93 Hermann Hesse Quotes from German-Swiss Poet & Novelist

Hermann Hesse, born on July 2, 1877, was a German-Swiss poet, novelist and painter whose work often navigated the struggle for self-realization.

Notably, Hesse’s work was influenced by his parents’ missionary backgrounds.

His career took off in 1904 with the publication of his novel Peter Camenzind, which allowed him to support himself as a writer.


He is widely recognized for his novels, including Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha and The Glass Bead Game.

Despite enduring personal hardships, including his family’s illnesses and his own mental health issues, Hesse continued to contribute significantly to literature, earning him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.

Related: Elizabeth Barrett Browning Quotes from the English Poet and George Eliot Quotes from the English Novelist and Poet

However, his popularity among German readers fluctuated, peaking after World War II but falling by the 1950s.

Hesse, whose life and work were marked by his pacifist views and a quest for authentic identity, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on August 9, 1962, in Montagnola, Switzerland.

I have made a list of the best quotes from Hermann Hesse for you.

Best Hermann Hesse Quotes


As a body everyone is single, as a soul never. ~ Hermann Hesse.


Solitude is independence. ~ Herman Hesse.


A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening… ~ Hermann Hesse.


If I know what love is, it is because of you. ~ Hermann Hesse.


The river is everywhere. ~ Hermann Hesse.


There is no reality except the one contained within us. ~ Hermann Hesse.


I cannot tell my story without reaching a long way back. ~ Hermann Hesse.


You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Making music together is the best way for two people to become friends. ~ Hermann Hesse.

You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible. ~ Hermann Hesse.


There is a miracle in every new beginning. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Painting is marvelous; it makes you happier and more patient. Afterwards you do not have black fingers as with writing, but blue and red ones. ~ Hermann Hesse.

A magic dwells in each beginning, protecting us, telling us how to live… ~ Hermann Hesse.

I can think. I can wait. I can fast. ~ Herman Hesse.


Your soul is the whole world. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Loneliness is the way by which destiny endeavors to lead man to himself. ~ Herman Hesse.

Famous Hermann Hesse Quotes

Words can not express the joy of new life. ~ Herman Hesse.

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin. ~ Hermann Hesse.

The river has taught me to listen; you will learn from it, too. The river knows everything; one can learn everything from it. You have already learned from the river that it is good to strive downwards, to sink, to seek the depths. ~ Herman Hesse.


People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. ~ Hermann Hesse.

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. ~ Herman Hesse.

Each man carries the vestiges of his birth; the slime and eggshells of his primeval past with him to the end of his days. Some never become human, remaining frog, lizard, ant. Some are human above the waist, fish below. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself. ~ Herman Hesse.

I began to understand that suffering and disappointments and melancholy are there not to vex us or cheapen us or deprive us of our dignity but to mature and transfigure us. ~ Hermann Hesse.

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value. ~ Hermann Hesse.

No permanence is ours, we are a wave that flows to fit whatever form it finds. ~ Hermann Hesse.


To achieve the possible, we must attempt the impossible again and again. ~ Hermann Hesse.

How could I fail to be a lone wolf, and an uncouth hermit, as I did not share one of its aims nor understand one of its pleasures? ~ Hermann Hesse.

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity. ~ Hermann Hesse.

I wanted only to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Top Hermann Hesse Quotes

A house without books is a poor house, even if beautiful rugs are covering its floors and precious wallpapers and pictures cover its walls. ~ Herman Hesse.

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us. ~ Herman Hesse.


You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live. ~ Herman Hesse.

There’s no reality except the one contained within us. That’s why so many people live an unreal life. They take images outside them for reality and never allow the world within them to assert itself. ~ Herman Hesse.

To be able to throw one’s self away for the sake of a moment, to be able to sacrifice years for a woman’s smile – that is happiness. ~ Herman Hesse.

Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. ~ Hermann Hesse.

You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself. People are afraid because they have never owned up to themselves. A whole society composed of men afraid of the unknown within them! ~ Hermann Hesse.


My real self wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life. ~ Hermann Hesse.

An enlightened man had but one duty – to seek the way to himself, to reach inner certainty, to grope his way forward, no matter where it led. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Theory is knowledge that doesn’t work. Practice is when everything works and you don’t know why. ~ Hermann Hesse.

What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud. ~ Herman Hesse.

Oh, love isn’t there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure. ~ Herman Hesse.


Happiness is love, nothing else. ~ Herman Hesse.

Because the world is so full of death and horror, I try again and again to console my heart and pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell. ~ Herman Hesse.

Gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force. ~ Herman Hesse.

All higher humor begins with ceasing to take oneself seriously. ~ Herman Hesse.

When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us. ~ Herman Hesse.

Faith and doubt go hand in hand, they are complementaries. One who never doubts will never truly believe. ~ Hermann Hesse.


The true profession of a man is to find his way to himself. ~ Hermann Hesse.

The best weapons against the infamies of life are courage, wilfulness and patience. Courage strengthens, wilfulness is fun and patience provides tranquility. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Spiritual Hermann Hesse Quotes

If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion. ~ Herman Hesse.

All life is a breath exhaled by God. All dying is a breath inhaled by God. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast. ~ Herman Hesse.

I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions. ~ Herman Hesse.


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

Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again. ~ Hermann Hesse.

It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is. ~ Herman Hesse.

Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others. ~ Hermann Hesse.

It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect. ~ Herman Hesse.


Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest. ~ Hermann Hesse.

The river taught us how to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting open soul… ~ Hermann Hesse.

Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it. ~ Herman Hesse.

Great Hermann Hesse Quotes

The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas. ~ Herman Hesse.

In every truth, the opposite is equally true. A truth can only be expressed and enveloped in words if it is one-sided. ~ Hermann Hesse.


The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught. ~ Herman Hesse.

Any attempt to replace a personal conscience by a collective conscience does violence to the individual and is the first step toward totalitarianism. ~ Herman Hesse.

A man who is ill-adjusted to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister. ~ Hermann Hesse.

I call that man awake who, with conscious knowledge and understanding, can perceive the deep unreasoning powers in his soul, his whole innermost strength, desire and weakness, and knows how to reckon with himself. ~ Hermann Hesse.

It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object. ~ Herman Hesse.

Powerful Hermann Hesse Quotes

I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Age is a state of mind. Youth and age exist only among the ordinary people. All the more talented and exceptional of us; are sometimes old, just as we are sometimes happy, and sometimes sad. ~ Hermann Hesse.


Love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is only your aversion to it that hurts, nothing else. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours. ~ Herman Hesse.

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. ~ Herman Hesse.

The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life’s wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion. ~ Hermann Hesse.

I live in my dreams – that’s what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That’s the difference. ~ Hermann Hesse.

During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present, and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Beautiful Hermann Hesse Quotes

To nobody can you communicate in words and teachings, what happened to you in your hour of enlightenment. ~ Herman Hesse.

Opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Each man had only one genuine vocation to find the way to himself. ~ Hermann Hesse.


Each man’s life represents a road toward himself. ~ Hermann Hesse.

I will no longer mutilate and destroy myself in order to find a secret behind the ruins. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Each man’s life represents a road toward himself, an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path. No man has ever been entirely and completely himself. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them. ~ Hermann Hesse.

Chaos demands to be recognized and experienced before letting itself be converted into a new order. ~ Hermann Hesse.

So these were the 93 top Hermann Hesse quotes and sayings on love, life and religion.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Helen Steiner Rice quotes and Henry Nouwen quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar