In the book “Siddhartha” Herman Hesse shows even though one may have a goal in mind there are many paths. In this story Siddhartha and his friend Govinda have the same goal, and the two friends end up taking separate paths. Siddhartha however becomes distracted. When looking at the book “Siddhartha” one can see three detours Siddhartha took, which most readers don’t see; this is important because in the end it helped Siddhartha find self-fulfillment. Siddhartha starting out as a Brahmin left him at a disadvantage when searching for Nirvana.
He realizes the many gods that they worship are of no value because the only true god is Atman. He searches for a way to concentrate on this one god, and eventually attain Nirvana. In these thoughts he also comes to the conclusion that the lifestyle he has is a distraction. His possesions, his feelings, his beliefs are all a distraction which leads him to his conclusion to join the Samanas. He joins the Samanas and thinks he would like their lifestyle. On his journey with the Samanas he learns many things from them like how to seperate himself from want, and to divide spirit and body.
This lesson however, only brought him further from his goal as you will see in the development of this essay. Siddhartha soon leaves the Samanas after showing how he has surpassed the elder Samana by hypnotizing him. He goes on a new journey to see Buddha, leaving his friend with Buddha and himself ending up in a village called Samsura. In Samsura he becomes further than he’s ever been from attaining Nirvana, but again in the end its for the best. He becomes like the “normal” people he has always seen himself better than.
He gets depressed, takes on gambling, and becomes fond of the drink. His gambling driven by his hate of greed, and the desire to show his hatred causes him to earn more and more to repeat the vicious cycle. As much as this looks like the worst thing that could have happened, it is really the best. Siddhartha realizes the spiritual state he was seeking is lost by his “new” life. He goes to the river he once crossed, in hopes of drowning himself and the pain he feels being so far from his “Self”.
Under the water he hears “Om” and knows that his soul is not dead, it was not conquered afterall. He now realizes that the supposed distractions really served as the path to attain happiness within himself. Siddhartha now knows that he had to sink to his lowest, to be able to realize the happiness within himself. This happiness with the “self” is what he was searching for, to which there is no specific path, no teachers, it has always been inside himself, but to see that he had to take the detours in which at the end led him to his goal.