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Siddhartha – symbolism of the river

Throughout the pilgrimage of Siddhartha’s life, he went through many different stages. In the beginning, we meet Siddhartha, The Brahmin’s Son. Siddhartha was very intelligent, but wanted to learn more. His mind was not full, and his soul was not at peace. He decided to become a Samana in order to fill his mind and set his soul at peace. He had a goal to become completely empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow. He had the idea that if he could completely lose Self, he would be content.

During his time with the Samanas, Siddhartha heard about Gotama, the Buddha, and became distrustful of teachings and decided to leave the Samanas with the belief that what they could teach him was not good enough. He had to learn things for himself by experiencing them. After listening to Gotama’s teachings, Siddhartha had an awakening. He thought, “The reason why I do not know anythng about myself, the reason why Siddhartha has remained alien and unknown to myself is due to one thing, to one single thingI was afraid of myself, I was fleeing from myself.

He realized that he was seeking Brahman and wished to destroy himself rather than finding and getting to know himself. This awakening set Siddhartha onto another stage in his journey. During the beginning of this stage, Siddhartha saw things in a completely new way. He saw the sun rise and the stars for the first time. Siddhartha came upon a beautiful young woman, who very much helped lead him into the next step of his life. Siddhartha believed that he loved her and that she loved him.

She led him into thinking that he would be happy if he had money, nice clothes, and her. Siddhartha became a successful merchant and loved money. He believed that with money, he could have what he wanted. After all, was it not money that got him Kamala in the first place? The money that had gotten Siddhartha what he wanted began to destroy him. Siddhartha began to think that this world of the riches he had become accustomed to was nothing but a game, as was the love he felt for Kamala. This belief led him into the next stage of his pilgrimage.

Siddhartha believed that there was nothing left for him in life, and he wanted to end it, but from somewhere in his soul he heard the holy word Om and his soul suddenly, once again, was awakened. He realized that the only way for him to reach salvation was to have to be put through all of the different stages he had already seen, stages with power, money, women, and drinking. He had to see these things in order for all those parts inside of him to die. With this belief in mind and his experience at the river in his heart, Siddhartha started the next stage of his life by returning to the same ferry he had crossed on years ago.

The ferryman taught Siddhartha to listen to what the river told him. When Siddhartha’s son came and went, he realized that his son had done the same as he had done to his own father many years ago. At the moment his son left, something in his heart died and he learned a lot about love from that experience. Eventually, after allowing his wounds to heal and his wisdom to ripen, Siddhartha could hear the true voice of the river, which, when all of the voices combined said the holy Om. From then on, Siddhartha stopped fighting his destiny.

Vasudeva had reached Nirvana and was now, as he said, “going into unity of all things,” which I believe meant that he was dying and moving on to something higher. Siddhartha continued working the ferry and came across his old friend, Govinda, as he entered into the final stage of his long pilgrimage. As Siddhartha and Govinda talked, Govinda realized that Siddhartha, through all his hardships, had found something Govinda had not. He had found peace. Govinda saw Siddhartha smiling the same smile Gotama had smiled and realized that Siddhartha had finally reached Nirvana.

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