During the beginning of a training session I asked my trainees to give their introductions and also additionally they were told to tell the name of an animal they like the most and explain the reason for their liking. When everyone finished, trainees asked me about the animal I like the most. I told them that I like Squirrels the most as Squirrels remind me that whenever we are given a task we should take it as service to God and should give our 100% to it. They were curious and wanted to know the logic behind the same. I shared an incident from ‘Ramayana’-
Ravana abducted Lord Ram’s wife, Sita, and took her to his capital, Lanka. Lord Ram asked Ravana to return his wife but he refused. Then with the help of Vanar Sena (Army) he decided to fight Ravana and take his wife back. They reached the southern end of the land and Lanka was on the other side of the sea and since it was not possible for the Vanar Sena to swim and cross the vast ocean, Lord Ram decided to build a bridge (Setubandh Rameshwaram) across the ocean with the help of ‘Nal’ and ‘Neel’, the Vanar princes. Nal and Neel were very notorious in their childhood and were used to throw belongings of sages in water. They were cursed by the sages that whatever they throw in water will not sink.
The entire Vanar Sena started collecting the stones so build the bridge. The army was so excited that they started running around to look for biggest stones. The Vanar Sena was very strong and they brought huge stones and rocks and dropped them in the ocean.
The other animals also wanted to help Lord Ram build the bridge. A small squirrel was watching this and decided to help. It thought for a while and started collecting pebbles and dropped them in the ocean. The squirrel worked hard and dropped as many pebbles as it could. Squirrel was tired but still wanted to continue the work so it rolled self in the sand, ran into water and washed. It ran back the shore rolled and washed self again and continued.
While he was moving to and fro, it came in the way of a Vanar who was carrying a big stone and just survived from being crushed by Vanar. On seeing this another Vanar picked the squirrel up and threw it towards the shore and other Vanars started laughing.
Lord Ram was watching all this and he caught the little squirrel before it fell. He addressed the Vanar army:
“ Dear Vanars, you are huge and strong so you can bring big stones and rocks but those big stones can’t be joined perfectly and there are many small gaps between the stones. The pebbles brought by the squirrel have filled the gaps and the sand particles bind the bridge in proper shape and also make it strong. Remember, that in order to achieve something BIG one should not only concentrate on major task involved but one must take care of the small details as each step and all the efforts count equally. If you are working in a team, the efforts of all the team members, however small these may be, must be appreciated!”
The Vanars were ashamed and asked for forgiveness from Lord Ram and the Squirrel.
Then Lord Ram turned to the Squirrel and said, “My dear squirrel, I am sorry for the hurt caused by my army and thank you so much for helping me building this bridge. Please go back and continue your work.” Then he touched the back of the squirrel and three lines appeared where Lord Ram had touched him.
Now whenever I see a squirrel, the three lines on its back reminds me that every task however small it may be, is important and significant in its own way and we should appreciate each and every contribution made by a team member (in personal or professional lives) to achieve something.