My mentor was leaving town. A friend and I went to visit her. She has a huge collection of books and as we were leaving, she said we could take a few for keepsake.

Delighted, we started scourging the piles. I picked up few, put them down and spotted this old, yellowing paperback sandwiched between two big hardbacks!

Curiously, I pulled it out. It was this.


I had heard of Hermann Hesse and read a quote or two but never read him. I opened the book, read this page!


“It’s a pretty heavy read you know! Are you sure you want this one?,” my mentor asked in a slightly incredulous tone.

I was.

Narcissus and Goldmund is indeed a raging battle between the body and the mind. Spanning topics from the needs of the spirit to the wants of the body, this is a thought provoking page turner!

This book is a pandora’s box of contemplation. It has so many things to offer. Every reader perceives and learns different things from a book. To me, this taught the value and essence of differences in human nature.

The two main characters of the book are two sides of a coin, yet made of the same gold. One incomplete or invalid without the other.

What’s it about

This book delves deep into the subject of self realization, calling and one’s true nature. It paints a real picture, carves a detailed sculpture of man’s ID.


What worked

Narcissus, the wise, disciplined thinker and Goldmund, the wild, sensuous artist became real people for me.

I started to relate more to Narcissus, not in his academic, celibate or worldly-wise stature, but just by his demeanor.

I also happened to meet a real-life Goldmund. His way of living, his process of discovering himself and the way his mind functions is greatly like Goldmund’s. His craving for the senses and for freedom resembled Goldmund’s greatly!

Pondering much!

Written on the timeless subject of psyche and soul, it led me to ask a few questions though.

Why are there only two sides to a coin?

Why should the mind/body be categorized into two aspects/genders only?

Are we limited to the realm of flesh and ideas, science and philosophy alone?

The book lingers on, leaves you heavy as you finish it. I might have to read parts of it a few more times to understand it’s complete meaning – if there can ever be one.