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One of the eight guardians of the quarters.

1) Birth.
#Varuna was the son of Prajapati Kasyapa born of Aditi. He was one of the twelve sons of Aditi (Aditya).

The twelve Adityas are Dhata, Aryaman, Mitra, Sakra, Varuna, Amsa, Bhaga, Vivasvan, Pusa, Savita, Tvasta and Visnu.
(Maha-bharata Adi Parva, Chapter 65, Stanza 15) .

These twelve Adityas were the twelve Devas (gods) known as Tusitas in the Manvantara of Manu Caksusa.
A statement occurs in Visnu Purana, Amsa 1, Chapter 15, that when Vaivasvata Manvantara was about to begin after the end of Caksusa Manvantara, the famous Tusitas united together and took birth as the sons of Kasyapa.

2) Kingship of the waters.
In Krtayuga the Devas approached Varuna and said to him.
“You must be the lord of all the waters, as Indra is our protector. You can live in the heart of the ocean. All the rivers in the world, and the ocean which is their husband will obey you. You will wax and wane along with Candra (Moon).”
Varuna agreed to comply with their request.
All of them anointed Varuna as the King of the waters. (Maha-bharata Salya Parva, Chapter 47).

3) The Guardian of the quarter west.
Brahma appointed Varuna as the guardian of the western zone.
Vaisravana once did penance before Brahma, and when Brahma appeared before him, he made a request that he should be appointed as one of the guardians of the quarters. Brahma replied.
“I have already selected Indra, Varuna and Yama as guardians of the points. I was thinking who, the fourth, should be, when you came. So from this day onwards, Indra shall be the guardian of the East, Yama that of the South, Varuna, that of the West and you Vaisravana shall be the guardian of the North.” After saying this, Brahma disappeared. Thus Varuna became the guardian of the West.
(Uttara Ramayana).

4) Family.
Varuna had several wives and children. Prominent among them were Gauri and Varunani. Mention is made about the sons Susena, Vandi and Vasistha and daughter Varuni.
Carsani was another wife of Varuna. Prajdpati Bhrigu, who died in the sacrifice of Daksa took birth as the son of Varuna and Carsani.
Devi Jyestha, the daughter of Priest Sukra was another wife of Varuna. The children of Jyestha were Bala, Sura the Suranandini and Adharmaka the destroyer of the elements.

The semen of Varuna fell on Valmika (White-ant-hill) from which the great hermit Vdlmiki was born. Besides them, Daksasavarni, the ninth Manu was the son of Varuna. Puskara was another son of Varuna.
The handsome Puskara was received as husband .by the daughter of Soma (Candra). Vandi, who was defeated by the hermit Astavakra at the palace of Janaka was the son of Varuna.
(M.B. Udyoga Parva, Chapter 117, Stanza 9; Adi Parva, Chapter 66, Stanza 52; Adi Parva, Chapter 99, Stanza 5; Vana Parva, Chapter 134, Stanza 24; Valmiki Ramayana, Balakanda Sarga 17, Stanza 13; Valmiki Ramayana, Bdlakanda, Sarga 46, Stanza 36).

5) Carrying away Utathya’s wife.
Bhadra, the daughter of Soma (Moon) was extremely beautiful. Soma gave her in marriage to the hermit Utathya. Varuna carried her away. Utathya got angry and drank up the ocean dry. Varuna returned Bhadra to Utathya.
(For further details see under Utathya ).

6) Theft of Varuna’s cow by Kasyapa.
Kasvapa once decided to perform a sacrifice. He made all preparations. But he did not get the required cow at the stipulated time. So he got the Homadhenu of Varuna by theft and began to perform the yoga (sacrifice). Varuna knew this. Instantly he went to Kasyapa and demanded his cow. But Kasyapa refused to return the cow. Varuna complained to Brahma, who sent for Kasyapa and asked him about the cow and both Brahma and Varuna cursed Kasyapa that he who had taken the cow by stealth would take birth as a cowherd in Ambadi. (For further details see under Kasyapa and Nandagopa).

7) Cursing Hariscandra.
For detailed story see under Hariscandra.

8) Other information.

(i) The Vaisnava bow received by Sri Rama from Bhargava Rama, was given to Varuna. (Valmiki Ramayana, Bala Kanda, Sarga 77, Stanza 1).

(ii) The capital city of Varuna one of the eight guardians of the universe was called Sraddhavati. (Devi Bhagavata, Skandha 8) .

(iii) At the time of the burning of Khandava forest Krsna and Arjuna helped Agni. Agni prayed to Varuna to supply Krsna and Arjuna with weapons so that they might fight with Indra. Varuna appeared and gave Arjuna the bow Gandiva, a quiver which would never become empty of arrows and a banner with the emblem of a monkey depicted on it.
(M.B. Adi Parva, Chapters 234 and 237) .

(iv) The image of Varuna should be dedicated in temples as sitting on a horned shark with a rope in hand. (Agni Purana, Chapter 51) .

(v) Once Varuna gave exhortations to Puskara, which he in his turn gave to Parasurama. (Agni Purina, Chapter 151).

(vi) It is stated in Rgveda, Mandala 1, Anuvaka 2, Sukta 2, that Varuna and Mitra are the Deities of rain.

(vii) Once the King Marutta performed a sacrifice at which the guardians of the eight points were present. Rivana came to the sacrifice and tried to do harm to the hermits. At the beginning of the attack, the guardians of the points assumed forms of various creatures and escaped from the place. Varuna escaped in the form of a swan.
(Uttara Ramayana).

(viii) Ravana defeated Yama. On his return he defeated the Uragas (serpents) of Patala (Nether world). After this, he challenged Varuna, who came out with his sons and army and fought with Ravana, who won the battle. (Uttara Ramayana).

(ix) Varuna is a member of the assembly of Brahma. (M.B. Sabhi Parva, Chapter 117, Stanza 51).

(x) When Arjuna went to the world of Devas, Varuna gave him the weapon Pasa (rope). (M.B. Vana Parva, Chapter 41, Stanza 27) .

(xi) Indra, Agni, Yama and Varuna tested Nala and finally gave him blessings. (For details see under Damayanti ).

(xii) Once Varuna performed penance alongwith other gods in Visakhayupa. (M.B. Vana Parva, Chapter 90, Stanza 16).

(xiii) Varuna once gave Rcika thousand black-eared horses. (For further details see under Rcika).

(xiv) At the coronation of Sri Rama , Varuna made his appearance and proclaimed that Sita was chaste and pure. (M.B. Vana Parva, Chapter 291, Stanza 29 ).

(xv) Varuna had the bow Gandiva in his possession for hundred years. (M.B. Virata Parva, Chapter 43, Stanza 6).

(xvi) Once Sri Krsna defeated Varuna. (M.B. Udyoga Parva, Chapter l 30, Stanza 49) .

(xvii) Parnasa, the mother of the King grutayudha once worshipped Varuna with vow and fast and Varuna gave her boons and a club to Srutayudha. (M.B. Drones Parva, Chapter 92) .

(xviii) Varuna gave Subrahmanya two followers named Yama and Atiyama. (M.B. Salya Parva, Chapter 45, Stanza 45).

(xix) Besides Varuna gave Subrahmanya an elephant. (M.B. Salya Parva, Chapter 46, Stanza 52).

(xx) Once Varuna performed a Rijasuya (royal consecration sacrifice) at Yamunatirtha. (M.B. Salya Parva, Chapter, 49, Stanza 11).

(xxi) When Balabhadra Rimes died and his soul went to Pitala, there was Varuna also among those who came to receive him. (M.B. Mausala Parva, Chapter 4, Stanza 16 ).

(xxii) At the time of his great departure, Arjuna threw the bow Gandiva and the arrows over the sea to return them to Varuna. (M.B. Mahaprasthana Parva, Chapter 1, Stanza 41).

(xxiii) Words such as Aditiputra, Aditya, Ambupa, Ambupati, Amburat, Ambvisa, Apampati, Devadeva, Gopati, Jaladhipa, Jalesvara, Lokapala, Salilaraja, Salilesa, Udakapati, Varipa, Yadasambharta and so on have been used as synonyms of Varuna in Maha-bharata.