Prithivi is earth, one of the five ELEMENTS (mahab-hutas) of reality. The word is also a name of the earth goddess in the Vedas. In the RIG VEDA and ATHARVA VEDA prithivi, or the “Earth,” is called the mother, while the sky is considered father. Together they are frequently called parents, or even the parents of the gods; frequently the Sun is mentioned as their child. The Earth is seen as protecting, sustaining, and nourishing but is only rarely referred to without reference to the sky. In later Hindu mythology the earth goddess was called Bhumi Devi.
   Further reading: Ralph R. T. Griffith, The Rig Veda (New York: Motilal Banarsidass, 1992); Marta Van-nucci, Ecological Readings in the Veda (New Delhi: D. K. Print World, 1994).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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