This poem has been inspired by a story from the great Indian epic ‘Ramayana’. The great King Lord Rama who was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu was once helped by a tiny squirrel.
Ravana, the King of demons had forcibly kidnapped Sita, the wife of Rama. Rama sought the help of Vanaras (Monkeys) to rescue Sita who was imprisoned in Lanka which was across the ocean. Arriving at the seashore, along with his brother and his army of monkeys and bears. Lord Rama decided to build a bridge across the ocean so that the army could cross the vast ocean. The incident narrated in this poem happened when the construction of the bridge was going on.
Multitude of monkeys and bears ran here and there in commotion
Carrying boulders and stones to build a bridge across the ocean
Bubbling with excitement, carrying boulders and small hills
Being of service to Lord Rama brought joy and subtle thrills.
Watching the huge efforts from a distance was a squirrel tiny
And she too wished to be of help to the great Almighty
Running here and there, collecting small pebbles from the shore
And dropping them in the ocean till she could do it no more.
Too tired to carry the pebbles but her spirits still high
She ran to the shore and after rolling in the sand dry
And washing herself in the water, she came back again
Rolling in the sand and then off to the ocean she ran again.
Small grains of sand stuck to her tiny body was all she could do
And with all her might, this task she continued to pursue.
This little squirrel running here and there was getting in the way
And so the monkeys carrying boulders screamed at her to stay away.
Unperturbed, the squirrel continued to do her service
For serving her Lord with devotion was her only purpose.
Finally a monkey picked her and flung her far away in anger
But Lord Rama caught her in time and saved her from danger.
Addressing his army of valorous monkeys and bears
Lord Rama’s voice quivered and eyes were full of tears
“A wonderful job you are doing in carrying these boulders
This massive weight might be crushing your shoulders.
And so you failed to notice that stones left huge gaps
Which were being filled by pebbles preventing any mishap.
The pebbles and sand brought in by the squirrel and others alike
Bound the whole structure, making it strong from inside.
And yet this feeble squirrel had to suffer your wrath
For the mistake of simply being on devotional path.
Remember, however small, all tasks are equally important
Every effort should be appreciated and never forgotten.”
Turning to the squirrel and caressing her back softly
Lord Rama asked her to go and resume her work happily
As He stroked the back of the squirrel, three lines appeared
Just where the Lord’s fingers had lovingly touched.
Thus the squirrels get three stripes on the back as blessings
And reminded everybody of a valuable lesson
Every task is important in the service of the Lord
And His heavenly blessings are our only reward.
© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved