|Values for Life:
We should not underestimate a person. Contribution from even a tiniest creature matters. Every one’s contribution makes a mission successful.
Nala, son of Maya, the chief among architects and Neela, son of Agni, the commander-in-chief of the vanar army were given the responsibility of building the bridge. The vanars plucked mountain branches, rocks and trees and laid them in the ocean in their competitive mood. Sri Ram noticed this astonishing act from one of the tiniest creatures in the world. A squirrel, wishing to donate his negligible contribution in this lofty mission, went to the ocean, made its body wet and came to the land, rolled over it and with the sand that coated over his body again went to the ocean and dipped into it so as to level the ocean. Sri Ram took the lovely creature in his left palm with affection and patted the animal with his right hand. It is believed that the squirrel has had the three lines over the back of his body as Sri Ram’s finger print.
The team without stopping even for a single minute worked hard. On the first day they built fourteen yojanas of bridge dumping rocks, stones, woods, trees and twigs. On the next day they built twenty. The third day they covered a distance of twenty one yojanas and the fourth day they did twenty-two. The fifth day by completing twenty-three yojanas they completed the bridge of hundred yojanas length and ten yojanas of width. One yogana is approximately eighteen kilometers according to today’s yardstick.
Through the pathway built anew, Sri Ram and his army walked steadily and reached Subela Hills. From there Ram had an eye of the entire Lanka. Ram ordered the monkeys to release Suka.
“Why are you so late to be back?” asked Ravan from Suka. “Lankesa,” said Suka, “I reached the other shore and from the sky delivered your message to Sugreev. Some of the monkeys captured me and bate me. Ram intervened and told that nobody would kill a messenger. I was kept captive until they completed building the bridge. Ram has asked me to convey you that either you return Sita or prepare for war. Both are acceptable to Ram.”
Then Suka advised Ravan to retreat from such dubious actions and surrender himself to Ram and spend the rest of his days in peace.
Hearing this, Ravan was infuriated. He said: “You are my slave and talk to me like my preceptor. Get cleared instantly. If you wait another second, I would kill you.”
The steady increase in the length of building the bridge shows that the masons were hilarious and their aggression and enthusiasm increased day by day. One thousand and eight hundred kilometers long and one hundred and eighty kilometers wide bridge was build in just five days. That too, without iron rods, metals, cement or a mixing machine. After completing fourteen yojanas of bridge on the first day they walked back to collect their raw-materials and tools. The third day they had to walk back thirty four yojanas several times. Just imagine the tediousness involved. Yet they completed the work in mere five days.
Please don’t laugh away. Many of our government sponsored projects are dragging for years. A railway over-bridge of hardly one kilometer at Edappally in Kerala took eighteen years for completion. Tenders after tenders were signed, many contractors left out the work. Each contractor asked for more money than in the agreement under the pretext of enhancement of raw-materials and labour charges. It is not only in Kerala that such type of situation is there, it is very well prevalent in other states of India too.
KK Shanmukhan ( To be concluded )