Siddhartha: Top Ten Quotes

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(Quotations are from the New Directions edition of Siddhartha, published in 1951, translated by Hilda Rosner.)

  1. "One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it" (p. 5).
    The young Siddhartha, expressing his belief in the necessity of direct experience of the truth.
  2. "He lost his Self a thousand times and for days on end he dwelt in nonbeing" (p. 12).
    Siddhartha's experience after he becomes a Samana.
  3. "His peaceful countenance was neither happy nor sad. He seemed to be smiling gently inwardly. With a secret smile, not unlike that of a healthy child, he walked along, peacefully (p. 22).
    Siddhartha's first impressions of Gotama the Buddha.
  4. "All this had always been and he had never seen it; he was never present. Now he was present and belonged to it. Through his eyes he saw light and shadows; through his mind he was aware of moon and stars" (p. 38).
    After he ceases to be an ascetic, Siddhartha starts to appreciate the beauty of the world for the first time.
  5. "I can think, I can wait, I can fast" (p. 52).
    Siddhartha tells the merchant Kamaswami what he can do.
  6. "Slowly, like moisture entering the dying tree trunk, slowly filling and rotting it, so did the world and inertia creep into Siddhartha's soul; it slowly filled his soul, made it heavy, made it tired, sent it to sleep" (p. 61).
  7. Siddhartha's spiritual decline when he becomes worldly rich.
  8. "The new Siddhartha felt a deep love for this flowing water and decided that he would not leave it again so quickly" (p. 81).
    After abandoning his worldly life, Siddhartha begins to appreciate the beauty of the river.
  9. "Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence" (p. 87).
    Siddhartha's realization that there is no such thing as time.
  10. "During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman" (p. 116).
    Siddhartha explains his new-found wisdom to Govinda.
  11. "And Govinda saw that this mask-like smile, this smile of unity over the flowing forms, this smile of simultaneousness over the thousands of births and deaths-this smile of Siddhartha-was exactly the same as the calm, delicate, impenetrable, perhaps gracious, perhaps mocking, wise, thousand-fold smile of Gotama, the Buddha, as he perceived it with awe a hundred times" (p. 122).
    Govinda's moment of enlightenment.