Hermann Hesse has written a timeless masterpiece, though he had written it in German in 1922, i would give equal credit to the translator Hilda Rosner, for capturing the beauty of the book. Siddhartha is a young man living in times of Buddha seeking spiritual enlightment so he along with his best friend Govinda leaves his home much to his father’s dismay to seek solace with group of ascetics called samanas. Having done all that samanas do for the purpose, he comes to know that Gautam Buddha is nearby so he visits him, still he is not satisfied so he leaves that path and Govinda also and enters human civilization with all its pleasures and riches, becomes a rich man, indulging in gambling, drinking etc. until he realises one day that he is on a wrong path. He leaves all that goes back to the river where a ferryman had ferried him years ago. The ferryman who is Vasudeva asks him to stay back and help him in rowing. The ferryman asks Siddhartha to listen to river, the river talks. Slowly Siddhartha realises the words of the river. The book works on several levels, who is Vasudeva, what is the river, what message is being given. Siddhartha has a son with Kamala the courtesan with whom he had relations but the son is indifferent to him and arrogant and rude and runs away from his father. Siddhartha tries to desperately find his son back but Vasudeva tells him to cut that connection and listen to the only sound that matters in the world OM.
Beautifully written book by Herman Hesse. Highly recommended. I have never read any other spiritual book, which is so beautifully written. Dialogue with Death by Eknath Eswaran is another such beautiful spiritual book.