God, seated in our heart as the Supersoul, is watching our actions and motivations. Just as a CCTV camera observes everything neutrally, the Lord in our heart impartially records our desires and actions. A spiritual practitioner is mindful of the Lord’s presence in his life and therefore pays attention to what he is doing- after all the Lord of his life is watching him. He doesn’t seek worldly glory for his practices but tries to connect to the divinity within.
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the worldwide spiritual movement called ISKCON, insisted that all his temples are ‘revolutionary clean.’ Many visitors are struck by the importance given to minute details in these temples. People who visit Disney world are also often wonderstruck to not find any litter anywhere. A customer feels valued when he receives service that takes care of details. If we like to receive attention, imagine how we’d influence others positively if we did the same with them? The American agricultural scientist, George Washington Carver said, “When you can do the common things of life uncommonly, you will command the attention of the world.” Attention, after all, is our precious commodity. Use it wisely and reap abundant rewards.
I remember another interaction with His Holiness Radhanath Swami when he mildly corrected me as I attempted to ask him a philosophical question. He was quietly nibbling his lunch, and I silently served him seconds. “I have one question from the Bhagavad Gita,” I said enthusiastically, while Swamiji looked at me expressionless. He suddenly stopped eating, and I blurted out my question, even as I served him a vegetable prep. As he reflected for a while and prepared to answer, I asked him if he wanted more of the dish. “I can’t eat now,” he said firmly but without anger. “You want me to talk, right. I’ll answer your question if that’s what you desire.”
“No” I flustered, “Please take lunch now.”
“I can’t do both.” Radhanath Swami asserted. “Either I eat my lunch now or discuss your questions.” He continued honoring the food on his plate while I spoke nothing more.
A lesson well learned: you need to be attentive even when eating food, what to speak of other things. The former American Secretary of State and Diplomat, John Foster Dulles, shared the wisdom, “A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.”