तडितोऽधि वरुणः संबन्धात् ॥ ३ ॥
taḍito’dhi varuṇaḥ saṃbandhāt || 3 ||
taḍito’dhi—After the deity of lightning; varuṇaḥ—(comes) Varuna (rain-god); saṃbandhāt—on account of the connection.
3. After (reaching) the deity of lightning (the soul reaches) Varuna, on account of the connection (between the two).
The Chhandogya text reads, “From the sun to the moon, from moon to lightning.” The Kaushitaki text reads, “From Vayu to Varuna.” Combining these two texts we have to place Varuna after lightning, on account of the connection between the two. Varuna is the god of rain, and lightning precedes rain. So after lightning comes Varuna. And after Varuna come Indra and Prajapati, for there is no other place for them, and the Kaushitaki text also puts them there.
So the complete enumeration of the stages of the path of the gods is as follows: First the deity of the flame or fire, then the deity of the day, the deity of the bright half of the month, the deities of the six months when the sun travels to the north, the deity of the year, the deity of the world of gods, the deity of the air, the sun, the moon, the deity of lightning, the world of Varuna, the world of Indra, the world of Prajapati, and finally Brahmaloka.