Tara was a good woman. Everybody said so, She even said so herself. If anyone was in difficulty she always helped the person and did not forget to tel her and neighbours afterwards. She found a job for the son of a widow. And the whole town praised her for it. She even sheltered poor people in her house. She gave money to beggars outside the temple where everyone could see, but not to those who come to her house. For no one could see her kindness there. Tara was, everybody agreed, a very good person.
Vinita, on the other hand, was seldom seen giving money or helping anybody. She did go a lot among the poor and in hospitals and prisons. But she never told anybody what she did there. All her neighbours including Tara thought her a bit queer and not very good at all.
They both died and went to the gates of heaven. To tara's surprise she had to wait, while Vinita was let in at once. She was very angry.
"What is the meaning of this?" she said to the One at the gate. "I have been so kind, I have helped so many people. Everybody called me good. Yet before me you let in that Vinita who has done nothing."
"Vinita has not done anything", said the One. "She was kind to everyone she met.She was not rich but she visited and helped poor and the sick and the imprisoned in many ways. But she took pains to hide her goodness from others, so that her neighbours thought her bad and called her names. She did good and suffered so much on earth. So now she has come to her everlasting reward."
"And what about me?" asked Tara.
There came a stern reply, "Whatever good you did was only to be seen and praised by others. And when they praised you, you liked it, didn't you?"
"Yes," admitted Tara.
"That was your reward. You have received your reward. There is no reward for you here." And he went inside and closed the gate in Tara's face.