By Louis Aragon
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Extra info for Aurélien
When the usual time for the meditation exercise had passed, Govinda arose. Evening had come; it was time to begin the ablutions of the eventide. He called Siddhartha’s name; Siddhartha gave no answer. Siddhartha sat rapt, his eyes fixed unmoving upon a far distant point; the tip of his tongue stuck out from between his teeth; he seemed not to be breathing. Thus he sat, cloaked in samadhi, thinking Om, his soul an arrow on its way to Brahman. One day, Samanas passed through Siddhartha’s town: ascetic pilgrims, three gaunt lifeless men, neither old nor young, with bloody, dust-covered shoulders, all but naked, singed by the sun, shrouded in isolation, foreign to the world and hostile to it, strangers and wizened jackals among men.
It is all an escape from Self, it is a brief respite from the torment of being Self, a brief numbing of the pain and senselessness of life. This is the same escape, the same numbness the ox driver finds at the inn when he drinks a few bowls of rice wine or fermented coconut milk. Then he no longer feels his Self, he no longer feels the pain of life; he briefly finds numbness. ” Govinda replied, “So you say, O friend, and yet you know that Siddhartha is no driver of oxen and a Samana is no drunkard.
A thousand times he left his Self behind, spent hours and days at a time liberated from it. But just as all these paths led away from the Self, the end of each of them returned him to it. Even if Siddhartha fled the Self a thousand times, lingering in nothingness, in the animal, in stone, his return was unavoidable, the hour inescapable when he found himself once more, in sunlight or moonlight, in shade or rain, and once more he was Self, was Siddhartha, and once more he felt the torments of the cycle imposed on him.
Aurélien by Louis Aragon