Hermann Hesse Quotes (154 Quotes)


    I called the world of phenomena an illusion, I called my eyes and my tongue and accident, valueless phenomena. No, that is all over; I have awakened, I have really awakened and have just been born today.

    You show the world as a complete, unbroken chain, an eternal chain, linked together by cause and effect.


    Oh, was not all suffering time, were not all forms of tormenting oneself and being afraid time, was not everything hard, everything hostile in the world gone and overcome as soon as one had overcome time, as soon as time would have been put out of existence by one's thoughts?

    I understood it all. I understood Pablo. I understood Mozart, and somewhere behind me I heard his ghastly laughter. I knew that all the hundred thousand pieces of life's game were in my pocket. A glimpse of its meaning had stirred my reason and I was determined to begin the game afresh. I would sample its tortures once more and shudder again at its senselessness. I would traverse not once more, but often, the hell of my inner being.


    And so Gotama wandered into the town to obtain alms, and the two Samanas recognized him only by his complete peacefulness of demeanor, by the stillness of his form, in which there was no seeking, no will, no counterfeit, no effort - only light and peace.

    The source ran somewhere, far away from him, ran and ran invisibly, had nothing to do with his life any more. And at several times he suddenly became scared on account of such thoughts and wished that he would also be gifted with the ability to participate in all of this childlike-naive occupations of the daytime with passion and with his heart, really to live, really to act, really to enjoy and to live instead of just standing by as a spectator.



    A girl had bidden me eat and drink and sleep, and had shown me friendship and had laughed at me and had called me a silly little boy. And this wonderful friend had talked to me of the saints and shown me that even when I had outdone myself in absurdity I was not alone.

    His way had therefore come full circle, or rather had taken the form of an ellipse or a spiral, following as ever no straight unbroken line, for the rectilinear belongs only to Geometry and not to Nature and Life.


    I will not pretend to justify this espionage I carried on, and I will say openly that all these signs of a life full of intellectual curiosity, but thoroughly slovenly and disorderly at the same time, inspired me at first with aversion and mistrust. I am not only a middle-class man, living a regular life, fond of work and punctuality; I am also an abstainer and a nonsmoker, and these bottles in Haller's room pleased me even less than the rest of his artistic disorder.

    Both the thoughts and the senses were pretty things, the ultimate meaning was hidden behind both of them... from both the secret voices of the inermost truth had to be attentively perceived.

    The world, my friend Govinda, is not imperfect or confined at a point somewhere along a gradual pathway toward perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment.

    Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.


    All the women of this fevered night, all that I had danced with, all whom I had kindled or who have kindled me, all whom I had courted, all who had clung to me with longing, all whom I had followed with enraptured eyes were melted together and had become one, the one whom I held in my arms.

    People know, or dimly feel, that if thinking is not kept pure and keen, and if respect for the world of mind is no longer operative, ships and automobiles will soon cease to run right, the engineer's slide rule and the computations of banks and stock exchanges will forfeit validity and authority, and chaos will ensue.

    One can beg, buy, be presented with and find love in the streets, but it can never be stolen.

    I would traverse not once more, but often the hell of my inner being. One day I would be a better hand at the game. One day I would learn how to laugh. Pablo was waiting for me, and Mozart too.

    But one thing this doctrine, so clean, so venerable, does not contain: it does nto contain the secret of what the Sublime One himself experienced, he alone among the hundreds of thousands. This is why I am continuing my wanderings not to seek another, better doctrine, because I know there is none, but to leave behind all the teachings and all teachers, and either attain my goal alone or die.

    They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.

    That is why we were drawn to one another and why we are brother and sister. I am going to teach you to dance and play and smile, and still not be happy. And you are going to teach me to think and to know and yet not be happy. Do you know that we are both children of the Devil?



    There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.

    One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking -- a detour, an error.

    If I were wise, I shouldn't tell you. But I won't be wise, Harry, not for this time. I'll be just the opposite. So now mind what I say! You will hear it and forget it again. You will laugh over it, and you will weep over it. So look out! I am going to play with you for life and death, little brother, and before we begin the game I'm going to lay my cards on the table.

    Dreams and 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.


    More Hermann Hesse Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Life - World - Man - Love - Wisdom & Knowledge - Time - Pleasure - Happiness - Soul - Truth - Mind - Death & Dying - Suffering - People - Sense & Perception - Sadness - Night - Liberty & Freedom - Secrets - View All Hermann Hesse Quotations

    More Hermann Hesse Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Demian
    - Siddhartha
    - Steppenwolf
    - The Glass Bead Game

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