Srimad Ramayana mentions about the creation of Earth as follows:

सर्वम् सलिलम् एव आसीत् पृथिवी यत्र निर्मिता |
ततः समभवद् ब्रह्मा स्वयम्भूर् दैवतैः सह || २-११०-३

All was water only in the beginning from which element the earth was formed. After that, the self-existent Brahma with all the gods came into existence.

स वराहः ततो भूत्वा प्रोज्जहार वसुंधराम् |
असृजच् च जगत् सर्वम् सह पुत्रैः कृत आत्मभिः || २-११०-४

Thereafter, that Brahma, assuming the form of boar, caused the earth to rise from water and with his sons of pure soul, created the entire world.

The question is not about who raised the Earth.

The question is about where from the Earth was raised. Many scholars translated the word salilam (सलिलम्) as water, and commented that the Earth was raised from water.

However, water is also a part of Earth. Then how can the Earth be raised from water?

By the way, the salilam (सलिलम्) has another meaning also, apart from water: waves, kind of wind.

So can we think that the Earth might have been brought out from the space, but not out of water?

  • पृथिवी वसुंधरा also means ground, soil... hope this helps Oct 22, 2015 at 9:55
  • here is another interpretation of that. The story of creation is that from AUM came Space, Air, Fire, Water and then the Earth. So in a way Earth arose from Water. That is what may be described as Earth rising from water. God q
    – Sai
    Oct 22, 2015 at 14:46
  • Related or duplicate From where does the water come at the end of Kalpa?
    – The Destroyer
    Dec 21, 2017 at 16:30

5 Answers 5


The water here referred to is the water of the cosmic ocean - Garbhodaka Ocean.

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Half of the Hiranyagarbh is filled with water and the other half is space, the space in which we live. All the stars and galaxies are in this space.

According to SB 2.7.1

Only under certain conditions do the planets float as weightless balls in the air, and as soon as these conditions are disturbed, the planets may fall down in the Garbhodaka Ocean, which covers half the universe. The other half is the spherical dome within which the innumerable planetary systems exist. The floating of the planets in the weightless air is due to the inner constitution of the globes, and the modernized drilling of the earth to exploit oil from within is a sort of disturbance by the modern demons and can result in a greatly harmful reaction to the floating condition of the earth.

The earth fell into this ocean so Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Varaha and brought back earth from the depths of Garbhodaka ocean.

  • What you quoted is the commentary from SB 2.7.1, so, you should make it clear in your answer that it's commentary and not the actual translation of SB 2.7.1 Oct 22, 2015 at 14:44
  • @Chinmay Sarupria: If it is cosmic ocean - Garbhodaka Ocean, then it is indicating space only. That is what my question is all about. Whether the word salilam indicates space? Oct 23, 2015 at 1:00
  • @srimannarayanakv The cosmic ocean is not space. It refers to a cosmically large body of water outside of the physical Universe. Oct 23, 2015 at 3:14
  • @KeshavSrinivasan: If it is water, how will it hold itself in the universe without support? Oct 23, 2015 at 3:21
  • 2
    That is not a belief, that Hiranyagarbh really exists, it is egg shaped. This universe is not infinite, the total distance of Hiranyagarbh is given in Srimad Bhagavatam.
    – Pinakin
    Oct 23, 2015 at 3:30

However, water is also a part of Earth. Then how can the Earth be raised from water.? How to know ocean exsisted out of ocean?

The explanation is given in Shreemad Bhagvat Purana ,where the story of Varaha avatara is discussed in detail.SB 3.13: The Appearance of Lord Varāha

It's said in that chapter that earth was submerged in the great water.

यदोकः सर्वभूतानां मही मग्ना महाम्भसि ।
अस्या उद्धरणे यत्नो देव देव्या विधीयताम् ॥3.13.15॥

yad okaḥ sarva-bhūtānāḿ mahī magnā mahāmbhasi
asyā uddharaṇe yatno deva devyā vidhīyatām

O master of the demigods, please attempt to lift the earth, which is merged in the great water, because it is the dwelling place for all the living entities. It can be done by your endeavor and by the mercy of the Lord.SB 3.13.15

So at that time earth was submerged in flood water i.e. by a deluge. At the same time the earth itself was under water of ocean.

So what is this ocean? There were two oceans one was on earth ,and one was inside which earth itself was submerged.

सृजतो मे क्षितिर्वार्भिः प्लाव्यमाना रसां गता ।
अथात्र किमनुष्ठेयमस्माभिः सर्गयोजितैः ।
यस्याहं हृदयादासं स ईशो विदधातु मे ॥3.13.17॥

sṛjato me kṣitir vārbhiḥ plāvyamānā rasāḿ gatā
athātra kim anuṣṭheyam asmābhiḥ sarga-yojitaiḥ
yasyāhaḿ hṛdayād āsaḿ sa īśo vidadhātu me

Brahma thought: While I have been engaged in the process of creation, the earth has been inundated by a deluge and has gone down into the depths of the ocean. What can we do who are engaged in this matter of creation? It is best to let the Almighty Lord direct us.SB 3.13.17

It's said in Dwadasha Skanda -Chapter four of the same Purana ,which is describing four types of Annihilation's that at the time of Annihilation the shell of the universe gets fully submerged in water forming single cosmic ocean.

So at that time the earth as whole was also submerged in cosmic ocean ,which forms during Annihilation .i.e. Pralaya. So at the time Lord Varaha lifted the earth ,the ocean in which she was under was the ocean formed during previous Annihilation (Pralaya).

शतं वर्षाणि वर्षन्ति नादन्ति रभासस्वनै:।
तत एकोदकं विश्वं ब्रह्माण्ड विवरान्तरम् ।।12.4.13।।

tata ekodakaḿ viśvaḿ

At that time, the shell of the universe will fill up with water, forming a single cosmic ocean.SB 12.4.13

Thus there were two separate oceans. one was on the earth which was filling whole earth ,and the other was cosmic ocean from the time of previous Annihilation.

  • 1
    Where are you getting the notion that there was an ocean on the Earth which was filling the whole Earth? It sounds like all the verses you're quoting are discussing water coming from outside the Earth. Dec 21, 2017 at 16:19
  • @KeshavSrinivasan - Yes your are pretty right. This is not directly mentioned. But i was referring from -vedabase.com/en/sb/3/8/10 and the last verse. But since earth is separate entity from the space , when the universe was under cosmic oceean the earth was also filled with water. And with that it submerged under the cosmic ocean. But I have kept these two things separate because. I was actually answering previous question"How to know ocean exsisted out of ocean?" So my argument was according to that Q. But i will try to find ref.abt this & if not will alter or delete my answer. Dec 21, 2017 at 16:46
  • @KeshavSrinivasan - haha interestingly Devi Bhagvatam seems to say so.- books.google.co.in/… Dec 21, 2017 at 16:56
  • @KeshavSrinivasan - But still it's unclear. I will try :-) Dec 21, 2017 at 17:30
  • 1
    Well, during the Pralaya, Samvartaka clouds come and pour rain. They're external to the Earth. In any case, I'm not clear on this stuff either. But this question and answer are relevant: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/9322/36 Dec 22, 2017 at 6:47

I will give my answer according to my research, i didn't meant to deny ur answers, its just my opinion.....

The cosmic ocean means the ocean of consciousness...the whole universe existed from a single powerful consciousness making an ocean of consciousness,the place where nothingness floats without air and space no creation indescribable place....since the scriptures are told in peotic analogy since ancient times, they describe the vastness of the ocean which human can't reach with this eternal unending empty sphere asthe ocean....there the one God the Bramhan alone lies in full bliss and awareness.......the hirayasha is indeed a demon but existing in invisible spirit with a force of nature like black holes....took the earth deep down in eternity into deep space of consciousness below where it would endanger the planet itself.... according to scriptures everything is souls, so the mother earth as spirit cries to the Lord beyong this image of the universe existing in that eternal undescribale space for help and he manifested and took the earth into the orbit which now lies entangled with the sun perfectly inorder.... imagine my friends if Lord Vishnu himself doesn't save it....it would flung deep down....

  • Yeah doesn’t have to be literal waters and such, I agree with your “poetic analogy” idea in Hindu texts 🕉 Dec 7, 2022 at 18:00
  • At the same time as understanding poetic analogy, I do wonder what happens to the huge amount of bio hazard toxins from military and factories chemicals, plastic pollution and micro plastics in the ocean at end of each chaturyug & kalp. Does it get broken down safely to smaller biodegradable stuffs so the earth and animals are not harmed by it 😭 Dec 7, 2022 at 18:10

The water does not literally mean our common place water. Water is the infinite unmanifest cause of the universe.

Water originated from fire. When the earth was destroyed in the fire and everything merged within (the water), when, therefore, the mobile and immobile beings were also destroyed, nothing could be known (seen) in that vast ocean of water [1], Then Brahma, called Narayana, Lord Brahma of thousand eyes, thousand legs and thousand heads, the Purusa who is golden in complexion beyond the ken of sense organs, slept in that water.

Due to the preponderance of Sattva, he woke up and he beheld that the world was a void. About Narayana they cite this verse.

We have heard the epithets of waters, that waters are called Nara, and that they are minute or subtle bodies. Since he lies in waters, he is therefore called Narayana.

Having spent the whole period of night equal to a thousand yugas, at the close of the night, he assumed Brahmahood for the purpose of creation.

Vayu Purana I.6.1-6

[1]Ekarnava, ‘the primeval watery flood’ expresses the infinite unmanifest cause of the universe. Nilakantha on HV,P 3.9.1-4 calls it the Karana Brahman from which all life comes into being. Puranas believe in this doctrine and use Maharnava, agadha, stabdha, salila (HV 3.10.1), Yuganta-taya ‘Water flood at the end of Yuga’ (Bh. P III.8.23) as synonyms for Ekarnava.

Scholars interpret water as quite different from our everyday idea of water.

That the "waters" in the cosmogenic hymns and indeed elsewhere mean something other than just "water" as known on earth will be shown in the course of this study. All comes from the "waters" and all is fashioned of them. The Taitt. A.1.22 says clearly that fire, wind, the sun and moon, the year, Parjanya the god of rain, have their abode in the waters and the waters in them, that the worlds lie in the waters like a boat floating on them. It will be seen that in addition, all the other gods dwell and reveal in the waters and feed on them, that the waters of space of Rig Veda are the aether of the Greeks, the akasa of Hindu philosophy, the womb of all universes. Not only are these waters an "abode" in the sense of matrix, birth-place, cradle, but they are very substance of all things. This is confirmed in the Chandogya Upanishad which states that the waters assume the different forms, become the sky, the earth, the beasts, worms, ants, everything (Chand Up VII.10.1). The Aiteriya Aranyaka summarizes this view very simply: "All this was water. This water was the root, yonder world was the sprout." (Ait Ar, VI,8.1)

The Cosmic Waters by Jeanine Miller, Chapter 1


The Earth was raised from Water.

The creation process.:

As, Taittiriya 2.1.1. says.:

तस्माद्वा एतस्मादात्मन आकाशः सम्भूतः । आकाशाद्वायुः । वायोरग्निः । अग्नेरापः । अद्भ्यः पृथिवी ।

From That, verily,—from This Self (Atman)—is ākāśa (ether) born; from ākāśa, the air; from the air, fire; from fire, water; from water, earth;.

Again, Srimad Devi Bhagwatam Says.:

Dharmarāja said :-...By Whose command the wind supports the water; the water supports the tortoise; the tortoise supports the Ananta and the Ananta supports the earth; the earth supports the oceans, mountain and all the jewels. The earth is of the nature of forgiveness, i.e., endures all. For this reason all things, moving and non-moving, rest on Her and again melt away in Her...(Srimad Devi Bhagwatam Maha Puranam 9:38:7-79).

So, from, Atman (Self) comes Akasa (Sky/Space), from space comes wind, from wind comes fire, from fire comes water, from water comes earth and again from earth comes mountains, oceans, jewels, etc, etc, etc.

To elaborate it even more.:

1. From Bhagawan Sakshat Nirguna Para Shiva (Adho-Mukha/Atman/Mokshātita), comes Saguna Bhagawan Sada Shiva (Ishana/Param-Purusha/Akasha/Moksha),

2. from Sada Shiva, comes Ishwara (Tat-Purusha/Prakriti/Wind/Maya),

3. from Ishwara, comes Rudra (Aghora/Intellect/Fire/Regeneration),

4. from Rudra, comes Vishnu (Vāmadeva/Water/Preserva/Ego),

5. from Vishnu, comes Brahma (Sadyojāta/Mind/Earth/Creation) and

6. from Brahma, starts the Secondary creation.

"yo vedaadau svaraH prokto vedaante cha pratishhThitaH | tasya prakR^itiliinasya yaH paraH sa maheshvaraH " (Taittiriya Aranyaka

"It is Lord Maheshwara who transcends the syllable Om which is uttered at the commencement of the recital of the Vedas, which is well established in the vEdAnta (Upanishads) and which is dissolved in the primal cause during contemplation".

"kaa.nsyaghaNTaaninaadastu yathaa liiyati shaantaye | o~Nkaarastu tathaa yojyaH shaantaye sarvamichchhataa | yasminviliiyate shabdastatparaM brahma giiyate | dhiya.n hi liiyate brahma so.amR^itatvaaya kalpate |" (Brahmavidya Upanishad 12-13).

"And just as the sound of a metal utensil – or of a gong dies in silence – so he, who seeks the All lets the OM sound fade away in silence. For that wherein the sound fades away is the Brahman, the higher. Yea, the whole sound is Brahman and conduces to immortality”.

“nama stArAya cha” Yajurveda (IV:5:8:h)

“Salutations to Lord Rudra who is the Pranava (TARAKA) Mantra – OM”.

2.3 It is advised that the five gods Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Isvara and Shiva should be worshipped in the form of pranava [Aa + Uu + Ma + Nāda (sound) + Bindu (full stop)]. (Atharva Sikha Upanishad).

आश्रयाश्रयहीनोऽस्मि आधाररहितोऽस्म्यहम् । बन्धमोक्षादिहीनोऽस्मि शुद्धब्रह्मास्मि सोऽस्म्यहम् ॥९॥

III-9. I am free from the concept of substratum and that of the object resting on it; I am devoid of a prop. I am above captivity (bondage) and liberation, I am the pure Brahman, I am He. (Maitreya Upanishad).

eko hi rudro na dvitīyāya tasthur ya imāṃl lokān īśata īśanībhiḥ | pratyaṅ janāṃs tiṣṭhati sañcukocānta-kāle saṃsṛjya viśvā bhuvanāni gopāḥ ||2||

Rudra is truly One; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He Ishana, alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self (Atman) of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time. (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣhad III:1-21 of the Yajurveda).

I hope this clarifies all your queries.

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