Prithvi or Goddess Earth is revered in Hinduism and some branches of Buddhism. She is Mother Earth. She is also associated with the cow. Prithu, a form of Vishnu milked her as a cow. In the Rigveda she is addressed along with the sky or dyaus pita and she is prithvi mata. She is a national personification in Indonesia, where she is known as Ibu Pertiwi. Pṛithvi Sukta or Bhumi sukta is a hymn in the Atharvaveda dedicated to Prithvi. As per Buddhism Prtihvi protects and is witness to Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment. The Buddha is seen in bhumisparsa mudra or earth touching gesture at many places.
The sculpture below is in high relief and is carved in a shallow niche at Udaigiri in Madhya Pradesh. The relief depicts Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu, rescuing the Earth Goddess ,Bhu devi or Prithvi from the engulfing ocean. Varaha lifts Bhu Devi on his massive shoulder, his foot subduing a naga who folds his hands in obeisance,while gods and sages surround Varaha in recognition of the miracle. A circular lotus flower appears above the god’s head.
Varaha with Bhu devi,sculpture, red sandstone,3rd century,Mathura,LACMA,USA.
By Wikipedia Loves Art participant “ARTiFACTS” [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Varaha lifting Bhu devi or Prtihvi,5th century, Udayagiri Caves, Madhya Pradesh.
By Michael Gunther (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The sculpture below too depicts the Varaha, incarnation of Vishnu. Goddess Prithvi is also depicted; being lifted by Varaha in this sculpture. The sculpture is located at inner walls of the sanctum area of the Lakshmana temple.
Varaha with Prithvi, Lakshmana temple,12th century,Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.
By Rajenver (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Pruthu chasing the goddess Earth or Bhu ,illustration, Bhagavata-purana,Guler,18th century.
By Attributed to: Manaku, Indian, () [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Varaha killing demon Hiranyaksha and lifting Bhu devi or the Earth above the ocean,Chamba,18th century.
By Anonymous (British Museum ) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.