11 May 2012

Vice President Releases Book "Atharva Veda-Prithvi Sukta"


The Vice President of India  Shri M. Hamid Ansari  released the book “Prithvi Sukta” written by Shri N.C. Joshi, Secretary, Rajya Sabha at a function here today. Addressing on the occasion, he said that Prithvi Sukta, which is part of the Atharva Veda is in the tradition of hymns to the forces of nature contained in a chronologically much earlier work, the Rig Veda. Understanding the treasures of planet earth and means to exploit and utilise them in a sustainable manner has been central to human civilization. Our earth system with its complex inter-linkages between the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, thebiosphere and the ecosphere provides us with water and land resources, ecological, water and energy resources. The Atharvaveda, and its Prithvi Sukta, has an entire hymn of sixty three verses dedicated to Mother Earth.

Following is the text of the Vice President's address :

"It gives me great pleasure to release Shri N. C. Joshi’s book on the Prithvi Sukta. The real chievement is in being able to produce this while he was fully immersed in his official responsibilities. This speaks of a rare dedication to a subject of immense interest and that was his labour of love for over a decade.

The Foreword by Dr. Karan Singh and the Introduction by Dr. Kasturirangan speak of various interpretations and esoteric connotations of the Vedic literature and of their modern scientific underpinnings. I have neither the Vedic erudition of Dr. Karan Singh or the scientific background of Dr. Kasturirangan. I wish to give a lay man’s view of the significance of the Prithvi Sukta. Prithvi Sukta, which is part of the Atharva Veda is in the tradition of hymns to the forces of nature contained in a chronologically much earlier work, the Rig Veda.

The Bhoo Suktam in the Rig Veda is the earliest hymn and aims at the unification of Yajna, which is the effort of all of to propitiate the Gods. It says:

Oh Goddess Adithi, You pervade the earth,
You are supreme in heaven, You are vast in the environment,
I place on your lap, oh Adithi, Fire, the food giver for eating of food.

The Agni Suktam is the first hymn in the Rig Veda and is addressed to Agni, the fire-god, is considered a cosmic power, and one who protects and guides human beings towards perfection.

Understanding the treasures of planet earth and means to exploit and utilise them in a sustainable manner has been central to human civilization. Our earth system with its complex inter-linkages between the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the biosphere and the ecosphere provides us with water and land resources, ecological, water and energy resources. The Atharvaveda, and its Prithvi Sukta, has an entire hymn of sixty three verses dedicated to Mother Earth.
It indeed contains essential principles of life, environmental sustainability, peaceful coexistence and resultant multicultural approaches. 

I wish to read out verses 1 and 29 which are very relevant to our troubled times of strife and conflict:

“Truth, settled laws, sacred oblation, penance,
The Supreme Reality and sacrifice
Sustain this earth
Which is the presiding deity of all those
Who exist and are yet to be born.
Let this Earth create enough space for all.”… (1)

“I address you, O Earth,
Which consecrates me.
This duty-abiding Earth expands
With offerings.
May we sit on you, O Earth,
Which fills us with agility, prosperity,
Food and clarified butter.”…..(29)

I once again congratulate Shri Joshi ji for his book and wish him all success in his future endeavours."

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