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God of the Sky
Other namesAkasha
AffiliationDeva, Pancha Bhuta
AbodeDyuloka, Sky (ākāśa, आकाश)
OffspringSurya, Ushas, and the other gods
Greek equivalentZeus
Roman equivalentJupiter/Dies piter
Indo-European equivalentDyēus

Dyaus (/d.jʃ/ DYOWSH), or Dyauspitar (Devanagari द्यौष्पितृ, Dyáuṣpitṛ́), is the Ṛigvedic sky deity. His consort is Prithvi, the earth goddess, and together they are the archetypal parents in the Rigveda.[1]


Dyauṣ stems from Proto-Indo-Iranian *dyā́wš, from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) daylight-sky god *Dyēus, and is cognate with the Greek Zeus Patēr, Illyrian Dei-pátrous, or Latin Jupiter (from an earlier *Djous patēr), stemming from the PIE Dyḗus ph₂tḗr ("Daylight-sky Father").[2]

The noun dyaús (when used without the pitṛ́ 'father') refers to the daylight sky, and occurs frequently in the Rigveda, as an entity. The sky in Vedic writing was described as rising in three tiers, avamá, madhyamá, and uttamá or tṛtī́ya.[3]


Dyáuṣ Pitṛ́ appears in hymns with Prithvi Mata 'Mother Earth' in the ancient Vedic scriptures of Hinduism.[4]

In the Ṛg·veda, Dyáuṣ Pitṛ́ appears in verses 1.89.4, 1.90.7, 1.164.33, 1.191.6, 4.1.10. and 4.17.4[5] He is also referred to under different theonyms: Dyavaprithvi, for example, is a dvandva compound combining 'heaven' and 'earth' as Dyauṣ and Prithvi.

Dyauṣ's most defining trait is his paternal role.[6] His daughter, Uṣas, personifies dawn.[7] The gods, especially Sūrya, are stated to be the children of Dyauṣ and Prithvi.[8] Dyauṣ's other sons include Agni, Parjanya, the Ādityas, the Maruts, and the Angirases.[6][8] The Ashvins are called "divó nápāt", meaning offspring/progeny/grandsons of Dyauṣ.[6][9] Dyauṣ is often visualized as a roaring animal, often a bull, who fertilizes the earth.[6] Dyauṣ is also known for the rape of his own daughter, which, according to Jamison and Brereton (2014), is vaguely but vividly mentioned in the Ṛg·veda.[8]

Dyauṣ is also stated to be like a black stallion studded with pearls in a simile with the night sky.[6][10]

Indra's separation of Dyauṣ and Prithvi is celebrated in the Rigveda as an important creation myth.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shri, Satya (23 January 2017). Demystifying Brahminism and Re-Inventing Hinduism: Volume 1 - Demystifying Brahminism. Notion Press. ISBN 978-1-946515-54-4.
  2. ^ West 2007, p. 171.
  3. ^ Ṛg·veda, 5.60.6.
  4. ^ Leeming, David; Fee, Christopher (2016). The Goddess: Myths of the Great Mother. Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1-78023-538-7.
  5. ^ Sanskrit: Ṛg·veda, Wikisource; translation: Ralph T. H. Griffith Rigveda, Wikisource
  6. ^ a b c d e Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1897). Vedic Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 21–22.
  7. ^ Dalal, Roshen (2014). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. ISBN 9788184752779. Entry: "Dyaus"
  8. ^ a b c d Jamison, Stephanie; Brereton, Joel P. (2014). The Rigveda –– The Earliest Religious Poetry of India. Oxford University Press. pp. 50–51.
  9. ^ West, M. L. (2007). Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-19-928-075-9.
  10. ^ Jamison & Brereton 2014, p. 1492.
  • Oberlies, Thomas (1998). Die Religion des Rgveda. Vienna.