Shri Jasnath Asan, Rajasthan, India
Photo © Shri Jasnath Asan, 2016
A common resident of the ashram trees is the 5 Striped Indian Palm Squirrel. A small chipmunk like mammal only about 20 cm long and weighing in as a lightweight at about100 grams. The palm squirrel has a wide distribution ranging from Iran, through Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Nepal to Bangladesh at elevations of 0 clear up to 4,000 m
A very old Hindu story from many parts of India explains how the Indian Palm Squirrel received the lines down its back. Basically, this squirrel helped Lord Rama and Vanara Sena build a bridge. Though small, the squirrel would dip himself in water then earnestly roll on the ground until his body was covered. with sand. He would then quickly run over to the bridge site and shake all the sand off to help with the construction.
Lord Rama was very impressed with the dedication of the tiny squirrel who was contributing as much as he possibly could to the important project.Rama ran his fingers on the back of the animal as a gesture of acknowledgment and appreciation of his hard work,. The stroking movement of Rama’s fingers left stripes on the squirrels back which are carried even today by the striped palm squirrels of India.
Panchla Siddha, India
Sharon K. Schafer
I paint, photograph, and speak about wild places in an act of reciprocity that is as vital to me as heartbeat or breath.
My interest in the magic and mystery of the natural world lies at the intersection of art and science.
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Shri Jasnath Asan