This God of the Waves is said to dwell in a house
with a 1000 doors so that he is always accessible to
men. In the Vedas he is more powerful than all the
other gods because he is said to be the creator and
sustainer of the universe and the administrator of
the cosmic law. Day and night appear at his bidding and rivers are
channelised according to his plans. Varuna is supposed to avenge sin
and falsehood and his eye is the sun which keeps a watch on all mortals. In his hand he carries a rope to bind sinners with, symbolic of man
being fettered by his sins. He is depicted as four-faced, with a 1000
eyes, is the colour of snow and appears wearing a golden mantle.
In the Mahabharata, he is the lord of the waves and of rivers, god of
fluidity and movement. He is significant also because he was present
at the birth of Arjuna and presented him with his bow, Gandiva, with
which Arjuna won the battle against the Kauravas. According to the
Puranas he is said to have carried away Bhadra, the wife of the sage
Utathya, whose curse caused Varuna's abodes, the oceans and rivers,
to dry up. Thus the god was forced to return Bhadra to her husband,
who then allowed the waters to flow again, but Varuna was forced to
forego his prominence and one does not find any new images of him.
But since his abode is Pushpagiri, the underwater mountain, he is
the protector of fisherfolk, who still invoke him when they go out on to
the high seas. Being the god of the rivers, he is also propitiated in
times of drought.