The Story of Squirrel and Lord Ram

Lord Ram And The Little Squirrel

In Hindu mythology, there is a story about a squirrel’s contribution in building a cross-country bridge; the Ram Setu. The story of a squirrel in Ramayana is little known but it gives an important lesson.

Lord Rama needed to build a bridge across the sea to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita. Lord Rama being Maryada Purushottam (the most noble man), and revered by one and all, and Sita being the daughter of Bhumi Devi, all creatures wanted to help in this huge task. Lord Hanuman and all the others in Rama’s vanara (monkey) army carried the largest boulders and rocks. All the smaller creatures helped too, even squirrels. The Vanara pulled out rocks and heavy stones from the mountains, and carried them to the sea. They cut them into shape and began to build the bridge. All this was very difficult work and it took a long time. Thousands of monkeys worked night and day. Rama felt happy. “How hard they work! Their love for me makes them work like this,” thought Rama.

One day, Rama saw a small brown squirrel. He was going up and down the seashore with little pebbles in his mouth. The little squirrel could carry only little pebbles at a time in his small mouth. He carried the pebbles from the seashore and dropped them into the sea. A great monkey was carrying a large heavy stone on his back and the squirrel came in his way. The monkey jumped back. “Here, you little thing,” shouted the monkey in a voice like thunder, “you’re in my way, I stepped back and you’re alive now. But I nearly fell. And what are you doing here?”

Rama Squirrel

The little squirrel looked up at the great monkey. “I’m sorry you nearly fell, Brother Monkey,” he said in his small voice, “ but please always look where you are going. I’m helping Rama build the bridge. And I want to work hard for him.”

“You, what?” shouted the monkey and laughed aloud. “Did you hear that!” he said to the other monkeys. “The squirrel is building a bridge with his pebbles. Oh dear! Oh dear! I’ve never heard a funnier story.” The other monkeys laughed too.

The squirrel did not think this funny at all. He said, “Look, I can’t carry mountains or rocks. God gave me only a little strength. I can only carry pebbles. My heart cries out for Rama and I’ll do all I can for him.”

The monkeys said, “Don’t be foolish. Do you think you can help Rama? Do you think we can build a bridge with pebbles? He has a big army to help him. Go home and don’t get in our way.”

“But I want to help, too,” said the squirrel and would not go.

He carried the pebbles again from the shore to the sea. The monkeys were angry and one of them picked up the squirrel by his tail and threw him far away.The squirrel, crying out the name of Rama, fell into his hands.

The Intention to Help is important but not the Size of Help

Then Rama held the squirrel close to him. He said to the monkeys, “Do not make fun of the weak and the small. Your strength or what you do is not important. What matter is your love. This little squirrel has love in his heart.”

“O Vanaras, you are brave and strong, and are doing a wonderful job bringing all these huge boulders and stones from far and dropping them in the ocean.

But did you notice that it is the tiny pebbles and stones brought by this small squirrel and some of the other smaller creatures which are filling the small gaps left between the huge stones?

Further, do you not realize that the tiny grains of sand brought by this squirrel are the ones which bind the whole structure and make it strong? Yet you scold this small creature and fling him away in anger!” Hearing this, the Vanaras were ashamed, and bowed down their heads.

Rama continued, “Always remember, however small, every task is equally important. A project can never be completed by the main people alone. They need the support of all, and however small, an effort should always be appreciated!”

Rama then turned to the squirrel and said softly, “My dear squirrel, I am sorry for the hurt caused to you by my army, and thank you for the help you have rendered to me. Please go and continue your work happily.” Saying this, he gently stroked the back of the squirrel with his fingers, and three lines appeared where the Lord’s fingers had touched it.

Rama held the squirrel closer to him and said. “Little one, your love touches my heart.” He said these words and passed his fingers gently over the little squirrel’s back. And when he put him down there were three white stripes on his back. These were the marks of Lord Rama’s fingers. And even today squirrels in South India have dark stripes on their backs.

Lord Rama And Squirrel

Moral of the story

Lord Rama addressed the warriors that your contribution is easily visible as you can raise larger structures. Although squirrel’s contribution is less visible as compared to the rocks and logs you are lifting, her intent is bigger than yours. The squirrel is lifting pebbles that were beyond her strength. More importantly, she is filling the gaps in between the rocks and strengthening the structure.

No task and service to Sri Rama, however small, is unimportant! Every task should be looked upon as service to the Lord, and his blessings will always be with us. We should never forget that love and dedication is what matters to Lord Rama and not big services and show we make for our prestige.

There is intent, there is honestly, there is thought, there is dedication, there is selfrealization, 100% accountability, 0% dependency on anyone else, there is commitment and determination in that TINY squirrel’s BIG gesture. Every child can learn a lot from the squirrel. And every one in professional settings can learn as well, irrespective of the job, industry or levels. If you look at the list above, you may see some of those even in your appraisal forms.

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