Bhūsūkta

(‘hymn concerning Mother Earth’)

It is the special characteristic of the ancient Hindu sages to see the hand of the divine—nay, the divinity itself—in every object of creation. Bhū or the earth being our basic abode that supports and sustains us, is naturally looked upon as a goddess, the Mother Divine, a consort of the Supreme Lord Himself.

According to the Vedas ‘Śrīdevī (Lakṣmī) and Bhūdevī (Earth) are the spouses of Lord Viṣṇu (Puruṣasūkta 24; Taittirīya Saṁhitā 1.5.3.12).

There are two Bhūsūktas as available now: Atharvaveda Saṁhitā 12.1; Taittirīya Saṁhitā 1.5.3.

It is the latter sūkta that is more well-known. The first six verses are from the Saṁhitā. The rest (12 verses) are considered khila (addenda), but are also regularly chanted.

A brief summary of the sūkta may now be given:

Bhūdevī pervades all the three regions (earth, heaven and sky). She affords an opportunity to the sāttvik jīvās to realise God.

By circumambulating her, Sūrya (the Sun-god) attained divinity.

It is through her grace that the Vedas have taken refuge in him (the Sun-god).

It is again through her grace that the Sun-god has become the life-force (prāṇa) of this world of beings.

O Agni! Getting angry with you I forsook you! By your grace may I be able to make you burn more brilliantly!

The anger of the Lord was absorbed by Bhūdevī.

She is the repository of all the gems. May she bless me with the power of all sense-organs and grant me the light of Brahman.

She is the support or abode of (God) the Truth. She produces the best of things. She is the support of all the living beings.

The sea is her garment. The mountains are her breasts.

She is the consort of Viṣṇu in his incarnation as Yajñavarāha (the Boar). She is the ground for the performance of yajñas or sacrifices. She supports the river (Gaṅgā) that dropped on her from heaven.

She has the air for her breath and the ocean for her bed. She is specially gracious to the spiritually blind persons.

I bow down to Bhūdevī who is also known as Mādhavī, dear to Mādhava (Viṣṇu) as his wife and the dear co-wife of Lakṣmī.

I meditate upon Bhūdevī who is armed with the bow, for attaining all that I want. May she inspire us for the same!

We offer oblations unto Bhūdevī who is the consort of Viṣṇu, who is free from old age and who is sitting, facing her Lord.

Viṣṇu of great fame, measured the earth, the heaven and the intervening space in three steps. Bhūdevī, the presiding deity of the star Śravaṇa, takes refuge in him in order to grant name and fame to her dependents.

May dūrvā (the panic grass), which represents the divine spirit, which is superior to a thousand purifying agencies, which has hundreds of nodes and sprouts and which destroys the effects of evil dreams, remove all my impurities.

O Bhūdevī, who is traversed by a horse, a chariot and Viṣṇu, I shall keep thee on my head! Protect me at every step!

O Bhūdevī! You are the giver of happiness like the milch-cow. You sustain life and support all living beings. You yourself were raised by Kṛṣṇa in his incarnation as the Boar (Varāha) having a hundred hands.

O excellent Bhūdevī! Destroy my evil deeds and sins! Then I can live for a hundred years. Mother Earth! Give me nourishment. In you all are established.

I invoke the presence here of Śrī, the goddess of prosperity, who is verily Bhūdevī (or the earth) endowed with a peculiar aroma, who is hard to damage, who is ever well-nourished, who has an abundance of cattle and who is the ruler of all beings.