A man of self-image and egoistic nature is cause of distress to man and humanity and he thinks he is a source of joy and sorrow for the creation and if he thinks he defines and explicates not only religious and philosophic aspects of life and existence, he gives birth to self-imposed imprisonment where not a fresh whiff air enters. It is tale of king who violates principles of life and thinks he is god, the creator. But if, on the other hand, a man adheres to truth, righteousness, justice, laws of dharma and loves humankind and takes upon ‘the self’ the liability and task of benefitting man and society, he brings peace, harmony and prosperity even out of regions where nothing exists. Prithu, son of a brute, is the first king on earth, takes birth under divine patronage, the Puranic tale tells, who does everything so that humankind survives,
He loves man and humanity, and works hard for its wellbeing, eternal joy and contentment as if it was yajna and therefore, a divine cow, the earth blesses him. Generosity of cow understands the virtues of Prithu. Cow’s blessings strengthen him, a righteous man and so he helps the entire creation from men to celestial beings to gods of heavens and daityas of subterranean worlds and other such beings of undefined potency and becomes the primeval cause of survival of humanity. The benign earth fulfills man’s desires for ages but still confronts disaster, contamination, fury and anger. Abuse of natural resources destroys beauty of mother Earth (Prithvi, a symbol of sympathy, compassion and charity, who continues to provide foundation of survival to man. man’s greed causes chaos and violates doctrines of righteous living and none foresees a future of joy!
It is one of the most sacred and interesting ancient tales. People of impure minds are unfit to listen to the glorious character of King Prithu, a man learns. Even great sages of substance in ancient times, narrated the tale after they cleansed bodies, took bath and performed proper prayers and worship, for he was a man of dharma.
It is a slice of ancient history. Ang was born in the dynasty of Atri, who was a great and generous king. He was a famous king, who believed in dharma and people thought him as a real guardian of the principles of dharma. Truth, righteousness and virtues were the cardinal principles of the great empire. He was as majestic and grand as sage Atri. Vena, son of this great king, unfortunately, did not comprehend the essence of dharma. He was born out of the womb of daughter of death, Suneetha. People noticed a huge flaw in the character of his maternal grandfather and therefore, Vena ignored and humiliated dharma and was, afterward, attracted toward kama, passion and greed. He was more inclined toward obsession and acts of self-indulgence.
With the passage of time, Vena violates the sanctity of dharma, breaks Vedic religious norms and dictums…wise man decide to churn his leg from where nishadas come out and afterward, from the churning of right arm, Prithu, a armoured man of grandeur comes down to spread happiness.
He was irreverent toward laws of dharma and began to think that he was god and so in conduct and utterances, he was unreasonable and was more disposed toward irreligious and unethical acts.
As if it were an invitation to death and destruction, he took a cruel pledge and proclaimed, “Nobody would organize yajna or make oblations or offering of any kind. I am the person for whom people can hold yajna. I am the organizer of yajna and I am the yajna. People should organize Yajna for me only. The question of propitiating gods does not arise. Yajnas should be organized to fulfill objectives as I underline, define and specify.”
A terrific and cruel announcement infused fears in the minds of peace loving people. When holy sages observed that Vena violated dharma and went beyond a certain level, and as adharma spread its tentacles around, they looked worried and deeply disturbed. Many sages gathered under the benign patronage of sage Marichi. Marichi went to Vena and in the presence of other sages, said, “O king, we are capable of getting initiation into various yajnas. That is why we hold it for patrons. You should not indulge in acts of adharma. Religious functions like prayers, worship yajnas are categorized as Sanatan Dharma (the eternal religion).”
When the king of poor wisdom, irrational conduct and impractical knowledge heard wise men, he laughed ironically and said, “O sages, I find none other, who is the creator of dharma. To whom should I listen? Who is equal to me on earth in respect of wisdom and knowledge, gallantry, tapa and truth? O sages, I am the cause and reason of origin and creation of all beings, especially religions. You are fools and dull-witted. Therefore, you do not know me. If I want, I can burn the whole earth and reduce it ashes or allow it to flow along the current of water or I can grind the earth and the other world to powder if I wish. I find no need to think anything else.”
A huge gathering of sages, seers and saints failed to convince the king that it was bad to live in love, passion, enticements, pride and ego. They appeared quite angry. ‘The self’, conceit and arrogance of the king knew no limits, and he could become audacious to humiliate saintly men. An unforeseen incident occurred. Holy souls caught hold of King Vena and tied him up tightly with ropes. At that time, the king made tremendous noise and jumped around in futility..
The wisemen were already very angry at the unethical, malicious, unsympathetic and atheistic conduct of the king and when efforts to bring him on the path of dharma failed, they caught hold him strongly and began churning king’s left leg with ferocity and force. They continued to churn and after sometime, a miracle happened. A black man, a dwarf emerged out of the leg.
He stood up in front of the sages with folded hands in fears and dread. When sages saw a black man, a dwarf disturbed and nervous, they cried almost in chorus, “Nisheed –sit down.” (Nisheed or nishada means sit down) Therefore, in later ages, the offspring of dwarf man became famous as nishada. Thus, nishada was the father and precursor of the dynasty of nishadas. Thereafter, he began to create a world of dheevars. Learned souls thought and again began to churn the right arm of Vena.
They continued violent churning of the right arm and from here, Prithu, a man of splendor, dazzle and radiance that looked like fire came out as if the great lord had desired it. He descended on earth and created a dreadful sound even as he emerged out of the string of bow Ajgav he carried in hand. He was armoured and carried divine arrows in the quiver. Thus, a man with a magnificent and grand appearance appeared. As he came down on earth, all living beings felt happy and began to assemble at the place from different directions. King Vena died in the meantime..
However, love for man and humanity, changes everything into an everlasting joy and contentment …Prithu is a man of humanity, who thinks of the wellbeing of subjects and it is difficult for gods even to be equal to him in yajna and charity.
Grave sins and crimes drove Vena to hell as he had begun to think that he was a god on earth. Terrible thought was a severe lethal flaw. It becomes apparent that a man filled with ego and pride, stops to think of man, society and the world around, assumes the role of an arbiter of destiny of people, and ultimately, only death greets him as ultimate reality. No sin or crime goes unpunished..
However, it was different with mahatma Prithu. He emerged out of the right arm of Vena when sages churned it in immense anger. Soon Prithu freed Vena from hell -Pum. To enthrone and crown him, the sea and all rivers appeared at the place with jewels and water. It was a great occasion. To coronate the future king, sage Angirasa led the Supreme Creator Brahma, celestial beings and created beings (animate or inanimate) to the capital of future king on one of the most propitious occasions. Prithu, after taking over the command of the nation, tried to make people happy and prosperous, who had suffered atrocities during the regime of Vena.
He was a kindhearted and generous king and did everything to make people happy. He became the real king because as a true sovereign, he was only interested to see people happy and prosperous where justice prevails. Benign nature in its wide-ranging images obeyed the king and glorified the king.
When he went on a journey beyond the sea, water was calm and still. Mountains made a way so that he continued movement and destined journey. The flag of king’s chariot never stopped fluttering and no one violated its sanctity. People felt something divine in his presence. Entire land of the vast empire offered sufficient grain. It grew crops without tilling or sowing and thus, the holy land registered celestial presence of the king. A mere thought transformed itself into reality and materialized inner desires. He thought and the work stood complete. With a true and pure heart, he thought of people and a mere wish fulfilled people desires instantaneously. All the cows of the kingdom were Kamadhenus the therefore, fulfilled the desires of people while each leaf of trees contained honey in plenty.
During the period, Prithu organized a Paitmaha yajna to worship Supreme Brahma. On the auspicious day of Somabhishava, from the land of Sooti (land from where soma liquid comes out) the wise Soota took birth. Magadha, the most learned man also emerged out of the great yajna. Great sages Soota and Magadha admired the king in the presence of other sages, and therefore, said, “You should praise Prithu. This work suits your capability and the great emperor is the right person, who you should praise.”
Wise Magadha and Soota said to holy sages, “Through the glory of karmas we please all gods, goddesses and sages. O sages, we do not know anything about name, karma, attributes and glory of king and therefore, it is difficult to eulogize the most outstanding king as you say about him.” Holy sages understood the dilemma of the wise men.
They said, “You should praise the king for virtues and attributes that will appear in future.”
Surprisingly, karmas and attributes wise Soota and Magadha counted while they sang in praise of Prithu. Great king fulfilled truly the karmas in the real sense. He translated all karmas wise men Soota and Magadha enumerated into facts and truths of life for people to see and follow. From that day onward, the tradition to shower blessings, eulogies and tributes started. The practice of praise and worship of Soota, Magadha and other exalted souls took firm roots. When Soota and Magadha finished praises, the great emperor was very happy and therefore, gave his kingdom of Anup to Soota and Magadh to Magadha.
When the sages found the king very pleased and cheerful, they said to people, “King will provide you livelihood.”
When people around heard encouraging words, they ran toward King Prithu and said, “Please arrange for our livelihood.”
When the entire public of the empire surrounded the emperor from all sides, the king rushed to Prithvi with bow and arrows so that he helps and benefits ordinary people. Holy Prithvi trembled with fears, transformed ‘the self’ into a cow and ran fast. Prithu took bow and arrow, and chased the cow. Holy cow was full of fears and anxiety and went to Brahmaloka and other celestial lands. However, she found King Prithu ahead with divine bow and arrows in hands. He appeared more brilliant and shinning because of the fire-emitting arrows. The generous king was also a great man of yoga and therefore, it was difficult even for gods to subdue him..
For the love of people, he requests the divine cow…and in the cow, are situated all lokas, and the worlds and so, if the king kills, it will cause destruction.
Holy cow, a sacred object of prayers and worship could not find shelter anywhere in the three lokas, and therefore, she appeared before Prithu with folded hands and said, “O King, all lokas are situated in me. I carry and situate all the sanctified worlds on the back. I hold the burden of all the worlds. If I die because of this reason or if you wipe out my existence, you will also destroy the worlds and its created beings. You must understand the truth quite clearly. O guardian of the Earth, if you wish to benefit public, then you should not kill me. I will say something. You must listen. If efforts are made in right perspective one can accomplish all karmas perfectly. You can think over the solution, I suggest and thereby, if you implement you shall be able to keep population alive. Even if you kill me, you will not be able to look after the population. O wise man, you should abandon anger and I shall work as you wish. In the yoni of triag, a woman is not worth assassination. If this is true, then you should not discard dharma.”
When Prithu heard clear urgings of sacred cow, he said, “O cow, a man, who kills for a selfish purpose or for the benefit of another kills many living beings and therefore, he is eternally condemned. However, if one kills an evil person so that he benefits many people, then it is no sin or crime. Therefore, O Prithvi (vasundhara) I shall kill you to benefit public. If it does not benefit on request and pleas, I shall destroy you with the arrow, and then I shall take shape of Prithvi and benefit public. Therefore, you should obey and protect life of public because you are capable of carrying the burden. You should become my daughter, and only then I shall stop the arrow ready to slaughter you.”
Prithvi spoke, “O brave man, I shall do everything. You should not doubt. You should find out a calf for me so that I am overwhelmed with motherly love and give milk. O the greatest among the dharmatma (a man of dharma) level the entire earth so that milk flows properly all over.” Prithu was pleased to hear.
Prithu performs a great miracle and begins the real world where everyone lives and prospers in peace, for proper transactions among living beings start and therefore, the cow and the earth fulfill desires of living beings…and so Prithvi is the primeval reason of survival.
Now, King Prithu dug out thousands of mountains with the pointed mouth of arrow and gathered them at one place. All mountains increased enormously in size, as the act of the king was stupendous. Prior to this, the land was not level and so proper division of towns and villages was not possible. At that time, no grain, no arrangement for the protection and rearing up of cows, no agricultural activities and no commercial transactions occupied people and related activities were non-existent. All kinds of such activities started in times of Prithu, one of the sons of Vena. People of the kingdom began settling down in the levelled and straight part of the land, and thereafter, build houses and different kinds of dwellings. At that time, only fruit and roots were available for the public to eat and that too, after if one exerted a lot and made suitable efforts.
To help public, Prithu transformed Swayambhuva Manu into a calf and began to milk cow with hands one learns. Thus, the king extracted defferent kinds of grains and various precious things out of Prithvi. Further, various kinds of precious minerals, jewels and metals came out of Prithvi. In fact, generous earth as Prithu wished, requested and asked offered all kinds of essential living support for the use of people so that they live comfortable life. Adequate grains help man survive come out of holy Prithvi but now, man had begun to exert hard on time so that earth is generous. At that time, all holy men, sages, gods, pitres, nagas, daityas, yakasas, gandharavas, mountains and trees took advantage of holy Prithvi, the primordial reason of survival. Everyone got benefits from the bounteous nature of Prithvi and each one adhered to assigned duties.
To facilitate the entire functioning further, the moon of sages turned into a calf and Bhrispati did work of milking. Milk was Brahma an embodiment of tapa and penance and Vedas acted as right and perfect disciples. Gods picked up a golden pot and milked healthy milk. For the gods, lord Indra became a calf and sun god did milking. Pitres and ancestors held a pot or bowl of silver and the most magnificent Yama acted as calf. For them, Antak milked and the milk was Swadha.
Similar efforts to survive are obvious among nagas, asuras, Kubera, yakasas, raksasas and other celestial beings as milk proves an inevitable means of subsistence.
Surprising momentum continued and all created beings collected their share of milk as desired. In the process, Takshak became a calf for all the nagas and the pot of milk was Tumbi. Snake Airavata did milking for nagas and thus, they milked poison. For asuras, Madhu was the milkman. He milked and the liquid contained maya (delusion). At that time, Virochan was the calf and collected milk in a bowl of iron. However, yaksasas carried a fragile pot where Kubera became the calf. Yakasa Rajatnabh milked for them and the knowledge of disappearance or turn invisible was the milk that came to yakasas’s share.
Among raksasas, raksas Sumali became a calf and he milked in a pot, which was like a khopari -a skull type bowl. Among gandharavas, Chitrarath did the work of calf and lotus flower was the pot. Surichi milked it and the sweet essence was its milk. This way, everything on earth got its share of milk depending upon the nature of living beings. Thus, each living being on earth was able to get his share of attributes from the divine cow.
King Prithu was the first man on earth, who worked for the wellbeing and comfortable living of each living being whether among the objects of nature or birds or trees or anything else including the gods, demons or daityas, yaksasas and raksasas. He left none without the gift of milk. Prithvi was the source of benedictions and blessings. Still, the same Prithvi is fulfilling the burden of man’s wants at its own risk, and thus, man is responsible for distress or misery if natural calamity, pollution or contamination, fury or anger, disturb. He tries to extract more than it is necessary. Exploitation of natural resources hurts mother Earth (Prithvi), who on the request and command of Prithu, ages back agreed to provide everything. However, man’s greed casts a shadow of death and destruction around and continues to violate tenets of dharma.
One truth becomes obvious to humankind. Multidimensional acts of charity of Prithvi continue to benefit man for millions of years and still it has not disappointed a greedy man. He runs about, flies above, dives deep into the depths of oceans, flies fast on man-made speedy aircrafts or jets or rockets, and lands up at other planets in search of more material comforts but despite stunning attainments, he fails to satisfy thirst, hunger and curiosity. He knows and still ignores. He knows death is very near, destruction is round the corner, and Yama waits at the door but still he is indifferent. That is a tragedy. Now, when total devastation comes, no Markandeya to witness annihilation will live, and no divine child to help a Markandeya will come forward. This is the way of the world. Ancient wisdom and vision still hold good but alas, man is lost in the deafening sounds of material growth.
Thus, a very contemporary thought took birth ages ago where Prithu was the benefactor of created beings and Prithvi was a source of material progress and life giving food on the request of Prithu.
The most sacred Vasundhara (Prithvi) is the source of different food, material comforts and richness, and in truth, generous Prithvi is the origin and foundation of created beings (animate and inanimate). She bestows blessing and fulfills every wish and desire of man without prejudice. All kinds of grains sprout out of the womb of Earth -gracious and bountiful Prithvi.
The cow-like Prithvi was famous as Madani. It was under control of Prithu up to the depths of oceans. Thereafter, as King Prithu desired Bhu-devi (Earth or Vasundhara) became his daughter so people call it Prithvi. Prithu carried out investigations and further research and so the whole land (Prithvi) became a storehouse of grains and attained the figure of overall prosperity so that ultimately, it benefits humanity.
With the passage of time, villages and towns emerged and added beauty and glory to Prithvi. Such was the miraculous and divine power of Prithu, who enjoyed blessings of all sages and gods. Thus, a son of King Vena, Prithu, with tremendous divine power brought about a huge transformation. Because of divine characteristics and virtues, all created beings worshipped Prithu. Prithvi was thus, an ardent admirer of Prithu. Greatness of virtuous nature of king, and strict adherence to the laws of dharma helped the king in establishing proper system - organizations and institutions for the guidance of man within so that he lives and prospers. Nothing without dharma is possible in the world. Adharma, injustice, violence and greed might offer immense pleasure and delight but ultimately, such joys prove transitory. If man learns the truth, he is sure to bring happiness and peace. Humanity needs some Prithu, who thinks of wellbeing and happiness of people and nothing else!