It is said that bathing in the Ganges washes away all sins. The one who bathes in it attains heaven, but does that really happen? This was revealed by Lord Bholenath himself. He told Parvati how people can attain heaven after bathing in the Ganges. Somavati was the festival of bathing. Millions of devotees came to bathe on the banks of the river Ganga.
Meanwhile, when Shiva Parvati passed by, seeing the crowd on the Ganges, Parvati asked Shivaji about it. Then Shivaji said that all these people have come today to bathe in Ganga on Somavati festival. Bathing here leads to heaven.
The question arose in Parvatiji’s mind that if all the people would get heaven by bathing in Ganga, what would happen to heaven? Is there so much space? And why haven’t those who have been bathing in the Ganges for years received heaven? On this, Bholenath said that not only washing the body does nothing, there is also a need to wash the dirt of the mind. Then Parvatiji asked how one can know which person has just washed the body and who has purified his mind?
Answering Parvatiji’s question, Shivaji said, “Let me explain one thing to you with an example.” I take the form of an ugly leper and you become a beautiful bride. Then we will both sit in the way of people going for Ganga bath. If someone asks something, let me tell you the story. Parvatiji did the same.
Now Shivaji became an ugly leper and fell asleep and Parvatiji became a beautiful woman and sat next to him. People coming for Ganga bath were all watching them, but no one believed this strange pair. All think of what a beautiful bride is doing to this ugly leper. Many even asked Maa Parvati to leave her ugly husband and walk with her. Parvati was also angry at this, but she remained silent because of her promise to Shivaji.
Whenever someone asked Parvatiji the whole thing, he would tell her the words shown by Shivaji. This leper is my husband. He wants to bathe in the Ganges, so I bring him on my shoulders. After hearing this story, most of the people who went to Ganga bath told her to leave her husband instead of helping Parvatiji. A lot of people just ignored it and made sense of their work.
Then a gentleman came and they cried when they heard this story. He bowed to Maa Parvati and said that blessed is a woman like you, who in such a condition of her husband is carrying on his wife’s religion and has brought her to bathe in Ganga for the fulfillment of his wish. This gentleman also offered to help Parvatiji. He lifted the incarnate Shivaji on his shoulders and wished to leave as far as the banks of the Ganges.
In this way the curiosity in Parvati’s mind calmed down. He realized that many people come to bathe in the Ganges, but only a few return after purifying their minds. Shivaji also said that the importance of bathing in the Ganges is only when you also purify your mind. Only such people attain heaven after bathing in the Ganges.