The Bhagavata Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 780,972 words | ISBN-10: 8120838203 | ISBN-13: 9788120838208

This page describes The Birth of the Maruts which is chapter 18 of the English translation of the Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas containing roughly 18,000 metrical verses. Topics include ancient Indian history, religion, philosophy, geography, mythology, etc. The text has been interpreted by various schools of philosophy. This is the eighteenth chapter of the Sixth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Chapter 18 - The Birth of the Maruts

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

[Note: In the introduction of this chapter, Bhāvāratha Dīpikā states that this chapter is in continuation of the first six chapters in which the progeny of the first four sons of Aditi has been enumerated. He underscores the allegorical significance of this chapter by explaining what deities are described here.]

Śrī Śuka said:

1. Pṛśni, the wife of Savitṛ (the fifth son of Aditi) gave birth to three daughters, namely, Sāvitrī[1], Vyāhṛti[2] and Trayī[3] and (nine sons, namely,) Agnihotra[4], Paśu[5], Soma[6], Cāturmāsya[7] and the five great sacrifices[8].

2. Oh dear Parīkṣit! Siddhi, the wife of Bhaga (the sixth son of Aditi), brought forth three sons, namely, Mahiman, Vibhu and Prabhu, and a beautiful pious daughter called Āśis.

3. Out of the four wives of Dhātṛ (the seventh son of Aditi) Kuhū[9] bore Sāyam[10]; Sinīvālī[11], Darśa[12]; Rākā[13], Prātar[14]; Anumati[15], Pūrṇamāsa[16] respectively.

4. Samanantara or Vidhātṛ (the eighth son of Aditi) begot on Kriyā the Fire-gods called Purīṣya[17]. Carṣaṇī was the spouse of Varuṇa (the ninth son of Aditi. He is the deity presiding over water). To her was reborn Bhṛgu (the son of Brahmā).

5-6. Vālmīki, another son of Varuṇa, was a great Yogī. They say that he was born from an ant-hill. The sages Agastya and Vasiṣṭha were born of Mitra and Varuṇa who, in a jar, deposited their semen that was discharged at the sight of and in the vicinity of the celestial damsel Urvaśī. Mitra (the 10th son of Aditi) begot through Revatī three sons, namely, Utsarga, Ariṣṭa, and Pippala.

7. We are told that the king of gods, Indra, (the 11th son of Aditi) procreated through Paulomī or Śacī three sons, namely, Jayanta, Ṛṣabha and the third Mīḍhusa, Oh child!

8. Urukrama who was god Viṣṇu who appeared as Vāmana through his own divine Māyā (and who was the 12th son of Aditi) begot on his wife Kīrti, a son called Bṛhacchloka who was the father of Saubhaga and other sons.

9. We shall narrate in detail later (in Skandha VIII) the feats, excellences and the deeds of the high-souled son of Kaśyapa, namely, Vāmana, and also how he incarnated as the son of Aditi.

10. Now, I shall describe to you the sons of the sage Kaśyapa from his spouse Diti. Among them were born the great devotees of Viṣṇu, namely, the glorious Prahlāda and Bali.

11. Diti had two sons, namely, Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyākṣa who were respected by Daityas and Dānavas. They were described (formerly in Skandha III).

12. 15. The wife of Hiraṇyakaśipu was a Dānava lady called Kayādhu. She was the daughter of Jambha and was given in marriage to Hiraṇyakaśipu. She gave birth to hour sons, namely, Saṃhrāda the elder-most, and Anuhrāda, Hrāda and Prahlāda. Their sister was Siṃhikā by name. She got from Vipracittia son called Rāhu whose head was lopped off by Hari with his disc (Sudarśana) while he (Rāhu) was drinking ambrosia. Kṛti the wife of Saṃhrāda gave birth to Pañcajana. Dhamanī the wife of Hrāda bore Vātāpi and Ilvala. It was Ilvala who cooked Vātāpi for the celebrated guest Agastya.

16. Anuhrāda brought forth through his wife Sūrmyā two sons Bāṣkala and Mahiṣa. The son of Prahlāda was Virocana who had from his spouse Devī, a son called Bali.

17. From Bali, a hundred sons out of whom Bāṇa was the eldest, were born to (Bali’s queen) Aśanā. We shall recount later on (in Skandha VIII) the glory of Bali which deserves celebration.

18. Having propitiated god Śiva, Bāṇa attained the first place among his attendants. The glorious god Śiva is by his side and He is still guarding his capital city.

19. Diti had sons called Maruts. They were forty-nine in number. All of them were childless and they were brought over by Indra and were converted to his own class of gods.

The King (Parīkṣit) said:

20. Oh Preceptor, how did Indra convert their inborn demonic nature to godhood? What obligations did they render to Indra which made him convert them into gods.

21. Oh worshipful sage, these other sages along with me, earnestly desire to know the details. You should therefore expound that to us.

Sūta said:

22. Oh Śaunaka, having heard that speech of Viṣṇurāta (king Parīkṣit), Śuka, the son of sage Bādarāyaṇa (Vyāsa), greeted it with heart full of joy, as it was full of earnestness and was brief yet pregnant with significance. The Omniscient Śuka spoke as follows:

Śrī Śuka said:

23. Diti whose sons were slain by Viṣṇu as the ally of Indra, in the background, was burning with wrath enkindled by grief and she began to ponder.

24. “When can I get happy sleep after bringing about the death of the hard-hearted wicked sensual Indra, the cruel murderer of his brothers.

25. The body which is addressed as “A Lord or a Ruler”, goes also under the name of worms (becomes full of worms after burial), excrement (if the body is eaten up by carnivorous animals or birds of prey), and ashes (if it is cremated). He (Indra) who seeks to injure other beings for such a body, does not know self-interest, for it leads to hell.

26. By what means can I get a son who will quell the pride of Indra who wrongly presumes that this body is eternal and who is very arrogant (of unrestrained heart)?”

27-28. With this object in view, she many times served what was wished by her husband. By her service, affection, modesty, self-control, intense devotion, by her charming sweet words as well as by her winning smiles and side glances, she who was intimate with the knowledge of human nature, captivated his heart.

29. Thus enchanted by the sly, clever woman, Kaśyapa, though learned, became powerless (against her charms). He succumbed to her and acquiesced in her request. Such stupefaction by women is not to be wondered at.

30. At the beginning of creation, Prajāpati found that beings entertained no attachment (and the work of creation was not possible), god Brahmā (then) converted half of his body into a woman who leads astray the judgments of men.

31. The worshipful Kaśyapa who was thus waited upon by his wife, was highly pleased with Diti. With a hearty laugh, he greeted Diti with delight (and said).

Kaśyapa said:

32. Ask for a boon Oh beautiful lady with shapely thighs. Oh faultless one, I am pleased with you. When husband is pleased with his wife, what object in this or in the next world, is unattainable?

33-34. It has been declared that the husband alone is the supreme deity in the case of women.

For the glorious Lord Vāsudeva, the husband of the goddess Śrī, who is in the heart of all beings, is worshipped in the guise of different deities by men who ascribe to him different names (e.g. Indra, Varuṇa) and forms (wielder of the Vajra, or of a noose). But he is worshipped by women in the form of their husbands.

35. Therefore, Oh lady of beautiful waist, chaste women who are desirous of their welfare, worship with unswerving devotion their husband as the image of god and the Soul of the world.

36. I who am worshipped by you with so much devotion and with such superb faith, shall accomplish for you your desired object, Oh blessed lady—an object which is very difficult to be attained by unchaste women.

Diti said:

37. “Oh Brāhmaṇa sage, if you are conferring a boon on me, I pray for an immortal son who will slay Indra, for he (Indra) caused both of my sons killed and I have become a lady whose sons are dead.”

38. Hearing her speech, the Brāhmaṇa became dispirited and repented (as follows): “Alas! What a great unrighteousness and sin have overtaken me today!

39. Alas! Today I have fallen a victim to sense gratification. I allowed my heart to be captivated by Māyā (deluding power) in the form of a woman. Vile as I am, I shall certainly fall in the abysmal hell.

40. What fault is there in the case of the woman who followed the natural tendencies of women? Alas! Fie upon me who am ignorant about my self-interest and lost the control of my senses.

41. Who can fathom the motives of the actions of women whose countenance is beautiful like the fully bloomed autumnal lotus, whose speech is like ambrosia to the ear but whose heart is sharp like a razor-blade.

42. Women whose minds are determined to achieve their own objective have no one really dear. For serving their own purpose, they will kill or cause to be killed their husband, son or brother.

43. I have promised that I shall give her a son. That promise should not prove untrue. But Indra does not deserve death. Under these circumstances the following expedient appears proper.

44. Oh descend, nt of the Kurus! Considering thus, the worshipful son of Marīci (Kaśyapa) showed some indignation and condemning himself said.

Kaśyapa said:

45. Oh blessed lady, if you carefully observe this vow for one complete year, a son will be born to you who will be the slayer of Indra, or a friend of gods (if this vow is not properly observed).

Diti said:

46. Oh Brāhmaṇa sage! I hereby undertake to observe the vow. Explain to me what acts are obligatory and what are prohibited for me, and also the acts which (are neither obligatory nor prohibitive but which) do not violate the vow.

Kaśyapa said:

47. You should not injure any of the living beings. You should not curse or tell a lie. You should not pare your nails or cut your hair. You should not touch an impure and inauspicious thing.

48. You should not take bath into water by plunging in it. You should not get angry or speak with wicked men. You should not put on unwashed garments nor should wear a garland worn by others.

49. You should not eat food which has remained after being eaten by others; nor food offered to the goddess Bhad- rakālī or to seven Mātṛkās or eaten by ants. You should not eat nonvegetarian food or food brought by a Śūdra. You should not take food which is seen by a woman in monthly course. You should not drink water with your folded palms.

50. You must not go out with remnants of food sticking in the mouth or without rinsing the mouth with water. You should not stir out in the evening with dishevelled hair, unadorned or without the upper garment. You should not be unrestrained in speech.

51. You should not sleep without washing your feet or in an impure condition or with wet feet. (You should not go to bed) with your head to the North or to the West. You should not sleep with others or without any clothes. You should not remain asleep at dawn and dusk.

52. Putting on washed garments, always pure and furnished with all auspicious things, you should worship god Viṣṇu, goddess Śrī, cows and Brāhmaṇas before you take breakfast in the morning.

53. You should worship women whose husbands are alive, by offering them garlands, sandal-paste, food and ornaments. Having worshipped your husband, you should wait upon him and contemplate that your husband’s energy is present in your womb.

54. If you will observe this vow called Puṃsavana (yielder of a son) for the period of one year without any flaw, you will beget a son who will be the slayer of Indra.

55. Diti agreed to that. She conceived from Kaśyapa and strictly (began to) observe the vow, Oh king.

56. Having come to know the intention of his maternal aunt the sly foresighted Indra waited upon Diti who was staying in a hermitage, (under the pretext of) rendering service to her.

57. At the appointed time he always brought flowers, fruits, sacred sticks, kuśagrass, leaves, shoots, earth and water from the forest.

58. Oh King, in this way the crooked Indra, desiring to find out some flaw in the course of the observance of vows of the lady who had undertaken them, served her like a hunter who puts on the guise of a deer.

59. Indra who was intent on detecting a weak point in her observance of vows, could not find it. He became intensely anxious as to how he could succeed (in securing his good).

60. Once in the evening, Diti who was fatigued with the observance of that austere vow and deluded by fate, slept with the remnants of food in the mouth (without rinsing her mouth with water), and with unwashed feet.

61. Getting this opportunity, Indra who was expert in Yoga entered the womb of Diti by his deluding power of Yoga, while Diti was unconscious in sleep.

62. With his Vajra he cut in seven parts the foetus which was brilliant like gold. While it was crying he said ‘Don’t cry,” and cut each of that piece into seven again.

63. While they were being rent, all of them folded their palms and appealed to him “Oh Indra, we are Maruts, your brothers. Why do you wish to kill us?”

64. “Don’t be afraid, Brothers, you are for me”, said Indra to the Maruts who as a class had unswerving loyalty to him as his attendants.

65. The foetus in the womb of Diti did not die through the grace of Lord Viṣṇu even though it was repeatedly hacked with Vajra, just as you were saved from the missile of Aśvatthāman.

66. If a person worships but once the Ancient Person Viṣṇu, he attains to the self-same form as that of Viṣṇu, whereas the great god Hari was worshipped by Diti for a period slightly less than one year.

67. Along with Indra the Maruts became in all fifty gods. Removing the stigma of maternal heredity, they were made participants in Soma-drinking by Indra.

68. After getting up, Dili saw her sons brilliant like fire in the company of Indra. The faultless lady felt highly- gratified.

69. She asked Indra, “Child, desiring a son which would strike terror in the sons of Aditi, I observed this vow which was most difficult.

70. I expected to have one son. How is it that I got seven times seven (foṛty-nine)? Oh Son, if the truth is known to you, please tell me, but don’t tell a lie.”

Indra said:

71. Oh mother, having learnt about your determination, I approached you. Detecting a flaw in the observance of your vow, I who did not care for righteousness and was bent on achieving my object, slashed the foetus.

72. I hacked the foetus in seven ways and there were seven sons. Each of them was cut in seven; but they did not die.

73. Having seen that greatest miracle, I came to the conclusion that this must be some indescribable incidental Siddhi achieved through the worship of Lord Viṣṇu.

74. Those who without entertaining any blessings propitiate the Lord, do not wish the attainment of even Mokṣa, are declared as clever in accomplishing their objects.

75. After propitiating the Ruler of the World who is one’s own Soul and is a bestower of his own Self, what wise man would seek contact with guṇas (worldly objects)? For (the products) the guṇas are available even in hell.

76. Therefore, Oh Mother, it behoves you to forgive this act of wickedness on my part which I, as a fool, committed to the worshipful ones. Fortunately the foetus has become alive again (after death).

Śrī Śuka said:

77. Indra, the god of heaven, was permitted (to go) by her who was sincerely pleased with him. He, along with Maruts, bowed to her and went to the heaven.

78. In this way, I have narrated to you in details what you had asked me, namely, the auspicious birth of the Maruts. Now tell me what else I should relate to you.

Footnotes and references:


The deity presiding over the holy Gāyatrī Mantra,


The deity presiding over the three mystical syllables, viz., Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ and Svar usually repeated after OM. These arc prefixed to the Gāyatrī Mantra. They stand for the earth, the intermediate region and the heaven.


The deity presiding over the three Vedas, viz., Ṛgveda, Yajurveda and Sāmaveda.


The deity presiding over the acts of offering oblations into the sacred fire.


The presiding deity of animal sacrifices.


The deity presiding over the Soma Sacrifice.


The presiding deity over the three Cāturmāsya sacrifices performed at the beginning of the three main seasons, viz., the summer, the rainy season and the winter.


The names of the five great sacrifices (Mahāmakhaṇḍa) as follows:

(1) Brahmayajña: Propitiation of the ancient sages. It consists of teaching and chanting the Vedas.

(2) Pitṛyajña: Grateful acknowledgement of our debt to our departed forefathers. This includes tarpaṇa or pouring water as oblations in their memory and for their gratification.

(3) Devayajña: Propitiation of gods through homa (pouring oblations in the sacred fire uttering their names).

(4) Bhūtayajña: Offering a portion of our food to all sub-human beings in acknowledgement of our debt to them.

(5) Nṛyajña: Worship of our fellow beings. It consists of offering food and shelter to an atithi (A traveller staying for only one day).

These five daily sacrifices are binding on every householder (Vide Manu 3-70-71).


The deity presiding over the last night of a dark fortnight.


The presiding deity over the evening.


The deity presiding over the 14th night of a dark fortnight.


The presiding deity over the last day of a dark fortnight.


The presiding deity of the last night of the bright fortnight.


The presiding deity of the morning.


The deity presiding over the 14th night pf a bright fortnight.


The deity presiding over the last day of a bright fortnight.


The five deities presiding over the sacred fires known as Purīṣya.

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