“But where, where was this self, this innermost part, this ultimate part?
It was not flesh and bone, it was neither thought nor consciousness,
thus the wisest ones taught. So, where, where was it?”
Ideas of Interest from “The Son of the
1. Why did Siddhartha remain standing when his father requested that there
be no more discussion of joining the ascetics? Why didn’t Siddhartha
just leave as he had promised Govinda? Explain why Siddhartha’s father
Chapter 1. The Son of the Brahmin
“allowed him” to leave. Speculate in what way Siddhartha’s father came
to his decision.
2. Siddhartha had always obeyed his father’s wishes. Conjecture what he
would have done if his father had said “No” to his request to leave and
3. Why does Siddhartha speak of himself in the “third person”? Try speaking
of yourself in the third person for a short time in order to see the
effects of this technique.
4. Given that Govinda was Siddhartha’s “spear carrier,” envision the conditions
under which Govinda left home. How do you suspect that Siddhartha’s
and Govinda’s parents differ in their practices of child rearing?
The Reading Selection from “The Son
In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats,
in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where
Siddhartha grew up, the handsome son of the
, the young falcon, together
with his friend Govinda, son of a
. The sun tanned his light
shoulders by the banks of the river when bathing, performing the sacred ablutions,
the sacred offerings. In the mango grove, shade poured into his black
eyes, when playing as a boy, when his mother sang, when the sacred offerings
were made, when his father, the scholar, taught him, when the wise men
talked. For a long time, Siddhartha had been partaking in the discussions of
the wise men, practising debate with Govinda, practising with Govinda the
art of reflection, the service of meditation. He already knew how to speak the
silently, the word of words, to speak it silently into himself while inhaling,
to speak it silently out of himself while exhaling, with all the concentration
of his soul, the forehead surrounded by the glow of the clear-thinking
spirit. He already knew to feel
in the depths of his being, indestructible,
one with the universe.
Joy leapt in his father’s heart for his son who was quick to learn, thirsty for
knowledge; he saw him growing up to become a great wise man and priest, a
prince among the
Bliss leapt in his mother’s breast when she saw him, when she saw him walking,
when she saw him sit down and get up, Siddhartha, strong, handsome,
he who was walking on slender legs, greeting her with perfect respect.
Love touched the hearts of the