Today's Beautiful Gem: Hymn to Mother Earth from Atharva Veda,
translation by R. T. H. Griffith.

"Truth, high and potent Law, the Consecrating Rite, Fervour, Brahma,
and sacrifice uphold the Earth. May she, the queen of all that is and
that is to be, may Earth make ample space and room for us. Not over-
crowded by the crowd of Manu's sons, she who hath many heights and floods
and level plains; She who bears plants endowed with many varied powers,
may earth for us spread wide and favour us. In whom the sea, and the
great river, and the waters, in whom our food and corn-lands had their
being, In whom this all that breathes and moves is active, this Earth
assign us foremost rank and station!

"She who is lady of the earth's four regions, in whom our food and
corn-lands had their being, Nurse in each place of breathing, moving
creatures, this Earth vouchsafe us kine with milk that fails not! On
whom the men of old before us battled, on whom the Gods attacked the
hostile demons, the varied home of bird, and kine and horses, this
earth vouchsafe us luck and splendour!

"O earth, auspicious be thy woodlands, auspicious be thy hills and
snow-clad mountains. Unslain, unwounded, unsubdued, I have set foot
upon the Earth, On earth, brown, black, ruddy and every-coloured, on
the firm earth that Indra guards from danger. O Earth, thy centre and
thy navel, all forces that have issued from thy body-- Set us amid
those forces; breathe upon us. I am the son of Earth, earth is my
Mother. The Rain God is my Sire; may he promote me.

"Earth on whose surface they enclose the altar, and all performers
spin the thread of worship; In whom the stakes of sacrifice,
resplendent, are fixed and raised on high before the oblation, may
she, this earth, prospering, make us prosper. The man who hates us,
earth! who fights against us, who threatens us with thought or deadly
weapon, make him our thrall as thou hast done aforetime."

Note: The vernal equinox occurs to-day. To-day is also the new year's
day in several parts of India. With this prayer to Mother Earth, let us
all wish each other that the new year's day and the first day of spring
bring us all hope, peace and prosperity!

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao