Carl Jung once said, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Siddhartha, a novel by Hermann Hesse, follows Siddhartha through his life stages. While Siddhartha searches for enlightenment and Nirvana; going from Brahmin, to the rich, then to having nothing. The audience can read about his struggles and sufferings that guide him to enlightenment.
Siddhartha’s journey gives him several teachers and mentors; some were conventional and some more symbolic. All of them though were important and help Siddhartha to his enlightenment.
The first teachers that Siddhartha has are the Brahmins and the Samanas. They are important though they do not lead him to his goal, but guide him to a path of enlightenment. “He had begun to suspect that his worthy father and his other teachers, the wise Brahmins, had already passed on to him the bulk and best of their knowledge.” (3) The Brahmins were important to Siddhartha, because they give Siddhartha a religious foundation.
At the same time though Siddhartha knows if he stays with the Brahmin he will not grow spiritually. The audience comes to this solution when Siddhartha says, “And the vessel was not full.” (3) “Then the father realized that Siddhartha could no longer remain with him at home – that he had already left him.” (9) The realization that Siddhartha’s father teaches him everything he knows, helps him let go of Siddhartha. His father understands that Siddhartha hasn’t filled his thirst, therefore he hands him over to the next teacher, the Samana, hoping to help Siddhartha’s goals of . .
er, which is really Siddhartha himself, are the true mentors that lead him to his true enlightenment. They are the ones that had the most influence in Siddhartha’s life.
Jung mentions gratitude for teachers who touch oneselves feelings, and that’s exactly how Siddhartha feels towards his mentors. There are always those teachers who change one’s perspective and thinking. Siddhartha is lucky to have a couple of those teaches on his journey. Siddhartha reaches enlightenment after his life-long journey, and through his life he had several teachers that get him there.
His mentors are different from each other, but they are all helpful to Siddhartha’s journey in their own way. The most important teacher is himself though, because it’s Siddhartha that always gets back on track to enlightenment.
Hesse, Hermann, Siddhartha, New Delhi: Rupa Publications, 2003