Siddhartha (1972)

Director – Conrad Rooks

 

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The film is a masterful adaptation of the novel written by Hermann Hesse and is considered to be one of the spiritual classics – one man’s search for the meaning of life. If you have liked the book, you will definitely love this movie.

Set in the time of the Buddha i.e. 2500 years ago, the movie tells the story of Siddhartha, the contemplative son of a priest, who wants to become a sadhu. The spiritual search leads him to spend time with wandering ascetics, learn the wisdom of the Buddha, indulge in sensual pleasures, experience success in business, and even become a father.

When he realizes that he has lost the real goal, he walks away from everything and happens to meet a ferryman who teaches him how to learn from the river. Eventually, Siddhartha becomes enlightened and attains happiness.

I found reading the book to be a more engaging experience as one could read the thoughts that went through Siddhartha’s mind. The movie cannot bridge this gap because everything cannot be verbalized. Despite this, the movie is one of my favorites. The background songs pierce deep into the heart.

I see Siddhartha as a timeless allegory for a spiritual seeker. At any age, in any part of the world, there is pain and suffering in every human activity – be it the striving for material pleasures or the spiritual search. Enlightenment is only to be discovered every moment with the realization of the emptiness of knowledge and desires.

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