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Sri Ramachandra, who wanted to kill the sinful Ravana, the abductor of Sita,

started to get a bridge built by the monkey force to cross the ocean. The
monkeys, competing with one another, uprooted the trees and the rocks and
having carried them, threw them in the ocean. Nila, the great builder who was
well experienced in constructing bridges put them in an order and built the
bridge. The ocean, having opened his mouth wide as if he was hungry, gulped
the rocks and others thrown in, and then spit them out with the bellowing of the
waves. The ocean swelled with the sweat of the hard working monkeys and again
and again submerged the bridge that was being built. Both the ocean and the
monkey forces exerted by exchanging blows also mutually as if with impatience.
The construction work was carried out by the untiring monkeys who encouraged
each other and exerted by the fear of not following the order of Sugriva and also
by their devotion for Rama. All the monkeys were engaged in the work as if one
warrior having thousand arms, thousand feet and the strength of ten thousand
elephants. Meditating on the lotus feet of Sri Rama in their hearts, the monkeys,
oblivious to day and night, had no hunger thirst or fatigue.
One day, Sri Rama was walking on the shore along with his brother Lakshmana
and friend Sugriva, supervising the construction of the bridge. The work, being
carried out by the innumerable monkeys who were everywhere as if the earth
had given birth to them, was going on slowly like the pilgrimage to the Ganges
by ants.
The depressed Rama thought thus: This ocean is one hundred yojanas wide and
hundred palm trees deep. How can a bridge be built across it? Building a bridge
on the ocean means turning the earth, floating in the sky and uprooting the
Himalayas.
Not far away, sitting on the top branch of a tree, a squirrel was watching the
construction of the bridge. It was worried as the construction was not completed
yet. It thought to itself: All beings are engaged in the construction of the bridge.
The crows and the vultures are dropping pebbles with their beaks. The sparrows
having gone in all directions are bringing threads and dropping them. Even ants
and flies are going to the shore in lines. Many animals are running around. Alas,
the monkeys are working hard, grinding their limbs to powder. Fie on me! The
useless and the worthless one!
Thinking thus, looking in all directions for some time, it stayed tormented and
agitated. Then chanting the name of Rama aloud, meditating in its heart the feet
of Sri Rama, and seeing the form of Sri Rama as if he stood before it, the squirrel
thought for a moment. Flying like a bird and jumping onto the shore, I will do
whatever help I can. However, unable to do so, it ran with the speed of an arrow
from the top of the tree to its base and from there to the sea sore and entered
the waters.
Having taken a dip, it came to the shore, rolled over in the sand, went to the
waters and shook off the sand particles. By doing so again and again, with those
sand particles of mine, the ocean will become shallow. Then the bridge can be

constructed without a break ,thus it was happy. That squirrel as if competing


with the monkeys, ran from shore to sea and sea to shore many times.
Having observed it from a distance, Sri Rama becoming surprised, said to his
brother and Sugriva: Different is the help rendered by the strong monkeys.
Different is the one offered by the squirrel. Somehow I may be able to clear the
debt of the monkeys. But it is not possible to pay back the squirrel even in
hundred births. Let that best of the friends be brought to my presence. Then
Sugriva brought it and put it before Rama. The squirrel looked before it and
having circumambulated Rama, prostrated at his feet. It said to itself: Oh, how
lucky I am! He, who cannot be attained or approached even by severe vows and
austerities stands before me. As it was congratulating itself, Rama thought:
This is not a simple squirrel . Never before has been seen or heard such a
behavior in smaller beings. This must be some unfortunate one who fell from his
penance.
Having reflected thus, picking it up by hands, again and again fondling it,
caressing it, smelling it, speaking to it as if to a son, he said: O squirrel, the
relation of my life, I am pleased with your service. I cannot repay you. Ask a
boon.
Then the squirrel bowed to him and said, Lord, I am blessed. If the lord is
pleased, kindly make my body marked with the sign of your grace.
The venerable Rama touched it and drew three beautiful lines with his fingers on
its body. Requested by it again, he blessed it, May these lines be the sign of
your family, getting inherited by your successors.
Thus blessed, the pleased squirrel again and again bowed to him, ran and having
turned back bowed again till it could see him and ran towards the sea shore.