SRI Ram was sent into exile for 14 long years by King Dashrath of Ayodhya. Sri Ram’s wife Sita and brother Lakshman also decided to accompany him to the forest. While living in the forest, Sri Ram went off to catch the deer which Sita desperately wanted, leaving Sita behind in the hut. Meanwhile Sita was abducted by King Ravana of Lanka. To rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana, Sri Ram and Lakshman had to cross the ocean to reach Lanka. Sri Ram began praying to the God of the Ocean to help him cross the ocean. The God appeared from the ocean and advised Sri Ram to build a bridge across the ocean.
Sri Ram asked Hanuman to put the army of monkeys to the task of building the bridge. The monkeys got down to the job on hand. Collection of boulders from the shore and carrying and dropping them in the ocean was a long and arduous task.
A tiny squirrel had been observing the monkeys toil. She also decided to jump into the task and contribute her mite. The squirrel began to scurry from the shore to the ocean, helping to gather sand and twigs. In time she collected a huge heap of material.
Sri Ram had been observing the dedication with which the squirrel was working and picked her up in his palm. He stroked the tiny creature’s back with his three fingers. As a result three black stripes formed on the squirrel’s back.
That is why it is said that three black lines can be seen on the back of every squirrel even today. It is said that the squirrels are truly blessed, for it is they who received Sri Ram’s blessings which we see in the form of the stripes on them even today.