The obsession with "our sins" having been "washed away by water of river would be regarded as evidence of a serious mental illness in an individual within any sane society, but when this is an obsession of millions of people it becomes "religious faith", held by many others to be something that should never be criticized.
Sage Sri, Sankara: ~ VC~12&13~ neither sacred baths nor any amount of charity nor even hundreds of pranayama* can give us the knowledge about our own Self. The firm experience of the nature of the Self is seen to proceed from inquiry along the lines of the salutary advice of the wise.
It was desperately important for the believers of their belief system for some reason that others shared their beliefs because they assume that their religious doctrine is literally true, and then justify their beliefs because "God says so in their doctrine ".
It is no use of arguing with someone who has faith in his belief system because for him there can be no possible refutation of what he believes, so, the rational argument is entirely useless. He clings to his belief so strongly that he makes no distinction between the truth and his belief. One has to know the fact that god cannot exist without his existence. The truth does not depend on gods’ existence, but it entirely depends on man’s existence. Thus, it is foolish to venture in knowing the truth of gods existence without verifying the facts about his own existence.
Deeper inquiry reveals the fact that, the self is neither the body nor the ego. If the self is not the body nor the ego then it proves the fact that, whatever is seen, known, believed and experienced on the base of the Self as the body or the ego is bound to be false hood. Thus, arguing on the standpoint of the body or ego, which is not the “Self”, is erroneous. Thus, the whole argument has to be based on the true Self, which is not the body or ego. Thus, it is necessary to realize the fact that, the “Self” is not the form but the “Self” is formless in order to realize the Advaitic truth.