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The squirrel spirit at Setu

All beings can live and work together, if not just understand, but appreciate each other?s differences.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 10:56 IST

?Wow! I can wear anything I want?, was the feeling I had when I entered college. I am sure I am not the only one who felt this way after years of wearing school uniform. Variety, after all, adds beauty and interest to life. And the best example of this is the world we live in. Whether one believes in God or not, few can remain unmoved by the many colors of a rainbow or the beautiful patterns of a butterfly, indeed, all Nature. Why then do we not appreciate variety in human beings? Why are we so bent upon reducing unity to ?sameness?? The recent issue of the Muslim dress code in European countries really says: ?We are comfortable only with people who dress just like us?. The list could go on to include, ?People who dress like us, live like us, speak like us, eat like us, pray like us.? We all have different beliefs, different likes and dislikes and belong to different economic groups, religions and regions. Is it impossible, then, to be united? Of course, not. For, unity is not about similarity at all. In the Ramayana, when Seeta was trapped by Ravana, the monkey brigade began building a bridge to Lanka by throwing big boulders into the ocean. During this process, a squirrel tried to help by putting small pebbles into the gaps. It was ridiculed by the strong monkeys, who laughed at it for its puny efforts. Lord Rama, however, saw the true effort put in by the little squirrel and was very happy . He lauded the sincerity, persistence and hard work of the squirrel and stroked it gently The three lines on the back of the Indian squirrel are said to be the marks of the three fingers of Lord Rama. Feeling ashamed of their behaviour, the monkeys welcomed the ?different? squirrel into their united front. The simple message of this story is all beings can live and work together, if they seek not just to understand, but appreciate each other?s differences. innervoice@hindustantimes.com