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by Hermann Hesse

Govinda Timeline and Summary

  • Govinda grows up in a well-off Brahman family and is best friends with Siddhartha.
  • Govinda and Siddhartha leave their homes to live as Samanas. For three years they live as wanderers. They practice self-deprivation and rarely speak.
  • Govinda counsels Siddhartha to have patience when he doubts whether he can learn any more from the Samanas.
  • When he learns about Gotama Buddha, Govinda wishes to go hear him teach. Siddhartha, who is also restless, agrees to go with him.
  • After hearing the Buddha’s teachings, Govinda asks to be accepted into the Buddha’s community. He is accepted. Although he tries desperately to convince Siddhartha to join as well, the two men eventually part.
  • Years later, Govinda is still part of the Buddha’s community. He finds Siddhartha sleeping by the banks of the river and watches over his friend to protect him from snakes. (He does not realize it is Siddhartha.)
  • When Siddhartha wakes up, Govinda still does not recognize him. Siddhartha’s like, dude, it’s me.
  • Many years later, Govinda has still not achieved enlightenment. He goes to visit a famous ferryman and asks for guidance.
  • Govinda realizes the ferryman is Siddhartha.
  • Siddhartha tells Govinda that focusing on the search is a mistake.
  • Govinda feels great love toward Siddhartha and recognizes that Siddhartha has attained enlightenment.
  • Govinda kisses Siddhartha on the forehead and then sees an eternally stretching, timeless continuum of faces and scenes and all of humanity. He reaches enlightenment.