Ending Famine and Drought by “Milking” the Earth

Even after she had expressed herself so feelingly, Pṛthu’s anger did not really subside. Although he did not release his arrows, his lips still trembled with rage. The Earth Goddess knew she must address king Pṛthu again, so she controlled her fear and settled her emotions within herself.

“Powerful One,” she said, “Subdue your anger long enough to understand what I have to say.”

“Why should I listen to you?” The king might demand.

So, she said, “Honey-making bees take nectar from all sorts of flowers. Wise people are like that too, taking the essential truths of all things and all people. You might not want to hear what I have to say because you consider me a criminal, but if you do, you will learn an important truth.”

The king agreed to hear her out.

She explained, “People can attain what they want and need in this world and the next by following the methods realized by wise and experienced experts. Even the inexperienced can quickly and easily attain their desired goals if they apply themselves thoroughly and faithfully to the methods suggested by the realized experts who have already attained the desired goals; but if the unrealized ignore these methods and set out towards their goals in their own ways, they can never quite achieve what they want, despite trying again and again with so many different strategies.”

“What bearing does this have on the starvation of my people?” the king would surely ask.

So the Earth Goddess explained, “Your father, Vena, banned religion and persecuted the wise who spoke against him. Then, he was assassinated and the world was left without a king, until you eventually came to protect them. During that time, the whole world became debased and turned into a collection of thieves and rouges. Almost none of them followed the paths of the wise, so why would you expect them to get what they wanted and needed? Why would you expect the vegetation designed originally by Brahmā to flourish amongst them? I had to withhold the growth of vegetation, to obey Brahmā’s rule that only proper endeavors yield desired results.

The king, now sympathetic, would ask, “How can we restore your opulence and bring back the vegetation?”

So, the Earth Goddess explained, “I have withheld the power of vegetation for a long time, and have thus become thin and weak, but there is a way for you to revive this power in me!”

“How!?” he would ask, heroically.

The Earth Goddess, standing before him in the form of a divine cow, answered: “Bring me a calf!”

“Why a calf?” the king might ask.

“This will evoke my motherly love,” she explained, “and fill me with milk. Then, you can then milk me to call forth my powers and opulences. The mystical milk I produce will grant wishes according to the type of calf, the person who milks me, and the type of milking pot they use.

“O mighty, all-attractive nourisher of all beings,” she concluded, “if you want grains to grow again, this is what you must do. And you must also make me, the Earth, more level. Then, the divine rains will form lakes and water will remain abundant in all seasons.

“If you do these things, great king, you and your people will be blessed!”

– Excerpt from an early draft of Part 4 of
Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive
A translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s fourth canto [18.1 – 11]
By Vraja Kishor [VrajaKishor.com]
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