The list of 33 types of gods in Hinduism comprises 12 Adityas, 8 vasus, among others.

The 12 Adityas are said to be sons of Aditi and include Varuna the water god, Vivasvan or Surya.

The 8 vasus are supposed to be a separate group of deities from the Adityas. One story of their origin is that they were born of Vasu, daughter of Daksha and Dharma Rishi. Their names vary in different scriptures due to there being synonyms like Agni also called Anala. But the basic gist is that they are elemental gods. Their names (basic elemental names) sourced from the Mahabharata are as follows:-

  1. Anala or Agni (fire)
  2. Dhara or Prithvi (earth)
  3. Anila or Vayudeva (wind)
  4. Apa (water)
  5. Prabhasa or Dyauh (sky)
  6. Pratyusha
  7. Soma
  8. Dhruva

It is stated on many websites that Pratyusha means Surya, Soma is the moon and Dhruva is either the Nakshatras or pole star.

My questions are as follows:-

  1. Who are the eight vasus i.e. what actual elements do they represent and what is their actual origin story?

  2. Since the 8 vasus and 12 Adityas do not overlap and the 8 vasus are distinctly different deities,

(i) how can Pratyusha be Surya (Vivasvan), who is actually son of Aditi? Who is he actually?

(ii) how can this Soma be the same as Chandra who is actually the son of Atri and Sati Anasuya? Who is he actually?

(iii) how can this Dhruva be the pole star Dhruva, son of Uttanapada? And if we assume him to be Nakshatras also it would be wrong as all 27 Nakshatras from Aśvini to Rēvatī are daughters of Daksha and married to Chandra, son of Atri and Anasuya.

(iv) Apa Vasu represents water but we already have Varuna in the list of twelve Adityas in charge of water. What’s the difference?

  • 1
    Restrict your question to eight Vasus. Asking multiple questions e.g their consorts and descendants makes the question too broad.
    – Pandya
    May 10, 2020 at 6:08
  • Thank you, shall I edit it? Besides the consort part can I edit out anything else also?
    – Adiyarkku
    May 11, 2020 at 6:21
  • Yes, avoid asking multiple questions in single post. Edit and then ask to reopen :)
    – Pandya
    May 11, 2020 at 6:29
  • The question is re-opened. Look at revisions for tracking the changes.
    – Pandya
    May 14, 2020 at 14:30
  • @Archit maybe it is like, the Vasus are in charge of the primordial nature force that powers these elements, and the other devatas are in charge of maintaining the routine of these elements. Like Pratyusha is the Vasu in charge of the energy that gives light to the sun, and the 12 Adityas (which includes Indra and Varuna) are in charge of ensuring the daily cycle along with the entourage of Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas and Rakshasas.
    – Surya
    Feb 28, 2021 at 16:06


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