Basic Description: Belonging to the warrior caste, the Maruts are restless, warlike young men. They are considered the embodiment of moral and heroic deeds and of the exuberance of youth. They are brutal, good-humored, feared by everyone. They spread rain and create and push away storms. They can make mountains tremble. They are sometimes considered to be the same entities, sometimes considered to be distinct. As the divinities of the winds, said to represent the life-breath of the cosmos, both are called Maruts (immortals). The Brahmanda Purana explains that the seven groups of seven Maruts dwell respectively in seven spheres known as the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, the Seven Seers (Great Bear), and the Changeless Star (Polestar). They help Indra in his wars, and he is their leader in the Mahabharata. Their leader is called Marut, Vayu or Pavan, who is considered the god of physical strength. The name Marut means weep not. It may mean flashing or shining ones or it may mean immortal.
Alternate Names: Rudras
History/Practices: In the Vedas, the Maruts are called sons-of-Rudra (Rudriyas). The Vamana Purana makes them the sons of Vision (Kasyapa) and the Primordial-Vastness (Aditi). Indra raised them to the status of gods. In the Mahabaharata and the Bhagavata Purana, they are the sons of the Law (Dharma). Other names for them include the sons and brothers of Indra, the sons of the Ocean, the sons of Heaven, and the sons of Earth. The Maruts were very important in Vedic times. They are worshipped to gain supernatural powers and for the fulfillment of ambitious projects.
Iconography: The Maruts have iron teeth, roam on golden chariots, and hold bows and arrows.
Mythology: One myth says the Maruts sprang forth from an unborn son of Diti. Vishnu had destroyed Diti's two sons, Golden-Eye (Hiranyaksa) and Golden-Fleece (Hiranya-kasipu). In her desire for revenge, Diti tried to please her husband Vision (Kasyapa) and get a son by him who could destroy Indra. Vision refused to cooperate, but advised Diti to perform the son-giving (pumsavana) penance. As she performed the ceremony. Indra descended to earth and tried to distract Diti, so that she would stop her ceremony. If she stopped even for an instant, he would have a chance to kill the forming child. Diti perservered for a long time, but eventually fell asleep. Indra immediately entered the womb of Diti, where he tore the fetus into forty-nine fragments These fragments became the Maruts. Indra made them guardians of the chalice of Soma.
Riding Animal: They are said to ride in golden chariots.
Other References on the Karma-to-Grace website:
Danielou, Alain. The Myths and Gods of India. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 1991.
Moor, Edward. The Hindu Pantheon. Los Angeles: Philosophical research society, 1976.
Thomas, P. Epics, Myths and Legends of India. Bombay; D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Private Ltd., 1989.