Categories: Hindu God and Goddess

Maruts: Stormborn Deities of Vedic Mythology

In Hinduism, the Maruts are powerful deities associated with storms, said to be born from Rudra and Prisni. They’re known for their fierce nature and are sometimes equated with Rudras. Their count varies from 27 to 60, as mentioned in the Rigveda. Described as wielding lightning and thunderbolts, with iron teeth and roaring like lions, they’re symbols of intense energy and force. They’re believed to reside in the northwest and travel in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.

Maruts

In Vedic mythology, the Maruts are depicted as close companions of Indra, often depicted as a troop of youthful warriors. They play significant roles in battles and are associated with the power of thunder and lightning. Georges Dumezil, a scholar of comparative mythology, draws parallels between the Maruts and similar figures like the Einherjar and the Wild Hunt, suggesting a common thread of warrior spirits across different cultures.

Legend and Mythology

Encountering the Maruts

In the Rigveda’s Hymn 66 of Mandala VI, the Maruts are depicted as celestial beings arising from the metamorphosis of a rainstorm into storm deities. They are described as adorned with golden helmets and breastplates, wielding axes to cleave clouds and usher in rain. Their power is portrayed as so formidable that they can make mountains tremble with their might.

Origins and Relationships

The Maruts are said to be the offspring of Rudra, a deity associated with storms, thunder, and the hunt. Despite this lineage, they were initially aligned with Indra, the paramount deity in Vedic mythology, often referred to as Marutvant, meaning “Accompanied by the Maruts.” Alongside them rides Rodasi, a female deity whose relationship with the Maruts varies. She is depicted as their mother, the wife of Rudra, or their collective wife symbolizing lightning, further highlighting the complex web of relationships in Vedic mythology.

Role in Mythology

The Maruts play a significant role in assisting Indra, particularly in his battles against adversaries like Vritra, the serpent demon who hoarded the waters. They lend their power to Indra, amplifying his strength and aiding him in his triumphs. However, conflicts arise between Indra and the Maruts, particularly regarding their roles in battles and their entitlement to sacrifices. Despite these disputes, they maintain their place alongside Indra in Vedic mythology, appearing alongside him in various contexts and narratives.

Later Traditions

In later Hindu traditions such as the Puranas, the origin story of the Maruts diverges. They are said to have been born from the broken womb of the goddess Diti after Indra intervened to prevent her from birthing a son who would threaten his position as king of heaven. Diti had intended to carry her pregnancy for a century, posing a significant threat to Indra’s supremacy. This variation highlights the evolution and adaptation of mythological narratives over time within Hindu tradition.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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