Author: Aayush Kadam
The Indian Palm Squirrel has 3 Stripes across its back. But have you ever wondered why? There is a long brief story about it.
According to the Hindu Mythology, specifically Ramayana ( Oldest Hindu Epic ). When Lord Rama was building a bridge known as “Ram Setu” or “Adam’s Bridge” from Dhanushkodi (Present day India) to Talaimannar (Present day Sri Lanka) connecting India & Sri Lanka. It is about 48 KM (30 Miles) long. It was built 18,400 years ago. It was built by an army of monkeys. It was built to rescue Sita (Lord Ram’s Wife) from Ravana (King of Sri Lanka).
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.
Monkey – “ 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? ”
[ The little squirrel looked up at the great monkey ]
Squirrel – “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 & I want to work hard for him.”
Monkey – “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.
Squirrel – 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.”
Monkey – “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.”
Squirrel – “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.
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 matters is your love. This little squirrel has love in his heart.” He then 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.
From then on, the squirrel carries the three white stripes on his back.
It was a small piece of contribution done by the Squirrel. He had very little strength but he had Love, Passion & Devotion for Lord Rama. He was Stubborn but in a positive manner.