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Importance of Small and the Power of the Insignificant - Based on The Story of Squirrel in the Ramayana and the Mongoose in The Mahabharata

A Guest Post by Anand G Sharma on the importance of small and the power of the insignificant. It is based on the story of the squirrel in the Ramayana and the mongoose in the Mahabharata. The article also points towards the mindless waste of energy, time and wealth by running after insignificant things.

Those Hindus who have studied Ramayan, or listened carefully to the particular episode of construction of Setubandh Rameshwaram, may recollect that there is one instance when the big monkeys were carrying in big stones from far away places to the site and then after getting touched by hands of Nal and Neel, arranging them to make the floating bridge.

A monkey saw a small squirrel wetting its body in nearby sea, then rolling in the sand, and then rushing to bridge construction site, and then shaking body, then again rushing to sea and repeating this cycle. The big monkey got curious and invited attention of others who collected to see this amusing exercise of a small squirrel.


One of the big monkeys asked the small squirrel; "Hey, little squirrel, what's wrong with you? Have you gone mad? What are you doing?" The little squirrel replied; “I am worshiping my Lord Shri Ram by trying to give my humble co-operation in making of bridge."

Listening to the reply every monkey started laughing and called others too, to enjoy the biggest joke. 

Everybody started making fun of the little squirrel and said, “See, how big stones we are collecting from far away places and bringing to sea beach, and our so big army of great monkeys is working ceaselessly to make such a long bridge. Leave aside co-operation, your few gains of sand are not even visible when dropped on stones brought by us."

Seeing the cacophony and stoppage of work, Sri Ram arrived at the spot to inquire what is going on. He was explained the endeavor of small squirrel with ridicule laced humor. Sri Ram stepped forward, lifted the squirrel and put in his left palm. Caressing gently the squirrel by right hand, Sri Ram said, “I acknowledge your service and I am pleased with you."

In Ramayan, Shri Ram has placed his hand and caressed only three. One is Vulture King Jataayuu; who did his duty without being asked.

The second is little Squirrel; who did duty without being asked.

And the third is Hanuman ji, who did duty without being asked. The other noticeable and common thing between all those three worshipers of Shri Ram was that none of them expected anything in return.

Story of Mongoose in the Mahabharata

The other example is in Mahabharat. After the Raaj Sooya Yagna by Yudhisthira, in which all great Saints of Bharat participated, King Yudhisthira was surprised to see a mongoose whose half body was normal and half was golden. That mongoose was rolling over and over on the earth where great Saint sat and kept their feet. As thousands of great Saints had attended that Raaj Sooya yagna, mongoose was extremely tired but did not stop rolling body at the earth where those Saints kept their feet.

King Yudhishtir followed that mongoose in the Yagna-Bhoomi and requested him to stop and tell what was that matter and reason for rolling body on earth of entire Yagna-Bhoomi.

The mongoose said,”O Great King Yudhishtir, there was a poor Brahmin family who had not eaten for four days. When they collected a little wheat flour and made bread, a guest came and they offered their bread to guest. I happened to pass over that few grains of wheat flour dropped on earth while making bread and my body became golden.

Unfortunately the flour on the earth was not enough to make my whole body golden. So I am looking for great Saints whose Charan-raj (dust of feet) could make me fully golden. But I am very sorry to say that even in your Raaj Sooya Yagna where all great Saints of Bharat participated, none could match the greatness of sacrifice of that poor Brahmin.

Above two examples from Ramayan and Mahabharat teaches us Importance of Small and the Power of Insignificant. To understand in present context, do some calculations:

Base for all calculations: 115 Crore, the current approximate population of India.

Example # 1: On an average, 1 teaspoonful of sugar (5 grams) is consumed in excess by each person. Its an average because 50% are either consuming normal or even not at all. On the other side, 50% are consuming at least four times or more than required.

Therefore, on an average, 1 teaspoonful of sugar can be saved per person, per day. The calculation goes like this : 5 gram x 1,15,00,00,000 = 57,50,00,00,000 grams = 57,50,000 Kg. x Rs.26.50 per Kg. (current retail price) = Rs.15,23,75,000-00 (Rs.Fifteen Crore, Twenty three Lakh, Seventy Five Thousand only). (1 Crore is 10 million)

Example # 2: Ditto for all the food and no item is less than price of sugar, except salt. Calculate, and find that every item wastage is around Rupees 15 Crore or more per day.

Example # 3: Burning of precious fuel at traffic jams, at red lights on road crossings, at numerous check posts; at the rate of Rs.1:00 per minute. Besides burning petrol/diesel, adding to dangerous carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.

Example # 4: Cutting so many trees to make so many newspapers with so many pages with so much of irrelevant and/or nonsense and/or biased information and/or disinformation by persons of questionable and/or doubtful intentions. Any sense or logic in cutting life giving trees to make printed trash?

Example # 5: So many TV channels with so many programs and breaking news with so much of irrelevant and/or nonsense and/or biased information and/or disinformation by persons of questionable and/or doubtful intentions. Any sense or logic in stuffing poor mind with pure garbage? Garbage in - Garbage out!

Example # 6: So many Gods and Goddesses, so much of confusion, so many superstitions, so many illogical celebrations, so much of noise, so much of wastage of precious time, energy, money and resources, so much of difference of opinion about absolutely personal matter like faith, so many wars, so many deaths! Ek Saadhey Sab Sadhey - Sab Saadhey Sab Jaaye! Too many cooks; spoil the broth. Too many Gods; spoil the mind.

Example # 7: So many political parties, so many self-appointed leaders, so many corrupt, so much of misery of common people, so much application of revised maxim - "Politics is the first choice of scoundrels!"

Example # 8: So many people, so much of population, so much of mindless manufacturing of people, so much of ignorance!

Example # 9: List is endless as all things under the Sun can be examined for wanton, mindless wastage.

The Importance of Small, and the Power of Insignificant can not be ignored.

 Remember, Shri Ram was pleased with Vulture King Jataayuu, the little Squirrel and Shri Hanuman ji; only because they did their Bhakti (Pooja = Duty = Dharma) without being asked for and without expecting any thing in return.

If we start saving by curtailing the mindless wastage of things which can be described as very small or utterly insignificant, though not personally, but the Country can gain a lot. Think over it and give a try, at least.

(This article has been written by Anand G. Sharma, a reader of our blog. It has not been edited and the views expressed are of Anand G. Sharma. )
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