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In the Vedic pantheon Dyauṣ Pitā (द्यौष् पिता) or Dyauṣpitṛ (द्यौष्पितृ) is the Sky Father, divine consort of the Prithvi and father of Agni, Indra (RV 4.17.4), and Ushas, the daughter representing dawn. In archaic Vedic lore, Dyauṣ Pitṛ and Prithivi Matṛ were one, single composite dvandva entity, named as the Dyavaprthivi. He was cursed by Vasishta maharishi for hurting Nandini, the sacred cow with a thorny stick. He is believed to have taken rebirth as Bhishma and die according to his Karma, after being pierced by many arrows, for inflicting wounds on Nandini. In Rig Veda, the abode of Dyaus Dyulok is regarded as Fountain-head of God - the Primeval Purusha.

In the Rig Veda

According to one version[clarification needed] of Creation as embodied in the Rigveda (RV), mortal life emerged from the procreation by Dyauṣ Pitā, whereby the mother Earth, goddess Prithivi was impregnated by the Dyauṣ Pitṛ by way of rains.

In the Rig Veda, Dyaus Pitar appears in hymns 1.89, 1.90, 1.164, 1.191 and 4.1 in simple invocations.

In RV 1.89.4b, Pitar Dyaus meaning the "Father Sky" appears alongside Mata Prithvi "Mother Earth".

In the Purusha Suktam, Dyaus is described to have been created from the head of the primaeval being, the Purusha.

Dyauṣ Pitṛ has been depicted during the day-time as a red bull who bellows thunder (in juxtaposition to the Prithvi Mata, represented as a cow), or as the night heavens in form of a black horse adorned with pearls, symbolizing the stars. The dark Dyaus also holds a thunder-stone. In art, Dyaus appears in both the above two different forms.

Details of the Dyauṣ Pitṛ myth are sketchy. Ultimately, Dyaus is taken as having been killed by Indra, his elder son, who throws him out of the sky to fall to death (RV 4.18.12).

Dyaus could be seen to have been transfomed into Shiva, the supreme God of Shaivite religion.

Other, similar deities

Etymologically, the name Dyaus is derived from Proto-Indo-European root word morpheme *dyeu- (zero-grade forms *dyu- and *diw-) with the meaning 'to shine'. Words related to Dyaus in Sanskrit include divasa 'day', divya 'divine, celestial', dyota 'light, shining', etc.

Dyauṣ Pitṛ is the Sanskrit version of the Proto-Indo-European sky god concept personified by *Dyeus, who appears in many other Indo-European religions with similar attributes. Dyeus was addressed as Dyeu Ph2ter, literally "Sky Father" or "shining father", as reflected in Latin Jupiter; Diēspiter and Greek Zeus pater.

In his aspect as a father god, his consort was Pltwih2 Mh2ter, "Earth Mother". Related names to Dyauṣ Pitṛ appear in the Greek as Zeus Pater (accusative Día, genitive Diós), in Latin as Jupiter (from archaic Latin Iovis Pater, "Sky father"), in Slavic mythology as Div, and Germanic and Norse mythology as Tyr or Ziu.

In popular culture

  • Dyaus Pita was used in the PlayStation Portable game, God Eater. His incarnation was a large lion-like creature, Aragami, that supposedly killed one of the main characters, Lindow Amamiya.


  • Donald A. MacKenzie, India: Myths and Legends (1994).
  • Thomas Oberlies, Die Religion des Rgveda, Wien (1998).
  • Ralph T.H. Griffith, Hymns of the Rigveda (1888).

See also