In Hindu India, all life is a gift from God, even tiny, insignificant animals. Of course, it may be their belief in reincarnation or a real love of life. For me, I choose the latter.
Though it looks like our chipmunk, this is a squirrel found only in parts of India. We noticed them scooting up the trees and across the lane where we lived in Ahmadabad The first significant encounter I had with this tiny animal was in Agra. You might remember the most famous building in Agra is the sublimely beautiful Taj Mahal . I was walking through the windy, narrow streets with several of the girls going back to our hotel. We noticed that at the nearby intersection, traffic was completely stopped. Several men were standing in a circle in the center of the street. On the ground was an obviously hurt squirrel trashing around as if tying to get up or catch its breath. It seemed near death , as far as I could tell. No one touched the squirrel, no on one hurried on her way, no one blew his horn, impatiently; cars just stopped in the middle of the road. We passed by without stopping like the priest and the Levite in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. We did comment that in the states, the squirrel would not have gotten so much attention and probably would have been put out of its misery by being hit again with another car. But in India, this tiny, insignificant animal’s life is treated as a gift from God.
I was curious about the mythology so I Goggled it! There is a story in the Holy Book of Ramayana about Rama and the squirrel. The squirrel was trying to help the larger animals build a bridge, and they laughed at his effort and size. Rama blessed the tiny squirrel by stroking his back with his three fingers. Even today , the Indian squirrel shows this blessing by wearing three stripes on is back.
Images from Krishha Mohan 2010, and Creative.Sulekha.com
“The Victory of the Little Squirrel” from Naraya Hari’s Blog
“Everyone has different gifts and capabilities. We should try to perform to the best of our ability, however difficult the task may be.” From the myth “The Victory of the Little Squirrel”
T I I I ! (This Is Incredible India!)