Rudras by Soma and Adityas by Varuna. To overcome the asuras, all gods
accepted Indra as their leader.
Rig Vedic Period Indra or Purandhara was the most important god of the
Rig Vedic period (250 Rig Vedic hymns are devoted to him). He plays the
role of the warlord and is also considered to be the rain god. He is a warrior
and king, through whose exploits the world has been ordered and who
continues to be invoked to battle all those forces, both human and
supernatural, that prevent Aryan prosperity. A hymn tells of his most
significant victory, his triumph over the demon Vritra and the release of the
waters. Vritra was a gigantic serpent who lay coiled around a mountain
within which all the world’s waters were entrapped. After a ferocious battle,
Indra kills Vritra with his mace, the vajra, breaks open the mountain, and lets
the waters pour out. Vritra’s name means ‘obstacle’, and this victory over the
‘obstacle’ is paradigmatic for Indra’s conquest of all obstacles.
    Agni was the second most important god (200 Rig Vedic hymns are
devoted to him). He is the fire god and is considered to be the intermediary
between the gods and the people. The god Agni is the personification and
deification especially of the sacrificial fire. He is the priest of the gods and
the god of the priests. In the Rig Veda he is second only to Indra in
prominence. He has three forms: terrestrial as fire, atmospheric as lightning,
and celestial as the sun. Thus, his function as the sacrificial fire of the priests
serves as a kind of liaison between man and the gods carrying to the gods the
oblations that the Brahmin priests pour into the fire. The correct propitiation
of Agni in the Vedic ritual was thus of considerable importance to the
    Varuna personified water and was supposed to uphold the (Rta) or natural
order. As the administrator of the cosmic law (Rta), he regulates all activities
in this world. It is he who has spread out the earth and set the sun in motion,
and who pours out the rain but sees to it that one ocean is not overflowed by
many rivers. He is, therefore, rightly called the world sovereign. This
upholder of cosmic order is also regarded as the lord of human morality. It is
the function of Varuna to ensure that there occurs no transgression of law,
cosmic or human. He is the very image of the king as ruler and judge of his
people and, as such, is the counterpart to Indra, the image of the king as