|Varuna 'the one who econompasses the whole
world,' is one of the oldest Vedic deities. May be he is the
personification of the sky; but he is also associated with
clouds and water, rivers and ocean. He is sometimes clubbed with
Mitra and praised (Mitravaruna).
Varuna 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 Vayu, the lord of the wind, he sustains life by
giving rain and crops.
Though Varuna was the chief deity in the beginning, he seems to
have yielded his place later on to Indra and Prajapati.
In the subsequent mythological literature Varuna is described as
the presiding deity of the western quarter and as the lord of
oceans, water and aquatic animals. 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 (pasa). Sometimes he is pictured
as riding in 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.
Vasus: Vasus are a class of deities, eight in number, chiefly
known as attendants of Indra. The word Vasu is derived from
'vas' ('to dwell,' 'to cause to dwell,' 'to shine') and hence
Vasus are deities representing all spheres of extension or
space, and height. They were perhaps personifications of nature
and natural phenomena.
The eight Vasus are: Dhara (the earth), Anala (the fire), Ap
(the waters), Anila, (the wind),. Dhruva (the polestar), Soma
(the moon), Prabhasa (the dawn) and Pratyusa, (the light).