Sunday Reflections — ‘Much can be learned from a river’, highlights the Hermann Hesse classic, Siddhartha

Rajeev Varma
3 min readJul 2, 2023
Photo by ARTO SURAJ on Unsplash

This week, Sunday Reflections brings you select quotes from Nobel laureate Hermann Hesse’s classic, Siddhartha:

“A very beautiful river, I love it more than anything.
Often I have listened to it, often I have looked into its eyes, and always I have learned from it. Much can be learned from a river.”

“In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets.”

“He was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all, he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart, with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without judgement, without an opinion.”

“But out of all secrets of the river, he today only saw one, this one touched his soul. He saw: this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran, and was nevertheless always there, was always at all times the same and yet new in every moment! Great be he who would grasp this, understand this!”

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, 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.”

It knows everything, the river, everything can be learned from it. See, you’ve already learned this from the water too, that it is good to strive downwards, to sink, to seek depth.”

“Siddhartha listened. He was now completely and utterly immersed in his listening, utterly empty, utterly receptive; he felt he had now succeeded in learning how to listen. He had heard all these things often now, these many voices in the river; today it sounded new…they were all one, all of them interlinked and interwoven, bound together in a thousand ways. And all of this together — all the voices, all the goals, all the longing, all the suffering, all the pleasure, everything good and everything bad — all of it together was the world. All of it together was the river of occurrences, the music of life.”

“And when Siddhartha listened attentively to this river, to this thousand-voiced song, when he listened neither for the sorrow nor for the laughter, when he did not attach his soul to any one voice and enter into it with his ego but rather heard all of them, heard the whole, the oneness — then the great song of the thousand voices consisted only of a single word: Om, perfection.”

“In this hour, Siddhartha stopped fighting his fate, stopped suffering. On his face flourished the cheerfulness of a knowledge, which is no longer opposed by any will, which knows perfection, which is in agreement with the flow of events, with the current of life, full of sympathy for the pain of others, full of sympathy for the pleasure of others, devoted to the flow, belonging to the oneness.”

This selection is from online resources in the public domain.

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Rajeev Varma

Life coach, writer and editor. Deeply interested in spirituality, Rajeev reflects and writes on everyday life issues