In the subsequent mythological literature Varuna is described as the presiding deity of the western quarter and as the lord of oceans, water and aquatic animals. In some of the temples he is depicted as riding on a crocodile. In two of his four arms he holds the serpent and the noose (pasa). Sometimes he is pictured as riding in a chariot drawn by seven swans and holding the lotus, the noose, the conch and a vessel of gems in the four hands. There is an umbrella over his head.
Though he only has about a dozen hymns addressed to him in the Rig Veda, Varuna seems to be one of the most important of the Vedic gods. In pre-Vedic times, he was the supreme lord of the cosmos, the keeper of divine order, the bringer of rain, the enforcer of contracts. He is called omnipotent and omniscient; he is responsible for the sun to move in the sky, for day and night to stay separate, and for the earth to keep its form; he watches the flight of every bird, is present at every gathering, and knows every thought.