|Part of a series on|
In the Rigveda, Dyaus Pita appears only in verses 1.89.4, 1.90.7, 1.164.33, 1.191.6 and 4.1.10, and only in RV 1.89.4 does Pitar Dyaus "Father Sky" appear alongside Mata Prithvi "Mother Earth".
He is thus a very marginal deity in Rigvedic mythology, but his intrinsic importance is visible from his being the father of the chief deities. That Dyaus was seen as the father of Indra is known only from one verse, RV 4.17.4:
- "Thy Father Dyaus esteemed himself a hero: most noble was the work of Indra's Maker / His who begat the strong bolt's Lord who roareth, immovable like earth from her foundation." (trans. Griffith (1888))
He is mainly considered in comparative philology as a last remnant of the chief god of Proto-Indo-European religion. The name Dyauṣ Pitā is exactly parallel to the Greek Zeus Pater etymologically, and closely related to Latin Ju Piter. Both Dyauṣ and Zeus reflect a Proto-Indo-European *Dyeus. Based on this reconstruction, the widespread opinion in scholarship since the 19th century has been that Indra had replaced Dyaus as the chief god of the early Indo-Aryans. While Prthivi survives as a Hindu goddess after the end of the Vedic period, Dyaus Pita became almost unknown already in antiquity.
The noun dyaús (when used without the pitā "father") means "sky, heaven" and occurs frequently in the Rigveda, as a mythological entity, but not as a male deity: the sky in Vedic mythology was imagined as rising in three tiers, avama , madhyama, and uttama or tṛtīya (RV 5.60.6). In the Purusha Suktam (10.90.14), the sky is described to have been created from the head of the primaeval being, the Purusha.
- "The general opinion respecting Dyaus (Heaven) and Prithivi (Earth) is that they are amongst the most ancient of the Aryan deities, hence they are spoken of in the hymns of the Rig-Veda as the parents of the other gods." W.J. Wilkins, "Dyaus and Prthivi" in Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic 1900.
- Thomas Oberlies, Die Religion des Rgveda, Wien (1998).