A Sanyasi and a prostitute

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A sanyasi and a prostitute died the same day. Their houses were opposite each other’s. But Yama’s servants arrived on the scene, confused. They had been asked to take the sanyasi to hell and the prostitute to heaven.


The sanyasi had been a great man. The prostitute had also reached some sort of perfection in her profession. The servants were sure there was some mistake somewhere. Surely the destinations had been mixed up?
But Chitragupta verified that those in deed were the orders. Afterwards, he explained matters to the puzzled Yamdoots.


The fact was that every morning when the sanyasi’s house rang with the chanting of the Lord’s name, the prostitute across the road would weep. She longed to be present at the prayers and cursed her lot.


At times, she would venture out modestly clad and put her ear against the sanyasi’s wall, yearning to participate but not daring to go in with her ‘sinful’ body. Her mind was always preoccupied with thoughts of God, praying that in her next birth she should be enabled to do seva in a temple.


The sanyasi meanwhile had been one ahead of the prostitute. Whenever he heard the music across the road, he cursed himself for choosing to wear saffron and being imprisoned in the life of a renunciate. Many a time he came out of his house, longing to cross the road, but could never gather the courage to risk his reputation.


Thus, said Chitragupt, the prostitute lived in a temple and the sanyasi in a brothel right through. Strange was the power of the mind. The final result for the soul was calculated not only by the outward marks in the ‘written’ exam, but by ‘internal assessment’, also.