Kamaswami is a wealthy merchant in the city where Kamala lives, and he offers Siddhartha the opportunity to learn about business and accumulate his own wealth. While Siddhartha only takes a position as Kamaswami’s partner in order to earn his place with Kamala, these experiences ultimately teach him just as much about indulgence as his romantic relationship does. Kamaswami is the epitome of the material world, both in terms of his behavior and his attitude toward Siddhartha. From the first moment they meet, Siddhartha notes his “greedy mouth” which reflects his ability to use words as a means of getting what he wants. The fact that Kamaswami lives in a large, luxurious house reinforces the idea that he is particularly successful in this endeavor. Business is the primary focus of his life, and while this enables him to fill his world with riches, his spirit remains empty. Especially when a deal falls through, Kamaswami falls into bouts of frustration and anxiety which Siddhartha fails to comprehend. The fact that Siddhartha does not express the same passion toward business further exacerbates Kamaswami’s negative attitude and highlights his singlemindedness. Kamaswami may agree to take Siddhartha on as a partner because of his ability to read and write, but due to his past life as an ascetic, he struggles to imagine him as a successful businessman. 

Despite Kamaswami’s frustration regarding Siddhartha’s unwillingness to fully invest himself in the trade, the dark side of his materialistic world does eventually creep in and impact Siddhartha’s own attitude. The longer he stays in the city, the more Siddhartha begins to act like his mentor. His addiction to gambling, for example, reflects an unsatisfiable greed which is reminiscent of Kamaswami’s own desires for wealth and power. Siddhartha also begins acting irritable toward his partner when business talks arise, and while he is not necessarily invested in the transactions themselves, he nevertheless takes on a self-centered attitude. By the end of their time together, Kamaswami essentially becomes a representation of who Siddhartha will be if he does not choose to leave the city and continue his pursuit of enlightenment. Siddhartha himself even recognizes this fact as he contemplates leaving, emphasizing that he is on the way to becoming the type of person he once mocked. Kamaswami ultimately allows Siddhartha to see that a pursuing a purely materialistic lifestyle will not help him to achieve his spiritual goals.