Post No. 10,505

Date uploaded in London – –   30 DECEMBER  2021         

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The most famous sentence of the Atharva Veda (AV), “O Mother Earth! I am your Son” comes in the Bhumi Sukta of AV. Greeks and other communities of the world got it from us and spread it. Now we have Mother land, Mother tongue etc in many cultures. These are the contributions of Vedic people. All the rivers in the oldest book in the world, the Rig Veda, are described as sisters and in some places Mother. Vedic people saw all things in Nature as their own kith and kin.

Let me continue my commentary from the ninth mantra/stanza out of 63 in this first hymn in Book 12 (AV.12)


This shows the geographical knowledge of Vedic Hindus about the Indian Sub Continent. Here the poet talks about the non- stopping, ever running, perennial rivers of India. Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world, describes rivers from Ganges to rivers in Afghanistan. Its geography extends from Burmese border to Iran. Very often they use the phrase 9 and 90 rivers. Though foreign translators interpreted it  ‘as a lot of rivers’ no one is able to explain the significance of 9+90 rivers.

The concept of Rashtra is mentioned in the eighth stanza itself. ‘Desa’ means place, but now used for Country= Desh; e.g.Bangladesh. But Rashtra is Nation which we use in Rashtrapathi (President of India), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang (RSS).

The poet requests Earth Mother to pour him milk ‘like a mother ‘.

Tamils use Night and Day. Vedic poets use Ahoratri = Day and Night. But both Tamil words for night and day are derived from Sanskrit. Aha= Pahal in Tamil; Ratri= Iravu in Tamil. But I have been proposing both came from the same root, demolishing the argument of Bishop Caldwell gang.

Varchas , the word for the spiritual light/knowledge, is used in this stanza and many stanzas in the hymn.



Poet describes that the Earth was measured by Asvins and strode by Vishnu. Asvins measuring earth is not explained by the commentators but Vishnu measuring the earth with Three Steps is referred to in all the four Vedas and later mythologies. Vamana- Trivikrama Avatara of Vishnu where he asked for ‘earth measuring only three steps’ is in all sculptures and devotional songs. At the Vedic level it was interpreted differently; it is Sun who traverses the sky in three steps- Morning, Mid day and evening or earth atmosphere and sky.

‘Indra freeing himself’ is the natural phenomena of releasing clouds to pour rains . Again we come across the breast feeding simile- May she pour out milk for me – ‘like a mother to her son’.

Nowadays Western countries spend lot of money in encouraging and ‘training’ mothers to breast feed their children! One of Hindus greatest discoveries and contribution to humans is Mother’s milk and Cow’s milk are almost similar. They called Cow and Earth Mother.



It is equally important for its geographical reference to Himalayas. Hima means snow. Here we come across the Sanskrit word Parvata Himavantha. Any mountain that has the height of 19000 feet or over will have snow. But for Hindus , Hima Alaya= Abode of Snow, is the only snow clad mountain which is the protective line running to 1500 miles. Kalidasa of first century BCE , with his amazing telescopic eyes, described Himalayas as the Measuring Rod of Earth. His first 10 stanzas of Kumarasambhava, describing Himalayas, is in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. Tamil poets also talk about Himalayas and Ganges and Yamuna. They never said anything about River Sindhu/Indus.

Vedic poet describes the colours of earth which shows the Vedic community had very clear knowledge of mineral wealth of India . They sing about golden jewellery and iron and copper instruments in various hymns in the Rig Veda itself.

The poet adds “On this earth I stand, unvanquished, unslain and unhurt”- a beautiful and positive picture of a Vedic society. Vedas are full of positive thoughts and pleasant and happy pictures.



The twelfth mantra of the Hymn to Earth, has the most popular and famous line ‘EARTH IS MY MOTHER, HER SON AM I’. Vedic Hindus not only loved Earth like their own mother but also gave respect to her. We are going to see it in the later part of the hymn. The poet begs to purify all human beings. He used US and not ME. Parjanya= Rain is praised as father. Like husbands help wives, Mother Earth is helped by Father Rain. The cycle of Yajna/work- rain- plants-food- man is described by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 3-14

Poet prays for tremendous energy from the navel of earth. Linguistically speaking we use many of the words even today from the above-mentioned mantras.

நாபிநேவல் NAVEL  – தொப்புள்

மத்யமிடில்MIDDLE மத்தியத்தில்

மாதாமதர்MOTHER மாது , மாதர்

புத்ரபுதல்வன் PUTRA= PUTHALVA IN PURANANURU  (புறநானூறு காண்க)

பயஹ MILK – பால் MILK  – பயன் USE – பலன் BENEFIT – பழம் FRUIT



Subrahmanya Bharati, Greatest of the modern Tamil poets, and his predecessor Bankim Chandra Chatterji of Bengal  were inspired by this Hymn to Earth. Their picture of earth and the words they used to describe the natural wealth of India point toward this.

Here is the Second National Anthem of India Vandematarm by B C Chatterji and its translation by Bharati (Two versions are given in my Tamil article yesterday: –

From Wikipedia

Bande[c] Mātaram.
Sujalāṃ suphalām

Suhāsinīṃ sumadhurabhāṣinīm
Sukhadāṃ baradāṃ[d] Mātaram.

Abalā[f] kena mā eta bale[g]!
Namāmi tarinīṃ

Tumi bidyā[j] tumi dharma
Tumi hrṛdi tumi marma
Tbaṃ[k] hi prānāḥ śarīre.
Bāhute[l] tumi mā śakti,
Hṛdaye tumi mā bhakti,
Tomārai pratimā gaṛi mandire mandire.

Tbaṃ[m] hi Durgā daśapraharanadhārinī
Kamalā kamala-dalabihārinī
Bānī[n] bidyādāyinī[o]
Namāmi tbaṃ[p]
Namāmi kamalām
Amalāṃ atulām,
Sujalāṃ suphalām

Bande[q] Mātaram
Śyāmalām saralām
Susmitām bhūṣitām
Dharanīṃ bharanīṃ
वन्दे मातरम्
सुजलां सुफलाम्

सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीम्
सुखदां वरदां मातरम्।।

अबला केन मा एत बॅले
नमामि तारिणीं

तुमि विद्या, तुमि धर्म
तुमि हृदि, तुमि मर्म
त्वम् हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारई प्रतिमा गडी मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे।।

त्वम् हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
कमला कमलदलविहारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी,
नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलाम्
अमलां अतुलाम्
सुजलां सुफलाम्

वन्दे मातरम्
श्यामलाम् सरलाम्
सुस्मिताम् भूषिताम्
धरणीं भरणीं

Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleams,
Cool with the winds of delight,
Dark fields waving, Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease,
Laughing low and sweet,
Mother, I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low,
Mother, to thee I bow. [Verse 1]

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands,
When the swords flash out in seventy million hands,
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and strong,
To thee I call, Mother and Lord!
Thou who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foemen drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free. [Verse 2]

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Thou art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image divine.
In our temples is but thine. [Verse 3]

Thou art Goddess Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen,
Thou art Goddess Kamala (Lakshmi), lotus-throned,
And Goddess Vani (Saraswati), bestower of wisdom known
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleams,
Dark of hue O candid-fair [Verse 4]

In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free! [Verse 5]


TAGS —  Mother Earth, I am Son, Vandemataram, B C Chatterjee, Bharati