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How Earth Got The Name Prithvi? – Story In Hindu Tradition

Prithvi is one among the numerous names of Earth. There is an interesting story in the Puranas, which narrate how earth got the name Prithvi. In the lineage of King Dhruva, there was a popular king called Rajan Anga. As old age approached, the King took Vanaprastha and made his son Vena, the next king.


Vena was an arrogant king and he abolished all yajnas and prayers in his kingdom. He only looked after his welfare. Saints and wise men tried to reason with him but he was not ready to listen to them.

Fed up with his rule, Vena was killed by people with the guidance of saints.

Vena’s mother out of love for her son started to protect his body.

As there was no one to take over the kingdom, dacoits and thieves began to loot people. There was utter lawlessness.

The saints thought it was their responsibility to find a ruler.

They then took the body of Vena and churned it while chanting mantras. From it appeared a human couple. The male was a partial incarnation of Vishnu and the female was a partial incarnation of Lakshmi. They called the male – Prithu.

Prithu from a young age followed Dharma and at the right time was appointed as the ruler of the earth.

Prithu soon discovered that in spite of all yajnas and prayers the earth was not producing any rice. Without proper food people were dying.

Soon Prithu discovered that all herbs, rice and cereals were hidden by earth.

Prithu decided to regain all the cereals through force.

On seeing Prithu approaching, earth took the form of a cow and started running.

Prithu finally caught hold of the cow and asked for the reason for hiding the cereals.

Earth found that only evil people were feeding on food when there was no ruler on earth. Adharma was nourishing and flourishing. So she hid all the cereals.

Prithu then promised Earth that he will uphold Dharma and equally distribute food among all living beings.

Earth then asked Prithu to level the surface of earth so that rain water will be equally distributed. When Prithu performed this task, Mother Earth in the form of cow gave forth all cereals and herbs.

Prithu then accepted Earth as his daughter and from that day Earth came to be known as Prithvi.



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