Listen to the above audio to understand who is greater - Indra or Varuna?
We saw how the Asuras under Vrishakapi organized a Sautramani yaga at Balkh in which Indra was invited and insulted.
The scholars turned into two camps and started debating as to who is superior, Indra or Varuna.
Asuras wanted to establish Varuna above Indra.
During the debates prominent Sages supported Indra.
Encouraged by this Indra declared war upon the Asuras then and there and killed 150 of them.
But the dispute still continued.
Instead of two, three schools of thought emerged.
One group supporting Indra's superiority, a second group supporting Varuna's superiority, and a third group saying that Indra and Varuna are equals.
Since the Sautramani yaga at Balkh had failed, Indra was insulted there, it was decided that another Somayaga should be held in the honor of Indra alone.
A rishi called Hiranyagarbha was invited to officiate this Somayaga.
This Hiranyagarbha was the grandson of Viswamitra.
Again the dispute came up at the venue of this yaga as to who is superior, Indra or Varuna.
Sage Hiranyagarbha declared that there is someone above both of them.
The 121st sukta of the 10th mandala of Rigveda is about this -
हिरण्यगर्भ: समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जात: पतिरेक आसीत्।
स दाधार पृथिवीं द्यामुतेमां कस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम॥
There are 10 richas in this sukta out of which nine end with the question कस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम.
Whom should we make offerings to?
These mantras assert that the very first Prajapati, Hiranyagarbha is above both Indra and Varuna.
Varuna and Indra coexist within Hiranyagarbha.
And they are equally important.
Varuna is the water element and Indra is the fire element, Soma and Agni.
Agneeshomeeyam jagat, and the whole universe is a perpetual interplay of these two elements.
So Sage Hiranyagarbha refused to make offerings neither to Indra nor to Varuna.
At that time Vasishta was called in.
Vasishta used to be an ally of Varuna.
Earlier, during the Viswamitra episode, Varuna had helped Vasishta.
But this time, due to the impropriety that happened at Balkh during the Sautramani yaga,Varuna took Indra's side and made offerings to Indra.
When Varuna heard about this, he was offended and he imprisoned Vasishta.
Vasishta apologized to Varuna.
The 86th sukta of the 7th mandala of Rigveda is about this.
न स स्वो दक्षो वरुण ध्रुतिः सा सुरा मन्युर्विभीदको अचित्तिः ।
अस्ति ज्यायान्कनीयस उपारे स्वप्नश्चनेदनृतस्य प्रयोता ॥६॥
Vasishta tries to reason with Varuna.
Whatever I have done based on genuine knowledge can not be a sin.
Only acts such as gambling, drinking, and also laziness, anger - these are sins.
It is from such mantras that Dharma shastra develops.
From these statements.
Once he was released from captivity, Vasishta took a stand that Indra and Varuna are equals.
Even Sages, Medhatithi and Vamadeva took this stand.
You will be able to see suktas like the 41st of the 4th mandala in which Vamadeva praises both of them alike; 17th of the first mandala in which Medhatithi praises them alike and 82nd of the 7th mandala in which Vasishta himself praises them alike.
Ultimately Bharata Varsha got divided into the east of Sindhu and west of Sindhu.
East of Sindhu under Sureshwara Indra and west of Sindhu under Asureshwara Varuna.
Vasishta, being friendly to both, established his ashrama right at the middle, on the banks of Sindhu.
Click below to watch Puranic Geography of Bharata Varsha Part 1
Click below to watch Puranic Geography of Bharata Varsha - Part 2
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