The essence of empowerment is not disappearance of obstacles, but persistence amidst obstacles
“Krishna empowers his devotees to do wonderful things.” This statement is frequently heard in devotional circles.
What does empowerment mean? Is it a miraculous disappearance of all obstacles on the path of self-effulgent devotees? Krishna can do that, but that is not the essence of empowerment. And expecting that can cause us to miss actual empowerment.
Essentially, empowerment is not external but internal – it is not the disappearance of obstacles, but the persistence amidst obstacles. What defines embowered devotees is their determination to persevere in their devotion, no matter what. Gita wisdom points to this through two important verses (09.13 – 09.14) that delineate the inner realizations and outer actions of serious devotees.
Empowerment is universally accessible: it’s not some mystical illumination or surreal electrification, but a practical connection with Krishna.
The Bhagavad-gita (09.13) states that such devotees are undistractedly fixed on Krishna and have taken shelter of his divine energy, which is the source of all empowerment. Yet despite their being sheltered in the empowering divine energy, the next verse (09.14) states that they endeavor with resolute vows. That they need to endeavor thus indicates that they face obstacles like all of us. In fact their obstacles are far bigger than ours, because they take up far bigger challenges in Krishna’s service. But by meditating on Krishna’s unfailing and unflinching love, they get the inspiration to reciprocate, come what may.
Empowerment thus understood is universally accessible. It’s not some mystical illumination or surreal electrification, but a practical connection with Krishna. We all can connect with him by contemplating his love through scriptural study and devotional meditation, and reciprocating through tangible, manageable service. By thus showing Krishna our intention to love him, we open our heart for him to mercifully fill with realizations of the supreme reality of his love. Those realizations help us see inimical outer realities as inconsequential, and persevere, undaunted, in our march towards him.