Saturday, May 28, 2011

The story of a little squirrel

Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhyay (1894-1950), the famous writer and novelist of Bengali literature has drawn a beautiful character in the novel Aryanayak. The name of this character was Jugalprasad. In this novel, Satyacharan (the hero of this novel) was working as a Manager in the dense forest of the then Purneia district. One day he was returning through the dense forest on his horse from a survey camp. Suddenly he saw a man was digging some holes in the dense forest near Saraswati Kundi. Gradually he learnt that the name of the man was Jugalprasad. He purchased beautiful flower plants from nearby towns like Purneia and Bhagalpur and planted these saplings in this dense forest. That was his hobby. Jugalprasad wanted to see the beautiful flowers blooming in this forest. The selfless services of Jugalprasad stunned Satyacharan. (Aryanayak, 69-72)

Occasionally we criticize our environment, by observing its gradual deterioration. We blame our society, our government, our local area, even our own family except ourselves. However, blaming to others will not get any result. It is one type of escapism. If you really want to see a better tomorrow, please come and do something as per your ability to improve this situation. All we have some ability and we have to use it properly. If we want to change the environment, first we have to change ourselves. Charity begins at home. First, we have to do our allotted duties properly. We have to make our life, our character perfect, neat, and clean. Ignoring our own life, if we want to do any social service, that service will not be beneficial for the society in the end. Actually, social services will help us to make our life perfect. Swami Vivekananda said, `Be Man and Make Man`. First `Be`. This is a very important message to everyone.

Gradually, as per our ability, we can spread the positive message to our near and dears. When you are giving a picture of a great man or a book as gift to some school-going children, you are spreading a positive message. When you are lending a good book to your peer for further reading, you are spreading good message. When you are telling the stories from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata to tender kids, you are spreading good messages. These steps are small no doubt, but they have no alternatives. Swami Vivekananda said, ``All the powers of good against all the powers of evils``.

The story of a little squirrel

We can take a lesson from the story of a little squirrel. Swami Vivekananda delivered a lecture on ``The Ramayana`` at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California on 31 January 1900. There he told the story of a little squirrel who was working to the best of his ability for the Setu-Bandha. Swamiji said: ``Learning everything about Sita from Hanuman, Rama collected an army, and with it marched towards the southernmost point of India. There Rama`s monkeys built a huge bridge, called Setu-Bandha, connecting India with Ceylon. …..The monkeys removed the hills, placed them in the sea and covered them with stones and trees, thus making a huge embankment. A little squirrel, so it is said, was there rolling himself in the sand and running backwards and forwards on to the bridge and shaking himself. Thus in his small way he was working for the bridge of Rama by putting in sand. The monkeys laughed, for they were bringing whole mountains, whole forests, huge loads of sand for the bridge – so they laughed at the little squirrel rolling in the sand and then shaking himself. But Rama saw it and remarked: ``Blessed be the little squirrel; he is doing his work to the best of his ability, and he is therefore quite as great as the greatest of you.`` Then he gently stroked the squirrel on the back, and the marks of Rama`s fingers, running lengthways, are seen on the squirrel’s back to this day. (CW: 4: 71-72)

An artist`s view: Shri Ramachandra is blessing
the little squirrel during the Setu-Bandha

We can also take participation to improve the present environment like the little squirrel. As per our ability, we can also contribute something for a better tomorrow. Gradually our ability will increase through our selfless services. God will help us as we are trying to serve better to our sisters and brothers of our Motherland by being a good and honest citizen. 

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