This tale of Pṛthu’s confrontation with the Earth Goddess continues from my previous post.
“I will destroy you,” Pṛthu replied, “because you do not observe my orders.”
She would certainly wonder, “what orders did you ever give me?”
So he explained that he was referring to the standing order that the gods must reciprocate with sacrifices. “The people worshipped you and you accepted it,” he said, “but you refuse to grant us blessings. You are like a cow eating grass day after day but never giving milk. Such a creature should be punished and corrected, even if she is a cow! Your mind is so lowly that you refuse to fructify the seeds created by Self-born Brahmā, even when I ask you to!
“My poor citizens suffer from starvation! I will put a stop to their laments by feeding them your meat, sliced from you by my own arrows!”
The earth become absolutely terrified and wanted to cry out, “But I am a woman!”
Pṛthu stopped her by declaring, “You are not a woman – you are selfish! A selfish person has no compassion for anyone else and is therefore the worst person in the world – it doesn’t matter if they are a man, a woman, or transgendered! If a king kills such a person, it is not ‘killing’.”
She would cry, “But I am a cow!”
Pṛthu said, “You are pretending to be a cow! In truth you are a madly stubborn creature, and my arrows shall reduce you to food!”
“But I am the earth,” she would cry, “If you destroy me how will you keep from falling into outer space?”
Pṛthu said, “I will take care of that myself, by my own mystic power. I will personally become the ground upon which the citizens can stand.”
– Translation of Śrī Bhāgavata 4.17.22 ~ 27
A draft for Part 4 of Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive
by Vraja Kishor