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Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

  • “Words do not express thoughts very well, they always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.”
  • “Your soul is the whole world.”
  • “Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
  • “Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”
  • “When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”
  • “It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.”
  • “I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”
  • “What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”
  • “We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.”
  • “I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.”
  • “It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”
  • “So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it. She taught him that after a celebration of love the lovers should not part without admiring each other, without being conquered or having conquered, so that neither is bleak or glutted or has the bad feeling of being used or misused.”
  • “I will no longer mutilate and destroy myself in order to find a secret behind the ruins.”
  •  “My real self-wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life.”
  •  “Gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.”
  • “When someone is seeking,” said Siddartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”
  • “I have always thirsted for knowledge; I have always been full of questions.”
  • “And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.”
  • “He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value . . . he has given to me myself.”
  • “Opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them.”
  •  “They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.”
  • “The river is everywhere.”
  • “One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking — a detour, an error.”
  • “Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.”
  • “Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun’s melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him.”
  •  “And here is a doctrine at which you will laugh. It seems to me, Govinda, that love is the most important thing in the world.”
  • “One can beg, buy, be presented with and find love in the streets, but it can never be stolen.”