Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Come to the River

In Hermann Hesse's book Siddhartha, the title character, the son of a Brahman, pursues the meaning of life through poverty and emptiness and through wealth and over-abundance only to come to the River, to the ferryman Vasudeva who tells him:
I can't tell you that other thing, oh friend. You'll learn it, or perhaps you know it already. See, I am not a learned man. I have no special skill in speaking. I also have no special skill in thinking. All I am able to do is to listen and to be godly, I have learned nothing else.

If I were able to say and teach it, I might be a wise man, but I am only a ferryman and it is my task to ferry people across the river.

I have transported many... thousands; and to all of them, my river has been nothing but an obstacle to their travels. They travelled to seek money and business... for weddings... on pilgrimages, and the river was obstructing their path. The ferryman's job was to get them quickly across that obstacle.

However, for some among thousands, a few, four or five, the river has stopped being an obstacle, they have heard its voice, they have listened to it, and the river has become sacred to them, as it has become sacred to me.

Lets rest now, Siddhartha.

If you haven't read Siddhartha, please do; there are free public-domain versions available online.

As for me, during my Take a Break Tuesday, I decided to reread a bit of the book and found myself at the river. I spent some time transforming it from an obstacle and it was like a deep full breath of clean crisp air after a night in a smoky dark bar.

Happy Wednesday,

1 comment:

  1. I just saw Inception yesterday and I'm thinking that seeing the river as an obstacle is just an idea someone has planted in our mind (that someone being ourself or someone else) - and all we "need" to do is to remove that idea and replace it.


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