Whenever you practice devotion to God, you should first understand that the mind must be attached to God. Worldly work can be performed even without the attachment of the mind, and people of the world will accept that work as genuine work. For instance, a president or prime-minister is received with great respect wherever he goes. The government officials who give him such great respect are tense and worried as they go through the motions. Now he’s coming; we must be very alert; we must run around and make sure everything is okay. And when he leaves, these officials heave a sigh of relief. Thank God he’s gone; now we are free. Similarly, you receive visitors at home, but you do not feel any love for them. Out of formality you show them respect. Let us say there is a wedding in the family. Your house is swarming with guests. You receive them with great respect; you feed them different kinds of food; you accommodate them in hotels. And once the wedding party leaves, you feel relieved.
In the material world, you get away with performing actions without the attachment of the mind, because worldly people are not omniscient. They have no way of knowing whether you truly love them or are merely putting on an act. But you cannot put on an act with God. He is sitting inside your heart. He starts noting down your action from the time it is in the form of a thought. God does not take note of physical actions. You may host a yagya, give charity, observe fasts, and perform Vedic rituals, but God will not take note. He only takes note of the percentage of the attachment of the mind. If you don’t do anything physically, God will not mind. But devotion performed without attachment of the mind is not acceptable. In fact, it is considered mere hypocrisy. And to be hypocritical with God is a very serious spiritual transgression.
This Sutra (aphorism) from Yog Darshan instructs us to develop the appropriate sentiments while speaking words in front of God. We must meditate on God in the mind. Devoid of attachment of the mind, devotion practiced with the senses is not accepted; God refuses to take note of it. It’s called ‘acting.’ If you act in the world, it’s very well and good, but to put on an act in front of God is not good. In the world, where you should put on an act, you work in ‘fact,’ whereas with God, where everything you do should be a ‘fact,’ you put on an ‘act’. You are careless where you should be careful. This is not good. Start taking care. Resolve to yourself that from today onwards, you will involve the mind in devotional practice. Then you will see how far you will reach within even one week’s time.