"...The time has come. The time is finally at hand... I am the other you, dwelling in the realm of mankind's hearts. You may have no knowledge of it, but I have been at your side for much longer than our current meeting... Finally, your reality and the sea of hearts from which I came have truly become one at this moment. Now—the time for your unjustly persecuted ideology is at hand. I am thou, thou art I..."
Azathoth, also known as The Blind Idiot God, the Nuclear Chaos, the Daemon Sultan, The Deep Dark, The Cold One, Achamoth or Vach-Viraj, is an Outer God in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. It is almost always said to be "too horrible to even be described" and is the ancestor of almost all of the other deities or beings in this mythology, including Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth and others.
When his ex-fiancé, Rumi, fell into a PTSD-induced coma after the death of her parents from a home invasion, Maruki was consumed by an unstable amount of grief. Preceded by a series of migraines, a voice reached out to him. This voice, implied to be a primitive form of his Persona, offered him its power, stating that they would together change the world to suit his ideology. Maruki accepted this power in his desperation, believing that he could induce a change of heart in Rumi to purge the distortion of her trauma, and the voice obliged; it altered her cognition through a power dubbed 'Actualization', changing her heart but at the cost of her memories being shuffled into something completely unrecognizable. He can change the thoughts of other people using this power, even in the real world, although he cannot fire it up on his own; he can only activate it subconsciously, with Sumire Yoshizawa being the first case, who was made to believe she was her dead sister Kasumi Yoshizawa to help her cope with her survivor's guilt.
After the funding for his research of cognitive psience was pulled by Masayoshi Shido, Maruki fell further into depression. Despite this, he continued, eventually leading him to Shujin Academy so he might validate his research and provide comfort for its troubled students.
On the Day of Reckoning, if the protagonist maxed Maruki's confidant prior to November 19th, Yaldabaoth's fusion of Mementos and Tokyo into the Qliphoth World finally grants the formless Persona the catalyst it needed to awaken and gain physical form as Azathoth, granting it conscious control over Maruki's Actualization ability. Unlike most other Persona awakenings, it does not follow the usual awakening procedures, nor does Maruki manifest any Metaverse outfit during the sequence. Instead, Azathoth can be seen conversing with Maruki, and nobody else other than Maruki within the professor's room can see Azathoth. Right after the Persona converses with him, Maruki suddenly understands what he has the power to do, and puts his plan into motion immediately.
The death of Yaldabaoth then causes the Phantom Thieves to subconsciously shift Maruki into the administrative power vacuum, granting him power equal to that of the God of Control and amplifying Azathoth to the point that the Persona is able to completely hijack the remains of Mementos. Despite their words, the Phantom Thieves, in some degree, still wished for their traumas to be purged, leading them to surrender their desires to Maruki. Now holding thrall over the cognition of the masses, Maruki begins to analyze the cognition of the masses, using an unknown Palace taking the form of a Laboratory in Odaiba and connected to Mementos as his base of operations.
With the immense power of Azathoth's Actualization, Maruki begins to grant the wishes of the masses, beginning with those of the Phantom Thieves, since they are the closest to him and he knows all of their subconscious desires from their counseling sessions.
As the protagonist and his Phantom Thieves progress though Maruki's Palace, they witness the events that lead to Maruki's awakening to Azathoth for themselves via memories that take the form of video recordings in the Palace.
Once the party reaches Maruki's Treasure Room, located in the tree of the Pscientific Model Eden, Maruki dons his Metaverse outfit and summons Azathoth to attack them. Unlike most other Personas, Azathoth takes a constantly present form and either it or Maruki must be defeated for the battle to progress. Azathoth itself resembles a towering, tree-like structure, with its body being consisted of a golden cross laced and surrounded by tentacles colored in black with green outlines, which linger and drop all the way into the floor. The tentacles are tipped by three glowing claws.
Maruki will conjure three primary tentacles in battle, each with their own skills - If all of them are intact, what seems to be a Persona trait will minimize all damage dealt to itself to negligible levels. In the second phase, Azathoth will enlarge and grow several arms from its tentacles, as well as gain access to a wider roster of abilities, including tentacles that shuffle weaknesses, movement restrictions against the party, Evil Smile, attacking twice in a turn with powerful Bless and Physical attacks, Piercing Strike and Tyrant Chaos. Once it is beaten, Maruki seems to be defeated, with his Palace collapsing, only to fuse Azathoth and his Treasure into Adam Kadmon and resume attacking the party due to his desperation to hold onto his version of reality.
Azathoth is the "Blind Idiot God" with no sense or sight, while Adam Kadmon is the personification of infinite wisdom, which happen to contradict with each other. Considering that Azathoth becomes Adam Kadmon once fused with the guiding torch that acts as Maruki's Treasure, Azathoth's evolution into Adam Kadmon may symbolize the Messiah complex, which Maruki develops upon becoming Tokyo's administrative power after Yaldabaoth's death. This "madness through wisdom" is kickstarted by the protagonist teaching him the basics of Mementos and the Collective Unconsciousness.
Azathoth also holds a similar premise as the Demiurge for being the ignorant creator god of the material world, although the Demiurge is merely ignorant while Azathoth completely lacks any thought process whatsoever. Interestingly, the Kabbalah proclaims Adam Kadmon to also be the Demiurge.
It might also be based on a corruption of the Azoth, the essence of creation and the cure to all in Alchemy. Azathoth giving humanity an ideal world to live in using Maruki can be considered a cure for all suffering. Azoth is also the motivation towards physical and spiritual perfection, which Azathoth violates to achieve its own version of perfection, creating imperfection by stunting humanity's growth as a result.
Azathoth's tentacles transform into Adam Kadmon's innards upon its evolution. They also share a similar coloration as those within Necronomicon. Furthering this connection, both Maruki and Futaba's mother shared the same occupation.
According to an official interview in the P5R Official Complete Guide, Azathoth, as well as all of the other Lovecraftian entities in Maruki's Palace, are used to represent that it and the reality it creates are all artificial, being created by the imagination of man just like the Cthulhu Mythos they are from.
Despite being a creature of Lovecraftian lore and Nyarlathotep's minions appearing in Maruki's Palace, Azathoth does not appear to have any relations with Nyarlathotep and seems to be a standalone Persona.
Azathoth's design in Persona 5 Royal is reminiscent of the Caduceus, a symbol with roots in ancient Greece often interpreted as a symbol of medicine. While this interpretation of the symbol ties heavily to Maruki's role in the game, it's actually incorrect - the Rod of Asclepius is a medical symbol and, due to their similar appearances and shared root in ancient Greece, the two are often confused.
Morgana's ultimate persona, Mercurius wields a staff tipped with the Caduceus. Maruki's Arcana, the Councillor is a variant of Morgana's arcana, the Magician.