MARUTS - the Matsya Purana, with an addition from the Brahma Purana
by Mantra & shlokas on Friday, July 23, 2010 at 1:05pm
It is a common saying in Hindi "Katha Kahe, So Kathak Kahaye" meaning "He who tells a story is story teller".
As usual this story is also from the Purnas. It is taken from the Matsya Purana, with an addition from the Brahma Purana to establish that Indra is the God of Rains, Thunderbolts and Lightning.
Ker-POW! Lightning and Thunder strikes!!
In the naimisharanya, the sages were in an assembly, and Romaharshana started singing the praise of sage Vishwamitra."Years ago" he began, "there was a terrible draught in the world and there was nothing to eat".
Sage Vishwamitra his wife, children and his disciples had all come to the banks of the river Gautami Ganga in search of food, but nothing was available, except the body of a dead dog. As instructed by the sage his disciples cleaned the dead dog's body and prepared it to offer to the Gods, prior to eating it themselves. Lord Indra somehow came to know this, and taking the form of a hawk, he stole the morsel of the dog's meat, because he felt that offering Dog's meat to the Gods and Goddesses is an insult to them.
Through his yogic powers Vishwamithra came to know who had stolen the Dog's meat, and he was about to curse Indra, when Indra, afraid that he would be cursed, came down hurriedly to the river's banks with a pot of Amrita in place of the dog's meat.
"I don't want any Amrita, bring me back the Dog's meat. When the whole world is suffering without any food and people are starving, you are bringing me Amrita ? In this condition I do not see any sin in eating Dog's meat and offering it to the Gods also."
Poor Indra did not know what to do. He is the God of rains, and the world's weather is controlled by him and his Maruts. So to save himself from the anger of sage Vishwamitra he instructed the Maruts to produce rains which they did and after which only sage Vishwamitra and his family with the disciples consented to have Amrita as food. Today, this place is known as Vishwamitratirtha.
INDRA & THE MARUTS.
Who are these Maruts?
"The Vedas describe the MARUTS as the weather Gods. They produce rains with lightnings and thunderbolts. They are courageous young men who wear helmets, breastplates and bracelets of gold. Maruts also wear animal skins over their shoulders. Maruts ride in a chariot with golden wheels. This chariot is pulled by three deers. Their world is called Maruta, which is the appointed heaven of Vaisyas."
According to the Matsya Purana, there is always some misunderstanding between the Gods and the Demons and Diti, the Mother of the demons (daityas) is unhappy that Lord Mahavishnu is killing all her sons.
You all know, that Diti is the wife of sage Kashyapa, and one day she went to him requesting that another mighty son should be born to her, who will kill Lord Indra. Kashyapa told her that if she so desires to have a very powerful son, who is capable of killing Lord Indra, she must make a difficult tapasya on the banks of the river Saraswathi, at a place called Syamantapanchaka.
As instructed byKashyapa, Diti went to Syamantapanchaka and started on her meditation, living on roots and fruits only. She continued thus for a hundred years.
Kashyapa pleased with the prayers of his wife, appeared before her, and said "Diti, I am pleased with your devotion. You have made tremendous sacrifices and you deserve a boon. Ask, and it shall be given."
"Pray Lord, Grant me a son, who will kill Indra." was her only request.
"It shall be as you wish. But there are some conditions. You will have to live in this ashramam for another hundred years. Every day you are carrying this son of yours, you will not go out of the ashramam for any exercise. You will not sleep without taking a bath, nor will your hair be unbraided. You will eat only once in a day, and that too in the morning. Most important, you will not sleep inside the ashramam; you will have to sleep under this tree. And after successful completion of another hundred years, your son will be born."
Diti agreed to all these conditions put forward by her husband, knowing too well that they were very hard to follow. Kashyapa, left her in the ashramam and went on his way.
It was a very rigorous test of the will power of a woman, but Diti continued with these difficult conditions. Not a single day passed without her observing these regulations. Years passed. Lord Indra came to know of this. Naturally, he was not happy and he started to device a means whereby this penance of Diti would be broken.
Leaving his Indraloka, Indrani & Airavatha he came down to earth, and strated to be of service to Diti, his aunt, as a servant.
In the beginning, Diti was not happy, but as days passed, she accepted the service of her nephew, Lord Indra, as she was becoming tired of following these difficult regulations. Ninetynine years and three hundred and sixty two days were over, and with just three days for the baby to be born, Diti committed the first mistake in her life. That day, she missed to take a bath, and braid her hair, and went to sleep under the tree.
Indra was waiting for such an opportunity. He knew that if the child is born it would definitely kill him. So, he instructed the thunderbolt, Vajra, to cut the baby inside the mother Diti into seven pieces. Because of his magic power Diti was fast asleep and did not know what happened to her son.
When the baby was cut into seven pieces, they started to cry.
"Ma Ruda" Indra said, which means "do not cry". They continued to cry, so Indra decided to cut them into seven pieces each, and by the morning when Diti woke up she had forty nine individual children instead of one powerful son.
"Diti," said Indra, "you did not obseve your penance properly. Now your sons cannot kill me. They will join me. I shall make them demi-Gods, and they will fight my battles. They will create stroms, rain and thunder showers on my behalf. They will be the drivers of the clouds, the bringers of wind, the fellers of trees, and the crushers of mountains. They will accompany me in battles and will adorn my court as Demi -Gods. I shall call them the MARUTS, who will control the forty nine winds and are free to travel all over the world and will not be obstructed by mountains, rivers or seas. The rest of their lives they shall be my attendants."
The Maruts were very happy to be by the side of Indra. When Diti saw her forty nine children lined up behind Indra, she felt very happy and strangely comforted.
"Indra, forgive me for my evil thoughts. Your action makes me happy and I am comforted that my Maruts will be by your side. You may take them."
So saying, Diti left the ashramam at Syamantapanchaka on the banks of the river Saraswathi, and joined her husband Kashyapa in his hermitage.
All things said and done, one must not underestimte Indra who is a very powerful god. He controls many things and he is a great warrior.
In the end Diti realised this to her advantage.