King Prithu: Mother Earth Gets Name ‘Prithvi’

The story of king Prithu is described in the fourth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. In the recent articles we described the appearance and coronation of king Prithu. In this article, we shall describe an interesting incidence on how king Prithu defeated mother Earth and how she got her name ‘Prithivi’.

Citizens Plea to King Prithu
Soon after the coronation of king Prithu, the citizens of mother Earth went to him and submitted a petition. Prior to the appearance of king Prithu there was a great scarcity of food grains in the cities. Many citizens died of starvation. The subjects took this an opportunity to show their plight to the king.

They addressed as follows: “Dear King, just as a tree dries when there is no water at its root or there is fire in its trunk, in the same way we are also drying with the fire of hunger in our stomach. You are protector of surrendered souls and so we all have come to your shelter. Please give us occupational engagements and arrange for proper distribution of food grains. Otehrwise we will die of hunger.

King Prithu immediately took the condition and contemplated on the solution. He could analyze that people are working properly and there was enough sacrifices done by them. Then he found that it was the earth itself not producing sufficient grains for the inhabitants.

King Prithu and the Earth Cow
King Prithu took his bow and aimed a powerful arrow at the earth. When Bhumi, the goddesses of earth, saw that Prithu was harming her, she began to tremble. She took a form of cow and ran in outer space between heaven and earth. But soon she realized that powerful son of Vena could her everywhere, she desisted. With submitted to Prithu Maharaj and begged for her innocence. She described her condition and then asked why he wants to kill her despite of her protecting the living entities on earth.

Then King Prithu replied, “My dear earth, you have disobeyed my orders. AS one of the demigods you have accepted your share of sacrifice but you have not produced sufficient grains for all. Although as cow you are eating green grass but you are not filling your utters so that we can take your milk. For this offense I must kill you. You have lost intelligence and so despite of my order, you did not deliver the seeds, herbs and grains that were created by Lord Brahma. You are hiding them within you. I will kill you and give your flesh to hungry citizens.”

The earth in form of cow replied while trembling, “O King all that Lord Brahma produced were being utilized by non-devotees. Because there was no proper king to rule all the miscreants exploited them, so I hid them under me. Being for long time they must be deteriorated so you must arrange to retrieve them.”
This pacified king Prithu. Then he called all sages who transformed different calves and milked various things from the earth. After this incidence the earth was called Prithvi. There was bounties and citizens lived happily.

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