Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": VARUNA, THE ALL-KNOWING GOD


'He knows the pathway of the wind. . . '

('Rig Veda,' I, 25, 1-3, 7-14)

1. Whatever law of thine O god, O Varuna as we are men, Day after day we violoate,

2. Give us not as a prey to death, to be destroyed by thee in wrath, To thy fierce anger when displeased.

3. To gain thy mercy, Varuna, with hymns we bind thy heart, as binds the Charioteer his tethered horse. . .

7. He knows the path of birds that fly through heaven, and , sovereign of the sea, He knows the ships that are thereon.

8. True to his holy law, he knows the twelve moons with their progeny: He knows the moon of later birth 1

9. He knows the pathway of the wind, the spreading, high and mighty wind: He knows the gods who dwell above.

10. Varuna, true to holy law, sits down among his people; he, Most wise, sits there to govern all.

11. From thence percieving he beholds all wondrous things, both what hath been, And what hereafter will be done.

12. May that Adyita very wise, make fair paths for us all our days; May he prolong our lives for us.

13. Varuna, wearing golden mail, hath clad him in shining robe; His spies 2 are seated round about.

17. The god whom enemies threaten not, nor those who tyrannize o'er men, Nor those whose minds are bent on wrong.


1 Twelve months have days as the progeny: 'the moon of later birth' is perhaps an intercalary 'thirteenth' month. Thus is there no 'time' to which Varuna is not a witness.

2 Perhaps the other Adityas (cf. Rigveda VIII, 47, 11)


Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith, in his The Hymns of the Rigveda, 1 (Benares, 1889) pp.42-43

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