Essay: Understanding the Meaning of Life
Vasudeva teaches Siddhartha how to listen to the river for it has much to offer and he does this for many years. He realizes that just as the water in the river ends up in the ocean only to come back in to the river as rain, then life is a cycle without beginning or end with birth and death just part of it. In order for one to understand the meaning of life, he has to go through life and death, good and evil as well as joy and sorrow. After Siddhartha has learned the secrets of the river, Vasudeva declares that he is done with life, hence disappearing into the forest leaving Siddhartha to become the ferryman.
At the end, we meet Govinda at the river seeking enlightenment from a wise man that he does not recognize as Siddhartha. Siddhartha declares that, there are no words to explain to him what enlightenment is, but he tells him to kiss him on the fore head and after doing so, he finds enlightenment instantly. The quest to achieve spiritual enlightenment is the driving force behind Siddhartha, which pushes him from his days as a youth. He has been through several teachings but none seems to give him what he has been looking for. This is what keeps him from moving from one place to the other. His patience pays at the end for he seems to wait for an eternity in order to achieve his goals. He believes that he has the right to question any leader or teaching.