Varuna is one of the elder gods, sovereign of the water. He is the first god of the Hindu pantheon accredited with the creation of the world. He was the first king and law giver. The prime mover of the universe, he was mostly concerned with moral and societal affairs than being a deification of nature.
Most classic religions promote the principle of the first parents. These first progenitors usually have a responsibility for the birth of the second generation of gods, who essentially form the pantheons. Ironically, these first gods are then relegated to a forgotten chapter of history. This particular phenomenon is also visible in the Hindu scriptures, with Dyauṣ and Pṛthivī, Father Sky, & Mother Earth.
In the last post in this series I took a look at the Indus valley and its gods. The reasons for the demise of the Indus valley are still debated, but it is widely believed that the migration patterns of the Aryan people bought them down into the green valleys of the Indus and beyond. The Aryans were hunter gatherers and drove herds of animals with them. The greener & warmer pastures of the belt between the Indus and the Ganges, had these people become farmers and planters and settle down in these regions.
The history of a religion traces the history of a people. Religion and belief form around the existing conditions in a peoples life.
The word Hindu and the religion know as Hinduism is not new. The faith or belief system is older than even the name given to it by the migrators, traders and even invaders coming from central Europe. The people of the Indus (Sindhu river) Valley Civilisation were called the Sindhoo people (from Sindhustan as early as the time of the Persian invasions if not earlier.It was the Portuguese & other European traders (later conquerors) that used the term Hindoo or Hindoostani to describe the people of the continent. Christian missionaries however identified the people with the religion, giving birth to the term – Hinduism.