Human life contains crisis.
This is one reason that religions exist; they seek to deal with the crises that face every human being. Crisis is a major component of any religion including Hinduism, Siddhartha’s religion. Therefore, crisis is a major theme in the novel Siddhartha. He has multiple experiences with life changing crises. The first crisis in his life leaves the biggest impression on me.
Siddhartha decides to become a Samana after a group of them come through his town. His best friend, Govinda, does not want him to leave. His father is angry that he wishes to leave. He stands in one place all night until his father finally tells him to go and be a Samana, that is how determined he is. Siddhartha knew it was time to make a choice in his life and do something different. He made this choice although it caused crisis in his life.
His crisis had two elements, the first was all the anxiety associated with leaving his family and friends and going out on his own. Second, he realized he had to become a Samana to break the cycle of Samsara. He knew he could do this by bettering himself through discipline and finding his true self. I have had two crisis experiences that stand out in my recent memories.
First, in the eighth grade I made the choice to attend a private school that was 30 miles away from where I lived. This was a school that none of my current friends were going to attend. I chose to leave all my friends and thrust myself into a new experience for my own good. My friends didn’t want me to leave, just like Siddhartha’s. The second crisis experience happened four years later when I chose to leave my town and attend college here at the University of Portland. Most of my good friends were staying and going to school in the town that we lived in.
These two experiences bear resemblance to Siddhartha’s because they contain similar elements of what makes a crisis. First, the anxiety of leaving friends and starting anew is present in both of my experiences. The anxiety associated with switching to high school was compounded with the even worse anxiety of having to meet all new people and make new friends. My second experience, going away to college, also contains the anxiety of leaving old friends and starting out somewhat on my own. These two decisions were crises because I was fearful and felt great amounts of anxiety, as I believe Siddhartha must have when he chose to be a Samana.
Once I made these choices, I knew I should go through with them and that they would be beneficial. I think Siddhartha realized this same thing about his choice. Both of these experiences contain the second element of Siddhartha’s crisis. The two decisions were made with the intent of bettering and finding myself.
I knew a quality education is one of the best ways to better oneself. I am in that process right now, but it seems to have been the right decision. I believe I have been semi-successful at finding myself thus far in my life. Crises like leaving a comfort zone and making all new friends have required me to find who I am and what I am like. This is required in order to make friends with people who please me and to reestablish a comfort zone. In conclusion, by analyzing Siddhartha’s crisis and determining the elements present in it, I have been able to see how two experiences of my own were also beneficial crises and not just isolated unpleasant times of my life.