Hymn to the Earth


Atharvaveda XII.

1 N.S. Harsha. Habitual Sky Gazers, 2010. • Acrylic on canvas, 76 x 107 cm.The Hymn to the Earth is one of the most beautiful and expressive hymns in the Atharvaveda. It depiscts the Earth as a mother, as an all sustaining, patient, enduring all-stable expanse, bringing all the odors; a mother that appears from the cosmic waters and is dressed in fire. The whole hymn or many of its verses are used as blessings and also in different ceremonies: in a ceremony for giving firmness to buildings; as an appeal to the deity Vāstoṣpati, presiding over the foundation laying of a house or homestead; for safety from earthquake; in a ceremony for preventing the ground from cleaving; in the āgrahāyanī ceremony, celebrating the commencment of the year; while enclosing of the sacrificial hearth; while feeding of the fire with fuel; for protection from snakes and alike; for aquisition of pleasant odor; to accompany an act of digging in expiatory ceremonies; to accompany a sitting down in different ceremonies; when causing a guest to stand upon a cushion; in connection with rinsing the mouth; by one who desires jewels and gold; is repeated while someone goes to an assembly; in a ceremony for success, and in connection with easing nature.