Modern civilisation is the result of the discoveries and inventions made by eminent men and women in the past. Achievements, however, were not made overnight or at one strock. They were the products of the efforts of people at various stages of life. Every small effort in anything is a threshold crossed and life consists of many important thresholds. For instance, a child sitting with its slate or with a paper and pencil before it attempts to write the first letter of the alphabet. It is a task for it to form the different lines or curves but when it completes the letter, A, or whatever the first letter of the language might be, it feels as if it has achieved something really great. As far as the child is concerned, this is a threshold crossed. Similarly, a child taking the first step in the act of walking also crossed a threshold. Though such beginnings a further development is effected.
There are many thresholds in life for everyone of us and for every country. From the stone and metal ages, mankind has come to the electronic age, making off several achievements at one stage or another of its civilisation. When one effort is successfully accomplished another difficulty is confronted and this is followed by yet another. Thus human beings, have to overcome obstacles and solve problems that appeared one after another, like waves of the sea. Thus they have to continue the process of crossing several thresholds in the course of life till the end.
The attitude of people towards this aspect of life differs very much. There are people who wish to have a life of ease and comfort and who are averse to facing problems. They have the escapist mentality which makes them feel that life should be enjoyed as it is and no effort should be taken to get new experiences. A rich man, for instance, feels contented in just spending his money and does not consider it necessary or useful to invest it in profitable ways or spend it to help other. Others avoid mental and physical labour. Taking an example from the life of students, it is possible to see that some students skip some subjects or parts of a subject and attempt to study only such as they can tackle easily. In other words these people do not try to cross new thresholds but prefer to remain where they are. For them, life is only stagnant and there can be no progress. If new thresholds had not appeared at different stages of life, man would have been still a savage, living in the jungle.
On the other hand, there are many who seek knowledge that is infinite. Knowledge is the horizon towards which human beings always go and to reach it they have to cross several thresholds. There are several arches through which people have to pass, but still they might not reach the horizon. Each arch crossed reveals one more and yet the spirit of man takes him through many arches. For them, life holds an infinite variety of experiences, everyone of which is a significant threshold. History gives us instances of many who achieved remarkable successes in their own fields of activity, after they had passed their prime. A scholar who spends the early part of the life as a teacher in a school or a professor in a college or University helps students to cross many thresholds. Such men in different walks of life assist others and in every attempt at helping others they add to their own knowledge. They do not feel any regret when they reach middle age. In their activities they find the pleasure of selfless devotion. When they reach middle age or retire from service their training makes them yearn for new pastures.
Rabindranath Tagore won early fame as a versatile artist and writer. What he wrote was only in his own mother tongue and not in English which he learnt only at a later stage. Such was his genius that he has not only learnt a new language, but also mastered it to such a remarkable extent that he won the Nobel Prize. Hilary and Tenzing were not the first to attempt to scale the Everest. Many had attempted it earlier and failed in the attempt and some had even sacrificed their lives in the effort, before the peak was conquered. The threshold opened out by earlier mountaineers contributed to the ultimate success. Since that first conquest the everest has been climbed by many men and women. Thus, till the final moments of a man’s life new thresholds can be sought and entered. The only thing required is perseverance and indomitable will to win, to cross new thresholds, whatever may be the risks and dangers encountered in such a cross3. One must strive seek and not yield, but must preserver in the path of life, crossing threshold after threshold. Man is ever keen to cross every hurdle towards new horizons. It is in the crossing of thresholds than the dignity of man is enhanced.