Siddhartha: Novel Summary: Part 2 - The Son

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Siddhartha's eleven-year-old son finds it difficult to adjust to life with his father in a small hut. He has been used to riches and luxury. Siddhartha waits patiently, hoping to win the boy over, but young Siddhartha shows no sign of returning his father's love. Vasudeva advises him to take the boy to the town, find him a teacher and allow him to mix with boys and girls of his own age. Siddhartha is reluctant to part with his son, because he does not want him to repeat the mistakes of his father. Vasudeva tells he must let the boy work out his own destiny. But Siddhartha loves his son too much to let him go. Eventually the boy turns against his father, declaring his hatred and contempt for him. The next day he runs away. Against the advice of Vasudeva, Siddhartha goes looking for his son in the forest, and then in the town. He sees the pleasure garden where he first met Kamala, and for a long time he is lost in thoughts of his past. Then he realizes that he cannot help his son and must not force himself on the boy. He sits down, depressed. Some time later, Vasudeva comes to collect him, and the two men return in silence to their hut.
Analysis
Siddhartha has traveled a long way on the spiritual path, but he has not quite reached his goal. He is too deeply attached in a human way to his own son, and his love blinds him to what is best for the boy. He is trying to hold on to life and shape it the way he thinks it should be, instead of letting it go where it must go. It is as if he is putting his hands in the river and trying to prevent the water flowing on. The task is hopeless, but in this chapter only Vasudeva realizes this.

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