Of accidental happiness

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Mar 2018 10:14:05


By Vijay Phanshikar,




Serendipity always rewards the prepared.

- Katori Hall,
American playwright.

This word -- serendipity -- is often fascinating to countless people. The dictionary has a
simple meaning assigned to it:
“a seeming gift for finding something good accidentally”;
“luck, or good fortune, in finding something good accidentally”.

This accidental finding of something good, something fortunate, is what most of us keep looking for, looking forward to. And when we come across such an experience, we call it serendipity. And when we realise that some of us have a greater share of
serendipitous experiences, then we call them fortunate or lucky. In a way, many of us feel a pinch of jealousy, too, about such
American playwright Katori Hall, however, has a simple
statement to make: ‘Serendipity always rewards the prepared’.

Those who often inspire themselves to continue making human efforts to the hilt, may find nothing much substantial in Katori Hall’s assertion. But the statement is pregnant with a lot of meanings. In fact, it holds in its folds a lot of philosophy, a lot of spiritual belief, a lot of stress also on human efforts. When all these attributes come together, serendipity becomes almost a habit. For, when all these things are found in a person, the person develops a habit of stumbling accidentally upon something happy, something rewarding.

Why does one highlight ‘accidentally’? -- we may ask.
Let us understand the process of serendipity. We are on the way to somewhere. We are late in starting the journey. We are unsure of the road ahead, as well. We are also not sure if we are really undertaking the right journey. And suddenly, we realise that the road ahead is the right one and also the shortest one. Our hopes get kindled. Our mind starts dancing in a little joy. We call that experience serendipitous. ‘We are lucky’, we feel.

This sense of good luck, this sense of sudden realisation of an accidental good, however, is not actually part of our luck per se. It is, to the contrary, a combination of many attributes we have acquired on our journey of life. It is this part that we often miss in life. We do realise that life has prepared us more and better to receive serendipitous experiences than it has done others.
This is what Katori Hall wants to underline.

There is also a statement (whose author I do not know), in effect, “God does not call the Equipped; He equips the Called”. This statement really explains in greater depth the statement by Katori Hall: Serendipity always rewards the prepared.

For any ‘accidental’ happy finding or experience, therefore, one has to prepare oneself thoroughly. To have that experience -- may be in a repeated manner -- one has to prepare one’s mindset in a sensitive and sensible manner, one has to prepare one’s inner being to receive fully even the slightest of clues of good happening or omen, one has to make one’s mental receptors very tender and very absorbent. And, beyond all that, one has to believe in God’s blessing that is eternally available to anybody whose body, mind, and soul are cumulatively ready to take it.

As we take into account all these attributes, we realise the importance of being “prepared” to receive serendipitous
In fact, serendipity is happening in small measures all the time in our lives. Unfortunately, we never keep our minds open to receive it and recognise it. When we think of ‘serendipity’, we always think of something very big.
And in that vain search, we miss the fine serendipities happening in our lives. For example, when our mind is at unrest for whatever reason, we are more than not likely to miss a faint smile some unknown person offers us for reasons not known to anybody. Is that not a serendipitous experience? Because we are trapped in a big expectation, we miss the small rewards life often offers us in subtle serendipities.

Speaking for myself, I can say with a lot of sureness that I have had countless experiences of serendipity almost every day since I started understanding things. There is every reason for me to believe that Serendipity always rewards the prepared!
However, this is not stating the obvious. For, serendipity also has a funny habit: she presents herself in the most unexpected way. She just lurks in your view from behind a blind corner on life’s journey.