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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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