The 8 Powers

Having intent to create a peaceful, harmonious world or community is one thing. Having the power to move past obstacles that come in the way of that intent, is something else entirely. We need power to transform situations that may arise in any endeavour. Not power over others but power to change my own weaknesses into strengths and reach my aim and goals.

The Brahma Kumaris talk about The 8 Powers and I thought we’d start a conversation around that here. It is important to know what these powers are, but it is even more important to understand when and how to use them.
The 8 powers are such that, in any situation, there will be at least one power, that is appropriate for my use. The correct choice of the power will depend on my remaining calm and having a clear picture of the situation in question. These 8 powers become more and more effective in my life as I become expert in applying them.

What are the 8 Powers taught by the Brahma Kumaris?

  • The Power to Decide/Judge

    scales of justice

    This is the ability to assess the quality of choices, decisions and actions in yourself and others. The scales represents this power. What is the significance of the scales in relationship to the Power to Judge? Real, authentic, accurate judgement has three dimensions.

    1. Assess a situation so you may be able to check the right response you need to create and express.
    2. Don’t judge people, because no one has that right but it’s okay to judge actions. Perhaps for rightness or quality, for ethics or value, because you are an eternal student and seek to continually learn from others. There’s no need to judge any person for Gyan tells you they are innately good, even though their actions may demonstrate otherwise.
    3. Judge yourself, not with the aim to punish yourself, but simply to assess and see that your thoughts, words and actions are consistently of the highest quality and acceptable to others. The Power to Judge helps assess any situation accurately, with clarity and precision. With a detached impartial state of mind, we can use this power to help discriminate the quality of our thoughts, words and actions and not be judgmental of others. If we do see someone doing something wrong according to the universal code of conduct, the power to judge can be called upon to help determine if that person perceives he/she is acting wrongly. If so, we can feel mercy and inspire him/her to make the correction through our own example or with accurate and empathetic ‘coaching’. If he/she does perceive the inaccuracy and is making an effort to overcome the weakness, we can feel respect and good wishes for that individual, which would encourage him/her to gain victory over that weakness.
  • The Power to Face


    This is the ability to confront and resolve external and internal obstacles, tests and challenges with great faith and courage. The picture, which symbolizes the power to face, is death, fire or tidal waves. The spiritual journey home is a return to full awareness of what is true and what is right. But there are numerous obstacles, tests and challenges on the way. It is only with your inner strength which is restored by knowledge and spiritual power from the source that you are able to face and deal with the inner dragons that rear their heads during the journey. In meditation you take that step inside and get to know yourself again. You learn to discern right from wrong and you recover the strength to face the obstacles which come from inside and out.

    1. Internal obstacles are old habits of behaviour born out of false understanding and wrong beliefs.
    2. External obstacles are those who would deliberately stand in your path of change – wanting you to stay the same.
    3. Test come when you meet those who yesterday triggered fear or hate within. Can you face them, walk towards them, see their beauty, their quality however, deeply hidden and respond to that? Horror, terror or simply error will test the strength of your ability to look at them in the face, forgive yourself and move on.
    4. Challenges: Every moment on this journey home is a challenge, and masters thrive on challenges. There are no problems, only opportunities to learn, grow and help others in the process. There are no such things as failure, only feedback. Change and chaos are travelling companions. And there is no other time than the present. The mantra of the master is ‘face it right now’. Masters know that delay is expensive.

    The power to face gives courage and confidence to deal with any person or situation. This power helps conquer all types of fears, insecurities, and doubts, especially about our own abilities.

  • The Power to Withdraw


    This power is represented by a tortoise. What does the tortoise do when it senses some kind of danger, or when it wants to rest? In the same way that a tortoise goes within its shell in a moment of danger, or just to rest, I am able to retract myself from any situation and remain protected in the ‘shell of soul consciousness’.

    The Power to Withdraw is the ability to disengage from the world around you. It is the first step in restoring calm. The tortoise is good at this as it pulls its head and arms and legs inside its shell. Can you do these with your senses? To see but not see, to hear but not hear, or to see and hear but not to be influenced or disturbed by what you see and hear. It helps if you value periods of solitude and introspection, time to reflect and be quiet. It means leaving your senses behind for a few moments, minutes, may be half an hour in a day. This is also the first step of personal mastery. If you are not the master of your senses and all incoming stimuli, you will be their slave.

    The Power to Withdraw is the ability to detach the mind from the current situation while maintaining full awareness. To withdraw in this way allows us to observe the scene with an objective perspective we are in stronger control of our thoughts and behaviour and can more astutely understand our emotions because we are looking at the scene as a third party, or as a director would.

    Going within at regular intervals during the day enables me to both accumulate and draw on my stock of inner strength.

  • The Power to Discriminate/Discern.

    Magnifying glass & fingerprint

    This is the ability to discern the subtle and separate what is true from false.

    Gems represent the Power to Discriminate or to discern. Discrimination is the art of seeing. Not seeing with the physical eyes, but seeing with the inner eye, the third eye. Seeing what is true and what is false. Today it is possible to create an artificial diamond, which looks and directs light as well as the real thing. To you and me there is no difference. To an experienced and unhurried jeweler, however the subtle flaws are noticed through the eye of experience and knowledge. Spiritual sight is like the jeweler’s eye. Seeing what is true is only possible when there is an understanding of the laws and principles, which govern the course of human life. It is knowledge of these laws of nature, both physical and spiritual, which restore sight and give you the ability to discriminate.

    The power to discriminate helps to distinguish the real truth from the apparent truth, between things of temporary value and those of eternal value, between the superficial and the subtle. This power helps to recognize traps of illusion, however sweetly decorated and enticing. Through this power, we see through disguises and acts confidently and wisely. Through meditation, develop the clarity of mind to discern right from wrong, true from false within a second.

  • The Power to Accommodate

    This power is represented by the ocean.

    The Power to Accommodate/ Adjust is the ability to expand and accept the present ideas and needs of others. Just as the ocean accepts all types of rivers that flow into it, whether polluted or clean, I am able to adjust myself and accommodate all that is happening around me. ‘Accommodation to let’ is a sign most people seek at least once in their lives. At a spiritual level, and in the context of our relationships, we learn to accommodate or to evict. My simple acknowledgement of your presence is my first gesture of accommodation as I ‘let’ you into my universe.

    1. The ability to accommodate means accepting and going with some else’s flow, working with other’s ideas. It means expanding yourself to allow someone else in who may, in a clumsy moment, trample all over you. The Power to Accommodate is the ability to adjust to the other person or the situation with the consciousness of creating benefit from each opportunity. If the atmosphere is weak and negative, the power to accommodate;
    • This power is used to press the right ‘internal buttons”‘so as not to be affected by that negativity.
    • This power taps the wisdom to perceive exactly what the person or situation requires. Example: If the person before us is dying of thirst and we try to give him diamonds or gold, he will not value those as much as a simple glass of water
  • The Power to Cooperate

    This is the ability to give your attention, time, experience and wisdom in the service of others. The picture of fingers lifting a mountain symbolises the power to cooperate. Real cooperation comes from the deeper spaces of attitude, feelings, thought and vision.

    • Simply to see someone’s highest qualities of character and not their weakness is an act of cooperation.
    • The offering of powerful subtle thoughts towards the success of another is invisible but priceless cooperation.
    • The generation and generous sprinkling of good feelings when friend or foe are down is selfless cooperation.
    • A constantly positive attitude regardless of the size of the perceived disaster is the inspiration of uplifting cooperation.
    • To accept, acknowledge and appreciate another is to cooperate with their journey, thus providing the fuel of encouragement.

    Cooperation is the fabric of unity the song of harmony and the only way in which we prosper together. And as Benjamin Franklin once said, “If we don’t hang together, we will surely hang separately”. Cooperation allows me to share my virtues and specialities and to learn from the qualities and talents of those I am cooperating with.

  • The Power to Pack Up and Let Go.

    power to pack up

    This power is represented by luggage. Just like an expert traveller who will carry only what is necessary and useful to enable him to travel light, similarly we must learn the art of packing up all the wasteful thinking about the past, present and future and remain light and positive constantly. Once fully inside, you will be met by the second challenge of mastering yourself a racing chattering mind, an analytical intellect with endless queue of questions and gurgling memory, throwing up images and experiences from the past. With the ability to go within, I learn how to pack-up all wasteful thinking in one second. How? The power and ability to pack-up is simply the ability to control your mind, your intellect and your memories. At the heart of our consciousness are these three most valuable servants.

    Unfortunately, however, they are servants who have come to enjoy too much freedom, and they now take turns to be master of you. This is a time to make friends and elevate your servants to be more like your ministers, your inner cabinet. Encourage your mind to take a break, time out for a holiday. Shut down the production line for an hour and rest. Pack-up and come home. Make quietness a luxury and indulge yourself. When your intellect, your ever-inquiring, examining, analytical intellect asks you why it should also be quiet, still and patient, help it understand that the understanding it seeks only comes when it listens and observes, not when it questions and searches. Invite it to relax and just watch the movie. And when those trains of thought come racing out of your memory into a newfound quietness just let them come and let them go. Refuse to get on the trains and they will soon slow down and become less frequently. And so with the mastering of the faculties of your consciousness restored you can return to your center with total respect and a sense of integrity within yourself. Don’t forget – masters are not autocratic tyrants. Real mastery is based on servant leadership. In other words, serve your mind, care for your intellect, respect and value your experiences as if they were your teachers, and they will return the service a hundred fold.

    The Power to Pack-up is the ability to set aside all wasteful thoughts in one second so there is lightness and freedom from burdens and worries. Though there may be many responsibilities, we cease to equate them with worry. By going deep into the self, our preoccupations with limited external activities – of the past, present, or future are “packed-up” for that limited time period, and we experience a new dimension in the form of an unlimited consciousness

  • The Power to Tolerate


    This power is the ability not to be affected by external and internal events and to respond to those events positively. The tree represents the power of Tolerance. How is the tree tolerant? The tree can often withstand assaults from both human beings natural calamities. Like a tree, develop the strength to remain unaffected by external or internal events and respond to them positively.

    The Power of Tolerance is the ability to be undisturbed inside by any event going on around you and within you. It’s an ability that comes with ease when you are involved and yet detached at the same time. Tolerance is necessary when you fully engage with those situations and people around you and they say and do things, which stimulate buried negative memories and emotions. First, you have to tolerate your own inner reactions and that is only possible when you can consciously disengaged and detached from the thoughts and feelings accompanying your reactions. Remember, you are not your thoughts and feelings, they are your creation. When tolerating others, it helps to remind yourself you are simply watching a massive drama going on around you. The greatest production in movie history and nothing in the script can disturb you. In fact your role is a vital one. Not only to tolerate and transform your own reactions, but to tolerate the actions of others by accepting their energy and returning a higher quality of energy as you return a blessing in the face of an insult, acceptance in the face of rejection, love in the face of hate. MASTERS ARE TRANSFORMERS.

    In this light frame of mind, I am able to tolerate all types of situations and people to the extent that there is not even the feeling that I have to tolerate something or someone. The question of tolerance of this or that religion doesn’t even come up. There is natural comprehension of all