Dāsa and Dāsī
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
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:
- Ṛgveda 5.34.6; 6.22.10
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore