when the wise men talked. For a long time, Siddhartha had been
partaking in the discussions of the wise men, practising debate
with Govinda, practising with Govinda the art of reflection, the
service of meditation. He already knew how to speak the Om
silently, the word of words, to speak it silently into himself while
inhaling, to speak it silently out of himself while exhaling, with all
the concentration of his soul, the forehead surrounded by the glow
of the clear-thinking spirit. He already knew to feel Atman in the
depths of his being, indestructible, one with the universe.
Joy leapt in his father's heart for his son who was quick to learn,
thirsty for knowledge; he saw him growing up to become great
wise man and priest, a prince among the Brahmans.
Bliss leapt in his mother's breast when she saw him, when she
saw him walking, when she saw him sit down and get up,
Siddhartha, strong, handsome, he who was walking on slender
legs, greeting her with perfect respect.
Love touched the hearts of the Brahmans' young daughters when
Siddhartha walked through the lanes of the town with the luminous
forehead, with the eye of a king, with his slim hips.
But more than all the others he was loved by Govinda, his
friend, the son of a Brahman. He loved Siddhartha's eye and sweet
voice, he loved his walk and the perfect decency of his
movements, he loved everything Siddhartha did and said and what
he loved most was his spirit, his transcendent, fiery thoughts, his
ardent will, his high calling. Govinda knew: he would not become
a common Brahman, not a lazy official in charge of offerings; not
a greedy merchant with magic spells; not a vain, vacuous speaker;
not a mean, deceitful priest; and also not a decent, stupid sheep in
the herd of the many. No, and he, Govinda, as well did not want to
become one of those, not one of those tens of thousands of
Brahmans. He wanted to follow Siddhartha, the beloved, the
splendid. And in days to come, when Siddhartha would become a