SQUIRREL – Shri Rama’s Sevaka!
– Vidwan B.N. Vijayeendracharya, Mysore
Articles published in Achara Vichara, a publication of Pejawar Matha, Udipi
Let’s look at the common, tree-living small animal – squirrel. We see it everywhere. Sometimes it rushes into our homes, stops, stands perched on its hind legs, looks around and dashes out hurriedly. Surely, all of you must have observed the squirell has three straight stripes on its back. Who gave them these stripes?
You also know Shri Rama’s story, very well. When Shri Rama was living in the forest Ravan had kidnapped Sita. Toget Sita back, Shri Rama had taken the help of he monkeys. Along with the ‘kapis’ many other animals had also volunteered in this Rama-seva. Hanuman had leaped to Lanka and had successfully carried out Rama-karya. The associates of Hanuman were Sugriva, Neela, Angada, Tara and Jambavanta among others. It had become necessary to erect a bridge across to Lanka, to enable them cross over. The efficacy of ‘Rama Nama, made the boulders that were thrown in the waters to float! Thus the ‘Rama-setu’ bridge was built.
There was a squirrel quietly observing the kapis’ building the bridge as ‘Rama-seva’. The squirrel also desired to do something by way of ‘Rama-seva’ and offer to Him. It hit upon a novel way. It jumped into the sea, got completely wet, and dashed to the beach dripping wet and rolled on the sands. Its wet hairy body picked up sand particles which stuck to it. The squirrel then ran onto the ‘Ramasetu’, shook its body there which dropped the sand particles on it. Thus the squirrel kept dashing into the sea, getting drenched, rolling on the sand on the beach, and dashng onto the ‘Ramasetu’ to deposit it there by shaking its body. This it did repeatedly. On and on.
Shri Rama was observing this from a distance. He was extremely pleased to see the love and devotion that such a physically small animal had for Him. He walked upto the squirrel, and with affection stroked the squirrel’s back. The marks of Shri Rama’s three fingers on its back gave the squirrel three distinct stripes. In recognition and appreciation Shri Rama showered His grace on all squirrels and so from that day all squirrels got three distinct stripes as their permanent feature.
Shri Rama’s just touching one squirrel with His hand has rendered the entire species of squirrels a creature of ‘satvik’ tendencies.
Ah! Ye Squirrel! What devotion! O! Shri Rama! What Compassion!
“Even animals come forward to offer help to those who tread on the virtuous path. From those who are on wicked ways, even brothers run away!”
The squirrel that volunteered to helpShri Rama is the witness!
Vibhishana who abandoned Ravana is the witness!!