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Zen Stories

...... ... .


Hermann Hess


Chapter 7-12


Chapter 7




..For a long time, Siddhartha had lived the life of the world and of lust,.though without being a part of it. His senses, which he had killed hot years as a Samana, had awoken again, he had tasted riches, had.tasted lust, had tasted power; nevertheless he had still remained in his.heart for a long time a Samana; Kamala, being smart, had realized this.quite right. It was still the art of thinking, of waiting, of fasting,.which guided his life; still the people of the world, the childlike.people, had remained alien to him as he was alien to them...Years passed by; surrounded by the good life, Siddhartha hardly felt.them fading away. He had become rich, for quite a while he possessed of his own and his own servants, and a garden before the city by.the river. The people liked him, they came to him, whenever they or advice, but there was nobody close to him, except Kamala...That high, bright state of being awake, which he had experienced time at the height of his youth, in those days after Gotama's.sermon, after the separation from Govinda, that tense expectation, that.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 memory, had been fleeting; distant and quiet, the.holy source murmured, which used to be near, which used to murmur within.himself. Nevertheless, many things he had learned from the Samanas, he.had learned from Gotama, he had learned from his father the Brahman,.had remained within him for a long time afterwards: moderate living,.joy of thinking, hours of meditation, secret knowledge of the self,.of his eternal entity, which is neither body nor consciousness. Many.a part of this he still had, but one part after another had been.submerged and had gathered dust. Just as a potter's wheel, once it has.been set in motion, will keep on turning for a long time and only slowly.lose its vigour and come to a stop, thus Siddhartha's soul had kept on.turning the wheel of asceticism, the wheel of thinking, the wheel of.differentiation for a long time, still turning, but it turned slowly and.hesitantly and was close to coming to a standstill. Slowly, like.humidity entering the dying stem of a tree, filling it slowly and.making it rot, the world and sloth had entered Siddhartha's soul,.slowly it filled his soul, made it heavy, made it tired, put it to.sleep. On the other hand, his senses had become alive, there was much.they had learned, much they had experienced...Siddhartha had learned to trade, to use his power over people, to enjoy.himself with a woman, he had learned to wear beautiful clothes, to give.orders to servants, to bathe in perfumed waters. He had learned to eat.tenderly and carefully prepared food, even fish, even meat and poultry,.spices and sweets, and to drink wine, which causes sloth and.forgetfulness. He had learned to play with dice and on a chess-board,.to watch dancing girls, to 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 disdain, with the same disdain which a Samana constantly.feels for the people of the world. When Kamaswami was ailing, when he.was annoyed, when he felt insulted, when he was vexed by his worries as.a merchant, Siddhartha had always watched it with mockery. Just slowly.and imperceptibly, as the harvest seasons and rainy seasons passed by,.his mockery had become more tired, his superiority had become more.quiet. Just slowly, among his growing riches, Siddhartha had assumed.something of the childlike people's ways for himself, something of their.childlikeness and of their fearfulness. And yet, he envied them, envied.them just the more, the more similar he became to them. He envied them.for the one thing that was missing from him and that they had, the.importance they were able to attach to their lives, the amount of.passion in their joys and fears, the fearful but sweet happiness of.being constantly in love. These people were all of the time in love.with themselves, with women, with their children, with honours or money,.with plans or hopes. But he did not learn this from them, this out of.all things, this joy of a child and this foolishness of a child; he.learned from them out of all things the unpleasant ones, which he.himself despised. It happened more and more often that, in the morning.after having had company the night before, he stayed in bed for a long.time, felt unable to think and tired. It happened that he became angry.and impatient, when Kamaswami bored him with his worries. It happened.that he laughed just too loud, when he lost a game of dice. His face.was still smarter and more spiritual than others, but it rarely laughed,.and assumed, one after another, those features which are so often.found in the faces of rich people, those features of discontent, of.sickliness, of ill-humour, of sloth, of a lack of love. Slowly the.disease of the soul, which rich people have, grabbed hold of him...Like a veil, like a thin mist, tiredness came over Siddhartha, slowly,.getting a bit denser every day, a bit murkier every month, a bit heavier.every year. As a new dress becomes old in time, loses its beautiful.colour in time, gets stains, gets wrinkles, gets worn off at the seams,.and starts to show threadbare spots here and there, thus Siddhartha' life, which he had started after his separation from Govinda, had.grown old, lost colour and splendour as the years passed by, was.gathering wrinkles and stains, and hidden at bottom, already showing its.ugliness here and there, disappointment and disgust were waiting..Siddhartha did not notice it. He only noticed that this bright and.reliable voice inside of him, which had awoken in him at that time and.had ever guided him in his best times, had become silent...He had been captured by the world, by lust, covetousness, sloth, and.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,.possessions, and riches also had finally captured him; they were no.longer a game and trifles to him, had become a shackle and a burden..On a strange and devious way, Siddhartha had gotten into this final and.most base of all dependencies, by means of the game of dice. It was.since that time, when he had stopped being a Samana in his heart, that.Siddhartha began to play the game for money and precious things, which.he at other times only joined with a smile and casually as a custom of.the childlike people, with an increasing rage and passion. He was a.feared gambler, few dared to take him on, so high and audacious were his.stakes. He played the game due to a pain of his heart, losing and.wasting his wretched money in the game brought him an angry joy, in no.other way he could demonstrate his disdain for wealth, the merchants'.false god, more clearly and more mockingly. Thus he gambled with high.stakes and mercilessly, hating himself, mocking himself, won thousands,.threw away thousands, lost money, lost jewelry, lost a house in, won again, lost again. That fear, that terrible and petrifying.fear, which he felt while he was rolling the dice, while he was worried.about losing high stakes, that fear he loved and sought to always, always increase it, always get it to a slightly higher level, for in.this feeling alone he still felt something like happiness, a intoxication, something like an elevated form of life in the.midst of his saturated, lukewarm, dull life...And after each big loss, his mind was set on new riches, pursued more zealously, forced his debtors more strictly to pay, because.he wanted to continue gambling, he wanted to continue squandering,.continue demonstrating his disdain of wealth. Siddhartha lost his.calmness when losses occurred, lost his patience when he was not payed.on time, lost his kindness towards beggars, lost his disposition away and loaning money to those who petitioned him. He, who.gambled away tens of thousands at one roll of the dice and laughed, became more strict and more petty in his business, occasionally.dreaming at night about money! And whenever he woke up from this ugly.spell, whenever he found his face in the mirror at the bedroom's wall to.have aged and become more ugly, whenever embarrassment and disgust came.over him, he continued fleeing, fleeing into a new game, fleeing into a.numbing of his mind brought on by sex, by wine, and from there he fled.back into the urge to pile up and obtain possessions. In this pointless.cycle he ran, growing tired, growing old, growing ill...Then the time came when a dream warned him. He had spend the hours of.the evening with Kamala, in her beautiful pleasure-garden. They had.been sitting under the trees, talking, and Kamala had said thoughtful.words, words behind which a sadness and tiredness lay hidden. She had.asked him to tell her about Gotama, and could not hear enough of him,.how clear his eyes, how still and beautiful his mouth, how kind, how peaceful his walk had been. For a long time, he had to tell.her about the exalted Buddha, and Kamala had sighed and had said: ", perhaps soon, I'll also follow that Buddha. I'll give him my.pleasure-garden for a gift and take my refuge in his teachings." But.after this, she had aroused him, and had tied him to her in the act.of making love with painful fervour, biting and in tears, as if, once.more, she wanted to squeeze the last sweet drop out of this vain,.fleeting pleasure. Never before, it had become so strangely clear to.Siddhartha, how closely lust was akin to death. Then he had lain by.her side, and Kamala's face had been close to him, and under her eyes.and next to the corners of her mouth he had, as clearly as never before,.read a fearful inscription, an inscription of small lines, of slight.grooves, an inscription reminiscent of autumn and old age, just as.Siddhartha himself, who was only in his forties, had already noticed,.here and there, gray hairs among his black ones. Tiredness was written.on Kamala's beautiful face, tiredness from walking a long path, which.has no happy destination, tiredness and the beginning of withering,.and concealed, still unsaid, perhaps not even conscious anxiety: fear of.old age, fear of the autumn, fear of having to die. With a sigh, he his farewell to her, the soul full of reluctance, and full of.concealed anxiety...Then, Siddhartha had spent the night in his house with dancing girls.and wine, had acted as if he was superior to them towards the.fellow-members of his caste, though this was no longer true, had drunk.much wine and gone to bed a long time after midnight, being tired and.yet excited, close to weeping and despair, and had for a long time.sought to sleep in vain, his heart full of misery which he thought he.could not bear any longer, full of a disgust which he felt penetrating.his entire body like the lukewarm, repulsive taste of the wine, the.just too sweet, dull music, the just too soft smile of the dancing.girls, the just too sweet scent of their hair and breasts. But more.than by anything else, he was disgusted by himself, by his, by the smell of wine from his mouth, by the flabby tiredness and.listlessness of his skin. Like when someone, who has eaten and drunk.far too much, vomits it back up again with agonising pain and is.nevertheless glad about the relief, thus this sleepless man wished himself of these pleasures, these habits and all of this and himself, in 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-house, he had slightly fallen asleep, had found for a.few moments a half unconsciousness, a hint of sleep. In those moments,.he had a dream:..Kamala owned a small, rare singing bird in a golden cage. Of this bird,.he dreamt. He dreamt: this bird had become mute, who at other times.always used to sing in the morning, and 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 out, weighed it for a.moment in his hand, and then threw it away, out in the street, and in.the same moment, he felt terribly shocked, and his heart hurt, as if he.had thrown away from himself all value and everything good by throwing.out this dead bird...Starting up from this dream, he felt encompassed by a deep sadness..Worthless, so it seemed to him, worthless and pointless was the way he.had been going through life; nothing which was alive, nothing which 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 mind, Siddhartha went to the pleasure-garden he owned,.locked the gate, sat down under a mango-tree, felt death in his heart.and horror in his chest, sat and sensed how everything died in him,.withered in him, came to an end in him. By and by, he gathered his.thoughts, and in his mind, he once again went the entire path of, starting with the first days he could remember. When was there.ever a time when he had experienced happiness, felt a true bliss? Oh.yes, several times he had experienced such a thing. In his years as a.boy, he has had a taste of it, when he had obtained praise from the.Brahmans, he 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 me, as if there are a few words missing from.the German text, which I can only guess. My guess is, should read: Ein Weg liegt vor dem, der sich im Hersagen.der heiligen Verse, ...}..of the holy verses, in the dispute with the learned ones, as an.assistant in the offerings." Then, he had felt it in his heart: " a path in front of you, you are destined for, the gods are" And again, as a young man, when the ever rising, upward fleeing,.goal of all thinking had ripped him out of and up from the multitude of.those seeking the same goal, when he wrestled in pain for the purpose of.Brahman, when every obtained knowledge only kindled new thirst in him,.then again he had, in the midst of the thirst, in 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 Samana, and again when he had gone away from the Samanas to that.perfected one, and also when he had gone away from him to the uncertain..For how long had he not heard this voice any more, for how long had he.reached no height any more, how even and dull was the manner in which.his path had passed through life, for many long years, without a high.goal, without thirst, without elevation, content with small lustful.pleasures and yet never satisfied! For all of these many years, without.knowing it himself, he had tried hard and longed to become a man like.those many, like those children, and in all this, his life had been.much more miserable and poorer than theirs, and their goals were not.his, nor their worries; after all, that entire world of the.Kamaswami-people had only been a game to him, a dance he would watch, a.comedy. Only Kamala had been dear, had been valuable to him--but was.she still thus? Did he still need her, or she him? Did they not play.a game without an ending? Was it necessary to live for this? No, it.was not necessary! The name of this game was Sansara, a game for.children, a game which was perhaps enjoyable to play once, twice, ten.times--but for ever and ever over again?..Then, Siddhartha knew that the game was over, that he could not play it.any more. Shivers ran over his body, inside of him, so he felt,.something had died...That entire day, he sat under the mango-tree, thinking of his father,.thinking of Govinda, thinking of Gotama. Did he have to leave them to.become a Kamaswami? He still sat there, when the night had fallen..When, looking up, he caught sight of the stars, he thought: "Here I'm.sitting under my mango-tree, in my pleasure-garden." He smiled a little.--was it really necessary, was it right, was it not as foolish game,.that he owned a mango-tree, that he owned a garden?..He also put an end to this, this also died in him. He rose, bid his.farewell to the mango-tree, his farewell to the pleasure-garden. Since.he had been without food this day, he felt strong hunger, and thought.of his house in the city, of his chamber and bed, of the table with the.meals on it. He smiled tiredly, shook himself, and bid his farewell to.these things...In the same hour of the night, Siddhartha left his garden, left, and never came back. For a long time, Kamaswami had people look.for him, thinking that he had fallen into the hands of robbers. Kamala.had no one look for him. When she was told that Siddhartha had.disappeared, she was not astonished. Did she not always expect it? Was.he not a Samana, a man who was at home nowhere, a pilgrim? And most of.all, she had felt this the last time they had been together, and she was.happy, in spite of all the pain of the loss, that she had pulled him so.affectionately to her heart for this last time, that she had felt one.more time to be so completely possessed and penetrated by him...When she received the first news of Siddhartha's disappearance, she the window, where she held a rare singing bird captive in a golden.cage. She opened the door of the cage, took the bird out and let For a long time, she gazed after it, the flying bird. From on, she received no more visitors and kept her house locked. But.after some time, she became aware that she was pregnant from the last.time she was together with Siddhartha.


Chapter 8



..Siddhartha walked through the forest, was already far from the city, and.knew nothing but that one thing, that there was no going back for him,.that this life, as he had lived it for many years until now, was over.and done away with, and that he had tasted all of it, sucked everything.out of it until he was disgusted with it. Dead was the singing bird, he.had dreamt of. Dead was the bird in his heart. Deeply, he had been.entangled in Sansara, he had sucked up disgust and death from all sides.into his body, like a sponge sucks up water until it is full. And full.he was, full of the feeling of been sick of it, full of misery, full of.death, there was nothing left in this world which could have attracted.him, given him joy, given him comfort...Passionately he wished to know nothing about himself anymore, to, to 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 poison which would numb his senses, bring him forgetfulness and.sleep, and no awakening from that! Was there still any kind of filth,.he had not soiled himself with, a sin or foolish act he had not.committed, a dreariness of the soul he had not brought upon himself?.Was it still at all possible to be alive? Was it possible, to again and again, to breathe out, to feel hunger, to eat again, to.sleep again, to sleep with a woman again? Was this cycle not exhausted.and brought to a conclusion for him?..Siddhartha reached the large river in the forest, the same river over.which a long time ago, when he had still been a young man and came from.the town of Gotama, a ferryman had conducted him. By this river he.stopped, hesitantly he stood at the bank. Tiredness and hunger had.weakened him, and whatever for should he walk on, wherever to, to which.goal? No, there were no more goals, there was nothing left but the.deep, painful yearning to shake off this whole desolate dream, to spit.out this stale wine, to put an end to this miserable and shameful life...A hang bent over the bank of the river, a coconut-tree; Siddhartha.leaned against its trunk with his shoulder, embraced the trunk with one.arm, and looked down into the green water, which 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 water, answering to the terrible his soul. Yes, he had reached the end. There was nothing left for.him, except to annihilate himself, except to smash the failure into.which he had shaped his life, to throw it away, before the feet of.mockingly laughing gods. This was the great vomiting he had longed for:.death, the smashing to bits of the form he hated! Let him be food for.fishes, this dog Siddhartha, this lunatic, this depraved and rotten.body, this weakened and abused soul! Let him be food for fishes and.crocodiles, let him be chopped to bits by the daemons!..With a distorted face, he stared into the water, saw the reflection of.his face and spit at it. In deep tiredness, he took his arm away from.the trunk of the tree and turned a bit, in order to let himself fall.straight down, in order to finally drown. With his eyes closed, he.slipped towards death...Then, out of remote areas of his soul, out of past times of his now.weary life, a sound stirred up. It was a word, a syllable, which he,.without thinking, with a slurred voice, spoke to himself, the old word.which is the beginning and the end of all prayers of the Brahmans, the.holy "Om", which roughly means "that what is perfect" or "the.completion". And in the moment when the sound of "Om" touched.Siddhartha's ear, his 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 he, so much he had lost his way and was forsaken by all.knowledge, that he had been able to seek death, that this wish, this.wish of a child, had been ale to grow in him: to find rest by.annihilating his body! What all agony of these recent times, all.sobering realizations, all desperation had not brought about, this was.brought on by this moment, when 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 Brahman, knew.about the indestructibility of life, knew about all that is divine,.which he had forgotten...But this was only a moment, flash. By the foot of the coconut-tree,.Siddhartha collapsed, struck down by tiredness, mumbling Om, placed his.head on the root of the tree and fell into a deep sleep...Deep was his sleep and without dreams, for a long time he had not known.such a sleep any more. When he woke up after many hours, he felt as if.ten years had passed, he heard the water quietly flowing, did not know.where he was and who had brought him here, opened his eyes, saw with.astonishment that there were trees and the sky above him, and he.remembered where he was and how he got here. But it took him a long.while for this, and the past seemed to him as if it had been covered by.a veil, infinitely distant, infinitely far away, infinitely meaningless..He only knew that his previous life (in the first moment when he thought.about it, this past life seemed to him like a very old, previous.incarnation, like an early pre-birth of his present self)--that his.previous life had been abandoned by him, that, full of disgust and.wretchedness, he had even intended to throw his life away, but that by a.river, under a coconut-tree, he has come to his senses, the holy word.Om on his lips, that then he had fallen asleep and had now woken up and.was looking at the world as a new man. Quietly, he spoke the word Om to.himself, speaking which he had fallen asleep, and it seemed to him as if.his entire long sleep had been nothing but a long meditative recitation.of Om, a thinking of Om, a submergence and complete entering into Om,.into the nameless, the perfected...What a wonderful sleep had this been! Never before by sleep, he had.been thus refreshed, thus renewed, thus rejuvenated! Perhaps, he had.really died, had drowned and was reborn in a new body? But no, he knew.himself, he knew his hand and his feet, knew the place where he lay,.knew this self in his chest, this Siddhartha, the eccentric, the, but this Siddhartha was nevertheless transformed, was renewed,.was strangely well rested, strangely awake, joyful and curious...Siddhartha straightened up, then he saw a person sitting opposite to him,.an unknown man, a monk in a yellow robe with a shaven head, sitting in.the position of pondering. He observed the man, who had neither hair.on his head nor a beard, and he had not observed him for long when he.recognised this monk as Govinda, the friend of his youth, Govinda who.had taken his refuge with the exalted Buddha. Govinda had aged, he too,.but still his face bore the same features, expressed zeal, faithfulness,.searching, timidness. But when Govinda now, sensing his gaze, opened.his eyes and looked at him, Siddhartha saw that Govinda did not.recognise him. Govinda was happy to find him awake; apparently, he 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 places, where snakes often are and the animals of the.forest have their paths. I, oh sir, am a follower of the exalted.Gotama, the Buddha, the Sakyamuni, and have been on a pilgrimage.together with several of us on this path, when I saw you lying and.sleeping in a place where it is dangerous to sleep. Therefore, I wake you up, oh sir, and since I saw that your sleep was very deep,.I stayed behind from my group and sat with you. And then, so it seems,.I have fallen asleep myself, I who wanted to guard your sleep. Badly,.I have served you, tiredness has overwhelmed me. But now that you're.awake, let 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.then.".."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?"..Now, Siddhartha 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 in the grove Jetavana.".."You're Siddhartha," Govinda exclaimed loudly. Now, I'm, and don't comprehend any more how I couldn't recognise you right.away. Be welcome, Siddhartha, my joy is great, to 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 too, friend, it 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 pilgrimage, and I believe But, forgive me, oh Siddhartha, you do not look like a pilgrim..You're wearing a rich man's garments, you're wearing the shoes of a.distinguished gentleman, and your hair, with the fragrance of perfume,.is not a pilgrim's hair, not 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 clothes, few in such shoes, few with such hair..Never I have met such a pilgrim, being 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 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. 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 time, with doubt in.his eyes. After that, he gave him the salutation which one would use.on a gentleman and went on his way...With a smiling face, Siddhartha watched him leave, he loved him still,.this faithful man, this fearful man. And how could he not have loved.everybody and everything in this moment, in the glorious hour after his.wonderful sleep, filled with Om! The enchantment, which had happened.inside of him in his sleep and by means of the Om, was this very thing.that he loved everything, that he was full of joyful love for everything.he saw. And it was this very thing, so it seemed to him now, which had.been his sickness before, that he was not able to love anybody or.anything...With a smiling face, Siddhartha watched the leaving monk. The sleep had.strengthened him much, but hunger gave him much pain, for by now he had.not eaten for two days, and the times were long past when he had been.tough against hunger. With sadness, and yet also with a smile, he.thought of that time. In those days, so he remembered, he had boasted.of three three things to Kamala, had been able to do three noble and.undefeatable feats: fasting--waiting--thinking. These had been his.possession, his power and strength, his solid staff; in the busy,.laborious years of his youth, he had learned these three feats, nothing.else. And now, they had abandoned him, none of them was his any more,.neither fasting, nor waiting, nor thinking. For the most wretched.things, he had given them up, for what fades most quickly, for sensual.lust, for the good life, for riches! His life had indeed been strange..And now, so it seemed, now he had really become a childlike person...Siddhartha thought about his situation. Thinking was hard on him, he.did not really feel like it, but he forced himself...Now, he thought, since all theses most easily perishing things have.slipped from me again, now I'm standing here under the sun again just as.I have been standing here a little child, nothing is mine, I have no.abilities, there is nothing I could bring about, I have learned nothing..How wondrous is this! Now, that I'm no longer young, that my hair is.already half gray, that my strength is fading, now I'm starting the beginning and as a child! Again, he had to smile. Yes, his fate.had been strange! Things were going downhill with him, and now he was.again facing the world void and naked and stupid. But he could not feed.sad about this, no, he even felt a great urge to laugh, to laugh about.himself, to laugh about this strange, foolish world..."Things are going downhill with you!" he said to himself, and laughed.about it, and as he was saying it, he happened to glance at the river,.and he also saw the river going downhill, always moving on downhill,.and singing and being happy through it all. He liked this well, kindly.he smiled at the river. Was this not the river in which he had drown himself, in past times, a hundred years ago, or had he dreamed.this?..Wondrous indeed was my life, so he thought, wondrous detours it has.taken. As I boy, I had only to do with gods and offerings. As a youth,.I had only to do with asceticism, with thinking and meditation, was.searching for Brahman, worshipped the eternal in the Atman. But as a.young man, I followed the penitents, lived in the forest, suffered of.heat and frost, learned to hunger, taught my body to become dead..Wonderfully, soon afterwards, insight came towards me in the form of the.great Buddha's teachings, I felt the knowledge of the oneness of 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.Kamala, learned trading with Kamaswami, piled up money, wasted money,.learned to love my stomach, learned to please my senses. I had to spend.many years losing my spirit, to unlearn thinking again, to forget the.oneness. Isn't it just as if I had turned slowly and on a long detour.from a man into a child, from a thinker into a childlike person? And.yet, this path has been very good; and yet, the bird in my chest has.not died. But what a path has this been! I had to pass through so much.stupidity, through so much vices, through so many errors, through so.much disgust and disappointments and woe, just to become a child again.and to be able to start over. But it was right so, my heart says "Yes".to it, my eyes smile to it. I've had to experience despair, I've had to.sink down to the most foolish one of all thoughts, to the thought of.suicide, in order to be able to experience divine grace, to hear Om.again, to be able to sleep properly and awake properly again. I had to.become a fool, to find Atman in me again. I had to sin, to be able again. Where else might my path lead me to? It is foolish, this.path, it moves in loops, perhaps it is going around in a circle. go as it likes, I want to to take it...Wonderfully, he felt joy rolling like waves in his chest...Wherever from, he asked his heart, where from did you get this.happiness? Might it come from that long, good sleep, which has done good? Or from the word Om, which I said? Or from the fact that I.have escaped, that I have completely fled, that I am finally free again.and am standing like a child under the sky? Oh how good is it to have.fled, to have become free! How clean and beautiful is the air here, how.good to breathe! There, where I ran away from, there everything smelled.of ointments, of spices, of wine, of excess, of sloth. How did I hate.this world of the rich, of those who revel in fine food, of the.gamblers! How did I hate myself for staying in this terrible world long! How did I hate myself, have deprive, poisoned, tortured.myself, have made myself old and evil! No, never again I will, as I.used to like doing so much, delude myself into thinking that Siddhartha.was wise! But this one thing I have done well, this I like, this I must.praise, that there is now an end to that hatred against myself, to that.foolish and dreary life! I praise you, Siddhartha, after so many years.of foolishness, you have once again had an idea, have done something,.have heard the bird in your chest singing and have followed it!..Thus he praised himself, found joy in himself, listened curiously to his.stomach, which was rumbling with hunger. He had now, so he felt, in.these recent times and days, completely tasted and spit out, devoured the point of desperation and death, a piece of suffering, a piece of.misery. Like this, it was good. For much longer, he could have stayed.with Kamaswami, made money, wasted money, filled his stomach, and let.his soul die of thirst; for much longer he could have lived in this.soft, well upholstered hell, if this had not happened: the moment of.complete hopelessness and despair, that most extreme moment, when he.hang over the rushing waters and was ready to destroy himself. That he.had felt this despair, this deep disgust, and that he had not it, that the bird, the joyful source and voice in him was still alive.after all, this was why he felt joy, this was why he laughed, this was.why his face was smiling brightly under his hair which had turned gray..."It is good," he thought, "to 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 time, he pondered his transformation, listened to the bird,.as it sang for joy. Had not this bird died in him, had he not felt its.death? No, something else from within him had died, something 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 self, his small, frightened, and proud self, he had wrestled with.for so many years, which had defeated him again and again, which was.back again after every killing, prohibited joy, felt fear? Was it not.this, which today had finally come to its death, here in the forest, by.this lovely river? Was it not due to this death, that he was now like.a child, so full of trust, so without fear, so full of joy?..Now Siddhartha also got some idea of why he had fought this self in.vain as a Brahman, as a penitent. Too much knowledge had held him.back, too many holy verses, too many sacrificial rules, to much.self-castigation, so much doing and striving for that goal! Full of.arrogance, he had been, always the smartest, always working the most,.always one step ahead of all others, always the knowing and, always the priest or wise one. Into being a priest, into this.arrogance, into this spirituality, his self had retreated, there it sat.firmly and grew, while 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..Therefore, he had to go out into the world, lose himself to lust and.power, to woman and money, had to become a merchant, a dice-gambler, a.drinker, and a greedy person, until the priest and Samana in him was.dead. Therefore, he had to continue bearing these ugly years, bearing.the disgust, the emptiness, the pointlessness of a dreary and.wasted life up to the end, up to bitter despair, until Siddhartha the.lustful, Siddhartha the greedy could also die. He had died, a new.Siddhartha had woken up from the sleep. He would also grow old, he.would also eventually have to die, mortal was Siddhartha, mortal was.every physical form. But today he was young, was a child, the new.Siddhartha, and was full of joy...He thought these thoughts, listened with a smile to his stomach,.listened gratefully to a buzzing bee. Cheerfully, he looked into the.rushing river, never 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 him, as if the river.had something special to tell him, something he did not know yet, which.was still awaiting him. In this river, Siddhartha had intended to.drown himself, in it the old, tired, desperate Siddhartha had But the new Siddhartha felt a deep love for this rushing water,.and decided for himself, not to leave it very soon.



Chapter 9



..By this river I want to stay, thought Siddhartha, it is the same which.I have crossed a long time ago on my way to the childlike people, a.friendly ferryman had guided me then, he is the one I want to go to,.starting out from his hut, my path had led me at that time into a, which had now grown old and is dead--my present path, my life, shall also take its start there!..Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green,.into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright.pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on.the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With.a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white.ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this.water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart.he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him:.Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to.learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this.water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many.other things, many secrets, all secrets...But out of all secrets of the river, he today only saw one, this one.touched his soul. He saw: this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran,.and was nevertheless always there, was 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 not, only felt some idea.of it stirring, a distant memory, divine voices...Siddhartha rose, the workings of hunger in his body became unbearable..In a daze he walked on, up the path by the bank, up river,.listened to the current, listened to the rumbling hunger in his body...When he reached the ferry, the boat was just ready, and the same.ferryman who had once transported the young Samana across the river,.stood in the boat, Siddhartha recognised him, he had also aged very.much..."Would you like to ferry me over?" he asked...The ferryman, being astonished to see such an elegant man walking along.and on foot, took 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 on it."..With a smile, the man at the oar moved from side to side: "It is.beautiful, sir, it is as you say. But isn't every life, isn't 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 before, I have been looked upon today because.of my clothes, I have been looked upon with distrust. Wouldn't you,.ferryman, like to accept these clothes, which are a nuisance to me,.from me? For you must know, I 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 time, the ferryman looked at the stranger, searching..."Now I recognise you," he finally said. "At one time, you've slept hut, this was a long time ago, possibly more than twenty years ago,.and you've been ferried across the river by me, and we parted like good.friends. Haven't you've been a Samana? I can't think of your name any.more.".."My name is Siddhartha, and I was a Samana, when you've last seen me.".."So be welcome, Siddhartha. My name is Vasudeva." You will, so I hope,.be my guest today as well and sleep in my hut, and tell me, where you're.coming from and why these beautiful clothes are such a nuisance to you."..They had reached the middle of the river, and Vasudeva pushed the oar.with more strength, in order to overcome the current. He worked calmly,.his eyes fixed in on the front of the boat, with brawny arms..Siddhartha sat and watched him, and remembered, how once before, on that.last day of his time as a Samana, love for this man had stirred in his.heart. Gratefully, he accepted Vasudeva's invitation. When they had.reached the bank, he helped him to tie the boat to the stakes; after.this, the ferryman asked him to enter the hut, offered him bread and.water, and Siddhartha ate with eager pleasure, and also ate with eager.pleasure of the mango fruits, Vasudeva offered him...Afterwards, it was almost the time of the sunset, they sat on a log by.the bank, and Siddhartha told the ferryman about where he originally.came from and about his life, as he had seen it before his eyes today,.in that hour of despair. Until late at night, lasted his tale...Vasudeva listened with great attention. Listening carefully, he let.everything enter his mind, birthplace and childhood, all that learning,.all that searching, all joy, all distress. This was among the.ferryman's virtues one of the greatest: like only a few, he knew listen. Without him having spoken a word, the speaker sensed how.Vasudeva let his words enter his mind, quiet, open, waiting, how he.did not lose a single one, awaited not a single one with impatience,.did not add his praise or rebuke, was just listening. Siddhartha felt,.what a happy fortune it is, to confess to such a listener, to burry in.his heart his own life, his own search, his own suffering...But in the end of Siddhartha's tale, when he spoke of the tree by the.river, and of his deep fall, of the holy Om, and how he had felt such.a love for the river after his slumber, the ferryman listened with twice.the attention, entirely and completely absorbed by it, with his eyes.closed...But when Siddhartha fell silent, and a long silence had occurred, then.Vasudeva said: "It is as I thought. The river has spoken to you. your friend as well, it speaks to you as well. That is good, that is.very good. Stay with me, Siddhartha, my friend. I used to have a wife,.her bed was next to mine, but she has died a long time ago, for a long.time, I have lived alone. Now, you shall live with me, there is space.and food for both.".."I thank you," said Siddhartha, "I 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".."You will learn it," spoke Vasudeva, "but 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 thing, Vasudeva?"..Vasudeva rose. "It is late," he said, "let's go to sleep. I can't.tell you that other thing, oh friend. You'll learn it, or perhaps you.know it already. See, I'm no learned man, I have no special skill in.speaking, I also have no special skill in thinking. All I'm able to to listen and to be godly, I have learned nothing else. If I to say and teach it, I might be a wise man, but like this I am only.a ferryman, and it is my task to ferry people across the river. I have.transported many, thousands; and to all of them, my river has been.nothing but an obstacle on their travels. They travelled to seek money.and business, and for weddings, and on pilgrimages, and the river was.obstructing their path, and the ferryman's job was to get them quickly.across that obstacle. But for some among thousands, a few, four or.five, the river has stopped being an obstacle, they have heard its.voice, they have listened to it, and the river has become sacred to.them, as it has become sacred to me. Let's rest now, Siddhartha."..Siddhartha stayed with the ferryman and learned to operate the boat, and.when there was nothing to do at the ferry, he worked with Vasudeva in.the rice-field, gathered wood, plucked the fruit off the banana-trees..He learned to build an oar, and learned to mend the boat, and to weave.baskets, and was joyful because of everything he learned, and the days.and months passed quickly. But more than Vasudeva could teach him, he.was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all,.he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart,.with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without.judgement, without an opinion...In a friendly manner, he lived side by side with Vasudeva, and.occasionally they exchanged some words, few and at length thought about.words. Vasudeva was no friend of words; rarely, Siddhartha persuading him to speak..."Did you," so he asked him at one time, "did 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 mean, isn't it: that.the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the.waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains,.everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not.the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future?".."This it is," said Siddhartha. "And when I had learned it, I looked life, and it was also a river, and the boy Siddhartha was only.separated from the man Siddhartha and from the old man Siddhartha by a.shadow, not by something real. Also, Siddhartha's previous births past, and his death and his return to Brahma was no future. Nothing.was, nothing will be; everything is, everything has existence and is.present."..Siddhartha spoke with ecstasy; deeply, this enlightenment had delighted.him. Oh, was not all suffering time, were not all forms of tormenting.oneself and being afraid time, was not everything hard, everything.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 delight, he had spoken, but Vasudeva smiled at him brightly.and nodded in confirmation., silently he nodded, brushed his hand over.Siddhartha's shoulder, turned back to his work...And once again, when the river had just increased its flow in the rainy.season and made a powerful noise, then said Siddhartha: "Isn't it so,.oh friend, the river has many voices, very many voices? Hasn't it the.voice of a king, and of a warrior, and of a bull, and of a bird of the.night, and of a woman giving birth, and of a sighing man, and a thousand.other voices more?".."So it is," Vasudeva nodded, "all voices of the creatures are in its.voice.".."And do you know," Siddhartha continued, "what word it speaks, when you.succeed in hearing all of its ten thousand voices at once?"..Happily, Vasudeva's face was smiling, he 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 time, his smile became more similar to the ferryman's,.became almost just as bright, almost just as throughly glowing with.bliss, just as shining out of thousand small wrinkles, just as alike to.a child's, just as alike to an old man's. Many travellers, seeing the.two ferrymen, thought they were brothers. Often, they sat in the.evening together by the bank on the log, said nothing and both the water, which was no water to them, but the voice of life, the.voice of what exists, of what is eternally taking shape. And it.happened from time to time that both, when listening to the river,.thought of the same things, of a conversation from the day before.yesterday, of one of their travellers, the face and fate of whom had.occupied their thoughts, of death, of their childhood, and that they.both in the same moment, when the river had been saying something them, looked at each other, both 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 others, which many of the travellers felt. It happened.occasionally that a traveller, after having looked at the face of one of.the ferrymen, started to tell the story of his life, told about pains,.confessed evil things, asked 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 men, or sorcerers, or living by that ferry. The curious people asked many questions, but.they got no answers, and they found neither sorcerers nor wise men, they.only found two friendly little old men, who 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 by, and nobody counted them. Then, at one time, monks.came by on a pilgrimage, followers of Gotama, the Buddha, who were.asking to be ferried across the river, and by them the ferrymen were.told that they were were most hurriedly walking back to their great.teacher, for the news had spread the exalted one was deadly sick and.would soon die his last human death, in order to become one with the.salvation. It was not long, until a new flock of monks came along on.their pilgrimage, and another one, and 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 sides, when they are going to war or to the.coronation of a king, and are gathering like ants in droves, thus they.flocked, like being drawn on by a magic spell, to where the great Buddha.was awaiting his death, where the huge event was to take place and the.great perfected one of an era was to become one with the glory...Often, Siddhartha thought in those days of the dying wise man, the.great teacher, whose voice had admonished nations and had awoken.hundreds of thousands, whose voice he had also once heard, whose holy.face he had also once seen with respect. Kindly, he thought of him, saw.his path to perfection before his eyes, and remembered with a smile.those words which he had once, as a young man, said to him, the They had been, so it seemed to him, proud and precocious words;.with a smile, he remembered them. For a long time he knew that there.was nothing standing between Gotama and him any more, though he was.still unable to accept his teachings. No, there was no teaching a.truly searching person, someone who truly wanted to find, could accept..But he who had found, he could approve of any teachings, every path,.every goal, there was nothing standing between him and all the other.thousand any more who lived in that what is eternal, who breathed divine...On one of these days, when so many went on a pilgrimage to the dying.Buddha, Kamala also went to him, who used to be the most beautiful of.the courtesans. A long time ago, she had retired from her, had given her garden to the monks of Gotama as a gift, had taken.her refuge in the teachings, was among the friends and benefactors of.the pilgrims. Together with Siddhartha the boy, her son, she had gone.on her way due to the news of the near death of Gotama, in simple.clothes, on foot. With her little son, she was travelling by the river;.but the boy had soon grown tired, desired to go back home, desired, desired to eat, became disobedient and started whining...Kamala often hat to take a rest with him, he was accustomed to having.his way against her, she had to feed him, had to comfort him, had to.scold him. He did not comprehend why he had to to go on this exhausting.and sad pilgrimage with his mother, to an unknown place, to a stranger,.who was holy and about to die. So what if he died, how did this concern.the boy?..The pilgrims were getting close to Vasudeva's ferry, when little.Siddhartha once again forced his mother to rest. She, Kamala herself,.had also become tired, and while the boy was chewing a banana, she.crouched down on the ground, closed her eyes a bit, and rested. But.suddenly, she uttered a wailing scream, the boy looked at her in fear.and saw her face having grown pale from horror; and from under her.dress, a small, black snake fled, by which Kamala had been bitten...Hurriedly, they now both ran along the path, in order to reach people,.and got near to the ferry, there Kamala collapsed, and was not able to.go any further. But the boy started crying miserably, only to kiss and hug his mother, and she also joined his loud screams, until the sound reached Vasudeva's ears, who stood at the ferry..Quickly, he came walking, took the woman on his arms, carried her into.the boat, the boy ran along, and soon they all reached the hut, were.Siddhartha stood by the stove and was just lighting the fire. He looked.up and first saw the boy's face, which wondrously reminded him of.something, like a warning to remember something he had forgotten. Then.he saw Kamala, whom he instantly recognised, though she lay the ferryman's arms, and now he knew that it was his own son, whose.face had been such a warning reminder to him, and the heart stirred in.his chest...Kamala's wound was washed, but had already turned black and her body was.swollen, she was made to drink a healing potion. Her consciousness.returned, she lay on Siddhartha's bed in the hut and bent over her stood.Siddhartha, who used to love her so much. It seemed like a dream to.her; with a smile, she looked at her friend's face; just slowly she,.realized her situation, remembered the bite, called timidly for the boy..."He's with you, don't worry," said Siddhartha...Kamala looked into his eyes. She spoke with a heavy tongue, the poison. "You've become old, my dear," she said, "you've become.gray. But you are like the young Samana, who at one time came without.clothes, with dusty feet, to me into the garden. You are much more like.him, than you were like him at that time when you had left me and.Kamaswami. In the eyes, you're like him, Siddhartha. Alas, I have also.grown old, old--could you still recognise me?"..Siddhartha smiled: "Instantly, I recognised you, Kamala, my 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 wept, Siddhartha took.him on his knees, let him weep, petted his hair, and at the sight of.the child's face, a Brahman prayer came to his mind, which he had.learned a long time ago, when he had been a little boy himself. Slowly,.with a singing voice, he started to speak; from his past and childhood,.the words came flowing to him. And with that singsong, the boy became.calm, was 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 look, which he returned with a smile..."She'll die," Siddhartha said quietly...Vasudeva nodded; over his friendly face ran the light of the stove' again, Kamala returned to consciousness. Pain distorted her face,.Siddhartha's eyes read the suffering on her mouth, on her pale cheeks..Quietly, he read it, attentively, waiting, his mind becoming one with.her suffering. Kamala felt it, her gaze sought his eyes...Looking at him, she 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 you, and it's not you."..Siddhartha said nothing, quietly 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 said, "I'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 Gotama, which wanted to take, in order to see the face of.the perfected one, to breathe his peace, and she thought that she found him in his place, and that it was good, just as good, as if.she had seen the other one. She wanted to tell this to him, but the.tongue no longer obeyed her will. Without speaking, she looked at him,.and he saw the life fading from her eyes. When the final pain filled.her eyes and made them grow dim, when the final shiver ran through her.limbs, his finger closed her eyelids...For a long time, he sat and looked at her peacefully dead face. For a.long time, he observed her mouth, her old, tired mouth, with those lips,.which had become thin, and he remembered, that he used to, in the spring.of his years, compare this mouth with a freshly cracked fig. For a long.time, he sat, read in the pale face, in the tired wrinkles, filled.himself with this sight, saw his own face lying in the same manner,.just as white, just as quenched out, and saw at the same time his face.and hers being young, with red lips, with fiery eyes, and the feeling of.this both being present and at the same time real, the feeling of.eternity, completely filled every aspect of his being. Deeply he felt,.more deeply than ever before, in this hour, the indestructibility of.every life, the eternity of every moment...When he rose, Vasudeva had prepared rice for him. But Siddhartha did.not eat. In the stable, where their goat stood, the two old men.prepared beds of straw for themselves, and Vasudeva lay himself sleep. But Siddhartha went outside and sat this night before the.hut, listening to the river, surrounded by the past, touched and.encircled by all times of his life at the same time. But occasionally,.he rose, stepped to the door of the hut and listened, whether the boy.was sleeping...Early in the morning, even before the sun could be seen, Vasudeva 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 asleep, they built the funeral pile.



Chapter 10



..Timid and weeping, the boy had attended his mother's funeral; gloomy.and shy, he had listened to Siddhartha, who greeted him as his son and.welcomed him at his place in Vasudeva's hut. Pale, he sat for many.days by the hill of the dead, did not want to eat, gave no open look,.did not open his heart, met his fate with resistance and denial...Siddhartha spared him and let him do as he pleased, he honoured his.mourning. Siddhartha understood that his son did not know him, that.he could not love him like a father. Slowly, he also saw and understood.that the eleven-year-old was a pampered boy, a mother's boy, and that he.had grown up in the habits of rich people, accustomed to finer food, to.a soft bed, accustomed to giving orders to servants. Siddhartha.understood that the mourning, pampered child could not suddenly and.willingly be content with a life among strangers and in poverty. He did.not force him, he did many a chore for him, always picked the best piece.of the meal for him. Slowly, he hoped to win him over, by friendly.patience...Rich and happy, he had called himself, when the boy had come to him..Since time had passed on in the meantime, and the boy remained a.stranger and in a gloomy disposition, since he displayed a proud and.stubbornly disobedient heart, did not want to do any work, did not pay.his respect to the old men, stole from Vasudeva's fruit-trees, then.Siddhartha began to understand that his son had not brought him.happiness and peace, but suffering and worry. But he loved him, and he.preferred the suffering and worries of love over happiness and joy.without the boy. Since young Siddhartha was in the hut, the old men had.split the work. Vasudeva had again taken on the job of the ferryman himself, and Siddhartha, in order to be with his son, did the work in.the hut and the field...For a long time, for long months, Siddhartha waited for his son to.understand him, to accept his love, to perhaps reciprocate it. For.long months, Vasudeva waited, watching, waited and said nothing., when 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-bowls, Vasudeva took in the evening his friend aside.and talked to him..."Pardon me." he said, "from 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!"..Troubled, Siddhartha looked into his friendly face, in the many wrinkles.of which there was incessant cheerfulness..."How could I part with him?" he said quietly, ashamed. "Give me some.more time, my dear! See, I'm fighting for him, I'm seeking to win his.heart, with love and with friendly patience I intent to capture it..One day, the river shall also talk to him, he also is called upon."..Vasudeva's smile flourished more warmly. "Oh yes, he too is called.upon, he too is of the eternal life. But do we, you and me, know what.he is called upon to do, what path to take, what actions to perform,.what pain to endure? Not a small one, his pain will be; after all, his.heart is proud and hard, people like this have to suffer a lot, err a.lot, do much injustice, burden themselves with much sin. Tell me, my.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 rocks, love stronger than force. Very good, I praise you. But.aren't you mistaken in thinking that you wouldn't force him, wouldn't.punish him? Don't you shackle him with your love? Don't you make him.feel inferior every day, and don't you make it even harder on him with.your kindness and patience? Don't you force him, the arrogant and.pampered boy, to live in a hut with two old banana-eaters, to whom even.rice is a delicacy, whose thoughts can't be his, whose hearts are old.and quiet and beats in a different pace than his? Isn't forced, isn't.he punished by all this?"..Troubled, Siddhartha looked to the ground. Quietly, he asked: " you think should I do?"..Quoth Vasudeva: "Bring him into the city, bring him into his mother', there'll still be servants around, give him to them. And when.there aren't any around any more, bring him to a teacher, not for the.teachings' sake, but so that he shall be among other boys, and among.girls, and in the world which is his own. Have you never thought of.this?".."You're seeing into my heart," Siddhartha spoke sadly. "Often, I have.thought of this. But look, how shall I put him, who had no tender heart.anyhow, into this world? Won't he become exuberant, won't he lose.himself to pleasure and power, won't he repeat all of his father's.mistakes, won't he perhaps get entirely lost in Sansara?"..Brightly, the ferryman's smile lit up; softly, he touched Siddhartha's.arm and said: "Ask the river about it, my friend! Hear it laugh! Would you actually believe that you had committed your foolish 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.teachings, prayer, admonition? My dear, have you entirely forgotten.that story, that story containing so many lessons, that story about.Siddhartha, a Brahman's son, which you once told me here on this Who has kept the Samana Siddhartha safe from Sansara, from sin,.from greed, from foolishness? Were his father's religious devotion, his.teachers warnings, his own knowledge, his own search able to keep Which father, which teacher had been able to protect him his life for himself, from soiling himself with life, from.burdening himself with guilt, from drinking the bitter drink for.himself, from finding his path for himself? Would you think, my dear,.anybody might perhaps be spared from taking this path? That perhaps.your little son would be spared, because you love him, because you to keep him from suffering and pain and disappointment? But even.if you would die ten times for him, you would not be able to take the.slightest part of his destiny upon yourself."..Never before, Vasudeva had spoken so many words. Kindly, Siddhartha.thanked him, went troubled into the hut, could not sleep for a long.time. Vasudeva had told him nothing, he 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 boy, stronger was his.tenderness, his fear to lose him. Had he ever lost his heart so something, had he ever loved any person thus, thus blindly, thus.sufferingly, thus unsuccessfully, and yet thus happily?..Siddhartha could not heed his friend's advice, he could not give up the.boy. He let the boy give him orders, he let him disregard him. He.said nothing and waited; daily, he began the mute struggle of.friendliness, the silent war of patience. Vasudeva also said nothing.and waited, friendly, knowing, patient. They were both masters of.patience...At one time, when the boy's face reminded him very much of Kamala,.Siddhartha suddenly had to think of a line which Kamala a long time.ago, in the days of their youth, had once said to him. "You," 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, 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, 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 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 mouth, "I'm.not your servant. I do know, that you won't hit me, you don't dare; know, that you constantly want to punish me and put me down with.your religious devotion and your indulgence. You want me to become, just as devout, just as soft, just as wise! But I, listen up, 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 him, foamed at the father in a hundred.savage and evil words. Then the boy ran away and only returned late at.night...But the next morning, he had disappeared. What had also disappeared was.a small basket, woven out of bast of two colours, in which the ferrymen.kept those copper and silver coins which they received as a fare..The boat had also disappeared, Siddhartha saw it lying by the The boy had ran away..."I must follow him," said Siddhartha, who had been shivering with grief.since those ranting speeches, the boy had made yesterday. "A child.can't go through the forest all alone. He'll perish. We must build a.raft, Vasudeva, to get over the water.".."We will build a raft," said Vasudeva, "to get our boat back, which the.boy has taken away. But him, you shall let run along, my friend, he 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'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.yourself."..Siddhartha did not answer. He already held the axe in his hands and.began to make a raft of bamboo, and Vasudeva helped him to tied the.canes together with ropes of grass. Then they crossed over, drifted.far off their course, pulled 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 lost."..But Siddhartha knew what his friend was thinking. He thought, the 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 fact, there was no oar.left in the boat. Vasudeva pointed to the bottom of the boat and his friend with a smile, as 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 followed?" But he did not say this in words. He started making oar. But Siddhartha bid his farewell, to look for the run-away..Vasudeva did not stop him...When Siddhartha had already been walking through the forest for a long.time, the thought occurred to him that his search was useless. Either,.so he thought, the boy was far ahead and had already reached the city,.or, if he should still be on his way, he would conceal himself from him,.the pursuer. As he continued thinking, he also found that he, on his.part, was not worried for his son, that he knew deep inside that he had.neither perished nor was in any danger in the forest. Nevertheless, he.ran without stopping, no longer to save him, just to satisfy his desire,.just to perhaps see him one more time. And he ran up to just outside of.the city...When, near the city, he reached a wide road, he stopped, by the entrance.of the beautiful pleasure-garden, which used to belong to Kamala, where.he had seen her for the first time in her sedan-chair. The past rose.up in his soul, again he saw himself standing there, young, a bearded,.naked Samana, the hair full of dust. For a long time, Siddhartha stood.there and looked through the open gate into the garden, seeing monks in.yellow robes walking among the beautiful trees...For a long time, he stood there, pondering, seeing images, listening to.the story of his life. For a long time, he stood there, looked at the.monks, saw young Siddhartha in their place, saw young Kamala walking.among the high trees. Clearly, he saw himself being served food and.drink by Kamala, receiving his first kiss from her, looking proudly and.disdainfully back on his Brahmanism, beginning proudly and full of.desire his worldly life. He saw Kamaswami, saw the servants, the.orgies, the gamblers with the dice, the musicians, saw Kamala' in the cage, lived through all this once again, breathed.Sansara, was once again old and tired, felt once again disgust, felt.once again the wish to annihilate himself, was 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 foolish, which had made him go.up to this place, that he could not help his son, that he was not.allowed to cling him. Deeply, he felt the love for the run-away in his.heart, like a wound, and he felt at the same time that this wound had.not been given to him in order to turn the knife in it, that it had to.become a blossom and had to shine...That this wound did not blossom yet, did not shine yet, at this hour,.made him sad. Instead of the desired goal, which had drawn him here.following the runaway son, there was now emptiness. Sadly, he sat down,.felt something dying in his heart, experienced emptiness, saw no joy any.more, no goal. He sat lost in thought and waited. This he had the river, this one thing: waiting, having patience, listening.attentively. And he sat and listened, in the dust of the road, his heart, beating tiredly and sadly, waited for a voice. Many an.hour he crouched, listening, saw no images any more, fell into.emptiness, let himself fall, without seeing a path. And when he felt.the wound burning, he silently spoke the Om, filled himself with Om..The monks in the garden saw him, and since he crouched for many hours,.and dust was gathering on his gray hair, one of them came to him and.placed two bananas in front of him. The old man did not see him...From this petrified state, he was awoken by a hand touching his.shoulder. Instantly, he recognised this touch, this tender, bashful.touch, and regained his senses. He rose and greeted Vasudeva, who had.followed him. And when he looked into Vasudeva's friendly face, into.the small wrinkles, which were as if they were filled with nothing but.his smile, into the happy eyes, then he smiled too. Now he saw the.bananas lying in front of him, picked them up, gave one to the ferryman,.ate the other one himself. After this, he silently went back into the.forest with Vasudeva, returned home to the ferry. Neither one talked.about what had happened today, neither one mentioned the boy's name,.neither one spoke about him running away, neither one spoke about the.wound. In the hut, Siddhartha lay down on his bed, and when after a.while Vasudeva came to him, to offer him a bowl of coconut-milk, he.already found him asleep.



Chapter 11



..For a long time, the wound continued to burn. Many a traveller.Siddhartha had to ferry across the river who was accompanied by a son or.a daughter, and he saw none of them without envying him, without.thinking: "So many, so many thousands possess this sweetest of good.fortunes--why don't I? Even bad people, even thieves and robbers have.children and love them, and are being loved by them, all except for me.".Thus simply, thus without reason he now thought, thus similar to the.childlike people he had become...Differently than before, he now looked upon people, less smart, less.proud, but instead warmer, more curious, more involved. When he ferried.travellers of the ordinary kind, childlike people, businessmen,.warriors, women, these people did not seem alien to him as they used to:.he understood them, he understood and shared their life, which was not.guided by thoughts and insight, but solely by urges and wishes, he them. Though he was near perfection and was bearing his final.wound, it still seemed to him as if those childlike people were his.brothers, their vanities, desires for possession, and ridiculous aspects.were no longer ridiculous to him, became understandable, became lovable,.even became worthy of veneration to him. The blind love of a mother.for her child, the stupid, blind pride of a conceited father for his.only son, the blind, wild desire of a young, vain woman for jewelry and.admiring glances from men, all of these urges, all of this childish.stuff, all of these simple, foolish, but immensely strong,, strongly prevailing urges and desires were now no childish.notions for Siddhartha any more, he saw people living for their sake,.saw them achieving infinitely much for their sake, travelling,.conducting wars, suffering infinitely much, bearing infinitely much, and.he could love them for it, he saw life, that what is alive, the.indestructible, the Brahman in each of their passions, each of their.acts. Worthy of love and admiration were these people in their blind.loyalty, their blind strength and tenacity. They lacked nothing, there.was nothing the knowledgeable one, the thinker, had to put him above them.except for one little thing, a single, tiny, small thing: the.consciousness, the conscious thought of the oneness of all life. And.Siddhartha even doubted in many an hour, whether this knowledge, this.thought was to be valued thus highly, whether it might not also a childish idea of the thinking people, of the thinking and childlike.people. In all other respects, the worldly people were of equal the wise men, were often far superior to them, just as animals too.can, after all, in some moments, seem to be superior to humans in their.tough, unrelenting performance of what is necessary...Slowly blossomed, slowly ripened in Siddhartha the realisation, the.knowledge, what wisdom actually was, what the goal of his long search.was. It was nothing but a readiness of the soul, an ability, a, to think every moment, while living his life, the thought of.oneness, to be able to feel and inhale the oneness. Slowly this.blossomed in him, was shining back at him from Vasudeva's old, childlike.face: harmony, knowledge of the eternal perfection of the world,.smiling, oneness...But the wound still burned, longingly and bitterly Siddhartha thought of.his son, nurtured his love and tenderness in his heart, allowed the.pain to gnaw at him, committed all foolish acts of love. Not by itself,.this flame would go out...And one day, when the wound burned violently, Siddhartha ferried across.the river, driven by a yearning, got off the boat and was willing to the city and to look for his son. The river flowed softly and.quietly, it was the dry season, but its voice sounded strange: it.laughed! It laughed clearly. The river laughed, it laughed brightly.and clearly at the old ferryman. Siddhartha stopped, he bent over the.water, in order to hear even better, and he saw his face reflected in.the quietly moving waters, and in this reflected face there was.something, which reminded him, something he had forgotten, and as he.thought about it, he found it: this face resembled another face, which.he used to know and love and also fear. It resembled his father's face,.the Brahman. And he remembered how he, a long time ago, as a young man,.had forced his father to let him go to the penitents, how he had bed his.farewell to him, how he had gone and had never come back. Had his.father not also suffered the same pain for him, which he now suffered.for his son? Had his father not long since died, alone, without having.seen his son again? Did he not have to expect the same fate for.himself? Was it not a comedy, a strange and stupid matter, this.repetition, this running around in a fateful circle?..The river laughed. Yes, so it was, everything came back, which had not.been suffered and solved up to its end, the same pain was suffered over.and over again. But Siddhartha want back into the boat and ferried the hut, thinking of his father, thinking of his son, laughed at by.the river, at odds with himself, tending towards despair, and not less.tending towards laughing along at himself and the entire world...Alas, the wound was not blossoming yet, his heart was still fighting his.fate, cheerfulness and victory were not yet shining from his suffering..Nevertheless, he felt hope, and once he had returned to the hut, he undefeatable desire to open up to Vasudeva, to show him everything,.the master of listening, to say everything...Vasudeva was sitting in the hut and weaving a basket. He no longer used.the ferry-boat, his eyes were starting to get weak, and 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 man, slowly he started talking..What they had never talked about, he now told him of, of his walk to.the city, at that time, of the burning wound, of his envy at the sight.of happy fathers, of his knowledge of the foolishness of such wishes, of.his futile fight against them. He reported everything, he was able to.say everything, even the most embarrassing parts, everything could be.said, everything shown, everything he could tell. He presented his.wound, also told how he fled today, how he ferried across the water,.a childish run-away, willing to walk to the city, how the river had.laughed...While he spoke, spoke for a long time, while Vasudeva was listening.with a quiet face, Vasudeva's listening gave Siddhartha a stronger.sensation than ever before, he sensed how his pain, his fears flowed.over to him, how his secret hope flowed over, came back at him from.his counterpart. To show his wound to this listener was the same as.bathing it in the river, until it had cooled and become one with the.river. While he was still speaking, still admitting and confessing,.Siddhartha felt more and more that this was no longer Vasudeva, no.longer a human being, who was listening to him, that this motionless.listener was absorbing his confession into himself like a tree the rain,.that this motionless man was the river itself, that he was God himself,.that he was the eternal itself. And while Siddhartha stopped thinking.of himself and his wound, this realisation of Vasudeva's changed.character took possession of him, and the more he felt it and entered.into it, the less wondrous it became, the more he realised that.everything was in order and natural, that Vasudeva had already been like.this for a long time, almost forever, that only he had not quite.recognised it, yes, that he himself had almost reached the same state..He felt, that he was now seeing old Vasudeva as the people see the.gods, and that this could not last; in his heart, he started bidding his.farewell to Vasudeva. Thorough all this, he talked incessantly...When he had finished talking, Vasudeva turned his friendly eyes, which.had grown slightly weak, at him, said nothing, let his silent love and.cheerfulness, understanding and knowledge, shine at him. He took.Siddhartha's hand, led him to the seat by the bank, sat down with him,.smiled at the river..."You've heard it laugh," he said. "But you haven't heard everything..Let's listen, you'll hear more."..They listened. Softly sounded the river, singing in many voices..Siddhartha looked into the water, and images appeared to him in the.moving water: his father appeared, lonely, mourning for his son; he.himself appeared, lonely, he also being tied with the bondage of.yearning to his distant son; his son appeared, lonely as well, the boy,.greedily rushing along the burning course of his young wishes, heading for his goal, each one obsessed by the goal, each one.suffering. The river sang with a voice of suffering, longingly it sang,.longingly, it flowed towards its goal, lamentingly 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 image, the image of his son merged, Kamala's image also appeared.and was dispersed, and the image of Govinda, and other images, and they.merged with each other, turned all into the river, headed all, being the.river, for the goal, longing, desiring, suffering, and the river's voice.sounded full of yearning, full of burning woe, full of unsatisfiable.desire. For the goal, the river was heading, Siddhartha saw it.hurrying, the river, which consisted of him and his loved ones and of.all people, he had ever seen, all of these waves and waters were.hurrying, suffering, towards goals, many goals, the waterfall, the lake,.the rapids, the sea, and all goals were reached, and every goal was.followed by a new one, and the water turned into vapour and rose to, turned into rain and poured down from the sky, turned into a.source, a stream, a river, headed forward once again, flowed on once.again. But the longing voice had changed. It still resounded, full of.suffering, searching, but other voices joined it, voices of joy and of.suffering, good and bad voices, laughing and sad ones, a hundred voices,.a thousand voices...Siddhartha listened. He was now nothing but a listener, completely.concentrated on listening, completely empty, he felt, that he had now.finished learning to listen. Often before, he had heard all this, these.many voices in the river, today it sounded new. Already, he could no.longer tell the many voices apart, not the happy ones from the weeping.ones, not the ones of children from those of men, they all belonged.together, the lamentation of yearning and the laughter of the.knowledgeable one, the scream of rage and the moaning of the dying ones,.everything was one, everything was intertwined and connected, entangled.a thousand times. And everything together, all voices, all goals, all.yearning, all suffering, all pleasure, all that was good and evil, all.of this together was the world. All of it together was the flow, was the music of life. And when Siddhartha was listening.attentively to this river, this song of a thousand voices, when he.neither listened to the suffering nor the laughter, when he did not tie.his soul to any particular voice and submerged his self into it, but.when he heard them all, perceived the whole, the oneness, then the of the thousand voices consisted of a single word, which was Om:.the perfection..."Do you hear," Vasudeva's gaze asked again...Brightly, Vasudeva's smile was shining, floating radiantly over all the.wrinkles of his old face, as the Om was floating in the air over all the.voices of the river. Brightly his smile was shining, when he looked at.his friend, and brightly the same smile was now starting to shine on.Siddhartha's face as well. His wound blossomed, his suffering was.shining, his self had flown into the oneness...In this hour, Siddhartha stopped fighting his fate, stopped suffering..On his face flourished the cheerfulness of a knowledge, which is no.longer opposed by any will, which knows perfection, which is in.agreement with the flow of events, with the current of life, full of.sympathy for the pain of others, full of sympathy for the pleasure of.others, devoted to the flow, belonging to the oneness...When Vasudeva rose from the seat by the bank, when he looked into.Siddhartha's eyes and saw the cheerfulness of the knowledge them, he softly touched his shoulder with his hand, in this careful.and tender manner, and said: "I've been waiting for this hour, my dear..Now that it has come, let me leave. For a long time, I've been waiting.for this hour; for a long time, I've been Vasudeva the ferryman.'s enough. Farewell, hut, farewell, river, farewell, Siddhartha!"..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 smile, he left; Siddhartha watched him leaving. With, with deep solemnity he watched him leave, saw his steps full of.peace, saw his head full of lustre, saw his body full of light.



Chapter 12



..Together with other monks, Govinda used to spend the time of rest.between pilgrimages in the pleasure-grove, which the courtesan Kamala.had given to the followers of Gotama for a gift. He heard talk of an.old ferryman, who lived one day's journey away by the river, and.who was regarded as a wise man by many. When Govinda went back on his.way, he chose the path to the ferry, eager to see the ferryman..Because, though he had lived his entire life by the rules, though he was.also looked upon with veneration by the younger monks on account of his.age and his modesty, the restlessness and the searching still had not.perished from his heart...He came to the river and asked the old man to ferry him over, and when.they got off the boat on the other side, he 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 Siddhartha, smiling from his old eyes: "Do you call yourself a.searcher, oh venerable one, though you are already of an old in years.and are wearing the robe of Gotama's monks?".."It's true, I'm old," spoke Govinda, "but 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 you, oh.venerable one? Perhaps that you're searching far too much? That in all.that searching, you don't find the time for finding?".."How come?" asked Govinda..."When someone is searching," said Siddhartha, "then 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, 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 Govinda, "what do you mean by.this?"..Quoth Siddhartha: "A long time ago, oh venerable one, many years ago,.you've once before been at this river and have found a sleeping man by.the river, and have sat down with him to guard his sleep. But, oh.Govinda, you did not recognise the sleeping man."..Astonished, as if he had been the object of a magic spell, the 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 heart, I'm greeting you,.Siddhartha; from my heart, I'm happy to see you once again! You've.changed a lot, my friend.--And so you've now become a ferryman?"..In a friendly manner, Siddhartha laughed. "A ferryman, yes. Many.people, Govinda, have to change a lot, have to wear many a robe, I of those, my dear. Be welcome, Govinda, and spend the night in my.hut."..Govinda stayed the night in the hut and slept on the bed which used 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 said, not without hesitation, these words: "Before I'll.continue on my path, Siddhartha, permit me to ask one more question..Do you have a teaching? Do you have a faith, or a knowledge, you.follow, which helps you to live and to do right?"..Quoth Siddhartha: "You know, my dear, that I already as a young man, in.those days when we lived with the penitents in the forest, started to.distrust teachers and teachings and to turn my back to them. I have.stuck with this. Nevertheless, I have had many teachers since then. A.beautiful courtesan has been my teacher for a long time, and a rich.merchant was my teacher, and some gamblers with dice. Once, even a.follower of Buddha, travelling on foot, has been my teacher; he sat when I hat fallen asleep in the forest, on the pilgrimage. I've also.learned from him, I'm also grateful to him, very grateful. But most of.all, I have learned here from this river and from my predecessor, the.ferryman Vasudeva. He was a very simple person, Vasudeva, he was no.thinker, but he knew what is necessary just as well as Gotama, he was a.perfect man, a saint."..Govinda said: "Still, oh Siddhartha, you love a bit to mock people, seems to me. I believe in you and know that you haven't followed a.teacher. But haven't you found something by yourself, though you've.found no teachings, you still found certain thoughts, certain insights,.which are your own and which help you to live? If you would like to.tell me some of these, you would delight my heart."..Quoth Siddhartha: "I've had thoughts, yes, and insight, again and.again. Sometimes, for an hour or for an entire day, I have felt.knowledge in me, as one would feel life in one's heart. There have.been many thoughts, but it would be hard for me to convey them to you..Look, my dear Govinda, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found:.wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass 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 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 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 deception, are only a parable! The sinner is not on his.way to become a Buddha, he is not in the process of developing, though.our capacity for thinking does not know how else to picture these.things. No, within the sinner is now and today already the future.Buddha, his future is already all there, you have to worship in him,, in everyone the Buddha which is coming into being, the possible,.the hidden Buddha. The world, my friend Govinda, is not imperfect, or.on a slow path towards perfection: no, it is perfect in every moment,.all sin already carries the divine forgiveness in itself, all small.children already have the old person in themselves, all infants already.have death, all 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-gambler, the Buddha is waiting; in the.Brahman, the robber is waiting. In deep meditation, there is the.possibility to put time out of existence, to see all life which was,.is, and will be as if it was simultaneous, and there everything is.good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, I see.whatever exists as good, death is to me like life, sin like holiness,.wisdom like foolishness, everything has to be as it is, everything only.requires my consent, only my willingness, my loving agreement, to be.good for me, to do nothing but work for my benefit, to be unable to ever.harm me. I have experienced on my body and on my soul that I needed sin.very much, I needed lust, the desire for possessions, vanity, and needed.the most shameful despair, in order to learn how to give up all.resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to stop.comparing it to some world I wished, I imagined, some kind of perfection.I had made up, but to leave it as it is and to love it and to enjoy.being a part of it.--These, oh Govinda, are some of the thoughts which.have come into my mind."..Siddhartha bent down, picked up a stone from the ground, and weighed his hand..."This," he said playing with it, "is 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, they have no hardness, no softness, no colours, no edges, no smell,.no taste, they have nothing but words. Perhaps it are these which 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 word, my friend, is Nirvana. It is a.thought."..Siddhartha continued: "A thought, it might be so. I must confess, my dear: I don't differentiate much between thoughts and words..To be honest, I also have no high opinion of thoughts. I have a better.opinion of things. Here on this ferry-boat, for instance, a man has.been my predecessor and teacher, a holy man, who has for many years.simply believed in the river, nothing else. He had noticed that the.river's spoke to him, he learned from it, it educated and taught him,.the river seemed to be a god to him, for many years he did not know that.every wind, every cloud, every bird, every 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 forests, he knew everything, knew.more than you and me, without teachers, without books, only because he.had believed in the river."..Govinda said: "But is that what you call `things', actually something.real, something which has existence? Isn't it just a deception of the.Maja, just an image and illusion? Your stone, your tree, your river--.are they actually a reality?".."This too," spoke Siddhartha, "I 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 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.respect.".."This I understand," spoke Govinda. "But this very thing was the exalted one to be a deception. He commands benevolence,.clemency, sympathy, tolerance, but 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 behold, with this we are right in the middle of the.thicket of opinions, in the dispute about words. For I cannot deny, my.words of love are in a contradiction, a seeming contradiction with.Gotama's words. For this very reason, I distrust in words so much, for.I know, this contradiction is a deception. I know that I am in.agreement with Gotama. How should he not know love, he, who has.discovered all elements of human existence in their transitoriness, in.their meaninglessness, and yet loved people thus much, to use a long,.laborious life only to help them, to teach them! Even with him, even.with your great teacher, I prefer the thing over the words, place more.importance on his acts and life than on his speeches, more on the.gestures of his hand than his opinions. Not in his speech, not in his.thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life."..For a long time, the two old men said nothing. Then spoke Govinda,.while bowing for a farewell: "I thank you, Siddhartha, for telling me.some of your thoughts. They are partially strange thoughts, not all.have been instantly understandable to me. This being as it may, I, and I wish you to have calm days."..(But secretly he thought to himself: This Siddhartha is a bizarre.person, he expresses bizarre thoughts, his teachings sound foolish..So differently sound the exalted one's pure teachings, clearer, purer,.more comprehensible, nothing strange, foolish, or silly is contained in.them. But different from his thoughts seemed to me Siddhartha's hands.and feet, his eyes, his forehead, his breath, his smile, his greeting,.his walk. Never again, after our exalted Gotama has become one with the.Nirvana, never since then have I met a person of whom I felt: this is a.holy man! Only him, this Siddhartha, I have found to be like this. May.his teachings be strange, may his words sound foolish; out of his gaze.and his hand, his skin and his hair, out of every part of him shines a.purity, shines a calmness, shines a cheerfulness and mildness and.holiness, which I have seen in no other person since the final death of.our exalted teacher.)..As Govinda thought like this, and there was a conflict in his heart, he.once again bowed to Siddhartha, drawn by love. Deeply he bowed to him.who was calmly sitting..."Siddhartha," he spoke, "we have become old men. It is unlikely 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 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 face, with fear, with yearning,.suffering, and the eternal search was visible in his look, eternal.not-finding...Siddhartha saw it and smiled..."Bent down to me!" he whispered quietly in Govinda's ear. "Bend down! Like this, even closer! Very close! Kiss my forehead, Govinda!"..But while Govinda with astonishment, and yet drawn by great love and.expectation, obeyed his words, bent down closely to him and touched his.forehead with his lips, something miraculous happened to him. While his.thoughts were still dwelling on Siddhartha's wondrous words, while he.was still struggling in vain and with reluctance to think away time, to.imagine Nirvana and Sansara as one, while even a certain contempt for.the words of his friend was fighting in him against an immense love and.veneration, this happened to him:..He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha, instead he saw.other faces, many, a long sequence, a flowing river of faces, of.hundreds, of thousands, which all came and disappeared, and yet all.seemed to be there simultaneously, which all constantly changed and.renewed themselves, and which were still all Siddhartha. He saw the.face of a fish, a carp, with an infinitely painfully opened mouth, the.face of a dying fish, with fading eyes--he saw the face of a new-born.child, red and full of wrinkles, distorted from crying--he saw the face.of a murderer, he saw him plunging a knife into the body of another.person--he saw, in the same second, this criminal in bondage, kneeling.and his head being chopped off by the executioner with one blow of his.sword--he saw the bodies of men and women, naked in positions and cramps.of frenzied love--he saw corpses stretched out, motionless, cold, void--.he saw the heads of animals, of boars, of crocodiles, of elephants, of.bulls, of birds--he saw gods, saw Krishna, saw Agni--he saw all of these.figures and faces in a thousand relationships with one another, each one.helping the other, loving it, hating it, destroying it, giving it, each one was a will to die, a passionately painful confession of.transitoriness, and yet none of then died, each one only transformed,.was always re-born, received evermore a new face, without any time.having passed between the one and the other face--and all of these.figures and faces rested, flowed, generated themselves, floated along.and merged with each other, and they were all constantly covered by.something thin, without individuality of its own, but yet existing, like.a thin glass or ice, like a transparent skin, a shell or mold or mask of.water, and this mask was smiling, and this mask was Siddhartha's smiling.face, which he, Govinda, in this very same moment touched with his lips..And, Govinda saw it like this, this smile of the mask, this smile of.oneness above the flowing forms, this smile of simultaneousness above.the thousand births and deaths, this smile of Siddhartha was precisely.the same, was precisely of the same kind as the quiet, delicate,.impenetrable, perhaps benevolent, perhaps mocking, wise, of Gotama, the Buddha, as he had seen it himself with great.respect a hundred times. Like this, Govinda knew, the perfected ones.are smiling...Not knowing any more whether time existed, whether the vision had lasted.a second or a hundred years, not knowing any more whether there existed.a Siddhartha, a Gotama, a me and a you, feeling in his innermost if he had been wounded by a divine arrow, the injury of which tasted.sweet, being enchanted and dissolved in his innermost self, Govinda.still stood for a little while bent over Siddhartha's quiet face, which.he had just kissed, which had just been the scene of all manifestations,.all transformations, all existence. The face was unchanged, after under.its surface the depth of the thousandfoldness had closed up again, he.smiled silently, smiled quietly and softly, perhaps very benevolently,.perhaps very mockingly, precisely as he used to smile, the exalted one...Deeply, Govinda bowed; tears, he knew nothing of, ran down his old face;.like a fire burnt the feeling of the most intimate love, the humblest.veneration in his heart. Deeply, he bowed, touching the ground, before.him who was sitting motionlessly, whose smile reminded him of everything.he had ever loved in his life, what had ever been valuable and holy to.him in his life.



[Contents] [Chapter 1- 6] [Chapter 7-12]




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