It is said that one who has taken a dip in the Holy Ganges is free from all sin and will attain the Lord. Thousands of devotees visit the Ganges yearly, yet many feel no different after taking a bath. Why is that so?
The answer to that question is Faith.
One Day, Parvati Mata asks Lord Shiva, “Dear husband, if every devotee who takes a bath in River Ganga will join us here in the heavens, will there be enough room for everyone?”
Lord Shiva smiles and says, “Dear Parvati, you shouldn’t worry about that and let me show you why. Let us go down to Earth, to River Ganga. I will take the form of a very ill, poor elderly man who is nearing his end. I will be lying by the river bank, unable to move stricken with disease. The only way to end my suffering is to have a few drops of Ganga Jal given to me by a sinless man. I would like you, O’Parvati to find someone there who can give me these few drops of Ganga Jal.”
Parvati Mata agrees to carry out Lord Shiva’s plans. So, they go down to Earth and Lord Shiva takes the form of an ill man.
Parvati Mata first approaches a young man who has just come out after taking a dip in the ganges. She says “Dear sir, could you please help me? My husband is very ill and he needs just a few drops of water from River Ganga from a sinless man. Can you help me?”
The young man replies, “Oh lady, i’m very sorry but i have committed many, many sins in my life. I won’t be of any use to you or your husband!” He then walks away.
Parvati Mata then approaches another person who has just taken a bath in the Ganges for help. Once again she gets the reply, “Oh i’m sorry, mam – but i have performed countless sins in my lifetime!”
And so this goes on for hours as everyone Parvati Mata approached gave the same answer. Parvati Mata asks many people as they come out of the river after taking their bath, but to no avail.
Finally, she stops an old gentleman and asks “Dear sir, could you please help my husband? He is extremely ill and is in dire need of a few drops of Ganga Jal from a person who has committed no sin.”
The gentleman replies, “Oh dear lady, I can help you!! I have just taken a dip in the Ganges and therefore I am clear of all sins. I will help you!”
He then goes to the river and takes the Ganga Jal and pours it on the elderly man.
Immediately, Lord Shiva takes his true form, blesses the man and liberates him. He then tells Parvati Mata “Of all the people you have approached today, He was the ONLY one who believes and has faith that his sins will be washed away in the Ganges. Everyone else just performed it as a ritual with no true faith. That is why, my dear you needn’t worry at all about space in the heavens ;)”
O Arjuna, people devoid of faith in this Dharma (way), do not attain Me, but return to the path of the mortal world.
– Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 9, Verse 3