It was in the silver age that the supreme Lord descended on Earth as the mighty Lord Ramachandra. He was a handsome and valiant prince, born in a long line of celebrated kings. Due to some malign scheming, Lord Rama, his wife Sita Devi who was the divine goddess of fortune, and his brother Lakshman, had to leave the palace for exile. They settled into peaceful cottage life but alas this was also cut short when demon King Ravana kidnapped Sita Devi.

Lord Rama was heartbroken but after making friends with a band of courageous monkeys, he set out to rescue his beloved wife. The monkeys were actually incarnations of demigods eager to serve in the lord’s adventures. Leading monkeys such as Hanuman, Sugriv and Angad were huge, mighty and strong like mountains.

On the ocean shores, the army looked yonder to Lanka, the island city where Ravana had imprisoned Sita Devi. Lord Ram declared that they would construct a bridge to Lanka. Nala, the monkey son of Viswakarma, the demigod of architecture, would lead the project.

With roars of enthusiasm, the monkeys uprooted trees, elephant-sized rocks and crushed mountains and threw them into the ocean. By Lord Rama’s desire, these miraculously floated and could be harnessed into a sturdy bridge.

Using their colossal power, the monkeys were swift and ingenious in their work. Other animals watched this amazing sight and stepped forward to help. A little squirrel also joined in and began pushing dust into the ocean with its little paw.

A monkey saw this and began laughing. “Move aside little squirrel, we are carrying big boulders that may hurt you.”

Before the squirrel could protest, Lord Rama stepped forward, for he had heard the monkey’s remark.

The Lord smiled and said, “Dear monkey, please don’t say this. Both you and the squirrel are trying to serve me. You have the strength to lift mountain peaks and the squirrel has the strength to move small grains of sand. Both of you are doing your sincere best and that is what touches me. I feel so grateful and pleased; you both have my deepest affection equally.”

Hearing such words of love, all the animals worked to their absolute best in even greater cooperation – respecting each contribution, no matter how small or big. Lord Rama reached down and stroked the squirrel with three fingers, creating three stripes which all squirrels bore thereafter.