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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Varuna, VaruNa, Varuna

General Alliance of Varuṇa

Varuṇa ‘the one who encompasses the whole world,’ is one of the oldest Vedic deities. He is believed to be the personification of the sky and clouds. He is also associated with water, rivers and ocean. He is sometimes clubbed with Mitra and praised as Mitrāvaruṇa.

Significance of Varuṇa

Varuṇa is the king of the universe and lives in the highest world. His knowledge and power are unlimited. He has thousand eyes and oversees the whole world. Hence he is the lord of the moral law. He punishes those who transgress this law but forgives them out of compassion if they repent and pray. By activating Vāyu, the lord of the wind, he sustains life by giving rain and crops.


Mythological Significance of Varuṇa

Though Varuṇa was the chief deity in the beginning, he seems to have yielded his place later on to Indra and Prajāpati. In the subsequent mythological literature, Varuṇa is described as the presiding deity of the western quarter and as the lord of oceans, water and aquatic animals.

Picturesque of Varuṇa Deity

In some of the temples, he is depicted as riding on a crocodile. In two of his four arms he holds the serpent and the noose.[1] Sometimes he is even pictured as riding a chariot drawn by seven swans and holding the lotus, the noose, the conch and a vessel of gems in the four hands. There is an umbrella over his head.


  1. Noose means pāśa.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore