Bhu-devi was being submerged into the cosmic ocean by the demon king Hiranyaksha. She appealed to Brahma but Brahma could not do anything. He said to Bhu-devi ‘Appeal to the greater force, which is Maha-Vishnu, Narayana Himself. Appeal to Him, He shall protect you.’
She appealed to Narayana. So Narayana manifested Himself as Varaha, the boar avatar. There was a big fight between Hiranyaksha and Varaha. Varaha killed Hiranyaksha and saved Mother Earth. Then in the Srimad Bhagavatam – it depends on which version you read − Maha-Vishnu said to Bhu-devi ‘You will be ever-present on my chest. From now on, people will venerate You as My wife and whenever You are in distress, I shall manifest Myself on You, to save the world.’ She played a great role.
That's why in the Hindu tradition, the first thing we do when we start a prayer, is to ask permission from Her. We touch the earth and ask Her for permission to start the prayer. So you see how important She is. Yet, I will ask the people present here, how many times do you think of Her? Now you are thinking of Her because probably, a month ago, you were preparing to come here. Apart from that, before, in your life itself, how many times did you ever think of Her? We think of other deities, we think of Brahma, of Vishnu, because they are more known. But here you walk on Her, you do everything on Her, but yet She is forgotten. From time to time, She will manifest Herself by trembling in some places. Then you say ‘Oh the earth has trembled there.’ Still, people will not take it in, they will not see why it has trembled somewhere. They will say ‘Poor people, houses have fallen,’ but they don't see that this Mother is suffering.
Learn how to venerate Bhu-devi in upcoming Vedic chanting courses dedicated to learning from the great bhaktas. One of the verses you will learn is from the Narayana-suktam:
vi̱śvata̱ḥ para̍mān-ni̱tya̱ṁ vi̱śvaṁ nā̍rāya̱ṇa(g)ṁ ha̍rim |
viśva̍m-e̱vedaṁ puru̍ṣa̱stad viśva̱m-upa̍jīvati || 2 ||
He is superior to this universe, endless and multi-form. He is the goal of humanity and the Destroyer of sin. That Supreme Person is the universe and the Creator thereof.