Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Recently Read a Book Called Siddhartha

by Herman Hesse. The novel has long been on my list of 'to reads' and I was glad to get my hands on it a few weeks ago.

Sometimes we have ideas germinating in our minds and it seems to me that, even when we aren't looking for assistance, the world will help us along in our idea development. I should explain. A few weeks ago, I did a post about how my baby's physical body is growing as a result the earth's natural processes. I briefly mentioned a soil science class I had taken in college where I learned how rocks are formed by the earth and eventually broken down to make soil, which then feeds the plants that we eat and so on. I felt that in my post I was a little vague, but I didn't know how to explain it any better. That is, until I read Siddhartha, and found a passage that better expressed the idea that was in my mind about the radness of stones:

"Siddhartha bent down, lifted a stone from the ground and held it in his hand. 'This,' he said, handling it, 'is a stone, and within a certain length of time it will perhaps be soil and from the soil it will become plant, animal or man. Previously I should have said: this stone is just a stone; it has no value, it belongs to the world of Maya, but perhaps because within the cycle of change it can also become man and spirit, it is also of importance. This is what I should have thought. But now I think: this stone is stone; is it also animal, God and Buddha. I do not respect and love it because it was one thing and will become something else, but because it has already long been everything and always is everything. I love it just because it is a stone, because today and now it appears to me a stone. I see value and meaning in each one of its fine markings and cavities, in the yellow, in the gray, in the hardness and the sound of it when I knock it, in the dryness or dampness of its surface. There are stones that feel like oil or soap, that look like leaves or sand, and each one is different and worships Om in its own way; each one is Brahman. At the same time it is very much stone, oily or soapy, and that is just what pleases me and seems wonderful and worthy of worship. But I will say nor more about it. Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.'"

But see, even when Siddhartha tries to explain it to his friend, he stops because he thinks that to the outside world, his words are nonsense.

So true.

With this said: read this book with your powers of discernment in tune. I had a professor who said that the stupidest thing a reader can ever do is try to identify with a character in a book. And it was good advice.

1 comment:

Mountain Creek Photography said...

Hey! Somehow I lost your blog but DON'T WORRY... I found it again - hee hee. Hope everything is going awesome! Keep in touch!
-Jill (Greenfield) Vanikiotis