Saturday, November 19, 2011

Prithvi पृथ्वी

Prithvi (Sanskrit: पृथ्वी pṛthvī, also पृथिवी pṛthivī) is the Hindu earth and mother goddess. According to one tradition, she is the personification of the Earth, and to another its Mother, being Prithivi Tattwa, the essence of the element earth. Prithvi is also called Dhra, Dharti, Dhrithri, meaning that which holds everything. As Prithvi Devi, she is one of two wives of Lord Vishnu. His other wife is Lakshmi. Prithvi is another form of Laxmi. Another name for Her is Bhumi or Bhudevi or Bhuma Devi.

As Prithvi Mata "Mother Earth" she contrasts with Dyaus Pita "father sky". In the Rigveda, Earth and Sky are frequently addressed in the dual, probably indicating the idea of two complementary half-shells. She is the wife of Dyaus Pita ('father Dyaus'). (The widespread belief that these two were originally a single deity appears to be mistaken. See Dyavaprthivi). She is the mother of Indra and Agni. According to a tradition, when Indra killed Dyaus Pita, she applauded and married him. She is associated with the cow. Prithu, an incarnation of Vishnu, milked her in the cow's form to get food from her. She is a national personification in Indonesia, where she is known as Ibu Pertiwi ('Mother Earth').

As Provider

Bhumi ("Soil")
Dhatri ("Nursing Mother")
Dharitri ("Nurturer")
Janitra ("Birthplace")
Medini ("Nurturer")
Prshni ("Mother of Plants")
Vanaspatinam Grbhir Osadhinam ("Womb of Forest Trees and Herbs")
Vishvadhaya ("All-Nourishing")
Vishvagabha ("World's Womb")
Vishvamshu ("Producer of Everything")
Vishvasvam ("Source of Everything")

As Sustainer

Dhara ("Upholder")
Drdha ("Steady One")
Ksama ("Patient One")
Sthavara ("Stable One")
Vishdava ("All-Preserving")
Vishvadharini ("All-Supporting")
Vishvamhara ("All-Bearing")

As Enricher

Ratnagarbha ("Repository of Gems"")
Ratnavati ("Abounding in Jewels")
Vasundhara ("Bearer of Treasure")

From: Wiki
Prithvi is the Hindu Goddess of the Earth. She is the consort of Dyaus, God of the Sky, and the mother of Indra. In one myth, a demon took Prithvi to the bottom of the cosmic ocean and held her captive there. Varaha, an avatar of the God Vishnu in the form of a boar, rescued her and restored her to her rightful place (that’s her on his shoulder in the picture). Prithvi sometimes takes the form of a cow, and the first milk from every cow is offered to her. Her name means “earth,” and is also seen as Prthvi or Prthivi. Other names include Dhra, Dharti, Dhrithri (that which holds everything), Prithvi Tattwa (the essence of the element earth), and Prithvi Mata (Mother Earth).

From: here
Hymns of the Atharva Veda
A prayer for rain

Burst open, Prithvi, and cleave asunder this celestial cloud.
Untie, O Dhātar—for thou canst—the bottle of the breast of
Let not the Sun's heat burn, nor cold destroy her. Let Earth
with all her quickening drops burst open.
Even for her the waters flow, and fatness: where Soma is even
there is bliss for ever.

The general opinion respecting Dyaus (Heaven) and Prithivi (Earth) is that they are amongst the most ancient of the Aryan deities, hence they are spoken of in the hymns of the Rig-Veda as the parents of the other gods. * They are described as "great, wise and energetic;" those who "promote righteousness, and lavish gifts upon their worshippers." And in another place they are said to have "made all creatures," and through their favour "immortality is conferred upon their offspring." Not only are they the creators, but also the preservers of all creatures; and are beneficent and kind to all. In other passages Heaven and Earth are said to have been formed by Indra, who is declared to transcend them in greatness, whom they follow "as a chariot follows the horse." They are described as bowing down before him; as trembling with fear on account of him; and as being subject to his control. Again, they are said to have been formed by Soma; and in other verses other deities are said to have made them. This confusion of thought respecting the origin of the gods led very naturally to the question being asked in other hymns, "How have they been produced? Who of the sages knows?"

There seems to be considerable ground for the opinion that Indra gradually superseded Dyaus in the worship of the Hindus soon after their settlement in India. As the praises of the newer god were sung, the older one was forgotten; and in the present day, whilst Dyaus is almost unknown, Indra is still worshipped, though in the Vedas both are called the god of heaven. The following statement of Professor Benfey * gives a natural explanation of this. "It may be distinctly shown that Indra took the place of the god of heaven, who, in the Vedas, is invoked in the vocative as Dyauspitar (Heaven-father). This is proved by the fact that this phrase is exactly reflected in the Latin Jupiter, and the Greek Zeū-pater as a religious formula, fixed, like many others, before the separation of the languages. When the Sanskrit people left the common country, where for them, as well as for other kindred tribes, the brilliant radiance of heaven appeared to them, in consequence of the climate there prevailing, as the holiest thing, and settled in sultry India, where the glow of the heavens is destructive, and only its rain operates beneficially, this aspect of the Deity must have appeared the most adorable, so that the epithet Pluvius, in a certain sense, absorbed all the other characteristics of Dyauspitar. This found its expression in the name In-dra, in which we unhesitatingly recognize a word (which arose in some local dialect, and was then diffused with the spread of the worship) standing for Sind-ra, which again was derived from Syand, 'to drop.' The conceptions which had been attached to Dyaus were then transferred to Indra." The opinion that Indra has taken the place of Dyaus is now pretty generally believed, and the above explanation appears natural.

Of Prithivi we hear again. The "Vishnu Purāna" † gives the following account of her birth. There was a king named Venā, notorious for his wickedness and general neglect of religious duties. When the Rishis of that age could bear with his impiety no longer, they slew him. But now a worse evil happened; anarchy prevailed, and they felt that a bad king was better than none at all. Upon this they rubbed the thigh of Venā, when there came forth a black dwarf, resembling a negro in appearance. Immediately after his birth the dwarf asked, "What am I to do?" He is told, "Nisīda" (sit down), and from this his descendants are called "Nisidis" unto this day. The corpse was now pure, as all sin had left it in the body of this black dwarf. The right arm was then rubbed, and from it there came a beautiful shining prince, who was named Prithu, and reigned in the place of his father. Now during his reign there was a terrible famine. As the Earth would not yield her fruits, great distress prevailed. Prithu said, "I will slay the Earth, and make her yield her fruits." Terrified at this threat, the Earth assumed the form of a cow, and was pursued by Prithu, even to the heaven of Brahmā. At length, weary with the chase, she turned to him and said, "Know you not the sin of killing a female, that you thus try to slay me?" The king replied that "when the happiness of many is secured by the destruction of one malignant being, the slaughter of that being is an act of virtue." "But," said the Earth, "if, in order to promote the welfare of your subjects, you put an end to me, whence, best of monarchs, will thy people derive their support?" Overcome at length, the Earth declared that all vegetable products were old, and destroyed by her, but that at the king's command she would restore them "as developed from her milk." "Do you, therefore, for the benefit of mankind, give me that calf by which I may be able to secrete milk. Make also all places level, so that I may cause my milk, the seed of all vegetation, to flow everywhere around."

Prithu acted upon this advice. "Before his time there was no cultivation, no pasture, no agriculture, no highways for merchants; all these things (or all civilization) originated in the reign of Prithu. Where the ground was made level, the king induced his subjects to take up their abode. . . . He therefore having made Swayambhuva Manu the calf, milked the Earth, and received the milk into his own hand, for the benefit of mankind. Thence proceeded all kinds of corn and vegetables upon which people now subsist. By granting life to the Earth, Prithu was as her father, and she thence derived the patronymic appellation Prithivi."

In a note Professor Wilson adds, * the commentator observes that "by the 'calf,' or Manu in that character, is typified the promoter of the multiplication of progeny;" Manu, as will be seen in the account of the Creation, being regarded by some of the Purānas as the first parent of mankind. This legend, with considerable variation, is found in most of the Purānas; Soma, Indra, Yama, and others taking the place of Manu as the calf, whilst Prithu's place as the milker is taken by the Rishis, Mitra, etc. In the same note Professor Wilson says, "These are all probably subsequent modifications of the original simple allegory, which typified the earth as a cow, who yielded to every class of beings the milk that they desired, or the object of their wishes."

It should be noticed that, later in the "Vishnu Purāna," Prithivi is said to have sprung from the foot of Vishnu.

From: here
XII, 1. Hymn to goddess Earth.

1. Truth, greatness, universal order (rita), strength. consecration, creative fervour (tapas), spiritual exaltation (brahma), the sacrifice, support the earth. May this earth, the mistress of that which was and shall be, prepare for us a broad domain!
2. The earth that has heights, and slopes, and great plains, that supports the plants of manifold virtue, free from the pressure that comes from the midst of men, she shall spread out for us, and fit. herself for us!
3. The earth upon which the sea, and the rivers and the waters, upon which food and the tribes of men have arisen, upon which this breathing, moving life exists, shall afford us precedence in drinking!
4. The earth whose are the four regions of space, upon which food and the tribes of men have arisen, which supports the manifold breathing, moving thinas, shall afford us cattle and other possessions also!
5. The earth upon which of old the first men unfolded themselves, upon which the gods overcame the Asuras, shall procure for us (all) kinds of cattle, horses, and fowls, good fortune, and glory!
6. The earth that supports all, furnishes wealth, the foundation, the golden-breasted resting-place of all living creatures, she that supports Agni Vaisvânara (the fire), and mates with Indra, the bull, shall furnish us with property!
7. The broad -earth, which the sleepless gods ever attentively guard, shall milk for us precious honey, and, moreover, besprinkle us with glory!
8. That earth which formerly was water upon the ocean (of space), which the wise (seers) found out by their skilful devices; whose heart is in the highest heaven, immortal, surrounded by truth, shall bestow upon us brilliancy and strength, (and place us) in supreme sovereignty!
9. That earth upon which the attendant waters jointly flow by day and night unceasingly, shall pour out milk for us in rich streams, and, moreover, besprinkle us with glory!
10. The earth which the Asvins have measured, upon which Vishnu has stepped out, which Indra, the lord of might, has made friendly to himself; she, the mother, shall pour forth milk for me, the son!
11. Thy snowy mountain heights, and thy forests, O earth, shall be kind to us! The brown, the black, the red, the multi-coloured, the firm earth, that is protected by Indra, I have settled upon, not suppressed, not slain, not wounded.
12. Into thy rniddle set us, O earth, and into thy navel, into the nourishing strength that has grown tip from thy body; purify thyself for us! The earth is the mother, and I the son of the earth; Paro-anya is the father; he, too, shall save us!
13. The earth upon which they (the priests) inclose the altar (vedi), upon which they, devoted to all (holy) works, unfold the sacrifice, upon which are set up, in front of the sacrifice, the sacrificial posts, erect and brilliant, that earth shall prosper us, herself prospering!
14. Him that hates us, O earth, him that battles against us, him that is hostile towards us with his mind and his weapons, do thou subject to us, anticipating (our wish) by deed!
15. The mortals born of thee live on thee, thou supportest both bipeds and quadrupeds. Thine, O earth, are these five races of men, the mortals, upon whom the rising sun sheds undying light with his rays.
16. These creatures all together shall yield milk for us; do thou, O earth, give us the honey of speech!
17. Upon the firm, broad earth, the all-begetting mother of the plants, that is supported by (divine) law, upon her, propitious and kind, may we ever pass-our lives!
18. A great gathering-place thou, great (earth), hast become; great haste, commotion, and agitation are upon thee. Great Indra protects thee unceasingly. Do thou, O earth, cause us to brighten as if at the sight of gold: not any one shall hate us!
19. Agni (fire) is in the earth, in the plants, the waters hold Agni, Agni is in the stones; Agni is within men, Agnis (fires) are within cattle, within horses.
20. Agni glows from the sky, to Agni, the god, belongs the broad air. The mortals kindle Agni, the bearer of oblations, that loveth ghee.
21. The earth, clothed in Agni, with dark knees, shall make me brilliant and alert!
22. Upon the earth men give to the gods the sacrifice, the prepared oblation; upon the earth mortal men live pleasantly by food. May this earth give us breath and life, may she cause me to reach old age!
23. The fragrance, O earth, that has arisen upon thee, which the plants and the waters hold, which the Gandharvas and the Apsaras have partaken of, with that make me fragrant: not any one shall hate us!
24. That fragrance of thine which has entered into the lotus, that fragrance, O earth, which the immortals of yore gathered up at the marriage of Sûryâ, with that make me fragrant: not any one shall hate us!
25. That fragrance of thine which is in men, the loveliness and charm that is in male and female, that which is in steeds and heroes, that which is in the wild animals with trunks (elephants), the lustre that is in the maiden, O earth, with that do thou blend us: not any one shall hate us!
26. Rock, stone, dust is this earth; this earth is supported, held together. To this golden-breasted earth I have rendered obeisance.
27. The earth, upon whom the forest-sprung trees ever stand firm, the all-nourishing, compact earth, do we invoke.
28. Rising or sitting, standing or walking, may we not stumble with our right or left foot upon the earth!
29. To the pure earth I speak, to the ground, the soil that has grown through the brahma (spiritual exaltation). Upon thee, that holdest nourishment, prosperity, food, and ghee, we would settle down, O earth!
30. Purified the waters shall flow for our bodies; what flows off from us that do we deposit upon him we dislike: with a purifier, O earth, do I purify myself!
31. Thy easterly regions, and thy northern, thy southerly (regions), O earth, and thy western, shall be kind to me as I walk (upon thee)! May I that have been placed into the world not fall down!
32. Do not drive us from the west, nor from the east; not from the north, and not from the south! Security be thou for us, O earth: waylayers shall not find us, hold far away (their) murderous weapon!
33. As long as I look out upon thee, O earth, with Sûrya (the sun) as my companion, so long shall my sight not fall, as year followeth upon year!
34. When, as I lie, I turn upon my right or left side, O earth; when stretched out we lie with our ribs upon thee pressing against (us), do not, O earth, that liest close to everything, there injure us!
35. What, O earth, I dig out of thee, quickly shall that grow again: may I not, O pure one, pierce thy vital spot, (and) not thy heart!
36. Thy summer, O earth, thy rainy season, thy autumn, winter, early spring, and spring; thy decreed yearly seasons, thy days and nights shall yield us milk
37. The pure earth that starts in fright away from the serpent, upon whom were the fires that are within the waters, she that delivers (to destruction) the blasphemous Dasyus, she that takes the side of Indra, not of Vritra, (that earth) adheres to Sakra (mighty Indra), the lusty bull.
38. Upon whom rests the sacrificial hut (sadas) and the (two) vehicles that hold the soma (havirdhâne), in whom the sacrificial post is fixed, upon whom the Brâhmanas praise (the gods) with riks and sâmans, knowing (also) the yagur-formulas; upon whom the serving-priests (ritvig) are employed so that Indra shall drink the soma;--
39. Upon whom the seers of yore, that created the beings, brought forth with their songs the cows, they the seven active (priests), by means of the satra-offerings, the sacrifices, and (their) creative fervour (tapas);--
40. May this earth point out to us the wealth that we-crave; may Bhaga (fortune) add his help, may Indra come here as (our) champion!
41. The earth upon whom the noisy mortals sing and dance, upon whom they fight, upon whom resounds the roaring drum, shall drive forth our enemies, shall make us free from rivals!
42. To the earth upon whom are food, and rice and barley, upon whom live these five races of men, to the earth, the wife of Parganya, that is fattened by rain, be reverence!
43. The earth upon whose ground the citadels constructed by the gods unfold themselves, every region of her that is the womb of all, Pragâpati shall make pleasant for us!
44. The earth that holds treasures manifold in secret places, wealth, jewels, and gold shall she give to me; she that bestows wealth liberally, the kindly goddess, wealth shall she bestow upon us!
45. The earth that holds people of manifold varied speech, of different customs, according to their habitations, as a reliable milch-cow that does not kick, shall she milk for me a thousand streams of wealth!
46. The serpent, the scorpion with thirsty fangs, that hibernating torpidly lies upon thee; the worm, and whatever living thing, O earth, moves in the rainy season, shall, when it creeps, not creep upon us: with what is auspicious (on thee) be gracious to us!
47. Thy many paths upon which people go, thy tracks for chariots and wagons to advance, upon which both good and evil men proceed, this road, free from enemies, and free from thieves, may we gain: with what is auspicious (on thee) be gracious to us!
48. The earth holds the fool and holds the wise, endures that good and bad dwell (upon her); she keeps company with the boar, gives herself up to the wild hog.
49. Thy forest animals, the wild animals homed in the woods, the man-eating lions, and tigers that roam; the ula, the wolf, mishap, injury (rikshikâ), and demons (rakshas), O earth, drive away from us!
50. The Gandharvas, the Apsaras, the Arâyas and Kimîdins; the Pisâkas and all demons (rakshas), these, O earth, hold from us!
51. The earth upon whom the biped birds fly together, the flamingoes, eagles, birds of prey, and fowls; upon whom Mâtarisvan, the wind, hastens, raising the dust, and tossing the trees-as the wind blows forth and back the flame bursts after;--
52. The earth upon whom day and night jointly, black and bright, have been decreed, the broad earth covered and enveloped with rain, shall kindly place us into every pleasant abode!
53. Heaven, and earth, and air have here given me expanse; Agni, Sûrya, the waters, and all the gods together have given me wisdom.
54. Mighty am I, 'Superior' (uttara) by name, upon the earth, conquering am I, all-conquering, completely conquering every region.
55. At that time, O goddess, when, spreading., (prathamânâ) forth, named (prithivî 'broad') by the gods, thou didst extend to greatness, then prosperity did enter thee, (and) thou didst fashion the four regions.
56. In the villages and in the wilderness, in the assembly-halls that are upon the earth; in the gatherings, and in the meetings, may we hold forth agreeably to thee!
57. As dust a steed did she, as soon as she was born, scatter these people, that dwelt upon the earth, she the lovely one, the leader, the guardian of the world, that holds the trees and plants.
58. The words I speak, honied do I speak them: the things I see they furnish me with. Brilliant I am and alert: the others that rush (against me) do I beat down.
59. Gentle, fragrant, kindly, with the sweet drink (kîlâla) in her udder, rich in milk, the broad earth together with (her) milk shall give us courage!
60. She whom Visvakarman (the creator of all) did search out by means of oblations, when she had entered the surging (flood of the) atmosphere, she, the vessel destined to nourish, deposited in a secret place, became visible (to the gods) and the (heavenly) mothers.
61. Thou art the scatterer of men, the broadly expanding Aditi that yields milk according to wish. What is wanting in thee Pragâpati, first-born of the divine order (rita), shall supply for thee
62. Thy laps, O earth, free from ailment! Free from disease, shall be produced for us! May we attentively, throuoh our long lives, be bearers of bali-offerings to thee!
63. O mother earth, kindly set me down upon a well-founded place! With (father) heaven cooperating, O thou wise one, do thou place me into happiness and prosperity!

Prithvi is one of several Sanskrit names for the Earth Mother, more commonly known as Mother Bhumi Devi. Prithvi is the personification of the Earth, and is therefore also known as Prithivi Tattwa, the essence of the element earth. Prithvi is also called Dhra, Dharti, or Dhrithri, meaning 'that which holds everything'.

As Prithvi Devi, she is one of two wives of Lord Vishnu, His other wife being Lakshmi Devi (Sridevi). In fact, Prithvi is another form of Laxmi. As Prithvi Mata, "Mother Earth", she contrasts with Dyaus Pita, who is "Father Sky". In the Rigveda, Earth and Sky are frequently addressed in the dual, which may indicate the idea of two complementary half-shells.

Prithvi is the wife of Dyaus Pita ('Father Dyaus'), and the widespread belief that these two were originally a single deity appears to be mistaken. (See Dyavaprthivi). Prithvi is known to be the mother of Indra and Agni. When Lord Indra killed Dyaus Pita, she applauded and married him.

Prithvi, or Mother Bhumi, is associated with the cow. Prithu, an incarnation of Vishnu, milked her in the cow's form to get food from her. Prithvi also appears in Early Buddhism, where she is mentioned in the Pali Canon, dispelling the temptation figure Mara by attesting to Gautama Buddha's worthiness to attain enlightenment.[1]

Prithvi Sukta (Bhumi Sukta) is a celebrated hymn of the Atharva Veda (AVS 12.1), which consists of 63 verses dedicated to Prthivi (the Earth). In art, she is typically represented as a woman with four arms and a green complexion.

Mother Bhumi is also understood to be the consort of Lord Varaha. The demon Narakasura, whose killing by Krishna is celebrated as the festival of Diwali, is Bhumi Devi's son. .[2] She is also the mother of Sita, so it is not surprising that baby Sita was found in a ploughed field. According to the Uttara-kanda, when Sita finally leaves her husband Rama, she returns to Bhumi.

Several female deities are believed to have had births similar to Sita. Alamelu Thayar of Tiruchendur, for example, was said to have been found in a ploughed field by Akasa Raja. Andal from Srivilliputtur in Tamil Nadu was found under a Tulasi plant by Perialvar.


Mother Bhumi is often depicted in votive statuary, seated on a square platform which rests on the back of four elephants, who represent the four corners of the world. When depicted with four arms, the paraphernalia she holds are a pomegranate, a water vessel, a bowl containing healing herbs, and another containing vegetables. .[3] When shown with two arms, she holds a blue lotus known as Komud or Uttpal, the night lotus, in the right hand. .[4] The left hand may be in the Abhaya Mudra (fearlessness), or the Lolahasta Mudra, which is an aesthetic pose meant to mimic the tail of a cow.[5]

From: here

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