Recently, as has often become the case, a few ‘threads’ converged. In this instance, around the situation Rudra (Shiva) as Sky Father – Dyaus Pitar.
It always seems to come back down to theonyms. We can put forward the comparative theological evidence for how strongly Shiva adheres to the Sky Father deific complex … but people have trouble accepting this – even after the direct RigVedic citations are provided for Rudra as Dyaus (or, more frequently, ‘Dyu’). (And since we’ve looked at those elsewhere – we shall not repeat that material herein)
Part of it is because ‘Dyaus’ seems to ‘fall away’ from utilization in later Sanskrit scripture. Except in the rather curious ‘incarnate’ situation of Bhisma mentioned in the Mahabharat; and, of course, those various other occurrences for the Vasus that are perhaps more frequently encountered.
And that, funnily enough, is where our search for Shiva as Dyaus in subsequent scripture might feasibly begin in earnest.
For you see – in addition to Dyaus showing up as a Vasu … Vasu is also used explicitly for Shiva. Vasu meaning very much ‘Shining’, ‘Radiant’, and ‘Controller’, it forms a logical point of reference for the Sky Father deific (albeit there’s a bit more going on with the Vasu clade of deific facings – as I keep meaning to cover in a piece in the future).
But even though Shiva is ‘Vasu’, and Dyaus is (a) ‘Vasu’ … and several of the Vasus are, quite expressly, ‘facings of Shiva’ … this is not an immediately ‘satisfying’ grade of ‘proof’. Very useful when we consider the situation of Vasudeva as Husband of Devaki (Aditi) and Father of Krishna, however. But that, we have covered elsewhere.
Now, ‘Dyaus’ (in)directly – well, there are an array of Shaivite theonymics that are exactly the same root and quite clearly concordant.
Divaspati, for instance, or Divya or Divakara. The latter two of which are sourced from the Thousand Names of Shiva in the Shiva Purana; the former, ostensibly from a Thousand Name hymnal, although I am yet to track it down directly in the original language.
We are rather interested in ‘Divakara’ (दिवाकर), as this would ostensibly indicate, apart from the ‘Sun’ in figurative terms, a ‘Heavenly Creator’. But we digress.
Now before it is objected to that these three theonymics aren’t ‘Dyaus’ in exactly that precise noun-ending form – we shall find that actually, a not-insignificant array of the ‘Dyaus’ occurences in the RV are also … well, yeah, pretty much that.
Consider, for instance, RV I 129 3:
“indrota tubhyaṃ tad dive tad rudrāya svayaśase”
Or, with deference to the Asvins, RV VIII 20 17:
“yathā rudrasya sūnavo divo vaśantyasurasya vedhasaḥ / yuvānastathedasat”
I could have just said ‘Divo Napatah’ and it would have demonstrated the issue here.
That is to say – yes, yes the Asvins are the ‘Sons of Heaven’, but we know very well that the Dioscuri (and Hengist & Horsa, etc.) are not simply the ‘Sons of Heaven’ in the abstract sense. But rather, the ‘Sons of Dyaus’ – or, to reference what else is going on in that latter verse … the Sons of Rudra Himself.
So – yes, ‘Dyaus’ terms do show up in post-Vedic Roudran theonymy.
And we should also add an ‘honourable mention’ of sorts for the Sri Rudram’s Chamakam section – which, in its 9th Anuvaka makes intriguing mention for, in order, Prana and the Asvamedha being ‘with me’ (‘Cha Me’) … and then Prithvi, Aditi, Diti, and Dyaus Himself being, likewise, ‘With Me’.
We do not consider this coincidental. Any more than the invocation for Agni to be likewise – Cha Me – at the start of the Anuvaka.
Agni, after all, being the most pointedly ‘Bright’ form to Rudra in the Vedas, as is well-known and extensively commented upon (including by theologians other than me!).
And Prana – Breath – well, this, too, is solidly connected to the Roudran clade. The Eleven Rudras being explicitly the Ten Breaths and One, in other source-material.
So … what we behold here: it is the Sky Father (Dyaus) and His Wife in various facings (Prithvi, Aditi, Diti).
Asked, in the context of the Sri Rudram, to be ‘With Us’ – the Supplicant to He.
And thus it is with Dyaus – Glorious, Radiant In Himself –
He has never truly departed Us.
It is only the occasional academic or reddit/social media commenter who seems to (not-)see things ‘differently’.
ॐ नमः शिवाय
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