Who is Varuna, The Hindu Goddess?

Who is Varuna, The Hindu Goddess?
Posted on 20-06-2023

Who is Varuna, The Hindu Goddess?

Varuna is a prominent deity in Hindu mythology, revered as the goddess of cosmic order and the celestial waters. She holds a significant place in Hinduism, representing the fundamental principles of righteousness, truth, and universal order. Varuna's divine attributes and mythological significance are intricately woven into the religious and cultural fabric of Hindu society. This article explores the origins, mythology, symbols, and worship associated with Varuna, shedding light on her role as a goddess and her influence on devotees.

Origins and Iconography

Varuna's origins can be traced back to the Vedic period, the earliest layer of Hindu scriptures, where she was initially revered as a male deity. As a god, Varuna represented the cosmic order (rita) and was associated with the sky, the celestial bodies, and the vast cosmic waters. Over time, Varuna's gender underwent a transformation, and she began to be depicted as a goddess, associated with the nurturing aspects of water.

Varuna is often depicted with a serene countenance, seated on a lotus throne, symbolizing purity and spiritual enlightenment. She is portrayed as having multiple arms, holding various attributes such as a conch shell (representing the primal sound of creation), a discus (symbolizing divine power), a noose (denoting control over negative forces), and a vessel (representing the cosmic waters she governs).


Mythology and Symbolism

Varuna's mythology is rooted in the ancient Hindu scriptures, including the Rigveda, the Puranas, and the epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In these texts, Varuna is depicted as a compassionate and just deity, responsible for maintaining the cosmic order and dispensing karmic justice.

Varuna's association with water symbolizes her role as the overseer of the cosmic waters, including oceans, rivers, and the rain. She governs the natural cycle of water, ensuring its sustenance and balance. Varuna's ability to control the waters also grants her authority over cosmic phenomena related to rainfall, storms, and floods.

In Hindu mythology, Varuna is often invoked as a witness to solemn oaths and contracts. As a cosmic seer, she is believed to be all-knowing and impartial, observing the actions of mortals and ensuring that they adhere to dharma (righteousness). Varuna's divine eye sees through deception and falsehood, emphasizing the importance of truthfulness and ethical conduct.

Varuna is also associated with moksha, the ultimate liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The cosmic waters she governs are regarded as purifying and capable of washing away the sins and impurities of devotees, enabling them to attain spiritual enlightenment and liberation.


Worship and Festivals

Devotion to Varuna is primarily observed in certain regions of India, particularly in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Temples dedicated to her can be found in these regions, and rituals and ceremonies are conducted to honor and appease the goddess.

One of the most significant festivals dedicated to Varuna is Varuna Puja, also known as Varuna Jayanti or Varuni Ekadashi. Celebrated on the eleventh day of the Hindu lunar month of Jyeshtha (May-June), this festival is dedicated to appeasing Varuna and seeking her blessings for protection from natural calamities, particularly droughts and floods. Devotees offer prayers, perform sacred rituals, and make offerings of fruits, flowers, and sacred water to Varuna during this festival.

Another important festival associated with Varuna is Makar Sankranti, celebrated in mid-January. It marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn and the onset of longer days. During this festival, people take holy dips in rivers, symbolizing a purification of the body and soul. It is believed that by immersing themselves in the sacred waters, devotees can seek Varuna's blessings and forgiveness for their sins.

Apart from specific festivals, Varuna is also worshipped during various other occasions, such as weddings, housewarming ceremonies, and agricultural rituals. Her presence is invoked to bless these events, ensuring prosperity, harmony, and protection.


Philosophical and Cultural Significance

Varuna's role as the goddess of cosmic order and the celestial waters holds deep philosophical and cultural significance in Hinduism. She embodies the ideals of righteousness, truth, and ethical conduct, serving as a moral compass for devotees.

Varuna's association with water and her ability to purify devotees' sins signifies the importance of personal transformation and spiritual purification. Just as water cleanses and purifies the body, seeking Varuna's blessings can purify the soul and lead to spiritual growth and enlightenment.

The goddess's connection to cosmic phenomena like rainfall and storms highlights the interconnectedness of nature and the universe. Hindus recognize the divine presence in every aspect of creation, and Varuna's association with natural elements serves as a reminder of the inherent divinity in the world around them.

Varuna's emphasis on truthfulness and ethical conduct promotes a just and harmonious society. Her divine eye that sees through deception inspires individuals to embrace truth and integrity in their words and actions. By upholding dharma and following Varuna's example, devotees strive to create a more virtuous and equitable world.

Furthermore, Varuna's role as a witness to oaths and contracts underscores the sanctity of promises and commitments. Hindus believe that invoking Varuna as a witness ensures accountability and integrity in interpersonal relationships and societal transactions.


Varuna, the Hindu goddess of cosmic order and waters, represents the principles of righteousness, truth, and universal harmony. Her transformation from a male deity to a revered goddess signifies her nurturing aspects and her association with water. Through her mythology, Varuna embodies the ideals of cosmic justice, karmic balance, and spiritual purification. Devotees worship and seek her blessings, particularly during festivals like Varuna Puja and Makar Sankranti, to ensure protection from natural calamities and to purify their souls. Varuna's symbolism and teachings hold deep philosophical and cultural significance, emphasizing the importance of ethical conduct, truthfulness, and respect for natural forces. By invoking her divine presence, Hindus seek guidance in upholding dharma and leading a virtuous life. Varuna's influence extends beyond the realm of mythology, inspiring individuals to embrace righteousness and contribute to a more just and harmonious society.

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