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Encyclopedia > Dyaus

In vedic religion, Dyaus Pita is the Sky Father, husband of Prthivi and father of Agni and Indra (RV 4.17.4).

His origins can be traced to the Indo-European sky god *Dyeus, who is also reflected as Zeus in Greek mythology, Jupiter (from Latin Iove pater, "father-god") in Roman mythology, Div in Slavic mythology and Tyr in Norse mythology.

Sharing a fate similar to nordic Tyr's, already in the Rig Veda, Dyaus Pita is all but featureless, appearing in hymns 1.89, 1.90, 1.164, 1.191 and 4.1 in simple invocations.

In RV 1.89.4b, Pita Dyaus "Father Sky" appears alongside Mata Prthivi "Mother Earth".

Details of the myth are sketchy, but Indra seems to have killed his father (RV 4.18.12). Thomas Oberlies tentatively identifies Asura and Dyaus in pre-vedic religion (both appear as Indra's father, but Asura is never associated with Prthivi, so there is a possibility of two conflicting myths).

In art, he appears in two different forms: as a red bull who bellows thunder, or as a black horse adorned with pearls, symbolizing the stars.


  • Thomas Oberlies, Die Religion des Rgveda, Wien 1998.

  Results from FactBites:
Dyaus Pita (76 words)
In Hinduism, Dyaus Pita is the Sky Father[?], husband of Prthivi and father of Agni and Indra.
He is a red bull who bellows thunder, or a fl horse adorned with pearls, symbolizing the stars.
Dyaus Pita was killed by Indra, his son, who grabbed his foot and pulled him from the sky; he fell to his death.
Greek Gods - The Sanskrit Connection (1358 words)
But the Greek sky-god Zeus evidently corresponds to the Hindoo sky-god Dyaus, and this word is derived from a root dyu meaning "to shine." Zeus then, the Greek theos, and the Latin deus, meant originally "the glistening ether." Similarly other Greek names are explained by their counterparts, or cognate words in Sanscrit.
DYAUS was, as we have already indicated, the god of the bright sky, his name being connected with that of Zeus through the root dyu.
The epithet, Dyaus pitar, is simply Zeus pater — Zeus the father; or, as it is spelled in Latin, Jupiter.
  More results at FactBites »



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