A story from Indian mythology.
Long long ago, on the bank of a river, there lived a monk. Right across the street from him, lived a prostitute. The monk always hated the fact that he had to live next door to the prostitute. He took every opportunity to rebuke her about her profession. He would take every opportunity to show her what a horrible person she was. In his …mind, he always compared himself with her and took big pride in the fact that he was accruing so much good Karma compared to her.
The prostitute was a humble girl. She always respected the monk. She tried not to talk back when he was yelling at her. She felt bad about the choice of profession she made, but was not in a position to get out of it. She would always try to listen when the monk prayed, hoping that listening God’s name would help her wash off some of her sins.
The monk kept on his routine of massaging his own ego by comparing himself to the prostitute. Eventually he got so obsessed that he kept a jar with him and for every one person who visited prostitute, he dropped a pebble in the jar.
The prostitute kept her own routine. She was also watching what the monk was doing. She had a jar too. And every time the monk prayed, she put a pebble in the jar.
One day there was a big flood on the river. Both the monk and the prostitute were washed away and were dead. Upon their death, their souls stood in front of God of death.
To everyone’s surprise, the God of death ordered the prostitute to go to heaven and the monk to go to hell. The monk could not believe this. “What an injustice. You can still find a jar in my house. I have kept count of how many times this prostitute sinned. How can she go to the heaven? There must be some mistake.”
The prostitute also added humbly “I think the monk is right. I don’t deserve to go the heaven. But he does. I have a jar where I kept count of the number of times I heard his prayer. He prayed a lot. So I think he should go to heaven and I should go to hell.”
The God of death smiled and said “The judgement is correct. It does not matter what word is in your mouth. It matters only what is in your heart. The monk’s heart was filled with prostitute’s sins while he was saying his prayers. While the prostitute’s heart was filled with love of God while engaged in lifestyle of sins. The heart that has love of God goes to heaven and the heart that judges others and is filled with jealousy goes to hell.”