By Vijay Phanshikar,
Heartening. THIS is one word that has made such an impact on human thought. The humans use this word so often, and almost without giving it much of a thought, though. Yet, the deep meaning the word conceals in its folds is absolutely fascinating. Heartening! The thesaurus offers these alternatives to ‘heartening’: Cheering, Comforting, Encouraging, Hopeful, Inspiring. Each of these shades is so meaningful, and so wonderfully indicating a plethora of human emotions! ‘Heartening’, thus, is a matter of heart, a matter of a deep feeling, something that belongs to the finest of senses! Whatever the heart feels or senses or sees without eyes and says without words, is expressed by ‘heartening’.
So, it is heartening to find one’s little boy do well in his little endeavours, or the little daughter flashing a winning smile the moment she appears on a stage and then reciting a poem in stuttering, tentative words! It is so heartening to see a college girl disabled in the leg rise after a fall on the track and then run faster than others to win a race! It is so heartening to listen to a fine poem or a fine speech or a fine music, see a great painting, stand before a great sculpture ...! It is so heartening to return home and walk straight into mother’s embrace and touch father’s feet and then hug him! It is so absolutely heartening to feel pride swelling up in the being as the national flag flutters and the powerfully emoting words of the national anthem invade one’s senses! It is so wonderfully heartening to sit in sublime surrender as a sage speaks words of eternal wisdom honed by her tapasya! ...
Everybody comes across such experiences. Everybody becomes aware of fine vibrations of the heart when he or she confronts such an emotive moment. How heartening all such moments are -- moments of exposure to the inner sensibilities and sensitivities! For, those are the moments of one’s encounter with one’s own inner core. For, the word ‘heartening’ expresses possibly the deepest satiation of the most sublime of human wishes -- that is seeking an endorsement of the rightness of actual purpose of life -- not just of living. Purpose of life? Yes. Purpose of life. And what is that? -- one may ask.
Oh, the actual purpose of life, of human incarnation in the cycle of life and death, is to seek a satiation of the sublime core of being, to look for an outer expression of the existence of the divine within. Some call it God. Some others call it atman. Some call it nirvana. Some call it salvation, moksh. Call it anything, but actually, ‘heartening’ has all these facets impacting human thought, from within. For, matters of heart are the issues in the inner-most zone of being.
‘Heartening’, thus, is not just a matter of superficial emotions. We may not actually realise its deep meaning unless we give it a patient and prayerful thought. But once we realise what is involved in ‘heartening’, we also realise the word’s depth and its critical importance to our existence. Imagine, just, an extended time in life when one does not come across anything heartening! How does life feel in such times? It is just so unlivable, so mundane, so much meaningless! It is unfortunate that the human society has often treated ‘heartening’ in a rather casual manner, almost dismissing it as something commonplace. That is a clear affront of an otherwise divine
experience. For, when one gets a heartening experience, one delves deeper into one’s own inner being, though without realising the process. But give ‘heartening’ a little attention, and you will realise how heartening it is to have such an experience -- relating to the inner-most zone of emotion -- and also of cognition. For, in that deepest point of being, it is impossible to separate emotion and cognition. Ponder over this. Realise this. And then you will understand what ‘heartening’ must mean to all of us -- almost a state of nirvana exhibiting itself through seemingly small matters with a cumulative great meaning.