Dear Hermann Hesse:
As I read Siddhartha, pondering the various spiritual and life journeys of a Brahmin's son, I was surprised at my ability to connect with the introspective and spiritual Siddhartha Gautama. Although my twenty-first century background is different than Siddhartha's background in many respects, I still found myself identifying strongly with his emotions and situational responses.
When I began reading Siddhartha, I never would have imagined that I could relate to a religious sage due to my distance from the Buddhist lifestyle. However, the novel modernized Siddhartha's experiences, which allowed me to connect with his successes and failures. In fact, I was inspired to examine my life in a new way. The novel implored me to evaluate the elements of desire and suffering in my life and transfer my attention to introspection and deeper life meaning.
Siddhartha's personal evolution helped me understand that each experience in life is important and that no experience is truly a mistake. Although some of his life choices were made with indulgent and selfish intentions, I believe Siddhartha's eventual attainment of enlightenment and nirvana proved the necessity of each life stage.
Gaining a complete understanding of the world and pure contentment requires learning the effects of all types of decisions. I now understand the importance of making errors. Although I feel best about my life decisions that have resulted in desirable outcomes, a great deal of the time I have learned more from my adverse choices. Siddhartha helped me realize that when I carefully examine seemingly bad decisions and their transmission of life lessons, I gain greater insight into world processes and improve my ability to make future decisions that are advantageous.
Siddhartha's introspective journey also taught me a great deal about the root of worldly unhappiness and how to remedy undesirable discontent in life. Siddhartha showed me the importance of self-reflection and distance from excessive ambition. The novel's discussion of the material world helped me understand that the natural human method of approaching life inevitably advances some suffering.
Human motivation to achieve various objectives brings suffering that is only terminable when attachment to aspiration ceases. An individual can experience the most sorrow in attaining some of their most revered goals. Wealth, fame, and success are superficially desirable ends, but they cannot replace wisdom and serenity. Siddhartha's experience with affluence affirmed for me that some separation from worldly desires is important.
Although Siddhartha did not convince me to embark on a great spiritual journey, the impact it had upon my life was profound. The novel trained me to keep my desires in perspective and learn from life. Its unique world-view provided guidelines that I used to reassess my priorities in life.
Siddhartha helped me check my ambition, gain wisdom, and focus on achieving a peaceful and joyful relation with the world. It fundamentally altered my perspective and my philosophical approach to life situations. I am appreciative that your novel afforded me the opportunity to view life through a unique lens.