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An Indian Tale

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Author: Herman Hesse
Published: 1922
Language: English
Wordcount: 39,469 / 116 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 64.5
LoC Categories: BL, PN, CT
Downloads: 98,248 3520

An allegorical novel that follows the spiritual journey of an Indian man called Siddhartha during the time of Buddha (6th century B.C.). Beginning with the main character's departure from his Brahmin home the search for enlightenment takes Siddhartha through a series of changes and realizations.

Show Excerpt

ed, unsown cloak. He ate only once a day, and never something cooked. He fasted for fifteen days. He fasted for twenty-eight days. The flesh waned from his thighs and cheeks. Feverish dreams flickered from his enlarged eyes, long nails grew slowly on his parched fingers and a dry, shaggy beard grew on his chin. His glance turned to icy when he encountered women; his mouth twitched with contempt, when he walked through a city of nicely dressed people. He saw merchants trading, princes hunting, mourners wailing for their dead, whores offering themselves, physicians trying to help the sick, priests determining the most suitable day for seeding, lovers loving, mothers nursing their children--and all of this was not worthy of one look from his eye, it all lied, it all stank, it all stank of lies, it all pretended to be meaningful and joyful and beautiful, and it all was just concealed putrefaction. The world tasted bitter. Life was torture.

A goal stood before Siddhartha, a single goal: to become empty,

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.3 from 20 reviews: *****
The guvernor

Hess hits the nail on the head.


For all the confused people: this is not a story on the perhaps most widely known Siddhartha, the Buddha.
This is another person with the same name. Gautama in the story is the Siddhartha y'all are talking about.



quote from below says
"TOTALY WRONG. He was born in Nepal in Lumbini, and he "

Thought it said it was an "allegorical" novel. Thought that meant it was metaphorical in nature.


I have been highly recommended by one of the book lover about this book and very amazed to found a brief information about Siddhartha which absolutely not right. which I accept that the author might be misguided but still wonder whether the author has made any excuses yet after knowing the facts!!!


Okay, first off all the whole story on this book about siddhartha is wrong............. TOTALY WRONG. He was born in Nepal in Lumbini, and he was the prince of Lumbini at that time............. and he was not son of any BRAHMAN. He was son of Shakya "which means current Shrestha" I think writer have to go to the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam Buddha and consider rewriting the book again.

Rajdeep Ahire

best . . .

no words to say about this book


Tremendous work by author.Hermann Hesse is a genius writer...

Rob Reader

One of the greatest works of fiction of all time written by the greatest author of his time. I have read Siddhartha four times and like Maugham's Razors Edge it is impossible to read it too often. There is not a sufficiency of superlatives in the authors native German or in our language to describe or accurately praise Hesse or his work.
Those of you who have never read this exceptional book do yourselves a favor and commence doing so now. If there is one word which describes Siddhartha it is ennobling.


This is one of the best books that i know, I like the way that explain the human desire to known itself...


Beautiful book, couldnt have captured the inner thirst better and more concisely than this. Loved it.


This is the best human work i have ever read.


uhhhhh this book is okay i kind of like is very simple but the beginning is kind of reading it in my High School (Sophmore Requirement Book). It's nothing like what i usually read but im just trying to bare with it. The middle is kind of good though =]

mickael chia

This is a very good book. It is different from the teachings of Gotama Buddha, but has relevance to many people's lives.

I really enjoyed this enlighted book.

K Lambert

Truly one of the most influential books I have ever read. I return to it every few years, not because the book has changed but because I have.

D. Ogan

Probably one of the greatest story you can read. Its language simple yet thoughts provoked profound.

Hesse captured an essence of Buddhism in a mortal's quest for salvation. Taking a leaf from Buddha's life and philosophy, the character Siddhartha's worldly odyssey led eventually to his spiritual discernment of reality, the nature of life and true happiness.

The English version is flawless. Unruffled reading with subtle imageries. Inspirational.

Asim Shrestha

this is a great novel by Herman Hesse. The author takes us back in time and decoratively describes the journey of a young man to salvation, the path of which is unique to each individual.

NJ Darrant

Good short book. Very simple (almost Biblical) language. An easy read, and has a good message. Highly recommended (for non-German speakers). NJD


I still prefer the original..


An allegorical novel which deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian man called Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha.

The book was originally written in German, using simple, powerful and lyrical language. First published in 1922 after Hesse had spent some time in India, it became quite influential during the 1960s.

"Siddhartha" means "he who has attained his goals". The full name of the Buddha was Siddhartha Gautama.



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