Saturday, December 24, 2011


God of:Order (ṛta), Law, the Sky and the Ocean
Affiliation: Aditya, Asura but later on as a Deva, Guardians of the directions
Abode: Celestial ocean (Rasā)
Mantra: Oṃ Vaṃ Varuṇāya Namaḥ
Weapon: Pasha (Lasso) or Varunastra
Consort: Varuni
Mount: Makara (Hindu mythology)
Planet: Venus

Though he only has about a dozen hymns addressed to him in the Rig Veda, Varuna seems to be one of the most important of the Vedic gods. In pre-Vedic times, he was the supreme lord of the cosmos, the keeper of divine order, the bringer of rain, the enforcer of contracts. He is called omnipotent and omniscient; he is responsible for the sun to move in the sky, for day and night to stay separate, and for the earth to keep its form; he watches the flight of every bird, is present at every gathering, and knows every thought.

His name means "he who covers", and this probably refers to the sky. Varuna is the keeper of the cosmic order, a force called rta. It is rta which keeps everything working as it should, and Varuna's role as the one who governs rta makes him very important indeed. He is very closely linked to the god Mitra. Varuna is one of the Adityas and considered to be an asura, when those beings were still god-like and had not yet degenerated into demons. He is also associated with the moon and Soma, in Soma's incarnation as the drink of the gods. Varuna is seen as a white man in golden armor riding a Makara (a sea monster), holding a noose or lasso made from a snake.

Varuna is the keeper of the celestial waters, those which flow from the openings in the sky in the form of rain. He was worshiped with veneration and a healthy amount of fear, for as an asura Varuna did have his sinister aspects and was known to punish mortals who did not keep their word. He was the cosmic hangman and his usual method of punishment was to capture the offender with his noose. He was also a lord of the dead, a position he shared with Yama, and could confer immortality if he so chose.

In Vedic times, the worship of Varuna fell off as he was supplanted by Indra as king of the gods. One possible reason for this may go back to Indra's most famous exploit. When Vritra stole all the waters of the universe, the waters which Varuna was in charge of, it was Indra who had to fight the demon and get them back. It may have been because of this that Indra was able to supplant the overlordship of Varuna and become lord of the gods himself. Varuna then became god of the oceans and rivers; still important, but with hardly the grandeur he once had. The souls of those who drowned went to him, and he was attended by the nagas.
Varuna faded away with the ascendancy of Shiva and Vishnu. His lofty position may have lived on, however, for he may be the same as the Zoroastrian supreme god Ahura Mazda.

FROM: "Varuna"
© MCMXCV - MMVI Encyclopedia Mythica™. All rights reserved.
One of his hymns in the Rig Veda:
HYMN XXV. Varuṇa.
1 WHATEVER law of thine, O God, O Varuṇa, as we are men,
Day after day we violate.
2 give us not as a prey to death, to be destroyed by thee in wrath,
To thy fierce anger when displeased.
3 To gain thy mercy, Varuṇa, with hymns we bind thy heart, as binds
The charioteer his tethered horse.
4 They flee from me dispirited, bent only on obtaining wealth,
As to their nests the birds of air.
5 When shall we bring, to be appeased, the Hero, Lord of warrior might,
Him, the far-seeing Varuṇa?
6 This, this with joy they both accept in common: never do they fail
The ever-faithful worshipper.
7 He knows the path of birds that fly through heaven, and, Sovran of the sea,
He knows the ships that are thereon.
8 True to his holy law, he knows the twelve moons with their progeny:
He knows the moon of later birth.
9 He knows the pathway of the wind, the spreading, high, and mighty wind:
He knows the Gods who dwell above.
10 Varuṇa, true to holy law, sits down among his people; he,
Most wise, sits there to govern all.
11 From thence perceiving he beholds all wondrous things, both what hath been,
And what hereafter will be done.
12 May that Āditya, very wise, make fair paths for us all our days:
May he prolong our lives for us.
13 Varuṇa, wearing golden mail, hath clad him in a shining robe.
His spies are seated found about.
14 The God whom enemies threaten not, nor those who tyrannize o’er men,
Nor those whose minds are bent on wrong.
15 He who gives glory to mankind, not glory that is incomplete,
To our own bodies giving it.
16 Yearning for the wide-seeing One, my thoughts move onward unto him,
As kine unto their pastures move.
17 Once more together let us speak, because my meath is brought: priest-like
Thou eatest what is dear to thee.
18 Now saw I him whom all may see, I saw his car above the earth:
He hath accepted these my songs.
19 Varuṇa, hear this call of mine: be gracious unto us this day
Longing for help I cried to thee.
20 Thou, O wise God, art Lord of all, thou art the King of earth and heaven
Hear, as thou goest on thy way.
21 Release us from the upper bond, untie the bond between, and loose
The bonds below, that I may live.

This God of the Waves is said to dwell in a house with a 1000 doors so that he is always accessible to men. In the Vedas he is more powerful than all the other gods because he is said to be the creator and sustainer of the universe and the administrator of the cosmic law. Day and night appear at his bidding and rivers are channelised according to his plans. Varuna is supposed to avenge sin and falsehood and his eye is the sun which keeps a watch on all mortals. In his hand he carries a rope to bind sinners with, symbolic of man being fettered by his sins. He is depicted as four-faced, with a 1000 eyes, is the colour of snow and appears wearing a golden mantle.

In the Mahabharata, he is the lord of the waves and of rivers, god of fluidity and movement. He is significant also because he was present at the birth of Arjuna and presented him with his bow, Gandiva, with which Arjuna won the battle against the Kauravas. According to the Puranas he is said to have carried away Bhadra, the wife of the sage Utathya, whose curse caused Varuna's abodes, the oceans and rivers, to dry up. Thus the god was forced to return Bhadra to her husband, who then allowed the waters to flow again, but Varuna was forced to forego his prominence and one does not find any new images of him.

But since his abode is Pushpagiri, the underwater mountain, he is the protector of fisherfolk, who still invoke him when they go out on to the high seas. Being the god of the rivers, he is also propitiated in times of drought.

FROM: MantraOnNet: Varuna.

Makara (Hindu mythology) * also the mount of Ganga
Wikipedia entry
Varuna Gayatri
Varuna, God of the Oceans - Giclee Print | painting
The Vedic Gods: Indra, Agni, Soma, Varuna - ReligionFacts
Varuna Gayatri Mantra – to learn the truth, eliminate legal problems and establish honesty.
'King Varuna is there
Varuna and Indra

Hymns (Rig Veda):
HYMN XVII. Indra-Varuṇa
HYMN XLI. Varuṇa, Mitra, Aryaman.
HYMN CXXXVI. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN CXXXVII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN CLI. Mitra and Varuṇa
HYMN CLII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN CLIII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN XLI. Indra-Varuṇa.
HYMN XLIL Indra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXII. Mitra-Varuṇa
HYMN LXIII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LX1V. Mitra-Varuṇa
HYMN LXV Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXVI. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXVII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXVIII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXIX. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXX. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXXI. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXXII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXVIL Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXVIII. Indra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LX. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXI. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXIII. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXIV. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXV. Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXVI Mitra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXXXIT. Indra-Varuṇa
HYMN LXXXIII. Indra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXXXIV. Indra-Varuṇa.
HYMN LXXXV. Indra-Varuṇa.
HYMN XI. Indra-Varuṇa.

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