=1 "Parvati and the ant"

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Parvati and the ant

from the Puranas

Once when the god Siva was preparing for his day's work on earth, providing for the needs of all his creatures, Parvati, his consort, asked: “Is there no creature so small, so insignificant, but you know of his existence and care for him?” “None”, the Lord answered.

After he had gone, Parvati decided to see if this were really true, so she took a tiny ant and placed it in a small jewel box from which it had no way of escape. All day the box remained tightly closed.

“Did you provide for the needs of all your devotees?” asked Parvati when Siva returned in the evening. “Yes”, he answered. “Of all those even who do not know or worship you?” “Yes.” “Of every living creature, no matter how insignificant?” “Yes, every living thing has been provided for.”

“Ah, we shall see,” thought Parvati to herself as she went to get the jewel box. Opening it she saw the ant, not dead as she had feared, but nibbling at a particle of rice powder which had fallen from her head-dress before she closed the box. She returned to her god in wonder and awe.