Our caliber is seen not just when we give our best but also when life gives us its worst
The caliber of sports players is revealed when they are in a flow, when they exhibit their peak performances. Their caliber is also revealed in the opposite situation – when the opponents are at their best, when the circumstances are at the worst.
The same principle applies in the game of life. The champion archer Arjuna had his best moment when he singlehandedly bested the entire Kuru army during the battle at Virata. That war revealed Arjuna’s caliber, establishing him as an archer sans compare.
Soon after that, his caliber was testing in another way, when life hit him with its worst. Just before the most important war of his life, he was attacked internally in the form of ethical confusion and emotional desperation and was found wanting. He felt his bow slipping from his hand (01.28), an unprecedentedly inauspicious occurrence for a warrior of his caliber.
When floored thus by an unexpected inner enemy, Arjuna’s grit was revealed when instead of caving in, he turned to Krishna and sought guidance about dharma, the right course of action for him (02.07). The answers provided by Gita wisdom empowered him to rally and fight the war of his life. Life tested him in the worst possible way, by attacking him from within, and he emerged victorious, not by his archery expertise, but by Gita wisdom.
In our respective areas of performance, we can wholeheartedly tap the phases whenever we are in a flow. Such phases will demonstrate what we can do at our best. But knowing that we will be challenged in the opposite situations too, we can prepare our spiritual mettle by internalizing Gita wisdom. Then, even if life hits us low, spiritual wisdom will empower us to stand tall and strong.
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