Dāsa and Dāsī

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Dasa and Dasi, DAsa and DAsI, Daasa and Daasi


Dāsa and Dāsī literally means ‘a servant or servant-maid’.

Dāsa as per Ṛgveda

The word ‘dāsa’ occurs in the Ṛgveda[1] many times. It refers to the enemies of the Vedic people.

Dāsa as a Slave

In many cases, these dāsas were reduced to slavery. The term has been used in the sense of a ‘slave’ also.

Dāsa in Modern Literature

In later literature, the word refers to a paid servant. While naming a person, this word was used as a suffix for persons belonging to the śudra caste.

Dāsa in Devotional Literature

In the devotional literature, this expression has been widely used to indicate a devotee as a servant of God or as a servant of the devotees of God. For instance:

  1. Rāmadāsa
  2. Kṛṣṇadāsa
  3. Caṇḍīdāsa
  4. Etc.

References

  1. Ṛgveda 5.34.6; 6.22.10
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore