Siddhartha & Meaning of Om
Outline for Presentation on Siddartha to MVHS English classes:
A. Symbolic Meaning
a. Bottom curve stands for your conscious, waking state
b. Top curve represents deep sleep or unconscious
c. Middle curve symbolizes dreaming state where the consciousness can turn inwards to Self
d. Dot=turiya= ultimate aim of all spiritual activity.
e. The semi-circle separating the top curve and the dot is maya or illusion; notice maya separates us from attaining our state of bliss
B. Conceptual Meaning
a. Om Chanting and Meditation, Amit Ray states: "Om is not just a sound or vibration. It is not just a symbol. It is the entire cosmos, whatever we can see, touch, hear and feel. Moreover, it is all that is within our perception and all that is beyond our perception. It is the core of our very existence. If you think of Om only as a sound, a technique or a symbol of the Divine, you will miss it
b. Om is the most powerful of all Indian mantras and begins and ends all other mantras.
a. AUM: encompasses entire range of sounds the human voice can make and all sounds in Universe. Consider the silence at the end
D. Importance as symbol in book
a. Very 1st page- "already he knew how to say Om"
b. "om is the bow, the arrow is the soul, brahman is the arrow's goal at which one aims
c. "He already knew how to speak the Om 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 Atman in the depths of his being, indestructible, one with the universe." p3
d. The importance of Om in this story returns as the sound of the river; important-
river is all knowing without using words (one of the key reasons Siddhartha left Buddha's
following; didn't want to follow someone's words)... Om is one syllable encompassing all words
e. The sound of the River is Om p108
f. OM- again at end symbolizing Siddharta's enlightenment
2. Seeking of Self
A. Atman vs Gods
a. Siddhartha questions on p6 why offer sacrifices to God's when the true God is
Atman (self)- this leads to his quest to discover his true self..not sure how, though. He thinks in
peeling off layers (material goods, desires) he can reach self
1. "I wanted to rid myself of the self, to conquer it, but I could not conquer it, I
could only deceive it..." [compare to your layers/labels... student, daughter, son, sibling,
friend, musician, artist, jock, etc]
B. Siddharta's "path" to Self
a. I consider life to be like a path and we are all at different places on our paths. Our path has trails that venture off; some are meant to be followed enabling us to learn new things while
others are not meant to be followed. The ones that you are not meant to follow, like making poor choices, will definitely be learning lessons but at what cost?
b. p7 "One must find the source within one's own self" everything else
is a detour, a mistake (is that true?)
C. Buddhist philosophy: all is temporary
a. Siddhartha travels the path of self denial thru meditation and other ways but his path
always leads back to his Self
b. If you feel enlightened is it only temporary? Can you separate from inner Self?
c. "The body was certainly not the self, nor the play of senses, nor thought, nor understanding, nor acquired wisdom..." p47
d. "Remember my dear Govinda, the world of appearances is transitory. The style of our clothes and hair is extremely transitory. Our hair and our bodies are themselves transitory." p93
D. Goal to path: Govinda vs Siddharta and external teachers vs internal and God vs Self
A. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras
a. says we create our own suffering by reliving in our minds the sad or painful experience
b. (has left riches behind) "He had drawn nausea and death to himself from all sides like a sponge."--He wishes to die at this point- brought on by the Self p87
B. Monkey mind- Buddhism= all the thousands of restless thoughts that flood our mind
a. "restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun's melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him..." p5
Don't we all experience this to some degree?
C. Gotama vs Siddhartha= p33
a. Gotama says not trying to make people believe his opinions as opinions can be taken in a variety of ways; not trying to offer knowledge either...only teaches salvation from suffering
b. irony: Buddha (Gotama leaves home to end suffering; Siddhartha leaves home to find Self but ends up, at times, creating his own suffering
D. Om resurfaces in book
a. p89 "Then from a remote part of his soul, from the past of his tired life, he heard a sound. It was one word, one syllable, which w/o thinking, he spoke indistinctly, the ancient beginning and ending of all Brahman prayers, the holy om, which had the meaning of the perfect one or perfection"--Just hearing the word re-awakened his soul
A. Upaguru- someone or something that teaches a lesson
B. p97 "I had to experience despair." How can he know happiness or bliss if he doesn't know its opposite, despair?
C. Lotus/crown chakra= ultimate enlightenment
a. p101 "the river looked at him w/one thousand eyes" The crown chakra is represented by a lotus with 1000 petals an d represents ultimate spiritual connection; isn't the river what brings Siddhartha back to his spiritual connection? (Om)
D. Staying present
a. p102 "he saw that the water continually flowed and flowed, yet it was always there; it was always the same, yet every moment it was new" passage of time vs staying present
5. Chapter titles...no coincidences to the chapter names
1.Brahman= Atman= true Self
2. samana= inward energy (in book they are seekers)
3. Gotama (guawtama)= Buddha= one who is all knowing
4. awakening (enlightenment)
5. Kamala--upaguru. Her name means lotus; Kamala is also another name for 2 deities, Lakshmi and Durga (abundance and destruction) material vs nothing
6. Amongst the People (Kamaswami)= master of desire= obstacle for Siddhartha to enlightenment?
7. Samsara- cycle of life, birth to death
8. By the River
9. The Ferryman
10. The Son
(chapters 8-12 are all upagurus)
6. Maya/Being present
A. Maya means illusion
a. Siddhartha gets sucked back in to material world when he meets Kamala. Begins to really lose touch with what aspect of the self he felt he had started to know...until he is finally so
disgusted with his life he leaves and wants to die
b. Not being present...p75 "The years passed by. Enveloped by comfortable circumstances, Siddhartha hardly noticed their passing." We are all blindly carrying thro life w/o being present;
1. Noticing environment/descriptive words: Siddhartha notices blue sky remarking how it is amazing it has always been there: "All this had always been and he had never seen it; he was never present. Now he was present and he belonged to it."
2. p13-14 talks about businessmen trading, princes hunting, priests deciding today, mothers with kids..." They were all illusions of sense...Life was pain" [do we fake our happiness? is it all a cover up for fear, envy, anger, pain, etc...or is it the other way around?!]
B. Siddhartha comes around to: p130 (Brahman) "These people were worthy of love and admiration in their blind loyalty, in their blind strength and tenacity. With the exception
of one small thing, one tiny little thing, they lacked nothing that the sage and thinker had, and that was the consciousness of the unity of life." (that everything and everyone is connected, united, like Om)
10/30/2013 11:25:10 pm
Thank you for posting, mom!
10/31/2013 10:31:51 pm
You are SO welcome! Thanks for letting me come to your class!!!!
11/20/2013 01:23:13 am
Student in Sams class
10/31/2013 11:18:03 am
Thanks for coming to our class and giving us your analysis on Siddhartha! I really enjoyed the presentation, it helped me tremendously in my essay!
10/31/2013 10:33:35 pm
I wanted you to know how much I appreciate you leaving me this comment! I had so much fun coming to your class!!!
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