It was thought that the gods blew on creative people, who would then inhale the god's breath and have an idea. This is the premise of "inspiration": inhaling divine breath and ideas.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mother Earth

The below piece is a hymn from the Atharva Veda.

High Truth, unyielding Order, Consecration,
Ardor and Prayer and Holy Ritual
uphold the Earth, may she, the ruling Mistress
of what has been and what will come to be,
for us spread wide a limitless domain.

Untrammeled in the midst of men, the Earth,
adorned with heights and gentle slopes and plains,
bears plants and herbs of various healing powers.
May she spread wide for us, afford us joy!

On whom are ocean, river, and all waters,
on whom have sprung up food and plowman's crops,
on whom moves all that breathes and stirs abroad -
Earth, may she grant to us the long first draught!

To Earth belong the four directions of space.
On her grows food; on her the plowman toils.
She carries likewise all that breathes and stirs.
Earth, may she grant us cattle and food in plenty!

On whom the men of olden days roamed far,
on whom the conquering Gods smote the demons,
the home of cattle, horses, and of birds,
may Earth vouchsafe to us good fortune and glory!

Bearer of all things, hoard of treasures rare,
sustaining mother, Earth the golden-breasted
who bears the Sacred Universal Fire,
whose spouse is Indra - may she grant us wealth!

Limitless Earth, whom the Gods, never sleeping,
protect forever with unflagging care,
may she exude for us the well-loved honey,
shed upon us her splendor copiously!

Earth, who of yore was Water in the oceans,
discerned by the Sages' secret powers,
whose immortal heart, enwrapped in Truth,
abides aloft in the highest firmament,
may she procure for us splendor and power,
according to her highest royal state!

On whom the flowing Waters, ever the same,
course without cease or failure night and day,
may she yield milk, this Earth of many streams,
and shed on us her splendor copiously!

May Earth, whose measurements the Asvins marked,
over whose breadth the foot of Vishnu strode,
whom Indra, Lord of power, freed from foes,
stream milk for me, as a mother for her son!

Your hills, O Earth, your snow-clad mountain peaks,
your forests, may they show us kindliness!
Brown, black, red, multifarious in hue
and solid is this vast Earth, guarded by Indra.
Invincible, unconquered, and unharmed,
I have on her established my abode.

Impart to us those vitalizing forces
that come, O Earth, from deep within your body,
your central point, your navel, purify us wholly.
The Earth is mother; I am son of Earth.
The Rain-giver is my father; may he shower on us blessings!

The Earth on which they circumscribe the altar,
on which a band of workmen prepare the oblation,
on which the tall bright sacrificial posts
are fixed before the start of the oblation -
may Earth, herself increasing, grant us increase!

That man, O Earth, who wills us harm, who fights us,
who by his thoughts or deadly arms opposes,
deliver him to us, forestalling action.

All creatures, born from you, move round upon you.
You carry all that has two legs, three, or four.
To you, O Earth, belong the five human races,
those mortals upon whom the rising sun
sheds the immortal splendor of his rays.

May the creatures of earth, united together,
let flow for me the honey of speech!
Grant to me this boon, O Earth.

Mother of plants and begetter of all things,
firm far-flung Earth, sustained by Heavenly Law,
kindly and pleasant is she. May we ever
dwell on her bosom, passing to and fro!...

Do not thrust us aside from in front or behind,
from above or below! Be gracious, O Earth.
Let us not encounter robbers on our path.
Restrain the deadly weapons!

As wide a vista of you as my eye
may scan, O Earth, with the kindly help of Sun,
so widely may my sight be never dimmed
in all the long parade of years to come!

Whether, when I repose on you, O Earth,
I turn upon my Right side or my left,
or whether, extended flat upon my back,
I meet your pressure from head to foot,
be gentle, Earth! You are the couch of all!

Whatever I dig up of you, O Earth,
may you of that have quick replenishment!
O purifying One, may my thrust never
reach Right into your vital points, your heart!

Your circling seasons, nights succeeding days,
your summer, O Earth, your splashing rains, your autumn,
your winter and frosty season yielding to spring---
may each and all produce for us their milk!...

From your numberless tracks by which mankind may travel,
your roads on which move both chariots and wagons
your paths which are used by the good and the bad,
may we choose a way free from foes and robbers!
May you grant us the blessing of all that is wholesome!

She carries in her lap the foolish and also the wise.
She bears the death of the wicked as well as the good.
She lives in friendly collaboration with the boar,
offering herself as sanctuary to the wild pig....

Peaceful and fragrant, gracious to the touch,
may Earth, swollen with milk, her breasts overflowing,
grant me her blessing together with her milk!

The Maker of the world sought her with oblations
when she was shrouded in the depth of the ocean.
A vessel of gladness, long cherished in secret,
the earth was revealed to mankind for their joy.

Primeval Mother, disperser of men,
you, far-flung Earth, fulfill all our desires.
Whatever you lack, may the Lord of creatures,
the First-born of Right, supply to you fully!

May your dwellings, O Earth, free from sickness and wasting,
flourish for us! Through a long life, watchful,
may we always offer to you our tribute!

O Earth, O Mother, dispose my lot
in gracious fashion that I be at ease.
In harmony with all the powers of Heaven
set me, O Poet, in grace and good fortune!


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