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Lord Rama’s Reward to the Diligent Squirrel

When Hanuman came up with the news that Mother Sita had been confined in Lanka by Ravana, Lord Rama decided to cross the ocean and rescue her from the Demon King. Looking at the expanse of the ocean that lead to Lanka, Lord Rama planned to build a bridge across it. To accomplish that humongous task in less time, all the monkeys and bears who were part of Sugreeva’s army were employed.

The monkeys and bears had to bring huge stones and big boulders from a distance and throw them into the deep ocean. As they all were busy in the tiring task, a small squirrel was observing all that from a distance. After a while, it decided to help Lord Rama in that initiative too. To begin with, it carried small stones in its mouth and heaped them up on the bridge under construction. After a while, it got so tired in that task that it had to change its way of working. Steadfast as its will to contribute was, it took a different approach: it dipped its body in the water nearby and rolled it over the sand; then, it walked slowly onto the bridge being constructed and got the sands off its body by sudden movement. It was doing this pretty religiously, little caring for the contribution it was making towards the final bridge construction.

Lord Rama was observing the diligence with which the squirrel was performing its task, voluntarily. He got so impressed that He went on to the squirrel and asked why it was doing this. The squirrel’s answer made all the monkeys and bears roll into a laughter.
Lord Rama asked them all to stop reacting that way and not to measure the amount of contribution the squirrel made towards the bridge construction. He rather highlighted the squirrel’s sincerity, strong will-power and perseverance to help them in a noble cause. After that, Lord Rama carried the squirrel on one palm and ran his other palm on its back with heavenly love. That left an indelible mark on the squirrel‘s back, which exists till date.

Lessons learnt:

  • Let not the volume of your contribution discourage you from putting in your heart into a task at hand. How much you contribute towards a task matters less compared to how diligently you put in your effort.
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Bajrangawali – the other name of Lord Hanuman

Bajrangawali is one of the many names of Lord Hanuman.

Lord Hanuman’s love and devotion for Lord Rama is legendary. He is the eternal devotee of Lord Rama and therefore his idol is worshipped along with Lord Rama’s wherever they are.
After the coronation of Lord Rama in Ayodhya, all the monkey gods and inhabitants returned to Kiskindhya and Lanka. But Lord Hanuman desired to serve Lord Rama forever, so could get his permission to stay in Ayodhya.

One day Mother Sita was putting on a vermilion mark on her forehead. Lord Hanuman observed that and wished to know the reason for that ritual. Mother Sita explained that having a vermilion dot on her forehead would lengthen the life span of her beloved husband. Lord Hanuman admired that. Moments later, he thought if a mere dot of vermilion on Mother Sita’s forehead can add to his Lord’s life span, how much further wouldn’t his Lord’s life span expand when he drenches his complete body in vermilion? He applied vermilion to his whole body to add infinite years to his loving Lord’s life.

‘Baja ranga’ literally means ‘bright red colour’, that is the colour of the vermilion. Hence, his name!

This incident is yet another testimony of Lord Hanuman’s strong devotion towards Lord Rama.

Lessons learnt:

  • When one’s devotion for one’s Lord is pure and selfless, the universe would recognize that with due respect.
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How Lord Krishna Designed the End of Durdaksha

Out of the ninety-nine brothers of Duryodhana, Durdaksha was the only one who was supporting the stand of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata war. He was the only one from the Kourava clan who always dissuaded Duryodhana from the path of deceit and violence. But Duryodhana would never listen to his advice. Instead, he ousted Durdaksha from the Kourava clan. When Durdaksha asked for Yudhishthira’s help at those troubled times, he offered him solace till end of the war. But Dhritarashtra and Gandhari, parents of the Kouravas, were unaware of such a happening.

At the end of the Mahabharata war, it was tough for Dhritarashtra and Gandhari to believe that their beloved son Duryodhana had also been slain, like all his brothers. What was tormenting more was their pride of having hundred sons was meaningless. Gandhari, who blind-folded herself after marrying Dhritarashtra to prove her love and devotion for her blind husband, was then desperate to open her eyes to have the last glimpse of her sons’ bodies. What she was perhaps unaware was that her first sight after her years of feigned blindness would burn anything to ashes, maybe due to her divine devotion for her husband.

While taking stroll in the battle field with Bidura and Sanjaya, Gandhari wished Yudhishthira to meet her. As Yudhishthira was getting ready to come to meet Gandhari, Lord Krishna appeared with Durdaksha and wished to accompany Yudhishthira. After they reached the place where Gandhari was eagerly waiting for Yudhishthira, Lord Krishna advised him not to go to the front of Gandhari. Upon Yudhishthira’s innocent inquiry, Lord Krishna answered that it would be a solace for Gandhari to see her only son alive after the demise of her ninety-nine sons. Yudhishthira agreed and sent Durdaksha to stand before Gandhari’s eyes.

Gandhari requested Lord Krishna to unwrap the blind-fold on her eyes so that she could see her son at first sight. Lord Krishna did that. In a fleet second, Durdaksha was burnt to ashes, thus scripting the end of the Kouravas. The heart-broken Gandhari looked at Lord Krishna and was surprised to see Him smiling mysteriously. After realizing the situation, Gandhari cursed Lord Krishna: ‘The end of the Yadavas (to which Lord Krishna belongs) be similar to that of the Soma dynasty (the Kouravas).’

Weighing the sorrows that Gandhari had owned so far, Lord Krishna agreed to live through her curse. Therefore, later, when the Yadavas in Dwarika were in inebriated state and were infighting among themselves thus signalling their end, Lord Krishna did take recluse from all of them, and planned His end while resting at the far-off Prayag Teertha. [You may like to read When Lord Krishna planned His end …]

Lesson learnt: Unless Lord Krishna had it planned that way, Gandhari’s fearsome first sight might have burnt Yudhishthira to ashes. How could the Pandavas who have lost so much in their struggle to defeat the Evil face such an end while a part of the Evil is still alive? In the court of God, Justice reigns supreme.