Viktor Rydberg in his Investigations into Germanic Mythology Volume II Part I:Indo-European Mythology states that Vata is the natural side of the God and Vayu the spiritual side. Like Woden He is considered to be the lord of the wild hunt and is also known as Vayu amongst the Iranians. Interestingly this God survived the devastating Zoroastrian reforms and without any loss of status. He is therefore highly significant and should be considered as a father of the Gods.
In the Avesta he is portrayed as a lord of the wind and war. He was even worshiped by the Zoroastrian so-called `supreme` God Ahuramazda. Like Woden Vata-Vayu has a penetrating spear and wears a golden helmet.
"O The Wind`s chariot, O its power and glory! Crashing it goes and hath a voice of thunder. It makes the regions red and touches heaven, and as it moves the dust of earth is scattered. Along the traces of the wind they hurry, they come to him as dames to an assembly. Borne on his car with these for his attendants, the God speeds forth, the universe`s Monarch. Travelling on the paths of air`s mid-region, no single day doth he take rest or slumber. Holy and earliest-born, Friend of the waters, where did he spring and from what region came he? Germ of the world, the Deities` vital spirit, this God moves ever as his will inclines him. His voice is heard, his shape is ever viewless. Let us adore this Wind with our oblation."(Rig Veda Hymn 168)
Students of the Eddas will notice Vata-Vayu`s function as a giver of "vital spirit" or breath as we would term it and this is exactly what Woden imparted to man. Woden is also known as a vinr vagna, guardian, protector or friend of chariots and as valdr vagnbrautar, ruler of the chariot-road and infers His cosmic function as the All-Father ruler of the constellations. There appears to be some overlap with Indra and this should not surprise us as Woden and Thunor do share some similar functions, both being lords of the atmosphere. Woden focusing on the power of the wind and storm whilst Thunor is specifically linked to the thunder and lightning which are features of the storm.
In Rig Veda Hymn II Vayu is referred to as Indra-Vayu in verse 4. Interestingly Donald A. Mackenzie in his Indian Myth and Legend states: "The name Vata has been compared to Vate, the father of the Teutonic Volund or Wieland, the tribal deity of the Watlings or Vaetlings; in Old English the Milky Way was `Watling Street`". The fact that Woden may be found in the form of Vata-Vayu in the Rig Veda demonstrates the antiquity of this God right back to our common Proto-Indo-European past and thus puts paid to the lie that He is a `latecomer` to the Germanic world.