Siddhartha: Novel Summary: Part 2 - Kamala

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Part Two
Kamala
As he journeys along his way, Siddhartha appreciates the beauty of the world in a way he has never done before. He resolves to gain more experience by following the voice of his own heart. After a strange dream in which his friend Govinda appears but then turns into a woman, Siddhartha gets a ferryman to take him across the river. At midday he passes through a village. He greets a young woman, and she makes an amorous gesture, and he kisses her breast. But then an inner voice checks him, and he moves on, past the disappointed woman.
He reaches a large town, where he sees a beautiful woman in a sedan chair carried by four people. He is enchanted by her beauty. On inquiry, he learns that the woman is Kamala, a well-known courtesan. Next morning, Siddhartha has his beard shaved off, his hair combed, and he bathes in the river. He sees Kamala again and speaks to her, asking her to be his teacher in matters of love, since he knows nothing of the art. She tells him that in order to be good enough for her, he must have fine clothes and shoes, and the money to buy her gifts. Siddhartha replies that he will come to her again when he has what he now lacks. Before he leaves he asks her advice about where he can get these things. He says that as a Samana all he can do is think, wait, and fast. But he can also compose poetry, and he recites a poem for her, and about her, on the spot. Kamala says his poetry is good and she kisses him, but tells him that he will not earn as much money as he needs from poetry. She orders her servant to give him a white gown. He leaves and returns the next day. She tells him that through others, she has spoken to Kamaswami, a rich merchant. He is expecting Siddhartha to call on him. If Siddhartha pleases him, the merchant will take him into his service. Siddhartha is confident that he will get whatever he wants because his years as a Samana have taught him how to focus single-mindedly on a goal.
Analysis
One aspect of the Buddhist Eightfold Path is celibacy. The fact that Siddhartha now decides to court Kamala is a clear rejection of this path. He is determined to experience to the full all that the world has to offer, although in following his own heart he convinces himself that that was exactly what the Buddha had done.

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