Hermann Hesse Quotes (154 Quotes)


    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.

    It was all a lie, it all stank, stank of lies, it all gave the illusion of meaning and happiness and beauty, and all of it was just putrefaction that no one would admit to. Bitter was the taste of the world. Life was a torment.

    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.

    His life oscillates, as everyone's does, not merely between two poles, such as the body and the spirit, the saint and the sinner, but between thousands and thousands.



    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.

    Let me say no more. Words do no justice to the hidden meaning. Everything immediately becomes slightly different when it is expressed in words, a little bit distorted, a little foolish...It is perfectly fine with me that what for one man is precious wisdom for another sounds like foolery.

    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.

    How absurd these words are, such as beast and beast of prey. One should not speak of animals in that way. They may be terrible sometimes, but they're much more right than men...They're never in any embarrassment. They always know what to do and how to behave themselves. They don't flatter and they don't intrude. They don't pretend. They are as they are, like stones or flowers or stars in the sky.

    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.

    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.

    Love can be begged, bought, or received as a gift, one can find it in the street, but one cannot steal it.

    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?

    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.

    No, a true seeker, one who truly wished to find, could accept no doctrine. But the man who has found what he sought, such a man could approve of every doctrine, each and every one, every path, every goal; nothing separated him any longer from all those thousands of others who lived in the eternal, who breathed the Divine.

    We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.

    I am in truth the Steppenwolf that I often call myself; that beast astray that finds neither home nor joy nor nourishment in a world that is strange and incomprehensible to him.

    That man is not yet a finished creation but rather a challenge of the spirit; a distant possibility dreaded as much as it is desired; that the way towards it has only been covered for a short distance and with terrible agonies and ecstasies even by those few for whom it is the scaffold today and the monument tomorrow - all this the Steppenwolf, too, suspected.

    Govinda was standing in front of him, dressed in the yellow robe of an ascetic. Sad was how Govinda looked like, sadly he asked: Why have you forsaken me? At this, he embraced Govinda, wrapped his arms around him, and as he was pulling him close to his chest and kissed him, it was not Govinda any more, but a woman, and a full breast popped out of the woman's dress, at which Siddhartha lay and drank, sweetly and strongly tasted the milk from this breast.

    Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.

    What a wonderful sleep it had been! Never had sleep so refreshed him, so renewed him, so rejuvenated him! Perhaps he had really died, perhaps he had been drowned and was reborn in another form. No, he recognized himself, he recognized his hands and feet, the place where he lay and the Self in his breast, Siddhartha, self-willed, individualistic. But this Siddhartha was somewhat changed, renewed. He had slept wonderfully. He was remarkably awake, happy and curious.

    I should not have had that fear of death when I wished for it all the same. The unhappiness that I need and long for is different. It is of the kind that will let me suffer with eagerness and lust after death. That is the unhappiness, or happiness, that I am waiting for.


    He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value . . . he has given to me myself.

    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?

    What is meditation?... It is fleeing from the self, it is a short escape of the agony of being a self, it is a short numbing of the senses against the pain and the pointlessness of life. The same escape, the same short numbing is what the driver of an ox-cart finds in the inn, drinking a few bowls of rice wine or fermented coconut-milk.

    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.

    The war against death, dear Harry, is always a beautiful, noble, and wonderful, and glorious thing, and so, it follows, is the war against war. But it is always hopeless and quixotic too.


    More Hermann Hesse Quotations (Based on Topics)


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

    More Hermann Hesse Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Demian
    - Siddhartha
    - Steppenwolf
    - The Glass Bead Game

    Related Authors


    V. S. Naipaul - Tom Clancy - Thomas Wolfe - Salman Rushdie - Richard Bach - P. D. James - Louisa May Alcott - Fyodor Dostoevsky - Arthur Koestler - Arthur Herzog


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