In the Puranas there are references to 49 gods who are known as “Maruts”. All of them are the sons of Kasyapa. The story of how the child in Diti’s womb was cut into 49 pieces which became 49 Maruts is given in Chapter 71 of Vamana Purana as follows:
Kasyapa’s first wife Aditi became the mother of Devas and his second wife Diti became the mother of Daityas
The chief of the Devas was Indra and the chiefs of Daityas were Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu.
At the request of Indra, Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakagipu were slain by Visnu. Diti who was grieved at the death of her sons, approached Kasyapa and requested him to give her a son who would be strong enough to kill Indra. Kasyapa told her that if she could perform tapas for 1O,OOO Divyavarsas with due observances, she would get a son who would be able to kili Indra and conquer the three worlds. He gave her a long list of conditions to be observed during the tapes, some of which were as follows:
Do not injure any creature; do not curse; do not tell lies; do not cut nails or hair; do not touch any unclean object; do not get angry, do not speak to wicked people; do not wear soiled clothes; do not wear garlands used by others; do not eat what is left over by another; do not eat food touched by a Sudra woman.
Putting on clean, white dress, carrying auspicious substances, everyday before breakfast, cows, Brahmanas, goddess Laksmi and Kasyapa himself should be worshipped.”
This observance is known as “Pumsavana.” He said that if she performed the tapes with this austere observance, a son capable of killing Indra would be born to her.
Diti started the observance as advised by her husband. Kasyapa left for Udaya mountain.
After his departure, Indra came to the Asrama and pretending friendship offered to serve Did as an attendant. Diti accepted his offer and allowed him to serve her. One day Diti who was utterly tired fell asleep and Indra took advantage of this opportunity and gained entrance into her womb through her nostrils. He cut the child in Diti’s womb with his weapon Vajra into seven pieces. At that time the child cried aloud and Indra said to it
“Ma ruda” which means “Do not cry”. He cut each of the seven pieces again into seven pieces and thus 49 Maruts were born out of the 49 pieces. Since Indra said “Ma rude”, they came to be known as “Marut”. All these #Maruts subsequently became Indra’s servants.
After this, Indra with his weapon came out of Did’s body. With joined palms he begged Did’s pardon and explained to her that he destroyed the child in her womb since he was destined to be his enemy.
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