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by Hermann Hesse
Siddhartha Chapter 8 Summary
Siddhartha heads for the forest, determined never to go back to his life of wealth. He is depressed. He wanders. He is depressed some more. Siddhartha approaches the same river where he met the ferryman years before. In utter despair he clings to a coconut tree along the bank. He dreams about dropping and submerging himself into the water. He sees the water as mirroring the emptiness within him. About to slip into the water, the word "Om" emanates from his soul. Siddhartha realizes that destroying his body will not end his suffering, and he sits down. Thoroughly exhausted, he falls asleep. Siddhartha wakes up with a sense of rebirth and repeats "Om" to himself over and over. Behind him, Siddhartha notices a monk in a yellow robe. It’s Govinda! Govinda has not recognized Siddhartha but merely sat beside him while he slept in order to protect him from snakes. Siddhartha’s like, "dude, it’s me," and Govinda’s like, "dude, what’s with the rich-man outfit?" Siddhartha explains he has left the world of wealth and is now on a pilgrimage. Govinda leaves to get back to being a monk. Siddhartha forces himself to think. He has no possessions and thus feels joyful and childlike. Siddhartha finds himself amused at the course his life has taken and sees his life’s path reflected in the flow of the river. Siddhartha concludes that in order to return to himself, he has had to experience profound sorrow. He realizes that life as a Samana fueled his intellectual growth and arrogance, allowing him to thrive rather than to perish. Siddhartha remains entranced by the beauty and flow of the river.
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