60+ Best Siddhartha Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Siddhartha is a 1922 novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. The book, Hesse’s ninth novel, was written in German, in a simple, lyrical style. Profoundly inspirational Siddhartha quotes will fire up your brain and encourage you to look at life differently while making you laugh.

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Famous Siddhartha Quotes

He saw the face of a newly born child, red and full of wrinkles, ready to cry. He saw the face of a murderer, saw him plunge a knife into the body of a man; at the same moment he saw this criminal kneeling down, bound, and his head cut off by an executioner. He saw the naked bodies of men and women in postures and transports of passionate love. He saw corpses stretched out, still, cold, empty. — Siddhartha

And time after time, his smile became more similar to the ferryman’s, became almost just as bright, almost just as thoroughly glowing with bliss, just as shining out of thousand small wrinkles, just as alike to a child’s, just as alike to an old man’s. Many travelers, seeing the two ferrymen, thought they were brothers. Often, they sat in the evening together by the bank on the log, said nothing and both listened to the water, which was no water to them, but the voice of life, the voice of what exists, of what is eternally taking shape. And it happened from time to time that both, when listening to the river, thought of the same things, of a conversation from the day before yesterday, of one of their travelers, the face and fate of whom had occupied their thoughts, of death, of their childhood, and that they both in the same moment, when the river had been saying something good to them, looked at each other, both thinking precisely the same thing, both delighted about the same answer to the same question. — Siddhartha-Vasudeva

He had finished with that. That also died in him. He rose, said farewell to the mango tree and the pleasure garden. As he had not had any food that day he felt extremely hungry, and thought of his house in town, of his room and bed, of the table with food. He smiled wearily, shook his head and said good-bye to these things. — Siddhartha

When all the Self was conquered and dead, when all passions and desires were silent, then the last must awaken, the innermost of Being that is no longer Self – the great secret! — Siddhartha

The teaching which you have heard…is not my opinion, and its goal is not to explain the world to those who are thirsty for knowledge. Its goal is quite different; its goal is salvation from the suffering. That is what Gotama teaches, nothing else. — Siddhartha

Govinda spoke: Nirvana, Friend, is not only a word. It is a thought. — Govinda

The river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth…in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere, and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future…Siddhartha the boy, Siddhartha the mature man and Siddhartha the old man [are] only separated by shadows, not through reality…Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence. — Siddhartha

He lived in friendship beside Vasudeva, and sometimes they would exchange words with each other, few and well-considered words. Vasudeva was no friend of words, Siddhartha seldom succeeded in inducing him to speak. — Siddhartha-Vasudeva

You have renounced home and parents, you have renounced your own will, you have renounced friendship. That is what the teachings preach, that is the will of the Illustrious One. That is what you wished for yourself. Tomorrow, Govinda, I will leave you. — Siddhartha

That was the last shudder of his awakening, the last pains of birth. Immediately he moved on again and began to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no longer to his father, no longer looking backward. — Siddhartha

[Siddhartha learns that] a true seeker could not accept any teachings, not if he sincerely wished to find something. But he who found, could give his approval to every path, every goal; nothing separated him from all the other thousands who lived in eternity, who breathed the Divine. — Siddhartha

Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence. — Siddhartha

He rose, said farewell to the mango tree and the pleasure garden. As he had not had any food that day he felt extremely hungry, and thought of his house in town, of his room and bed, of the table with food. He smiled wearily, shook his head and said good-bye to these things. — Siddhartha

When someone is seeking…it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything…because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. — Siddhartha

It was true that he had never fully lost himself in another person to such an extent as to forget himself; he had never undergone the follies of love for another person. He had never been able to do this, and it had then seemed to him that this was the biggest difference between him and the ordinary people…[now] He was madly in love. — Siddhartha

[Siddhartha] is drawn by his goal, for he does not allow anything to enter his mind which opposes his goal. That is what Siddhartha learned from the Samanas. It is what fools call magic and what they think is caused by demons…there are no demons…everyone can reach his goal if he can think, wait, and fast. — Siddhartha

He had started to suspect that his venerable father and his other teachers, that the wise Brahmans had already revealed to him the most and best of their wisdom, that they had already filled his expecting vessel with their richness, and the vessel was not full, the spirit was not content, the soul was not calm, the heart was not satisfied. — Siddhartha

[A]ll the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life…then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word: Om – perfection.- — Siddhartha

You want me to become like you, so pious, so gentle, so wise, but just to spite you, I would rather become a thief and a murderer and go to hell, than be like you. I hate you; you are not my father even if you have been my mother’s lover a dozen times! — Siddhartha

You, Venerable One, may indeed be a seeker, for, striving toward your goal, there is much you do not see which is right before your eyes. — Govinda

It is a good thing to experience everything oneself…As a child I learned that pleasures of the world and riches were not good. I have known it for a long time, but I have only just experienced it. Now I know it not only with my intellect, but with my ears, with my heart, with my stomach. It is a good thing that I know this. — Siddhartha

[Siddhartha’s] body was certainly not the Self, not the play of senses, nor thought, nor understanding, nor acquired wisdom or art with which to draw conclusions and from already existing thoughts to spin new thoughts…Both thought and the senses were fine things…it was worthwhile listening to them both…to listen intently to both voices. — Siddhartha

In this hour Siddhartha ceased struggling with his fate, ceased suffering. On his face blossomed the serenity of knowledge, which no will opposes any longer, knowing perfection, in agreement with the flow of events, with the stream of life, full of compassion, full of sympathy, abandoned to the flow, belonging to unity. —

Did not Atman dwell inside him, did not the primal source flow within his own heart? — Siddhartha

I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so worthy, so restrained, so candid, so childlike and mysterious. A man only looks and walks like that when he has conquered his Self. I also will conquer my Self…No other teachings will attract me, since this man’s teachings have not done so. — Siddhartha

Siddhartha realized that the desire that had driven him to this place was foolish, that he could not help his son, that he should not force himself on him. He felt a deep love for the runaway boy, like a wound, and yet felt at the same time that this wound was not intended to fester in him, but that it should heal. — Siddhartha

Quoth Siddhartha: You know, my dear, that I already as a young man, in those days when we lived with the penitents in the forest, started to distrust teachers and teachings and to turn my back to them. I have stuck with this. Nevertheless, I have had many teachers since then. A beautiful courtesan has been my teacher for a long time, and a rich merchant was my teacher, and some gamblers with dice. Once, even a follower of Buddha, traveling on foot, has been my teacher; he sat with me when I had fallen asleep in the forest, on the pilgrimage. I’ve also learned from him, I’m also grateful to him, very grateful. But most of all, I have learned here from this river and from my predecessor, the Ferryman Vasudeva. He was a very simple person, Vasudeva, he was no thinker, but he knew what is necessary just as well as Gotama, he was a perfect man, a saint. — Siddhartha-Vasudeva

Vasudeva rose. It is late, he said, let’s go to sleep. I can’t tell you that other thing, oh friend. You’ll learn it, or perhaps you know it already. See, I’m no learned man, I have no special skill in speaking, I also have no special skill in thinking. All I’m able to do is to listen and to be godly, I have learned nothing else. If I was able to say and teach it, I might be a wise man, but like this I am only a ferryman, and it is my task to ferry people across the river. — Vasudeva

He envied them [for]…the sense of importance with which they lived their lives, the depth of their pleasure and sorrows, the anxious but sweet happiness of their continual power to love. These people were always in love with themselves, with their children. — Siddhartha

You have renounced home and parents, you have renounced your own will, you have renounced friendship. That is what the teachings preach, that is the will of the Illustrious One. — Siddhartha

From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny. There shone in his face the serenity of knowledge, of one who is no longer confronted with conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the stream of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream, belonging to the unity of things. — Siddhartha

All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life. — Siddhartha

The teaching which you have heard…is not my opinion, and its goal is not to explain the world to those who are thirsty for knowledge. Its goal is quite different; its goal is salvation from the suffering. That is what Gotama teaches, nothing else. — Siddhartha

He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other, all helping each other, loving, hating, destroying each other and become newly born. Each one of them was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that was transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another. — Siddhartha

Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good – death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me…I needed lust [and] to strive for property…to learn not to resist them. — Siddhartha

Was Atman then not within him? Was not then the source within his own heart? One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking—a detour, error. — Siddhartha

Do you hear? Vasudeva’s mute gaze asked. Siddhartha nodded. Listen better! Vasudeva whispered. — Siddhartha-Vasudeva

[Siddhartha] had begun to feel that the love of his father and mother, and also the love of his friend Govinda, would not always make him happy, give him peace, satisfy and suffice him. 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 wisdom [but] his soul was not at peace. — Siddhartha

I wish that you, oh exalted one, would not be angry with me, said the young man. I have not spoken to you like this to argue with you, to argue about words. You are truly right, there is little to opinions. But let me say this one more thing: I have not doubted in you for a single moment. I have not doubted for a single moment that you are Buddha, that you have reached the goal, the highest goal towards which so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of Brahmans are on their way. You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realizations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! And—thus is my thought, oh exalted one—nobody will obtain salvation by means of teachings! You will not be able to convey and say to anybody, oh venerable one, in words and through teachings what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment! The teachings of the enlightened Buddha contain much, it teaches many to live righteously, to avoid evil. But there is one thing which these so clear, these so venerable teachings do not contain: they do not contain the mystery of what the exalted one has experienced for himself, he alone among hundreds of thousands. This is what I have thought and realized, when I have heard the teachings. This is why I am continuing my travels—not to seek other, better teachings, for I know there are none, but to depart from all teachings and all teachers and to reach my goal by myself or to die. But often, I’ll think of this day, oh exalted one, and of this hour, when my eyes beheld a holy man. — Siddhartha

I, who wished to read the book of the world and the book of my own nature, did presume to despise the letters and signs. I called the world of appearances, illusion. I called my eyes and tongue, chance. Now it is over; I have awakened. I have indeed awakened and have only been born today. — Siddhartha

Was Atman then not within him? Was not then the source within his own heart? One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking – a detour, error. — Siddhartha

The wheel of appearances revolves quickly, Govinda. Where is Siddhartha the Brahmin, where is Siddhartha the Samana, where is Siddhartha the rich man? The transitory soon changes, Govinda, You know that. — Siddhartha

As a child, I learned that pleasures of the world and riches were not good. I have known it for a long time, but I have only just experienced it. Now I know it not only with my intellect but with my ears, with my heart, with my stomach. It is a good thing that I know this. — Siddhartha

They knew everything, the Brahmans and their holy books, they knew everything, they had taken care of everything and of more than everything, the creation of the world, the origin of speech, of food, of inhaling, of exhaling, the arrangement of the senses, the acts of the gods, they knew infinitely much—but was it valuable to know all of this, not knowing that one and only thing, the most important thing, the solely important thing? — Siddhartha

Siddhartha’s sympathy and curiosity lay only with the people, whose work, troubles, pleasures, and follies were more unknown and remote from him than the moon. Although he found it so easy to speak to everyone, to live with everyone, to learn from everyone…there was something which separated him from them…[because] he had been a Samana. — Siddhartha

Today, we’ll hear the teachings from his mouth. said Govinda. Siddhartha did not answer. He felt little curiosity for the teachings, he did not believe that they would teach him anything new, but he had, just as Govinda had, heard the contents of this Buddha’s teachings again and again, though these reports only represented second- or third-hand information. But attentively he looked at Gotama’s head, his shoulders, his feet, his quietly dangling hand, and it seemed to him as if every joint of every finger of this hand was of these teachings, spoke of, breathed of, exhaled the fragrant of, glistened of truth. This man, this Buddha was truthful down to the gesture of his last finger. This man was holy. Never before, Siddhartha had venerated a person so much, never before he had loved a person as much as this one. — Siddhartha-Govinda

She taught him that lovers should not separate from each other after making love without admiring each other, without being conquered as well as conquering, so that no feeling of satiation or desolation arises nor the horrid feeling of misusing or having been misused. — Siddhartha

[Siddhartha learns] that one cannot have pleasure without giving it…She taught him that lovers should not separate from each other after making love without admiring each other, without being conquered as well as conquering, so that no feeling of satiation or desolation arises nor the horrid feeling of misusing or having been misused. — Siddhartha

Now, he thought, that all transitory things have slipped away from me again, I stand once more beneath the sun, as I once stood as a small child. Nothing is mine, I know nothing, I possess nothing, I have learned nothing…when I am no longer young, when my hair is fast growing gray…now I am beginning again like a child. — Siddhartha

Siddhartha learned a great deal from the Samanas; he learned many ways of losing the Self. He traveled along the path of self-denial through pain, through voluntary suffering and conquering of pain, through hunger, thirst and fatigue. He traveled the way of self-denial through meditation, through the emptying of the mind through all images. Along these and other paths did he learn to travel. He lost his Self a thousand times and for days on end he dwelt in non-being. But although the paths took him away from Self, in the end they always led back to it. — Siddhartha

Govinda said: Still, oh Siddhartha, you love a bit to mock people, as it seems to me. I believe in you and know that you haven’t followed a teacher. But haven’t you found something by yourself, though you’ve found no teachings, you still found certain thoughts, certain insights, which are your own and which help you to live? If you would like to tell me some of these, you would delight my heart. Quoth Siddhartha: I’ve had thoughts, yes, and insight, again and again. Sometimes, for an hour or for an entire day, I have felt knowledge in me, as one would feel life in one’s heart. There have been many thoughts, but it would be hard for me to convey them to you. Look, my dear Govinda, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found: wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone always sounds like foolishness. — Siddhartha-Govinda

Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught. — Siddhartha

Even in him, even in your great teacher, I prefer the thing to the words, his actions and his life are more important than his speech, the gestures of his hand more important than his opinions. — Siddhartha

[Siddhartha] stood alone like a star in the heavens…That was the last shudder of his awakening, the last pains of birth. Immediately he moved on again and began to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no longer to his father, no longer looking backwards. — Siddhartha

Siddhartha was silent. He dwelt long on the words which Govinda had uttered. Yes, he thought, standing with a bowed head, what remains from all that is holy to us? What remains? What is preserved? And he shook his head. — Siddhartha

Slowly, like moisture entering the dying tree trunk…so did the world and inertia creep into Siddhartha’s soul; it slowly filled his soul, made it heavy, made it tired, sent it to sleep. But on the other hand his senses became more awakened, they learned a great deal, experienced a great deal. — Siddhartha

But where were the Brahmans, where the priests, where the wise men or penitents, who had succeeded in not just knowing this deepest of all knowledge but also to live it? — Siddhartha

Had not his father suffered the same pain that he was now suffering for his son? Had not his father died long ago, alone, without having seen his son again? Did not he expect the same fate? Was it not a comedy, a strange and stupid thing, this repetition, this course of events in a fateful circle? — Siddhartha

The more [Siddhartha] realized it, the less strange did he find it; the more did he realize that everything was natural and in order, that Vasudeva had long ago, almost always been like that, only he did not quite recognize it; indeed he himself was hardly different from him. He felt he now regarded Vasudeva as the people regarded the gods and that this could not last. — Siddhartha

Slower, he walked along in his thoughts and asked himself: But what is this, what you have sought to learn from teachings and from teachers, and what they, who have taught you much, were still unable to teach you? And he found: It was the self, the purpose and essence of which I sought to learn. It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome it, could only deceive it, could only flee from it, only hide from it. Truly, no thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being separated and isolated from all others, of me being Siddhartha! And there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about Siddhartha! — Siddhartha

And—such is my thinking, o Exalted One—no one attains deliverance through teaching! — Siddhartha

It was true that he had never fully lost himself in another person to such an extent as to forget himself; he had never undergone the follies of love for another person. — Siddhartha

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