In Siddhartha, By Herman Hesse, Siddhartha strives to make sense of the many worlds into which he has walked, struggling to maintain the hope of ultimate serenity throughout each. These worlds have helped to shape Siddhartha, from the ideal beginning, the painful seeking of a passionate young Samana, the luscious world of possessions and money to the old days of a man whose every wrinkle carries a wisdom of its own. Gathering a worldly understanding based not on knowledge, but experience alone, this journey-that of Samsara-teaches Siddhartha the lessons he knew were impossible to learn from a teacher.
In his early years, Siddhartha is an impatient and hotheaded youth who feels the pull of knowledge and the stirring of a great desire to learn and to know. He becomes dissatisfied with the beautiful place he has always called home, and grows tired of Govinda's adorations:.
Siddhartha had begun to feel the seeds of discontent within him. He had begun to feel that the love of his mother and father, and also the love of his friend Govinda, would not always make him happy, give his peace, satisfy and suffice him (5).
Discontented, Siddhartha longs to find the answer to the all-important question: what is life? He craves knowledge, as he does not yet know what wisdom is. Unlike his friend Govinda, who is more than willing to be taught by the Buddha, Siddhartha craves to experience Samsara himself and find his own path. When Siddhartha chooses to join the Samanas, he does so in the hope of finding himself, and of finding God in himself. He quickly comes to realize, however, that these ascetics are practicing mere escapism, and loses interest in the self-induced suffering he once sought so passionately.
In the next stage of his life, Siddhartha finds himself in a world full of riches, and yet he is entirely indifferent to its materialism. He longs neither for the extravagant clothes nor the superficial pleasures they represent.