Empowerment doesn’t mean absence of obstacles – it means perseverance amidst obstacles

In spiritual circles, special souls who do extraordinary services are considered empowered by the divine. When we try to do some service and face some obstacles, we may think that we can’t do it because we are not empowered. Consciously or subconsciously, we equate the presence of obstacles with the absence of empowerment.

But such equalization begs the question: are obstacles absent for empowered souls? Let’s consider Arjuna as an example. The Gita points to his being divinely empowered when it (11.33) exhorts him to arise, fight and attain victory, and assures that his enemies have already been killed by divine arrangement.

Yet during the ensuing Kurukshetra war, Arjuna’s path was far from obstacle-free – every single day, he had to fight many demanding battles; some days, he had to face frustrations when enemies evaded or escaped him; some days, he had to endure heart-wrenching losses of loved ones. What, then, was his empowerment? It was his unshakeable resolve to keep fighting even in the presence of obstacles so frequent and formidable that they would have made lesser mortals give up. His empowerment was that he persevered to the fullest extent of his skill, strength and savvy. And, of course, when his utmost efforts were not enough, Krishna intervened miraculously.

The important thing for us to learn is that Arjuna didn’t use Krishna’s assurance of empowerment to expect or demand an obstacle-free service. Instead, he persevered relentlessly. Similarly, we too can press on, no matter what the obstacle. And even if external success takes time to manifest, we will discover in our perseverance an unbreakable connection with Krishna, a connection that is sublimely enriching and supremely fulfilling. Such resilience is the most important empowerment, for it will enable us to please Krishna and eventually attain his abode – life’s ultimate achievement.

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We may be unloved, but we are never unlovable
Life is too precious to be wasted in doing perpetual post-mortem operations
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