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by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph) We used the edition found on Project Gutenberg, translated by Olesch, Dreher, Coulter, Langer, and Chaichenets

Quote #16

"I did it without any specific intention. Or perhaps what I meant was, that love this very stone, and the river, and all these things we are looking at and from which we can learn. I can love a stone, Govinda, and also a tree or a piece of bark. These are things, and things can be loved. But I cannot love words. Therefore, teachings are no good for me, they have no hardness, no softness, no colors, no edges, no smell, no taste, they have nothing but words. Perhaps it are these which keep you from finding peace, perhaps it are the many words. Because salvation and virtue as well, Samsara and Nirvana as well, are mere words, Govinda. There is no thing which would be Nirvana; there is just the word Nirvana." (12.29)

Here, Siddhartha argues that words are insufficient mechanisms for describing the world.

Quote #17

"Bent down to me!" he whispered quietly in Govinda's ear. "Bend down to me! Like this, even closer! Very close! Kiss my forehead, Govinda!"

But while Govinda with astonishment, and yet drawn by great love and expectation, obeyed his words, bent down closely to him and touched his forehead with his lips, something miraculous happened to him. While his thoughts were still dwelling on Siddhartha's wondrous words, while he was still struggling in vain and with reluctance to think away time, to imagine Nirvana and Samsara as one, while even a certain contempt for the words of his friend was fighting in him against an immense love and veneration, this happened to him: He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha, instead he saw other faces, many, a long sequence, a flowing river of faces, of hundreds, of thousands, which all came and disappeared, and yet all seemed to be there simultaneously, which all constantly changed and renewed themselves, and which were still all Siddhartha. (12.44)

Without saying anything, Siddhartha helps Govinda to finally see the unity and eternality of life.

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