The blend of encouragement and enlightenment brings empowerment

Life’s reversals can often be demoralizing. To regain our morale, we need both enlightenment (knowing what to do) and encouragement (feeling confident that we can do it). Those who encourage without enlightening often end up delivering shallow, cosmetic or insubstantial platitudes. Those who enlighten without encouraging often end up delivering holier-than-thou, impractical or unappealing sermons.

Lord Krishna blends enlightenment and encouragement endearingly in his message of love, the Bhagavad-gita. Therein, he first gives encouraging reassurances of the indestructibility and invincibility of the self (2.11-30), then proceeds with enlightening analyses that illuminate for Arjuna the best course of action among the bewildering multiplicity of options open for him (2.31-18.63) and concludes with encouraging promises of his all-round loving help when Arjuna takes up the best course of action (18.64-72).

Thus the Gita harmonizes enlightenment and encouragement in a majestic message that fills us with hope not by denying the harshness of reality, as does much new age spirituality, but by revealing to us a higher, sweeter reality. This reality is the reality of love, Krishna’s love for us and our dormant love for him. This love reigns supreme eternally in the ecstatic world of Krishna to which we belong and which we can attain by harmonizing our life with devotional principles.

Gita wisdom offers us hope not just in the future but also in the present. It introduces us to a living, loving God who helps us even in the here-and-now by offering guidance from within and by orchestrating events from without so as to facilitate and accelerate our return to him.

So next time we feel demoralized – or better still, even before we feel demoralized – we can empower ourselves with morale-boosting doses of Gita wisdom.

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