Page:History of India Vol 1.djvu/95

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65
HYMNS TO THE GOD VARUNA

"O Varuna with thy weapons! I come trembling even like a cloud driven by the wind. O thou of great power! have mercy, have mercy!

"O rich and pure Varuna! I have been driven against righteous acts through weakness. O thou of great power! have mercy, have mercy!

"Thy worshipper hath thirsted even when living in water. O thou of great power! have mercy, have mercy!

"O Varuna! we are mortals. In whatever way we have sinned against gods, in whatever manner we have through ignorance neglected thy work—O do not destroy us for these sins."

Despite the sanctity invariably ascribed to Varuna, however, he was less popular than Indra, who is peculiarly Indian and is unknown to other Aryan nations. One of the most famous legends about Indra, probably the most famous legend in the Aryan world, is the myth of his destruction of the demon Vritra, who confined the waters and would not let them descend until Indra struck the monster with his thunderbolt. The captive waters then descended in copious showers, rivers rose almost instantaneously, and gods and men rejoiced over the changed face of nature. The Maruts, or storm-gods, helped Indra in the battle; sky and earth trembled at the noise. Vritra long waged an unequal combat, only to fall and die at last—the drought was over, and the rains began. Many are the hymns in the Rig-Veda which recount this conflict, but here we have space to cite only one:—