Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 4: Chapter 17: Verses 1-17
Maltreya continued : Thus glorified by recounting his virtues and exploits, the celebrated Lord Prthu gratified the panegyrists by honouring them with presents of their choice and applauding them. He (further) greeted with due honour (members of) all the (four) Varnas (grades of society), from the Brahmana downwards, nay, his servants, ministers and family priests, the citizens as well as the inhabitants of his entire state, people following the various trades and the (various) functionaries and officials (of the state). Vidura said : Wherefore did Earth who could take any number of forms, (particularly) assume the form of a cow that Prthu milked ? Who played the role of a calf for the time being and what served as the milk-pail ? Uneven (undulated) by nature, how was the earth made even (levelled) by him? And with what motive did the god (Indra) steal away his sacrificial horse? Having acquired spiritual knowledge and wisdom (direct realization of the Truth) from the worshipful sage Sanatkumara, the foremost of those who have realized Brahma (the Absolute), O holy Brahmana, what was the destiny he attained to? I am your loving devotee as well as of Lord Sri Krsna (who is above sense-perception). Therefore, be pleased to recount to me all the other glorious and holy deeds of the almighty Lord Sri Krsna of bright renown, connected with the story of that former manifestation of His; for (I know) it was no other than Sri Krsna who milked this earth in the form of Prthu (sonof Vena). Suta continued : Urged in this way by Vidura to repeat the narrative of Lord Vasudeva, the sage Maitreya applauded him and with a glad heart replied to him (as follows). Maltreya said : When Prthu, dear Vidura, was crowned and appointed by the Brahmanas as the ruler of the people, his subjects, whose body had been emaciated through starvation, the soil being left without any (crop of) foodgrains, approached their lord and said: (9) "Oppressed with the gastric fire even as trees with the fire burning in their hollows, O king, we have resorted today for protection to you, who are fit to protect us and have been made available to us as our lord, capable of providing us with means of living. You are the protector of the world as well as the bestower of livelihood. Do you endeavour, therefore, to give us food, afflicted as we are with hunger, O king of kings, before we perish for want of provisions." Maitreya went on : On hearing the piteous lament of the people, O chief of the Kurus, Prthu pondered long and (at last) was able to perceive the cause (of the disappearance of foodgrains, viz., that Earth herself had held up the foodgrains within her bosom). Having arrived at the above conclusion by force of reason, he took up his bow, and in great indignation fitted an arrow to it, aiming it at Earth, even as Lord Siva (the Destroyer of Tripura or three towns built of gold, silver and iron in the heavens, air and earth by the demon Maya) aimed His shaft (at Tripura). Seeing him with an uplifted weapon, Earth began to tremble and, assuming the form of a cow, ran in terror like a doe chased by a hunter. His eyes turned crimson with wrath, the son of Vena thereupon followed her, with the arrow fitted to his bow, whithersoever she ran (for shelter). Running towards the various quarters (north, east, south and west) and intermediate quarters (north-east, south-east, south-west and north-west) as well as towards heaven and earth and the region lying between the two, the goddess (Earth) saw him with an uplifted bow wherever she went. She obtained no asylum against the son of Vena even as created beings find no immunity from death.