Here is this story telling us we often do tend to become indifferent to the sufferings of others : Hundreds of pilgrims were returning back up from the ghats after having taken their ceremonial bath in the holy river, most of them with their clothes still drenched with water, clinging to their bodies, with some of them complaining of being disturbed by the sight of this pathetic couple. while there were others who said that we will help you out by bringing the Ganga water you are asking for , after we have offered our prayers and worship to Lord Shiva.
Here was this aged couple, with the old man dying of thirst , but no was offering immediate help. And then there was this robber who was in a great hurry to get into the temple to go and pick pockets of a few devotees, when he heard the voice of the old woman asking for a few drops of water. He halted there and then and asked the old lady what the matter was to which she replied that they had come to take darshan of the Lord Vishweshwara of Kaashi, but her husband had fainted out of sheer exhaustion, and all she wanted was a few drops of Ganga water to pour down his throat., but she could not leave him there and go for water. She asked for his help !
The robber was touched by her predicament , and since he had a little Ganga water in the hollow gourd he had with him, he knelt down near the dying person on the lap of the old woman, but the woman told him that the moment the Ganga water goes down his throat, he may die since he is in the last stage of life, and you should therefore speak a a few words of truth as you pour the water !
Since the robber could not comprehend what she meant, so she explained that he was required to speak of some good deed that he had performed during his life, within the hearing of the old man, and then pour the water In his mouth." This was a real difficult situation for the robber. He was trying to figure out what to do , telling the old lady that he hadn't done a single good deed in his entire life , perhaps the very first good deed he was doing was the present act of offering water to this thirsty man !
And having said so, he proceeded to place the gourd at the lips of the old man and gave him a mouthful of water .At that very moment, the old couple had disappeared and in their place stood before him Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata, both of them offering their blessings to the robber.
Lord Shiva said, "Son, life is to be dedicated for the service of others and not devoted to the exclusive interests of oneself. Howsoever many wicked deeds you might have done so far, for your selfless offering of Ganga water with truth on your tongue, We bless you with this Vision. Remember there is no morality higher than truth; there is no prayer more fruitful than seva (selfless loving service.")