By Swami Harshanananda
There are many Vedic gods out of which the Marudgaṇa or a group of Maruts is the one. They are described by some modern scholars as the personification of storms. Their number is mentioned sometimes as 21 and sometimes as 180.
They are depicted as the sons of Rudra and Pṛśni. They are handsome, fiery in color and nature. They live in the antarikṣa Lightning and thunderbolt are their weapons. Giving rains to us is one of their important duties. Though terrifying in appearance they are full of compassion towards their votaries. Several hymns of the Ṛgveda praise them.
The epics contain an interesting story about them. When Diti, the mother of the daityas (demons), was pregnant and expecting a very powerful son as per the blessing of her husband Kaśyapa, Indra, the king of gods, is said to have stealthily broken the foetus into 49 parts. These ‘babies’ started weeping. At the request of their mother Diti, Indra granted them protection and godhood. He made them the controllers of wind.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore