretical hierarchy of needs and the spiritual journey of Siddhartha, the eponymous main character in Herman Hesse's novel. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is somewhat of a pyramid that is divided into eight stages of need through which one progresses throughout one's entire life. During the course of his lifetime, Siddhartha's personality develops in a manner congruent with the stages of Maslow's hierarchy. Siddhartha's progress from each of the major sections of the hierarchy is marked by a sharp change in his life or behavior.... [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays]
1807 words (5.2 pages)
- The Quest for Self Discovery in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha “Then he [Siddhartha] suddenly saw clearly that he was leading a strange life, that he was doing many things that were only a game, that he was quite cheerful and sometimes experienced pleasure, but that real life was flowing past him and did not touch him. Like a player who plays with his ball, he played with his business, with the people around him, watched them, derived amusement from them; but with his heart, with his real nature, he was not there” (Hesse 57-58).... [tags: Hesse Siddhartha Essays]
776 words (2.2 pages)
- The Importance of Surroundings in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and The Stranger by Albert Camus According to John Locke, people begin their lives with a clean slate and are nurtured by their surroundings and contact with others, also known as Tabula Rasa (Landry).... [tags: Camus Siddhartha Hesse]
1725 words (4.9 pages)
- In this novel the protagonist of the story, Siddhartha, believes that the teachings of others will not allow you to reach Nirvana. Therefore, he sets out on a journey to experience the world for himself, the good and the bad, in order to become closer to enlightenment and to eventually become an enlightened one himself, a Buddha. After each experience Siddhartha comes to a new conclusion as his outlook on life changes, as he becomes closer to enlightenment. In the beginning of the book Siddhartha is already living in one extreme.... [tags: Siddhartha Hermann Hesse]
1675 words (4.8 pages)