The Maruts were originally the storm and wind gods of the RIG VEDA. They accompanied INDRA, king of the gods, who holds a lightning bolt. In various references they are said to be 27, 49, or 180 in number. They throw thunderbolts, churn up wind, and cause the Earth to quake with their fury.
   In the Puranas the Maruts are instead seen as the sons of Kashyapa and Diti. Having no child, Diti asked her RISHI husband for a boon. She wanted a child who could defeat Indra. Her husband said this could happen if she carried the son in her womb for 100 years while remain-ing completely pious and pure. At the 99th year, she is said to have faltered and Indra, anxiously observing, split the embryo into seven parts to become the seven Maruts. The name Marut was given to them by Indra when he told them not to cry (rut).
   Further reading: Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978); E. Washburn Hopkins, Epic Mythology (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986); W. J. Wilkins, Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, 2d ed. (Calcutta: Rupa, 1973).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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