What is a sin
And who is a sinner?
The thought agitated their minds
Ever since they joined ashram
So the disciples sought advice of
Their spiritual guru, the hermit.
The hermit pondered for a while
Then decided to send both disciples
For worldly exposure to learn the truth...
One each to his own erstwhile disciples
One of them was now a feudal lord
Other an ascetic in spirit and deed.
The chief characters in the saga...
A courtesan, a young feudal lord,
An ascetic, a king and princess,
Two disciples and hermit himself
In the ensuing action and events
The story goes like this...
The princess had a crush on the feudal
With a keen desire to marry him
But the feudal lord was in love
With the beautiful and wise courtesan
With a view to resolve, the king sought
Intervention of the ascetic
Who skilfully persuaded the courtesan
To part with the young feudal
But not without himself
Falling for her beauty and grace.
In a swift development
Of the circumstances and events
The young feudal relinquished
His title, wealth and fortune
In favour of the disciple attached
To enable him to marry the princess
And in the process he won back
Love and company of the courtesan
The ascetic returned to his ashram
With a deep guilt and remorse.
The first disciple held a view
With a deep gratitude for the feudal
That the ascetic committed the sin
And was in fact a sinner
The other disciple was equally firm
That the ascetic was a great soul
While the feudal was sinful
And actually a sinner.
The hermit concluded...
Look son, in this universe
There is nothing like sin or virtue
We are all slaves of circumstances
Accordingly our vision and values evolve
So also the perception of sin or virtue
In a given set of circumstances
What a sin is for one person's eyes
May turn out to be virtue for others
And reverse is also true, of course.
(The theme is based on a famous Hindi novel "Chitralekha" by Shri Bhagwati Charan Verma in 1934. Two Bollywood movies were based on the novel with same name.)