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by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha Theme of Man and the Natural World

The main characters in Siddhartha are able to attain enlightenment by developing and refining their relationships with nature. The natural world also represents a middle road between asceticism (which is all about depriving yourself so you’re barely conscious, much less being able to appreciate nature) and the material world (which is all about seeking as much pleasure as possible). By paying attention to the natural world, both Siddhartha and Vasudeva are able to see the unity of life and attain enlightenment.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. When is Siddhartha most attentive to the natural environment around him? When is he least attentive? Now think about spiritual awakenings. Do the two mesh in any way?
  2. What is it about the natural world that helps Siddhartha attain enlightenment?
  3. Would you achieve enlightenment if you became a ferryman (or ferrywoman)? Must enlightenment be attained in the way Siddhartha attained it?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although connecting to the natural world can help catalyze enlightenment, attaining enlightenment must come from oneself.

Siddhartha’s love for nature’s beauty enables him to perceive unity.

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