Lesson 2 HOW THE SQUIRREL GOT HIS STRIPES
Deep within the tapestry of the Ramayana lies a charming tale of a tiny squirrel and his unwavering devotion. As Lord Rama sought to bridge the vast ocean, an army of monkeys toiled tirelessly, their muscles straining under the weight of massive stones. But amongst them, a small squirrel scurried, his heart brimming with love for Rama. Though his size limited him to carrying mere pebbles, he dropped them into the sea with unwavering determination.
One day, his path crossed a powerful monkey hauling a colossal boulder. The squirrel, oblivious to the danger, darted in front, causing the monkey to stumble. Furious, the monkey roared, questioning the futility of the squirrel’s efforts. Undeterred, the tiny creature continued his pebble-dropping mission.
Another monkey, witnessing his relentless spirit, grew impatient. With an irritated flick of his hand, he flung the squirrel away. But fate intervened, landing the little creature right at Lord Rama’s feet. Touched by the squirrel’s unwavering dedication, Rama gently stroked his back in appreciation. And in that tender touch, a miracle unfolded. Three distinct stripes, a permanent mark of Rama’s affection, etched themselves onto the squirrel’s fur.
This tale, passed down through generations, whispers a timeless message: greatness lies not only in strength, but in the spirit that perseveres. The squirrel’s stripes stand as a testament to the power of unwavering devotion, reminding us that even the smallest act, done with love and dedication, can leave an indelible mark on the world.
Q It is aptly said, “Work is worship.” In the light of the story, describe how the squirrel’s small yet significant act of labour of carrying small pebbles is a reflection of his devotion to Lord Rama.
The squirrel’s small but significant act of labor, carrying small pebbles to contribute to the construction of the bridge, epitomizes the profound philosophy that “Work is worship” in the context of the Ramayana story. The squirrel’s actions are a reflection of its unwavering devotion to Lord Rama in several meaningful ways:
- Selfless Service: The squirrel engages in its labor without seeking personal gain or recognition. Its dedication to the task is driven purely by a desire to serve and contribute to Lord Rama’s mission of building the bridge. This selflessness aligns with the idea that true worship involves acts performed without attachment to personal outcomes.
- Undeterred Commitment: Despite its small size and the seemingly insignificant nature of its contribution compared to the larger monkeys in the army, the squirrel remains undeterred. Its commitment to the labor is unwavering, symbolizing a devotion that transcends the external appearance or magnitude of the work. This mirrors the notion that genuine worship involves steadfast commitment, irrespective of the scale of the effort.
- Love in Action: The squirrel’s labor is an expression of its deep love for Lord Rama. By willingly engaging in the physically demanding task of carrying pebbles, the squirrel demonstrates its affection and loyalty. In the context of “Work is worship,” this emphasizes the idea that genuine worship is an expression of love translated into action.
- Humility in Service: The squirrel’s humble role in carrying small pebbles contrasts with the more substantial tasks undertaken by the larger monkeys. This humility in service reflects the understanding that every role, regardless of its size, is valuable in the eyes of the divine. It aligns with the idea that worship, embodied through work, is not contingent on the grandeur of the action but on the sincerity and humility with which it is performed.
In essence, the squirrel’s small yet significant act of labor becomes a spiritual practice, a form of worship, reflecting its profound devotion to Lord Rama. The story underscores the timeless message that every sincere and selfless act, regardless of its scale, can be a sacred offering when performed with a heart full of devotion.