Chapter 17: Prithu Mahârâja Gets Angry with the Earth :
Slokam- 1 to 36.
(1) Maitreya said: 'After the son of King Vena thus had been glorified for his qualities and actions as a manifestation of the Supreme Lord, he pleased those who had spoken with gifts and honored them with praises. (2) The brahmin leaders, the other castes, the servants, the ministers, the priests, the citizens, all his subjects, the different communities and his admirers he all properly respected.'
(3) Vidura said: 'Why did Mother Earth who has so many forms, assume the form of a cow? And with King Prithu milking her, who was there as the calf and what was the milking pot? (4) How leveled he her [the goddess] who by nature is sloped and for what reason stole the godhead (Indra) the sacrificial horse? (5) O brahmin, what state was attained by the saintly king after he from the mighty Sanat-kumâra* who is so well versed in Vedic lore had received the practical knowledge? (6-7) Please, your goodness, narrate to this so very attentive devotee everything else about the Supreme Personality of Krishna whom we know as Adhokshaja [the One beyond the senses] and who as the son of Vena milked the earth in the form of that cow. It undoubtedly is a pleasure to listen to the stories about him who from the piety of his previous incarnation arrived at such powerful and glorious activities.'
(8) Sûta said: "Thereupon saint Maitreya very pleased with Vidura being so inspired by the narrations about Vâsudeva, praised him and replied. (9) Maitreya said: 'When King Prithu was enthroned by the brahmins my best, and declared to be the protector of the people, the citizens suffered a shortage of food. They with their bodies emaciated because of the hunger then approached him, the protector of the surface of the earth, in order to inform him.
(10-11) 'O King, suffering a hunger that burns like a fire in the hollow of a tree, we today have come to you to take shelter with you. For you are the appointed person and master to be consulted who must give the orders. Please your Majesty, try therefore to provide us who suffer from hunger o master over all rulers of men, with food. If you don't act as the protector of the people and the leader of the food supply, we will perish!'
Prithu gets angry(12) Maitreya said: 'Prithu hearing the citizens lamenting their pitiable condition, for a long time contemplated o best of the Kurus, and discovered the cause. (13) Having arrived at that conclusion he with intelligence took up his bow and fixed, like he was the angry Lord of the three Cities [Lord S'iva who once pierced three fortresses with one arrow], an arrow on it and aimed at the earth. (14) When the earth saw that he had taken up his bow and arrows, she, having turned into a cow, fled away trembling as afraid as a deer chased by a hunter. (15) With his eyes turned red of anger chasing the cow, the son of Vena then laid an arrow on his bow wherever she fled. (16) Seeing the king coming after her with his weapons raised, the goddess ran randomly in all the four directions, fleeing hither and thither wherever heaven meets earth. (17) Just like man unable to escape from death, she nowhere in the world being able to escape from the hand of the son of Vena, finally turned back, very scared and very saddened at heart.
(18) She said: 'Since you are now the great one of fortune o knower of the religion, o shelter of the afflicted, please save me. For Your Majesty is there for the protection of the living. (19) Why is it that you want to kill the very person so poor who is without any sin? How can you wish to kill a woman like me, you whom one considers a knower of the principles? (20) If no one should ever strike a woman, not even when she is sinful, how much more wouldn't that be true for a personality like you o King, a human being so full of mercy and affection for the poor? (21) If you break me, this very strong boat carrying all the world, how can you hold yourself and your people afloat then?'
(22) King Prithu replied: 'O dear source of wealth, with you not obeying my rules I will have to kill you because you, who do accept your share of the offerings, do not provide us with the produce. (23) You eat the greenest grass daily but we are never certain of the milk provided by your udder. Is it not demanded to administer punishment to a cow that is indubitably in offense? (24) Not very intelligent disobeying me you do not yield the seeds for the plants, herbs and grains for us, which originally were formed by the Creator but now are hidden by you inside of you. (25) To put an end to the misery of all the distressed who suffer from hunger, I will now cut your flesh to pieces with my arrows. (26) Whether it concerns a man, a woman or an eunuch, kings who kill him who as the lowest of all is after his self-interest with no compassion for other living beings, are not really engaged in killing. (27) You, so foolish and conceited, prove yourself to be a cow of illusion. I will thus with my arrows cut you to pieces as small as grains, for I, by the power of my yoga, will personally uphold all these citizens.'
(28) Being that angry he had assumed the form of death personified. The surrendered planet earth who had to tremble all over, then with folded hands spoke. (29) The earth said: 'My respects for the Transcendence, the Original Person who by the material energy expanded into a variety of forms. Unto that source of the qualities I offer my obeisances, unto that original form of Him who with all of His love and actions as a doer Himself is never affected because He is not bewildered by the waves of the ocean of matter. (30) He by whom I as an abode for all living beings was created as a combination of the different modes and elements, He in His own right ready with His weapons before me wants to kill me now, but what other shelter should I resort to but Him? (31) As the One who in the beginning by His inconceivable potency created all these moving and nonmoving entities and offered them the protection of His shelter, You who by that same mâyâ now proves to be him, this king, how can You, who wants to offer protection as someone strictly following the principles, wish to kill me? (32) Because of His unconquerable potency no doubt the plan of the Supreme Master is never clear to human beings who always fall short. He indeed who by His inconceivable powers and lordship caused the creator and his creation, is the One in the many. (33) I offer Him my obeisances who is the cause of the creation, dissolution and maintenance of this world, Him who by dint of His powers is the cause of the physical elements, the senses and the controlling demigods, the intelligence and the identification with matter, unto Him who manifests and restricts these energies and is the transcendental Original Personality and Cause of all Causes. (34) It was You who factually created this world consisting of the elements, the senses, the mind and the heart o Powerful One, o Unborn One. It was You who as the original boar [Varâha] maintaining me, lifted me from the lower regions out of the water.
(35) Having put me on top of the water with the living entities standing upon me as in a boat, You, who indeed want to offer protection, as a hero have become the keeper of the earth. And now You want to kill me with sharp arrows because of [missing] my milk! (36) The ways and activities of Your divine incarnations can never be fully understood by living beings like me or by common people whose minds as a consequence of Your energy are bewildered by the modes. My obeisances for all that You are, You who brings renown to the heroes themselves.'