1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Varuna

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VARUNA, in early Hindu mythology, the greatest, with Indra, of the gods of the Rig Veda. He is invoked with his double Mitra in some dozen hymns. As contrasted with Indra the war god, Varuna is the lord of the natural laws, the up- holder of the physical and moral order of the universe. His power is limitless, his anger at wrong-doing unassuageable, and he is omniscient. He makes the sunshine; the wind is his breath; river valleys are hollowed out at his command. Unlike Indra, Varuna has no myths related of him. In the later Vedic period he is specially connected with the nocturnal heavens. Ultimately in post-Vedic mythology he becomes the Hindu Neptune. The earlier conception of Varuna is singularly similar to that of Ahuramazda, of the Avesta. The name Varuna may be Indo-European, identifiable, some believe, with the Greek ovpavbs (Uranus), and ultimately referable to a root var, "to cover," Varuna thus meaning "the Encompasser." Among Varuna's aliases are Jalapati, "Lord of Water," and Amburaja, " King of Water."

See A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology (Strassburg, 1897).