From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Dasyus literally means ‘those who destroy others’.

Origin of the Word Dasyus[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

  • 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.


  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