“There was no more purpose; there was nothing more than a deep, painful longing to shake off this whole confused dream, to spit out this pale wine, to make an end of this bitter, painful life” (Hesse 88).
“At that moment, when the sound of Om reached Siddhartha’s ears, his slumbering soul suddenly awakened and he recognized the folly of his action” (Hesse 89).
“No, he recognized himself [...] But this Siddhartha was somewhat changed, renewed. He had slept wonderfully. He was remarkably awake, happy and curious” (Hesse 91).
Siddhartha has reached his abyss and wants to put an end to his miserable and meaningless life filled women, money, and gambling because his existence no longer possesses true value. Although he owns many materialistic belongings, he cannot stand to live anymore as a Siddhartha who is exhausted from restlessness and ignorance has taken the place of the once enlightened and intellectual Siddhartha.
From Man to Child
Just as Siddhartha was ready to take his plunge into the river, he heard the sound of perfection, the sound of Om. This sound was one he had been familiar with ever since his childhood of being a Brahmin and it is now the sound that has made him realize the weight of what he was doing. Despite the Brahmins not being able to fulfill Siddhartha’s goals, they still left an unremovable imprint on his mind which eventually calms Siddhartha, proving that his past self is not gone but rather just hidden.
After Siddhartha had heard the Om, he fell into a deep sleep in which Govinda stayed by him and when he awoke, it was as if he had been changed into a fully refreshed individual. He no longer carried the burdens of being a rich man nor did he have any interest in the temptations around him. Siddhartha is still focused on enlightenment and sentiment, but this time, he has been revived and become stronger so that he can better continue on his righteous journey towards self-discovery.
Siddhartha has been transformed back into a child-like form with his character as a merchant lost in addition to the skills he had once possessed like fasting, meditating, and thinking, all of which were his only genuine belongings. He returned to the state of a child who has no developed abilities of his own and Siddhartha needs to recapture these skills once again and rediscover that initial motive and purpose within him that drove his passions towards seeking further knowledge about himself.
“Now, when I am no longer young, when my hair is fast growing gray, when strength begins to diminish, now I am beginning again like a child” (Hesse 95).
After pondering, Siddhartha realizes that what he has gone through was not a devastating experience, but rather one with great value as he acknowledges that it was needed for him to sink to the depths of hopelessness so that he could be fully reborn. Through this, he was able to sleep calmly and feel the peaceful Om once more which triggered his upright and virtuous past self to reemerge and become at one with his present self who now possesses a new and clearer consciousness.
“I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace, to hear Om again, to sleep deeply again and to awaken refreshed again” (Hesse 97).
Even though Siddhartha had always believed that what he needed were not teachings, but instead one’s own encounters in order to be rescued and achieve redemption, he was not completely confident in his idea. However, with his various experiences and revival into this new world of his, Siddhartha’s inward voice is reassured and he now has a set and coherent view on how he should approach the future of his journey.
“Now he understood it and realized that the inward voice had been right, that no teacher could have brought him salvation” (Hesse 99).