in the Vedic phase of Hindu mythology, the god-sovereign, the personification of divine authority. He is the ruler of the sky realm and the upholder of cosmic and moral law (rta), a duty shared with the group of gods known as the Adityas, of whom he was the chief. He is often jointly invoked with Mitra, who represents the more juridical side of their sovereignty, or the alliance between man and man, while Varuna represents the magical and speculative aspects, or the relationship between god and man. In later Hinduism, Varuna plays a lesser role. He is guardian of the west and is particularly associated with oceans and waters. Thus he is often attended by the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. He corresponds closely to the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda.
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