Where are the obstacles in Vaikuntha? There may seem to be obstacles, like Aristasura galloping down the road toward the residents of Vrindavan. They immediately take shelter in Krishna, and Krishna protects them. Even in Goloka Vrindavan, there are no demons, but there is the sense of demons. What is the purpose of that? It is there so that they can take more intensely their shelter in Krishna.
So to overcome obstacles in the path of devotional service, for one who is intensely absorbed in the mood of devotion, obstacles are impetus to surrender unto Krishna. Take the advanced devotee examples like Queen Kunti and the Pandavas. They had so many obstacles that Bhismadeva says that one would not have survived them in ordinary circumstances. How dear they must be to Krishna, but one may think, "If one is so dear to Krishna, why so many problems?" That's how less advanced devotees may be thinking.
Somebody may have this problem or that problem as an obstacle in devotional service. One may think, "If I did not have this problem or that problem, I could do more devotional service". But what about addressing the obstacle itself as a part of devotional service? What about that? Krishna is sending situation X, we take it as, "It is my devotional service" and Krishna is sending situation Y and we say, "It is my devotional service". Whatever it is, we should approach life and whatever is coming in our way in a manner of surrender unto Krishna.
The obstacles we face may be so big, like Aristasura coming down the road, that the whole earth is trembling. So, we need to make our practical plans when obstacles come our way. But the doership or fruitive worker tendency of thinking that "I am going to take care of it" is a loser. We lose bhakti. It's not that we don't make our practical plans. We are not dummies, unqualified, and unprepared. We are supposed to be qualified and prepared, and to make those practical arrangements with full dependency upon Krishna. Then, as things start to unfold, if they are not going according to our plan, we adjust, in service to Krishna. Because, what's the objective? It is loving devotion unto Krishna. So when obstacles come, it's an opportunity for loving devotion unto Krishna.
-- From a lecture by HH Romapada Swami on 'Clearing Obstacles in Devotional Service, Part 2', delivered on July 2009, in Detriot, US.