Siddhartha, Chapter 1
English 10B, 6th Period

May 22, 2001

Chapter 1 of Siddhartha by Herman Hesse was out of the ordinary. Siddhartha, a young son of a Brahmin, was seeking to become a Samana, and his friend, Govinda, would follow him as “…his companion, his servant, his lance bearer, [and] his shadow” (Hesse 2). Siddhartha’s father was hesitant to allow him to become a Samana, but he later notice Siddhartha had already left spiritually.

The bond between Siddhartha and Govinda is comparable to superiority and insufficiency, and religion. Siddhartha has a “servant”, Govinda, who will dedicate his life for the prosperity of Siddhartha, and in return he gains the reputation of disciple, in the event of Siddhartha becoming a god. Amazing! This is far beyond the barriers of friendship and associated loyalty, to a rather hierarchical system of class; religion. Many people insist that hierarchical form of governing is obsolete and unnecessary, and other absolutely forbid such arrangement, yet they return to their homes, churches, temples, synagogues, and any other institution that relates to religious practice, to attend and be a player in the game of religion. The chain of command initiates within “God”, and disciples and saints are issued the next order, the clergypersons are then positioned, and atlas, we the people who follow the beliefs of the “almighty” stand among our millions of members to bask in “God’s” presence. Govinda is preparing to be inferior.

India has class order to their society, as many other countries do, but India’s barriers are more conspicuous. The Brahmin division ranks high explicitly because they are priests and their responsibility is the cosmic revelation according to the Rig-Veda. Similar to the tasks of Christian priests and related church members who have a direct “link” to God and distribute sermons and bible reading that are direct readings from the bible and opinionated comments (usually reinforcing the bible’s teachings) for the sole purpose of rendering and teaching individuals and promote the religion, Brahmins’ goals are to education the populace of their teachings, and perhaps, have some people adopt their religion. Yet, they are often depicted as power-hungry, egotistical, arrogant people. Just imagine if Christian priests were considered in this manner.

Siddhartha tends to exhibit discontent towards himself. He mentions the love of his friend Govinda and parents is not sufficient enough to grant him happiness. And his religion is apparently not keeping up to his intellect. Hopefully, becoming a Samana would meet his requirements for contentment and aptitude.