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The sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean

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Expressions researched:
"a small bird, lost his egg" |"one sparrow, a small bird, lost his egg" |"story of the sparrow" |"the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean"

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 1 - 6

As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves.
BG 6.24, Purport:

One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with determination and faith and not be deviated from the path. One should abandon, without exception, all material desires born of mental speculation and thus control all the senses on all sides by the mind."

The yoga practitioner should be determined and should patiently prosecute the practice without deviation. One should be sure of success at the end and pursue this course with great perseverance, not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success. Success is sure for the rigid practitioner. Regarding bhakti-yoga, Rūpa Gosvāmī says:

utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati

"One can execute the process of bhakti-yoga successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance, and determination, by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness." (Upadeśāmṛta 3)

As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuḍa, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuḍa was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuḍa at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean was frightened at this, and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuḍa.

Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Just see, a sparrow is trying to dry up the ocean. (laughs) This is called determination.
Lecture on BG 6.16-24 -- Los Angeles, February 17, 1969:

Prabhupāda: Now, this determination can be actually practiced or can be actually attained by one who does not indulge in sex life. His determination is strong. Therefore in the beginning it was said, that "without sex life," the determination. Or controlled sex life. If you indulge in sex life then this determination will not come. Flickering determination. You see. Therefore sex life should be controlled or given up. If it is possible to give up altogether, if not, controlled. Then you'll get determination. Because after all this determination is bodily affair. So these are the methods how to get determination. Go on.

Devotee: "One should be sure of success at the end and pursue his course with great perseverance, not becoming discouraged if there is any delay in the attainment of success."

Prabhupāda: Determination means that one has to continue with patience and perseverance. I'm not getting the desired result. "Oh what is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, I give up." No. Determination. It is a fact. Because Kṛṣṇa is saying this it must happen. There is nice example. That a girl is married to a husband. She's hankering after a child. So if she thinks that "Now I am married, I must have immediately a child." Is it possible? Just have patience. You just become faithful wife, serve your husband, and let your love grown up and because you are husband and wife, it is sure you'll have children. But don't be impatient. Similarly, when you are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, your perfection is guaranteed. But but you'll have patience, determination. That "I must execute. I should not be impatient." That impatience is due to loss of determination. And how that loss determination is there? Due to excessive sex life. These are all consequences. Go on.

Devotee: "Success is sure for the rigid practitioner. Regarding bhakti-yoga, Rūpa Gosvāmī says, 'The process of bhakti-yoga can be executed successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance and determination by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness.' "

Prabhupāda: Yes, go on.

Devotee: "As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean. But the big ocean carried them away on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal and so she decided to dry up the ocean."

Prabhupāda: Just see, a sparrow is trying to dry up the ocean. (laughs) This is called determination. Just like our Gandhi. He declared war against the Britishers. War is that non-violent, noncooperation. You see? But the determination was there. That "I must drive away the Britishers." And he did it. And what is the weapon? Nonviolence. "All right, you fight, you kill me, I shall not attack you." You see? He became, what is that? Determination. People laughed. "Gandhi is declaring war with the Britishers, so powerful, British Empire." And actually after the Britishers lost India, they lost all Empire. Because that was the jewel of British Empire. They lost all possession in the Far East, they lost possession in Egypt, they lost possession on Suez Canal, everything lost. So determination is so nice thing. Go on.

Devotee: "She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuḍa, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, heard it."

Conversations and Morning Walks

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

One sparrow, a small bird, lost his egg. The samudra took it away. And he decided, "I shall dry this samudra." So he began to pick up some water. So Nārada Muni was passing. So he asked, "What you are doing?" And "Sir, yes, the samudra has taken my egg, so I shall dry it up.
Morning Walk -- April 15, 1976, Bombay:

Prabhupāda: (break) Garuḍa. He is perfect vegetarian. You know what is his food? Snakes. (Dr. Patel laughs) And he is carrying the Lord. It is a devotee, you see? He is not vegetarian. And how powerful he is that one sparrow, a small bird, lost his egg. The samudra took it away. And he decided, "I shall dry this samudra." So he began to pick up some water. So Nārada Muni was passing. So he asked, "What you are doing?" And "Sir, yes, the samudra has taken my egg, so I shall dry it up." So he said, "But how you can do it? You are so small. You just pray to your head. You are bird, and he is the head of the birds. You just pray to Garuḍa. He can do it." So he prayed Garuḍa, and Garuḍa came and asked samudra, "Immediately deliver; otherwise I shall take step." Immediately it was delivered. Such powerful. Yes. And he was not a vegetarian. (Hindi with Dr. Patel) You become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is the... (Hindi with Dr. Patel) (aside:) Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. Thank you very much. Namaskāra. Jaya. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Real culture is how to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. (Hindi)...no illicit sex, no gambling, automatically. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samā... If you simply turn these people to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all good qualities will come automatically. All good qualities. That is wanted. And we are practically seeing that. Simply by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, lover of Kṛṣṇa, they are becoming qualified. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ (SB 5.18.12). There is no good qualification for a nondevotee. He'll simply act on mental speculation, that's all. It has no value.

Correspondence

1968 Correspondence

The final question which was asked by Tosana about the validity of the story of the sparrow and the ocean, you should know that everything that is found in these scriptures is factual. There is nothing allegory.
Letter to Harer Nama -- Los Angeles 21 December, 1968:

The final question which was asked by Tosana about the validity of the story of the sparrow and the ocean, you should know that everything that is found in these scriptures is factual. There is nothing allegory. But you must not depend upon your own limited experience. What happens in different corners of the Lord's Creation no one can say. But we can hear from the authentic Vedic sources such as the Puranas. This story of the sparrow is found in the Puranas.