Dasyus

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Dasyus literally means ‘those who destroy others’.

Origin of the Word Dasyus

The words ‘Ārya’ and ‘Dasyu’ are found in the Ṛgveda.[1] The word ‘Dasyu’ has been used there in several senses such as:

  1. Super-human enemies
  2. Human foes
  3. Aborigines
  4. Etc.

Meaning of Dasyus

Some of the words used to describe them give us the impression that they were flat-nosed, ugly and unclean persons who did not perform the sacrificial rites of the Aryans and hated the Deva-s. They were addicted to the strange practices. Names of some of the well known names of the dasyus mentioned in the Vedas are:

  1. Cumuri
  2. Sambara
  3. Śuṣṇa

Beliefs Regarding Dasyus

  • In later literature the word refers to criminals committing atrocities on peace-loving people.
  • Indra, the lord of the gods, is sometimes referred to as ‘dasyuhatya’. It means a person who destroys the Dasyus.
  • The Iranian terms ‘daṅhu’ and ‘daqyn’ are similar to the word ‘Dasyu’ and indicate a country inhabited by hostile people.

References

  1. Ṛgveda 1.34.7; 1.100.18; 1.51.8; 1.117.21
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore