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Smiling

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Say Cheese!

How do you know you're reading an exceedingly chill book about religious awakening? When it implies that grinning like a four-year-old with a bag of M&Ms is highly encouraged.

A peaceful smile is an important symbol of spiritual awakening in Siddhartha. All the characters who have achieved enlightenment smile prominently and deeply... and all the time. For instance, Gotama’s broad, peaceful smile allows Siddhartha to identify him in a large crowd.

Vasudeva, the second character who reaches enlightenment in Siddhartha, similarly displays a notable smile that radiates understanding and peace. When Siddhartha himself attains enlightenment, he adopts a deep smile:

And time after time, his smile became more similar to the ferryman's, became almost just as bright, almost just as thoroughly 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. (9.42)

Dang. Sign us up for this enlightenment thing.

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