Sixth, I saw Hermann Hesse. He was not an enlightened one, what to say about those who have gone beyond enlightenment. He was just an ordinary human being, but in a poetic flight he has written one of the greatest books in the world, Siddhartha.
Siddhartha is really the name of Gautama the Buddha, given to him by his parents. He became known as Gautam Buddha. Gautama was his family name; Buddha simply means ‘the awakened’. Siddhartha was the real name given by his parents in consultation with the astrologers. It is a beautiful name. Siddhartha also means ‘one who has attained to the meaning’. Siddha means ‘one who has attained’; artha means ‘the meaning’. Combined together Siddhartha means ‘one who has come to the meaning of life’. The astrologers, the parents, the people who gave him this name must have been wise people – if not enlightened, at least wise...worldly-wise at least.
Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha repeats the story of Buddha in a different way, but in the same dimension, with the same meaning. It is unbelievable that Hermann Hesse could write it but could not become a siddha himself. He remained a poor writer. Yes, a Nobel Prize winner, but that does not matter that much. You cannot give a Nobel Prize to a buddha; he will laugh and throw it away. But the book is immensely beautiful, and I include it.