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Siddhartha and the Illusion of Time

            "The distinction between the past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." (Albert Einstein) In Hermann Hesse's novel Siddhartha, the essence of time and its questionable existence is depicted through the main character's final stages in his journey towards enlightenment. Not only, Siddhartha discovers that the various states of time known as past, present, and future are all united as one but also, he realizes our lives are simply an illusion. Hence, like Einstein Siddhartha understood that time was simply an illusion and that the concept of time directs the universe.
             From the outset, Siddhartha did not consider time as an essential instrument to achieve enlightenment. Thus, initially, Siddhartha was not content with his current luxurious and admirable lifestyle, which provoked him to be extremely thirsty for knowledge and self-fulfillment he thought to be attainable through the discovery of the derivation of Atman, "And where was Atman to be found, where did He abide, where did His eternal heart beat, where else but within one's own I, deep inside, in what is indestructible, borne within every individual? But where, where was this innermost and ultimate I?"(Hesse 7) As illustrated in this particular excerpt, Siddhartha's main focus was on I itself and not what leads to it. Although he was one brilliant young man and grasped the concept and practice of OM he was so blinded by his thirst for knowledge that he did not consider it in its most simple form, the concept of time. Hence, he gave no apparent thought to this particular concept. Furthermore, OM not only llustrates time and its enigmas but also, is essential as supported by this statement,"Both timelessness within time and unity through multiplicity are represented by the traditional manner in which OM is uttered." (Shaw) Hence, OM, I, and time itself are strongly connected to one another.

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