ShriRam decided to wage war with Ravan to release Sita who was captured by Ravan. ShriRam started his travel to Lanka. He was accompanied by his brother Lakshman, and a large army of Vanars. On the way they came across a vast ocean which had to be crossed in order to reach Lanka. Rama attempted to calm the raging ocean by shooting his arrows into the waves. But the King of the Sea rose up and said, “The sea can not be overcome by force, but only by building a strong bridge.” So, Rama told his monkey soldiers to construct a stone bridge that could hold the weight of his entire army.
First few attempts failed as the rocks started slipping from ocean floor. Deity Hanuman then inscribed the words ShriRam on each stone. The stones started to float .
All the monkey-soldiers were carrying huge stones and enormous boulders with ShriRam written on them to the seaside. Thousands of monkeys worked ceaselessly and ShriRam was pleased. Then the ShriRam noticed that a small brown squirrel rushed up and down the hills to the shore carrying little pebbles in her mouth. The monkeys also saw the squirrel and they got angry. “Get out of our way,” they said “You are too small. Your efforts are not needed.”
The little squirrel looked up and said, “I am helping to build the bridge that will carry all of you and save Sita.” All the monkeys began to laugh and mock the little squirrel.
The squirrel answered, “I can not carry rocks or stones. But I can lift only small pebbles. This is what I can do to help. My heart weeps for Sita and I want to be of assistance.”
ShriRam picked up little squirrel in his fingers and stroked it’s back thus marking its skin with his fingers. “What truly matters is not the strength one has, but how large is one’s love and devotion.” In that moment, the monkeys realized that little pebbles were needed to be placed between the larger stones to keep the bridge from collapsing.