King Pṛthu chases the Earth

Pṛthu chases the goddess earth, from an illustrated manuscript of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa; Pahari School; attributed to the artist Manaku, circa 1740, Guler, Punjab Hills. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

सा दिशो विदिशो देवी रोदसी चान्तरं तयो: ।
धावन्ती तत्र तत्रैनं ददर्शानूद्यतायुधम् ॥
ŚB 4.17.16

The cow-shaped earth ran in all four directions, towards heaven and earth and also in between them; yet wherever she ran, whether here or there, the King followed her with his weapons drawn.

स वै भवानात्मविनिर्मितं जगद्भू तेन्द्रियान्त:करणात्मकं विभो ।
संस्थापयिष्यन्नज मां रसातला- दभ्युज्जहाराम्भस आदिसूकर: ॥ ŚB 4.17.34

“O Lord! You are certainly He who has created and maintains this world, the physical elements; the senses; the mind and the heart; He who is unborn; He who rescued me from the waters in the bottom of rasātala.”

ऋषयो दुदुहुर्देवीमिन्द्रियेष्वथ सत्तम ।
वत्सं बृहस्पतिं कृत्वा पयश्छन्दोमयं शुचि ॥ ŚB 4.18.14

The great sages transformed Bṛhaspati into a calf, and making the senses into a pot, they milked from the earth-cow all of Vedic knowledge, which serves to purify words, mind and hearing.

  1. Canto 4 of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa
  2. Rethinking the Mahabharata: A Reader’s Guide to the Education of the Dharma King by Alf Hiltebeitel



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