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Prithvi

Prithu chasing Prithvi, who is in the form of a cow.

Prithvi (Sanskrit: पृथ्वी, pṛthvī, also pṛthivī) "the Vast One" is the Sanskrit name for the earth as well as the name of a devi in Hinduism and Buddhism.

As Pṛthvī Mātā "Mother Earth" she contrasts with Dyaus Pita "father sky". In the Rigveda, Earth and Sky are primarily addressed in the dual as Dyavaprthivi.[1] She is associated with the cow. Prithu, an incarnation of Vishnu, milked her in cow's form.

She is a national personification in Indonesia, where she is known as Ibu Pertiwi.

Contents

  • In Buddhism 1
  • The Pṛithvī Sūkta 2
  • Epithets 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5

In Buddhism

In Buddhist texts and visual representations, Pṛthvī is described as both protecting Gautama Buddha and as being his witness for his enlightenment. Prithvi appears in Early Buddhism in the Pāli Canon, dispelling the temptation figure Mara by attesting to Gautama Buddha's worthiness to attain enlightenment.[2] The Buddha is very frequently illustrated in figurative art wielding bhūmisparśa or "earth-touching" mudrā. [3]

The Pṛithvī Sūkta

Pṛithvī Sūkta or Bhūmī Sūkta is a celebrated hymn of the Atharvaveda (AVŚ 12.1) dedicated to Prthivi. It consists of 63 verses.

Epithets

Indonesian depiction of Prithvi in ancient regal attire as Ibu Pertiwi at the Indonesian National Monument
Category Transliteration Gloss
Provider Bhūmi 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
Vishvagarbha World's Womb
Vishvamshu Producer of Everything
Vishvasvam Source of Everything
Sustainer Dhar Upholder
Drdha Steady One
Ksama Patient One
Sthavara Stable One
Vishdava All-Preserving
Vishvadharini All-Supporting
Vishvamhara All-Bearing
Enricher Ratnagarbha Repository of Gems
Ratnavati Abounding in Jewels
Vasundhara Bearer of Treasure

References

Further reading

  • Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dallapiccola
  • Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions (ISBN 81-208-0379-5) by David Kinsley
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