|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
In Hinduism the Marutas (Sanskrit: मरुत), also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Prisni and attendants of Indra, an ancient Vedic deity who later came to be identified with Shiva. The number of Marutas varies from 27 to sixty (three times sixty in RV 8.96.8). They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightning and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.
Hymn 66 of Mandala VI of the Rig Veda is an eloquent account of how a natural phenomenon of a rain-storm metamorphose into storm deities.
In the Vedic mythology, the Marutas, a troop of young warriors, are Indra's companions. According to French comparative mythologist Georges Dumézil, they are cognate to the Einherjar and the Wild hunt.
According to the Rig Veda, the ancient collection of sacred hymns, they wore golden helmets and breastplates, and used their axes to split the clouds so that rain could fall. They were widely regarded as clouds, capable to shaking mountains and destroying forests.
According to later tradition, the Marutas were born from the broken womb of the goddess Diti, after Indra hurled a thunderbolt at her to prevent her from giving birth to too powerful a son. The goddess had intended to remain pregnant for a century before giving birth to a son who would threaten Indra.