Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
Did I do a mite of service like the squirrels?
“Dear child, your knowledge and appreciation of the various bhagawatha"s and bhagawan’s divine stories amaze me! Who are you going to tell me about next? I am eager to hear more from you”, exclaimed Swami Ramanuja. “The next bhagawatha am about to describe measures only a palm length. Yet it received the biggest blessings of the Lord’s touch upon its back”, said Thirukolur Pen Pillai. Emperumanar was intrigued and awaited in anticipation. The involvement of the little child in this story was so deep that she narrated the story taking the role of the protagonist!
Hello Children! I am a squirrel, a tiny animal that would fit into your little palms! My friends and I live in a dense forest in the South of India near the sea! We are plenty in number and we live happily eating fruits. I am about to tell you about a very special day in my life! The day that changed the lives of our clan forever!
One day, long ago, my friends and I noticed something out of the norm near our residence. There was a huge pack of monkeys at the seashore. Among them we noticed two handsome men. One was blue hued and looked so divine. His face was lustrous and kind. The other looked very similar to him, except that he was sandal coloured. We were extremely curious on why so many beings had gathered at the shore that day which would otherwise be deserted! Ten of us scurried silently towards the crowd and overheard their conversations.
From all the talk, we understood that the two humans were named Rama and Lakshmana. They were in the forest to fulfil their father, King Dasharatha’s order to live in the forest for 14 years. They had come to the forest with Rama’s wife, Sita, who had been abducted by the evil king of Lanka, Ravana. Oh! The very thought of Ravana sent shivers down our spine. What a horrible act of kidnapping! The group of monkeys had gathered to help Rama retrieve His wife back from Ravana. However, how were they to cross this large water body that was 100 Yojanas wide, we wondered!
Soon we got our answer. There was a monkey called Nalan, the son of Viswakarma who had a special boon. Whatever he threw in water, would float. The monkeys planned to build a bridge of boulders across the water. Soon we saw all the monkeys gathering large rocks and boulders around and passing them to one monkey. That monkey was writing the name of “Rama” all over the rocks and passing them to Nalan, who then threw them into the ocean. How nice it would be if we could participate in this exciting project! All of us pondered upon what we could do to assist.
Between the boulders and rocks, we noticed that there were small intervals. We then got the idea of filling up these gaps with sand. We immersed our little bodies in water. With our wet bodies, we rolled on the sand to gather as much as we could. We then went to these intervals and shook the sand off to cover the gaps. Soon many more of our clan of squirrels joined in this small project. Initially we were worried that the large monkeys may step on us. The kind monkeys, however, were careful to ensure we were not endangered.
As we were enthusiastically carrying out our duty, I suddenly felt a soft and large hand picking me up. When I turned to look, I felt exalted. The one who had picked me up was Rama Himself! He looked at me kindly and gently stroked my back with three of his petal-like fingers. What an astonishment! As He was stroking me, I noticed three stroke marks on all my friends’ backs. What a proud moment it was for all of us! Till today we carry these white stripes, given to us by Rama! He had honoured us and recognised our little service. We were satisfied and happy.
Swami Ramanuja’s mind had travelled to the beautiful Sethubandana scene and the episode of the gentle squirrels, when he was suddenly brought back to the present as Pen Pillai said, “Oh Swami! The little squirrel performed a small kainkaryam for the Lord and achieved great honour! The little sweet journey of the squirrel even got the name ‘Anuyaathirai’. Have I done any such kainkaryam and received any such honour? Why then do I deserve to remain here, Swami? Do tell”.