Reassessing Varuṇa’s name

Abstract : New assessment of the formation of the name of the Vedic god Varuṇa, which remains a puzzle. The paper reviews some of the most significant etymological attempts. All derivations from a Proto-Indo-European formation have been abortive or dubious. It is commonly accepted that Varuṇa is the embodiment of kingship, and belongs to the group of Vedic social gods. There is one epithet of Varuṇa which goes back to Indo-Iranian: 'having broad gaze, far-seeing', which has a nearly exact match in Old Avestan. This corresponds to a well-known feature of the royal power, and of Varuṇa, either alone or together with Mitra. Then, it is proposed to trace back Varuṇa’s name to an adjective connected with urú- 'broad, wide', várivas- 'width, broadness'. His name meant originally 'the one characterized by width', understood of gaze, assuring thus his control over the whole world.
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Contributor : Georges-Jean Pinault <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 11:24:22 AM
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Georges-Jean Pinault. Reassessing Varuṇa’s name . Hans Henrich Hock. Veda and Vedic literature. Select papers from the Panel on "Veda and Vedic literature" at the 16th World Sanskrit Conference (Bangkok, Thailand, 28 June-2 July 2015), DK Publishers Distributors, pp.53-71, 2016, 978-81-932319-4-4. ⟨halshs-01445683⟩



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