दस्यु

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यन्त्रोपारोपितकोशांशः[सम्पाद्यताम्]

कल्पद्रुमः[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


दस्युः, पुं, (दस्यति परस्वान् नाशयतीति । दस + “यजिमनिशुन्धिदसिजनिभ्यो युच् ।” उणां । ३ । २० । इति युच् । बाहुलकादनादेशाभावः ।) चौरः । (यथा, मनुः । ७ । १४३ । “विक्रोशन्त्यो यस्य राष्ट्राद्ध्रियन्ते दस्युभिः प्रजाः । संपश्यतः सभृत्यस्य मृतः स न तु जीवति ॥”) रिपुः । (यथा, ऋग्वेदे । २ । १२ । १० । “यः शर्द्धते नानुददाति शृध्यां यो दस्योर्हन्ता- स जनास इन्द्रः ॥” “दस्योरुपक्षपयितुः शत्रोर्हन्ता घातकः ॥” इति तद्भाष्ये सायनः ॥) महासाहसिकः । इति शब्द- रत्नावली ॥ असुरः । यथा, तत्रैव । ९ । ४७ । २ । “कृतानीदस्य कर्त्वा चेतंते दस्युतर्हणा ॥” “दस्युतर्हणा दस्यूनामसुराणां तर्हणा ॥” इति तद्भाष्ये सायनः ॥ कर्म्मवज्जिते, त्रि । यथा, ऋग्वेदे । ६ । २४ । ८ । “न वीळवे नमते न स्थिराय न शर्धते दस्यु- जूताय स्तवान् ॥” “शर्धते उत्सहमानाय दस्युजूताय कर्म्म- वर्ज्जितैः प्रेरिताय ।” इति तद्भाष्ये सायनः ॥)

अमरकोशः[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


दस्यु पुं।

शत्रुः

समानार्थक:रिपु,वैरिन्,सपत्न,अरि,द्विषत्,द्वेषण,दुर्हृद्,द्विष्,विपक्ष,अहित,अमित्र,दस्यु,शात्रव,शत्रु,अभिघातिन्,पर,अराति,प्रत्यर्थिन्,परिपन्थिन्,भ्रातृव्य,वृत्र

2।8।11।1।5

द्विड्विपक्षाहितामित्रदस्युशात्रवशत्रवः। अभिघातिपरारातिप्रत्यर्थिपरिपन्थिनः॥

वैशिष्ट्यवत् : वैरम्

 : क्षुद्रशत्रुः

पदार्थ-विभागः : , द्रव्यम्, पृथ्वी, चलसजीवः, मनुष्यः

दस्यु पुं।

चोरः

समानार्थक:चौर,एकागारिक,स्तेन,दस्यु,तस्कर,मोषक,प्रतिरोधिन्,परास्कन्दिन्,पाटच्चर,मलिम्लुच

2।10।24।2।4

दक्षिणारुर्लुब्धयोगाद्दक्षिणेर्मा कुरङ्गकः। चौरैकागारिकस्तेनदस्युतस्करमोषकाः॥

वृत्ति : चोरकर्मः

पदार्थ-विभागः : वृत्तिः, द्रव्यम्, पृथ्वी, चलसजीवः, मनुष्यः

वाचस्पत्यम्[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


दस्यु¦ पु॰ दस--युच् अनुनासिकत्वात् नानादेशः।

१ महासाहसिके(डाकाइत्)

२ खले च शब्दार्थचि॰
“श्वभिर्हतस्य यन्मांसंशुचि तन्मनुरब्रवीत्। क्रव्याद्भिश्च हतस्यान्यैश्चण्डालाद्यैश्चदस्युभिः” मनुः।
“मुखबाहूरुपज्जानां या लोकेजातयो बहिः। म्लेच्छवाचश्चार्य्यवाचः सर्वे ते दस्यवःस्मृताः” मनूक्ते ब्राह्मणादिचतुर्वर्णभिन्ने

३ जातिभेदेच।
“प्रमाधनीपचारज्ञमदासं दासजीवनम्। सैरिन्ध्रंवागुरावृत्तिं सूते दस्युरयोगये” मनुः।

४ कर्मवर्जिते च।
“गर्द्धते दस्युजूताय स्तवान्” ऋ॰।

६ ।

२४ ।

८ ।
“दंस्युजूताय कर्म्मवर्ज्जितैः प्रेरिताय” भा॰

५ उपक्ष-पके त्रि॰

६ असुरे पु॰
“चेतन्ते दस्युतर्हणा” ऋ॰

९ ।

४७ ।


“दस्यूनामसुराणां तर्हणा” भा॰
“स वज्रभृद्दस्युहा भीम उग्रः” ऋ॰

१ ।

१०

० ।

१२ दस्युहा
“दस्यूनामुपक्षप-यितृणामसुराणां वहन्ता” भा॰।

शब्दसागरः[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


दस्यु¦ m. (-स्युः) An enemy.
2. A thief.
3. An oppressor, a violator, a committer of injustice, &c.
4. A barbarian, an outcaste, or a Hindu who has become so by neglect of the essential rites. E. दस् to lose or be lost, Unadi affix युच् |

Apte[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


दस्युः [dasyuḥ], [दस्-युच्]

N. of a class of evil beings or demons, enemies of gods and men, and slain by Indra, (mostly Vedic in this sense).

An outcast, a Hindu who has become an outcast by neglect of the essential rites; cf. Ms.5.131;1.45; दस्यूनां दीयतामेष साध्वद्य पुरुषा- धमः Mb.12.173.2.

A thief, robber, bandit; नीत्वोत्पथं विषयदस्युषु निक्षिपन्ति Bhāg.7.15.46; पात्रीकृतो दस्यु- रिवासि येन Ś.5.2; R.9.53; Ms.7 143.

A villain, miscreant; दस्योरस्य कृपाणपातविषयादाच्छिन्दतः प्रेयसीम् Māl. 5.28.

A desperado, violator, oppressor.

Monier-Williams[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


दस्यु m. ( दस्)enemy of the gods( e.g. शम्बर, शुष्ण, चुमुरि, धुनि; all conquered by इन्द्र, अग्नि, etc. ) , impious man (called अ-श्रद्ध, अ-यज्ञ, अ-यज्यु, अ-पृनत्, अ-व्रत, अन्य-व्रत, अ-कर्मन्) , barbarian (called अ-नास्, or अन्-आस्" ugly-faced " , अधर, " inferior " , अ-मानुष, " inhuman ") , robber (called धनिन्) RV. AV. etc.

दस्यु m. any outcast or Hindu who has become so by neglect of the essential rites Mn.

दस्यु m. not accepted as a witness , viii , 66

दस्यु m. See. त्रसो-( दस्यवे वृकm. " wolf to the दस्यु" , N. of a man RV. viii , 51 ; 55 f ; दस्यवे सहस्n. violence to the -D दस्यु(N. of तुर्वीति) , i , 36 , 18 )

Purana index[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


--The आभिरस् and Mlecchas; unfit for श्राद्ध; फलकम्:F1: Br. III. १४. ४३; Vi. V. ३८. १३; २५. २७. ४९७.फलकम्:/F checked by ययाति; फलकम्:F2: Br. III. ६८. ६७.फलकम्:/F dharma of the; फलकम्:F3: Ib. III. ६३. १९४; वा. ४९. ५५; ७८. ३४; ८८. १०५.फलकम्:/F seized १६००० ladies of कृष्ण due to a curse by the Lord; फलकम्:F4: M. ७०. 7.फलकम्:/F cudgels as chief weapons of; फलकम्:F5: Vi. V. ३८. ५१, ७०, ८२, ८४.फलकम्:/F killing milch cows. फलकम्:F6: वा. ९३. ६६.फलकम्:/F

Purana Encyclopedia[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


Dasyu : m. (pl.): Designation of a class of people following a mode of life not approved by the law-makers; sometimes (especially in the Śāntiparvan) the term designates robbers; they moved in groups, hence sometimes referred to as dasyugaṇa.


A. Location: Lived in the north-east (prāguttarāṁ diśaṁ ye ca vasanty āśritya dasyavaḥ) 2. 24. 23; lived on mountains (dasyūn parvatavāsinaḥ) 2. 24. 15; lived in forests (apy araṇyaṁ samāśritya cared dasyugaṇaiḥ saha) 12. 131. 10.


B. Description: Their heads shaven (lūnamūrdhaja) 7. 95. 40; sinful (pāpakarman), their minds obsessed by avarice (lobhopahatacetas), and their sight inauspicious (aśubhadarśana) 16. 8. 45; cruel (krūra) 8. 49. 43; used sticks as weapons (yaṣṭipraharaṇa) 16. 8. 47.


C. Relations with other tribes: Ocassionally referred to as Śabara (tatrāvasat…śabarālaye) 12. 162. 34; (vāso me śabarālaye) 12. 162. 5; Yavanas, Kirātas, Gāndhāras, and many other tribes led the life of Dasyus (sarve te dasyujīvinaḥ) 12. 65. 13-15.


D. Their degraded status in society revealed in many ways:

(1) By comparing men who behaved improperly or unlawfully with Dasyus: (i) A poor man's begging is like an attack; he thereby annoys others like a Dasyu (yāñcām āhur anīśasya abhihāraṁ ca bhārata/udvejayati yācan hi sadā bhūtāni dasyuvat//) 13. 59. 4 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 13. 60. 4: anīśasya daridrasya/ but abhihāraṁ tiraskāram); (ii) A man of evil conduct considered mean like a Dasyu (durācāras tu durbuddhir…dasyur ivādhamaḥ) 12. 166. 9; (iii) Ignorant men carry on their heads the burden of saṁsāra by considering the wrong direction (as the right one) just as the Dasyus carry on their heads the load of flesh while following the wrong way (prakīrṇameṣabhāro hi yadvat dhāryeta dasyubhiḥ/ pratilomāṁ diśaṁ buddhvā saṁsāram abudhās tathā//) 12. 208. 13 (Nī. Bom. Ed. 12. 215. 14 reads prakīrṇameṣabhāraṁ hi and explains: āmiṣabhāraṁ vahantaś corāḥ gamyāṁ diśaṁ rājakīyādyavarodhāt pratikūlāṁ budhvā (?) āmiṣaṁ tyaktvānyāṁ diśam gacchanto yathā na badhyante… prakīrṇameṣaḥ viśastameṣaḥ āmiṣam ity arthaḥ klībatvam ārṣam see Editors note on Vol. 16. p. 2169 where Arjunamiśra's reading moṣa, meaning loptra ‘stolen property’, in place of meṣa is preferred); but just as one should abandon the company of the Dasyus going the wrong way and follow the wholesome way, similarly one should give up doing actions dominated by rajas and tamas and gain happiness (tān eva ca yathā dasyūn kṣiptvā gacchec chivāṁ diśam/tathā rajastamaḥkarmāṇy utsṛjya prāpnuyāt sukham) 12. 208. 14; (iv) According to Maitreya what happened in the sabhā of the Kauravas was like imitating the behaviour of Dasyus (dasyūnām iva yad vṛttaṁ sabhāyām) 3. 11. 17; (v) Draupadī told Virāṭa that his following the dharma of Dasyus (since he did nothing to check Kīcaka) brought no credit to his Sabhā (dasyūnām iva dharmas te na hi saṁsadi śobhate) 4. 15. 24; (vi) Sātyaki's killing Bhūriśravas in the unlawful way was choosing the dharma of Dasyus 7. 131. 2;

(2) By referring to the unlawful and dangerous acts of Dasyus: (i) Yavanas, Kirātas and others, though they lived in towns, followed the way of Dasyus (sarve te dasyujīvinaḥ) 12. 65. 15; (ii) Māndhātṛ told Indra that there were Dasyus living in disguise among all Varṇas and all the Āśramas (dṛśyante mānavā loke sarvavarṇeṣu dasyavaḥ/ liṅgāntare vartamānā āśrameṣu caturṣv api//) 12. 65. 23; (iii) Yudhiṣṭhira asked Bhīṣma how should a Brāhmaṇa, who did not want to give up his sons and grandsons, live when the dharma was at its lowest ebb, when all means of subsistence were under the control of Dasyus (sarvasmin dasyusādbhūte pṛthivyām upajīvane) 12. 130. 1 (dasyu is equated with asādhu in 12. 130. 2-3); 12. 138. 1; 12. 139. 6; (iv) Dasyus have been killing men since old times thinking ‘they have wealth’; they torture men inflicting on them various punishments and always distress them (dhanam asyeti puruṣaṁ purā nighnanti dasyavaḥ) 12. 171. 36; (v) As good men do not take what belongs to others, so do Dasyus not practise non-violence; people are pleased with Dasyus if they observe restraint (yathā sadbhiḥ parādānam ahiṁsā dasyubhis tathā/ anurajyanti bhūtāni samaryādeṣu dasyuṣu// 12. 131. 14 (Nī., however, who reads dasyubhiḥ kṛtā on 12. 133. 15: sadbhir dasyubhiḥ parādānaṁ parasvaharaṇam api kṛtam ahiṁsā bhavati tathā vakṣye iti śeṣaḥ); (vi) Killing some one when he is not fighting, violation of wives of others, ungratefulness, robbing a Brāhmaṇa of his wealth, leaving him without any possessions (niḥśeṣakaraṇaṁ tathā), robbing women, coersion (paristhānam cf. Critical Notes Vol. 14. p. 932), all this is practised by Dasyus and is censurable; and even if a Dasyu does not practise such acts, he is all the same a Dasyu (dasyuṣv etad vigarhitam//sa eṣa eva bhavati dasyuṛ etāni varjayan) 12. 131. 15-16 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 133. 16: niḥśeṣakaraṇam sarvaharaṇam); (vii) Death at the hands of a Dasyu is considered wretched (prākṛto vadha ucyate) and is equated with death due to poison, hanging, or burns, or due to getting killed by animals having jaws 12. 286. 25 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 297. 25 seems to explain prākṛta as durmaraṇa cf. yogī atyantavyādhipīḍāgrasto 'pi durmaraṇaṁ necched ity arthaḥ); (viii) Dasyus are the limit;

(1) even Dasyus do not trust in those who act mercilessly (dasyavo 'py upaśaṅkante niranukrośakāriṇaḥ) 12. 131. 11;

(2) even Dasyus trust ascetics (tāpaseṣu hi viśvāsam api kurvanti dasyavaḥ) 12. 87. 28;

(3) The Rākṣasas refused to eat the flesh of the mean Gautama, and suggested that it might be distributed among the Dasyus; but even Dasyus did not wish to eat the flesh of the sinful and unfaithful Gautama, nor the beasts of prey 12. 166. 18-19, 22-23; (ix) Dasyus are equated with impious men; when Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Pāṇḍu and Vidura were born, there were no Dasyus in the Kuru land, nor other impious men (nābhavan dasyavaḥ kecin nādharmarucayo janāḥ) 1. 102. 5; (x) If Brāhmaṇas parted company with Kṣatriyas, the latter became degraded and were as good as Dasyus (apadhvastā dasyubhūtā bhavanti ye brāhmaṇāḥ kṣatriyān saṁtyajanti) 12. 74. 10.


E. The Duties of Dasyus: On being questioned by Māndhātṛ about the dharma of Dasyus (kathaṁ dharmaṁ careyus te 12. 65. 15), Indra told him in details the duties of Dasyus which included service (śuṣrūṣā) to parents, teachers, elders, ascetics and kings, gifts to twice-born, observance of non-violence, truth, purity, faithfulness and other virtues 12. 65. 17-22; a Dasyu who lived within limits did not perish after his death; this is illustrated by the narrative of Kāpavya; those Dasyus who observed their dharma achieved perfections (api te dasyavo bhūtvā kṣipraṁ siddhim avāpnuyuḥ) 12. 133. 1-22.


F. Limitations of Dasyus: They are not able to overpower a person who has no desires and one who is free from (the fear of) loss of wealth (na ca dasyavaḥ/ prabhavanti dhanajyāninirmuktasya nirāśiṣaḥ) 12. 170. 12.


G. King's relationship with Dasyus: Indra created for a king his duty and armour, weapon and bow, for killing Dasyus (indreṇedaṁ dasyuvadhāya karma utpāditaṁ varma śastraṁ dhanuś ca) 5. 29. 27 (But Nī. on Bom. Ed. 5. 29. 30: karma yuddhaṁ); Brahman created Kṣatriyas for killing Dasyus who obstructed those that were engaged in agriculture, cattle-care, trade, and also those who performed the duties of Hotṛ, Adhvaryu and Udgātṛ priests (ūrdhvaṁ caiva trayī vidyā) 12. 90. 7-8 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 89. 7: ūrdhvaṁ svargam); a Kṣatriya should always be ready to kill Dasyus in battles 12. 60. 14; for a king, there is no higher duty than destroying Dasyus 12. 60. 17; their absence, (as also of beggars), in a kingdom considered desirable 12. 89. 20; a king should take his subjects into confidence by drawing their attention to the danger posed by his enemies who collaborated with Dasyus 12. 88. 26; a king must protect all the varṇas if the Dasyus tried to plunder their wives and possesions 13. 47. 44; a king who saved the beings from Dasyus and gave them wealth and happiness was a great king (dasyubhyaḥ prāṇadānāt sa dhanadaḥ sukhado virāṭ) 12. 98. 8; if a king did not protect his subjects, they could be at the mercy of Dasyus (loko 'yaṁ dasyusād bhavet) 12. 68. 20 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 68. 20: dasyusāt corādhīnāḥ); if due to a king's negligence his subjects were being robbed, such a king was Kali 12. 12. 27; Yudhiṣṭhira wanted to know if there were boundaries beyond which he should not allow Dasyus to step (asti svid dasyumaryādā yām ahaṁ parivarjaye) 12. 140. 1 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 142. 1: dasyūnām akāryakāriṇām api maryādā kācid asti ito 'dhikaṁ dasyūnāṁ na kartavyam iti); when a king behaved disregarding all restraints and in such a state Dasyus brought about total confusion, then if all varṇas took up weapons (to protect themselves) no blemish attached to them (unmaryāde pravṛtte tu dasyubhiḥ saṁkare kṛte/sarve varṇā na duṣyeyuḥ śastravanto…) 12. 79. 18; if the power of Dasyus increased (abhyutthite dasyubale), then even a Brāhmaṇa, Vaiśya or Śūdra should hold the rod of punishment in hand and protect the subjects from Dasyus; any one, Śūdra or some one else, whom the subjects, when tortured by Dasyus, turned for protection should be honoured (12. 79. 34-35, 38); a king in whose dominion hordes of Dasyus freely plundered the possessions of others, as do crows the fishes in water, was contemptible among the Kṣatriyas (sa vai kṣatriyapāṁsanaḥ) 12. 140. 28; Dasyus overpower a kingdom which has no ruler and which is weak (anindram abalaṁ rāṣṭraṁ dasyavo 'bhibhavanti ca) 12. 67. 2 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 67. 2: anindraṁ arājakaṁ ata evābalam); kings in whose dominion Brāhmaṇas were without proper means of subsistence, their oxen and draught-animals did not prosper, the churning pot (i. e. the curds in it) was not churned (because the pot was empty) when it was gifted, they became degraded like Dasyus (naiṣām ukṣā vardhate nota vāhā na gargaro mathyate saṁpradāne/apadhvastā dasyubhūtā bhavanti yeṣāṁ rāṣṭre brāhmaṇā vṛttihīnāḥ) 12. 329. 12 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 342. 19: gargaraḥ dadhīkṣutailādinipīḍanayantram/yeṣāṁ rājñāṁ kṛṣyādihīnatvāt tādṛśā rājāno naṣṭāś corāś ca bhavantīty arthaḥ; Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 68. 23: gargarā manthanyaḥ on the authority of Medinī); if a king and his Brāhmaṇa Purohita were opposed to each other, Dasyus took the side of him who was stronger of the two (anvagbalaṁ dasyavas tad bhajante) 12. 74. 8 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 73. 7: anu paścāt prakāśamānaṁ balam anvagbalaṁ yathā syāt tathā); a king might take away the wealth of Dasyus (and of those who did not perform sacrifices) 12. 134. 2; a king should always kill Dasyus and should not pardon any one on any account (nihanyāt sarvato dasyūn na kāmāt kasyacit kṣamet) 12. 76. 5; Dyumatsena told Satyavant that if Dasyus were not awarded capital punishment, there would be chaos eveywhere; in the Kali age, one would say: ‘this was mine, not his’ and normal life would be impossible (lokayātrā na caiva syāt) 12. 259. 6 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 267. 6: lokayātrā tīrthagamanavāṇijyādivyavahāraḥ kalau yuge adharmapradhāne kāle); however, a king should be careful while giving capital punishment to Dasyus, because when a Dasyu died, many other innocents dependent on him, like his wife, mother, father, son, also got killed for no fault of theirs (rājā tasmāṭ samyak pradhārayet) 12. 259. 10; but, a Dasyu, in fact, did not belong to men, nor to gods, nor to Gandharvas, nor to Pitṛs; for no one belonged to any one (kaḥ kasyeha na kaścana) 12. 259. 21 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 267. 21: dasyuvadhe tadbhāryādīnāṁ vadho nāstīty arthaḥ/sambandhābhāvāt); entering into an agreement (with Dasyus) who were ignorant and of confused mind was like trying to find a lotus in a cemetery or godliness in a Piśāca (i. e. trying to do what was impossible) (padmaṁ śmaśānād ādatte piśācāc cāpi daivatam/teṣu yaḥ samayaṁ kuryād ajñeṣu hatabuddhiṣu//) 12. 259. 22 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 267. 22: padmaṁ śavālaṅkāra(? ºram) ādatte piśācāt piśācopahatāt/ādatte cailādikam iti śeṣaḥ/kīdṛśaṁ samayaṁ daivataṁ devatāśapathādirūpam/; also cf. Critical Notes to Vol. 16 (p. 2193) on 12. 259. 22: “Lotus does not grow in cemetery, and if it does, it is not considered as holy. Similarly one does not expect good conduct or divine grace from persons possessed by ghosts. Cp. (i. e. the commentary of Paramānanda Bhaṭṭācārya) remarks at the end as follows: tad yathā padmaṁ svaguṇair utkṛṣṭaṁ śmaśānād upādāya kaścic chirasi kuryād devāya vā dadyāt, tatrāśvasīta kaḥ/bhāvipiśācādyu padravāśaṅkicetāḥ syāt-ity arthaḥ); a king who, following the Śāstra, teaches Dasyus to pay attention to place and time is not touched by sin (deśakālapratīkṣe yo dasyor darśayate nṛpaḥ/śāstrajāṁ buddhim āsthāya nainasā sa hi yujyate//) 12. 25. 11 (Nī., however, who reads marṣayate in Bom. Ed. 12. 24. 11: marṣayate dasyūn api na hanti enasā tajjena pāpena); in bad times, if a king had to take resort to a forest and live with Dasyus he should not associate with Dasyus who threw all norms of behaviour to the winds; it was easy to raise an army of Dasyus (of good behaviour) for performing fearful acts (apy araṇyaṁ samāśritya cared dasyugaṇaiḥ saha/na tv evoddhṛtamaryādair dasyubhiḥ sahitaś caret/dasyūnāṁ sulabhā senā raudrakarmasu bhārata) 12. 131. 10 (but Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 133. 11: dasyubhiḥ dasyuprāyair amātyaiḥ); when a king considered himself more prosperous than his (Dasyu) adversaries, he should turn on them and strike the (horde of) Dasyus without hesitation (yadā bahuvidhāṁ vṛddhim manyate pratilomataḥ/ tadā vivṛtya prahared dasyūnām avicārayan//) 12. 104. 38 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 103. 39: pratilomataḥ śatror apekṣayā vivṛtya prakaṭībhūya dasyūnāṁ dasyūn); Dasyus should not thoroughly annihilate even those who happened to be under their control; they should not act in a cruel manner thinking that they were very strong (tasmāt saśeṣaṁ kartavyaṁ svādhīnam api dasyubhiḥ/na balastho 'ham asmīti nṛśaṁsāni samācaret) 12. 131. 17; Dasyus, if not forced to remain within certain limits of behaviour, acted as robbers (nirmaryādā dasyavas tu bhavanti paripanthinaḥ) 12. 101. 3 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 100. 3: ye 'rthadharmayor nirmaryādās te paripanthīno nāśakā bhavanti).


H. Epic events:

(1) Arjuna, in his conquest of the north before the Rājasūya, conquered Dasyus who lived on mountains (dasyūn parvatavāsinaḥ) 2. 24. 15; he also conquered the Dasyus living in the forest in the northeast (prāguttarāṁ diśam ye ca vasanty āśritya dasyavaḥ/ nivasanti vane ye ca) 2. 24. 23;

(2) Yudhiṣṭhira asked Saṁjaya whether the Kauravas, if they encountered the bands of Dasyus, remembered Arjuna 5. 23. 19;

(3) Arjuna told Saṁjaya that when he would scatter the hordes of Dasyus gathered for the battle, Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his sons would repent 5. 47. 59;

(4) On the fourteenth day of war, Sātyaki covered the earth with the shaven heads of Dasyus together with their headgears 7. 95. 40; he killed many Dasyus 7. 97. 20;

(5) Kṛṣṇa told Babhru to protect the Yādava women so that they were not attacked by Dasyus due to their greed for wealth (naitā hiṁsyur dasyavo vittalobhāt) 16. 5. 4;

(6) When Arjuna stopped at Pañcanada on his way to Hāstinapura with Vṛṣṇi women, Dasyus became greedy and took counsel among themselves; then, thousands of them, using sticks as weapons, attacked Vṛṣṇis desirous of looting property; they disregarded Arjuna's warning and continued their attack; Arjuna could not check them as he forgot his astras; the Vṛṣṇi warriors could not stop Dasyus running away with Vṛṣṇi women; Arjuna and the Vṛṣṇi warriors killed some of the plundering Dasyus with arrows; when Arjuna's arrows were exhausted, he killed Dasyus with the tip of his bow; but that was of no avail; before his very eyes, Dasyus (mlecchas) took away Vṛṣṇi and Andhaka women 16. 8. 44-61.


I. Past events:

(1) Nahuṣa, during his rule, had killed hordes of Dasyus 1. 70. 26;

(2) Yayāti pleased the Dasyus by completely controlling them (atarpayad…dasyūn saṁnigraheṇa ca) 1. 80. 3-4;

(3) Dasyus who had stolen wealth, when pursued by royal guards, reached the hermitage of Māṇḍavya; they kept the loot in the āśrama and hid themselves due to fear; the guards asked Māṇḍavya which way the Dasyus had fled; when Māṇḍavya did not reply they searched the āśrama and found the hidden thieves (corān); the guards reported them and Māṇḍavya to the king; the king asked to kill the thieves (Dasyus) and Māṇḍavya (taṁ rājā saha taiś corair anvaśād vadhyatām iti) 1. 101. 4-11;

(4) some Dasyus were in search of men who, afraid of the Dasyus, had entered a forest; the Dasyus asked the ascetic Kauśika which way the men had disappeared; Kauśika told them that they had taken resort to the forest; the cruel Dasyus found them out and killed them 8. 49. 4345;

(5) Aśvagrīva (= Hayagrīva), whose limbs were cut off while fighting with Dasyus, enjoyed life in heaven 12. 25. 25;

(6) In order to illustrate that a Dasyu, who observed proper limits, did not perish after death (yathā dasyuḥ samaryādaḥ pretyabhāve na naśyati) is told the story of Kāpavya; he was born of a Niṣādī by a Kṣatriya; he obtained perfection on account of his being a (good) Dasyu (since he lived righteously carrying out the duties of a Kṣatriya) (dasyutvāt siddhim āptavān); when the Brāhmaṇas, who had retired to a forest, did not accept food brought to them by Kāpavya because he was a Dasyu, he left some of it in their homes and went away early in the morning; many Dasyus who behaved cruelly disregarding the rules elected Kāpavya as their leader; they agreed to live as instructed by him and requested him to act as their father and mother; he taught them the way they should live and ended by saying that Dasyus, if they observed the rules of dharma, would obtain perfection in spite of their being Dasyus (ye punar dharmaśāstreṇa varterann iha dasyavaḥ/api te dasyavo bhūtvā kṣipraṁ siddhim avāpnuyuḥ//); the Dasyus carried out the instructions of Kāpavya and abstained from sinful deeds; Kāpavya, who by his act turned the Dasyus away from committing sins, obtained great perfection (maha tīṁ siddhim āptavān/sādhūnām ācaran kṣemaṁ dasyūn pāpān nivartayan//) 12. 133. 1-24;

(7) A certain Brāhmaṇa, Gautama by name, happened to take shelter in the house of a wealthy Dasyu who was truthful and generous; Gautama got from the Dasyu new garments and wife; he lived there happily and helped the Dasyu to maintain his family; like the Dasyus, Gautama began to kill geese (vakrāṅgān) with arrows (Nī. who reads cakrāṅgān explains it as haṁsān, Bom. Ed. 12. 168. 36): the Brāhmaṇa Gautama, due to contact with Dasyus and leading their life, became similar to them (dasyubhiḥ samatām iyāt); many months passed while Gautama lived happily in the settlement of the Dasyus (dasyugrāme) killing many birds (pakṣiṇaḥ); once another Brāhmaṇa happened to arrive in that settlement of the Dasyus (dasyugrāmam); in that settlement which was full of Dasyus (grāme dasyujanākīrṇe) he searched everywhere for a Brāhmaṇa; he entered the house where Gautama lived; he recognized that Gautama belonged to Madhyadeśa; he asked Gautama how he came to live like a Dasyu (madhyadeśaparijñāto dasyubhāvaṁ gataḥ katham) 12. 162. 29-44.


J. Mythological events: Gods appointed Kṛṣṇa to kill Dasyus (here Asura Naraka and his Asura followers are meant by the word Dasyu) (nyayojayan dasyuvadhāya kṛṣṇam) 5. 47. 74, 76.


K. Future event: Kalki will always be engaged in killing Dasyus; they would perish crying pitiable words like ‘oh father, oh son’ (kalkiś cariṣyati mahīṁ sadā dasyuvadhe rataḥ//hā tāta hā sutety evaṁ tās tā vācaḥ sudāruṇāḥ/vikrośamānān subhṛśaṁ dasyūn neṣyati saṁśayam//) 3. 189. 5-6.


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Mahabharata Cultural Index[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


Dasyu : m. (pl.): Designation of a class of people following a mode of life not approved by the law-makers; sometimes (especially in the Śāntiparvan) the term designates robbers; they moved in groups, hence sometimes referred to as dasyugaṇa.


A. Location: Lived in the north-east (prāguttarāṁ diśaṁ ye ca vasanty āśritya dasyavaḥ) 2. 24. 23; lived on mountains (dasyūn parvatavāsinaḥ) 2. 24. 15; lived in forests (apy araṇyaṁ samāśritya cared dasyugaṇaiḥ saha) 12. 131. 10.


B. Description: Their heads shaven (lūnamūrdhaja) 7. 95. 40; sinful (pāpakarman), their minds obsessed by avarice (lobhopahatacetas), and their sight inauspicious (aśubhadarśana) 16. 8. 45; cruel (krūra) 8. 49. 43; used sticks as weapons (yaṣṭipraharaṇa) 16. 8. 47.


C. Relations with other tribes: Ocassionally referred to as Śabara (tatrāvasat…śabarālaye) 12. 162. 34; (vāso me śabarālaye) 12. 162. 5; Yavanas, Kirātas, Gāndhāras, and many other tribes led the life of Dasyus (sarve te dasyujīvinaḥ) 12. 65. 13-15.


D. Their degraded status in society revealed in many ways:

(1) By comparing men who behaved improperly or unlawfully with Dasyus: (i) A poor man's begging is like an attack; he thereby annoys others like a Dasyu (yāñcām āhur anīśasya abhihāraṁ ca bhārata/udvejayati yācan hi sadā bhūtāni dasyuvat//) 13. 59. 4 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 13. 60. 4: anīśasya daridrasya/ but abhihāraṁ tiraskāram); (ii) A man of evil conduct considered mean like a Dasyu (durācāras tu durbuddhir…dasyur ivādhamaḥ) 12. 166. 9; (iii) Ignorant men carry on their heads the burden of saṁsāra by considering the wrong direction (as the right one) just as the Dasyus carry on their heads the load of flesh while following the wrong way (prakīrṇameṣabhāro hi yadvat dhāryeta dasyubhiḥ/ pratilomāṁ diśaṁ buddhvā saṁsāram abudhās tathā//) 12. 208. 13 (Nī. Bom. Ed. 12. 215. 14 reads prakīrṇameṣabhāraṁ hi and explains: āmiṣabhāraṁ vahantaś corāḥ gamyāṁ diśaṁ rājakīyādyavarodhāt pratikūlāṁ budhvā (?) āmiṣaṁ tyaktvānyāṁ diśam gacchanto yathā na badhyante… prakīrṇameṣaḥ viśastameṣaḥ āmiṣam ity arthaḥ klībatvam ārṣam see Editors note on Vol. 16. p. 2169 where Arjunamiśra's reading moṣa, meaning loptra ‘stolen property’, in place of meṣa is preferred); but just as one should abandon the company of the Dasyus going the wrong way and follow the wholesome way, similarly one should give up doing actions dominated by rajas and tamas and gain happiness (tān eva ca yathā dasyūn kṣiptvā gacchec chivāṁ diśam/tathā rajastamaḥkarmāṇy utsṛjya prāpnuyāt sukham) 12. 208. 14; (iv) According to Maitreya what happened in the sabhā of the Kauravas was like imitating the behaviour of Dasyus (dasyūnām iva yad vṛttaṁ sabhāyām) 3. 11. 17; (v) Draupadī told Virāṭa that his following the dharma of Dasyus (since he did nothing to check Kīcaka) brought no credit to his Sabhā (dasyūnām iva dharmas te na hi saṁsadi śobhate) 4. 15. 24; (vi) Sātyaki's killing Bhūriśravas in the unlawful way was choosing the dharma of Dasyus 7. 131. 2;

(2) By referring to the unlawful and dangerous acts of Dasyus: (i) Yavanas, Kirātas and others, though they lived in towns, followed the way of Dasyus (sarve te dasyujīvinaḥ) 12. 65. 15; (ii) Māndhātṛ told Indra that there were Dasyus living in disguise among all Varṇas and all the Āśramas (dṛśyante mānavā loke sarvavarṇeṣu dasyavaḥ/ liṅgāntare vartamānā āśrameṣu caturṣv api//) 12. 65. 23; (iii) Yudhiṣṭhira asked Bhīṣma how should a Brāhmaṇa, who did not want to give up his sons and grandsons, live when the dharma was at its lowest ebb, when all means of subsistence were under the control of Dasyus (sarvasmin dasyusādbhūte pṛthivyām upajīvane) 12. 130. 1 (dasyu is equated with asādhu in 12. 130. 2-3); 12. 138. 1; 12. 139. 6; (iv) Dasyus have been killing men since old times thinking ‘they have wealth’; they torture men inflicting on them various punishments and always distress them (dhanam asyeti puruṣaṁ purā nighnanti dasyavaḥ) 12. 171. 36; (v) As good men do not take what belongs to others, so do Dasyus not practise non-violence; people are pleased with Dasyus if they observe restraint (yathā sadbhiḥ parādānam ahiṁsā dasyubhis tathā/ anurajyanti bhūtāni samaryādeṣu dasyuṣu// 12. 131. 14 (Nī., however, who reads dasyubhiḥ kṛtā on 12. 133. 15: sadbhir dasyubhiḥ parādānaṁ parasvaharaṇam api kṛtam ahiṁsā bhavati tathā vakṣye iti śeṣaḥ); (vi) Killing some one when he is not fighting, violation of wives of others, ungratefulness, robbing a Brāhmaṇa of his wealth, leaving him without any possessions (niḥśeṣakaraṇaṁ tathā), robbing women, coersion (paristhānam cf. Critical Notes Vol. 14. p. 932), all this is practised by Dasyus and is censurable; and even if a Dasyu does not practise such acts, he is all the same a Dasyu (dasyuṣv etad vigarhitam//sa eṣa eva bhavati dasyuṛ etāni varjayan) 12. 131. 15-16 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 133. 16: niḥśeṣakaraṇam sarvaharaṇam); (vii) Death at the hands of a Dasyu is considered wretched (prākṛto vadha ucyate) and is equated with death due to poison, hanging, or burns, or due to getting killed by animals having jaws 12. 286. 25 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 297. 25 seems to explain prākṛta as durmaraṇa cf. yogī atyantavyādhipīḍāgrasto 'pi durmaraṇaṁ necched ity arthaḥ); (viii) Dasyus are the limit;

(1) even Dasyus do not trust in those who act mercilessly (dasyavo 'py upaśaṅkante niranukrośakāriṇaḥ) 12. 131. 11;

(2) even Dasyus trust ascetics (tāpaseṣu hi viśvāsam api kurvanti dasyavaḥ) 12. 87. 28;

(3) The Rākṣasas refused to eat the flesh of the mean Gautama, and suggested that it might be distributed among the Dasyus; but even Dasyus did not wish to eat the flesh of the sinful and unfaithful Gautama, nor the beasts of prey 12. 166. 18-19, 22-23; (ix) Dasyus are equated with impious men; when Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Pāṇḍu and Vidura were born, there were no Dasyus in the Kuru land, nor other impious men (nābhavan dasyavaḥ kecin nādharmarucayo janāḥ) 1. 102. 5; (x) If Brāhmaṇas parted company with Kṣatriyas, the latter became degraded and were as good as Dasyus (apadhvastā dasyubhūtā bhavanti ye brāhmaṇāḥ kṣatriyān saṁtyajanti) 12. 74. 10.


E. The Duties of Dasyus: On being questioned by Māndhātṛ about the dharma of Dasyus (kathaṁ dharmaṁ careyus te 12. 65. 15), Indra told him in details the duties of Dasyus which included service (śuṣrūṣā) to parents, teachers, elders, ascetics and kings, gifts to twice-born, observance of non-violence, truth, purity, faithfulness and other virtues 12. 65. 17-22; a Dasyu who lived within limits did not perish after his death; this is illustrated by the narrative of Kāpavya; those Dasyus who observed their dharma achieved perfections (api te dasyavo bhūtvā kṣipraṁ siddhim avāpnuyuḥ) 12. 133. 1-22.


F. Limitations of Dasyus: They are not able to overpower a person who has no desires and one who is free from (the fear of) loss of wealth (na ca dasyavaḥ/ prabhavanti dhanajyāninirmuktasya nirāśiṣaḥ) 12. 170. 12.


G. King's relationship with Dasyus: Indra created for a king his duty and armour, weapon and bow, for killing Dasyus (indreṇedaṁ dasyuvadhāya karma utpāditaṁ varma śastraṁ dhanuś ca) 5. 29. 27 (But Nī. on Bom. Ed. 5. 29. 30: karma yuddhaṁ); Brahman created Kṣatriyas for killing Dasyus who obstructed those that were engaged in agriculture, cattle-care, trade, and also those who performed the duties of Hotṛ, Adhvaryu and Udgātṛ priests (ūrdhvaṁ caiva trayī vidyā) 12. 90. 7-8 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 89. 7: ūrdhvaṁ svargam); a Kṣatriya should always be ready to kill Dasyus in battles 12. 60. 14; for a king, there is no higher duty than destroying Dasyus 12. 60. 17; their absence, (as also of beggars), in a kingdom considered desirable 12. 89. 20; a king should take his subjects into confidence by drawing their attention to the danger posed by his enemies who collaborated with Dasyus 12. 88. 26; a king must protect all the varṇas if the Dasyus tried to plunder their wives and possesions 13. 47. 44; a king who saved the beings from Dasyus and gave them wealth and happiness was a great king (dasyubhyaḥ prāṇadānāt sa dhanadaḥ sukhado virāṭ) 12. 98. 8; if a king did not protect his subjects, they could be at the mercy of Dasyus (loko 'yaṁ dasyusād bhavet) 12. 68. 20 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 68. 20: dasyusāt corādhīnāḥ); if due to a king's negligence his subjects were being robbed, such a king was Kali 12. 12. 27; Yudhiṣṭhira wanted to know if there were boundaries beyond which he should not allow Dasyus to step (asti svid dasyumaryādā yām ahaṁ parivarjaye) 12. 140. 1 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 142. 1: dasyūnām akāryakāriṇām api maryādā kācid asti ito 'dhikaṁ dasyūnāṁ na kartavyam iti); when a king behaved disregarding all restraints and in such a state Dasyus brought about total confusion, then if all varṇas took up weapons (to protect themselves) no blemish attached to them (unmaryāde pravṛtte tu dasyubhiḥ saṁkare kṛte/sarve varṇā na duṣyeyuḥ śastravanto…) 12. 79. 18; if the power of Dasyus increased (abhyutthite dasyubale), then even a Brāhmaṇa, Vaiśya or Śūdra should hold the rod of punishment in hand and protect the subjects from Dasyus; any one, Śūdra or some one else, whom the subjects, when tortured by Dasyus, turned for protection should be honoured (12. 79. 34-35, 38); a king in whose dominion hordes of Dasyus freely plundered the possessions of others, as do crows the fishes in water, was contemptible among the Kṣatriyas (sa vai kṣatriyapāṁsanaḥ) 12. 140. 28; Dasyus overpower a kingdom which has no ruler and which is weak (anindram abalaṁ rāṣṭraṁ dasyavo 'bhibhavanti ca) 12. 67. 2 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 67. 2: anindraṁ arājakaṁ ata evābalam); kings in whose dominion Brāhmaṇas were without proper means of subsistence, their oxen and draught-animals did not prosper, the churning pot (i. e. the curds in it) was not churned (because the pot was empty) when it was gifted, they became degraded like Dasyus (naiṣām ukṣā vardhate nota vāhā na gargaro mathyate saṁpradāne/apadhvastā dasyubhūtā bhavanti yeṣāṁ rāṣṭre brāhmaṇā vṛttihīnāḥ) 12. 329. 12 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 342. 19: gargaraḥ dadhīkṣutailādinipīḍanayantram/yeṣāṁ rājñāṁ kṛṣyādihīnatvāt tādṛśā rājāno naṣṭāś corāś ca bhavantīty arthaḥ; Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 68. 23: gargarā manthanyaḥ on the authority of Medinī); if a king and his Brāhmaṇa Purohita were opposed to each other, Dasyus took the side of him who was stronger of the two (anvagbalaṁ dasyavas tad bhajante) 12. 74. 8 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 73. 7: anu paścāt prakāśamānaṁ balam anvagbalaṁ yathā syāt tathā); a king might take away the wealth of Dasyus (and of those who did not perform sacrifices) 12. 134. 2; a king should always kill Dasyus and should not pardon any one on any account (nihanyāt sarvato dasyūn na kāmāt kasyacit kṣamet) 12. 76. 5; Dyumatsena told Satyavant that if Dasyus were not awarded capital punishment, there would be chaos eveywhere; in the Kali age, one would say: ‘this was mine, not his’ and normal life would be impossible (lokayātrā na caiva syāt) 12. 259. 6 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 267. 6: lokayātrā tīrthagamanavāṇijyādivyavahāraḥ kalau yuge adharmapradhāne kāle); however, a king should be careful while giving capital punishment to Dasyus, because when a Dasyu died, many other innocents dependent on him, like his wife, mother, father, son, also got killed for no fault of theirs (rājā tasmāṭ samyak pradhārayet) 12. 259. 10; but, a Dasyu, in fact, did not belong to men, nor to gods, nor to Gandharvas, nor to Pitṛs; for no one belonged to any one (kaḥ kasyeha na kaścana) 12. 259. 21 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 267. 21: dasyuvadhe tadbhāryādīnāṁ vadho nāstīty arthaḥ/sambandhābhāvāt); entering into an agreement (with Dasyus) who were ignorant and of confused mind was like trying to find a lotus in a cemetery or godliness in a Piśāca (i. e. trying to do what was impossible) (padmaṁ śmaśānād ādatte piśācāc cāpi daivatam/teṣu yaḥ samayaṁ kuryād ajñeṣu hatabuddhiṣu//) 12. 259. 22 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 12. 267. 22: padmaṁ śavālaṅkāra(? ºram) ādatte piśācāt piśācopahatāt/ādatte cailādikam iti śeṣaḥ/kīdṛśaṁ samayaṁ daivataṁ devatāśapathādirūpam/; also cf. Critical Notes to Vol. 16 (p. 2193) on 12. 259. 22: “Lotus does not grow in cemetery, and if it does, it is not considered as holy. Similarly one does not expect good conduct or divine grace from persons possessed by ghosts. Cp. (i. e. the commentary of Paramānanda Bhaṭṭācārya) remarks at the end as follows: tad yathā padmaṁ svaguṇair utkṛṣṭaṁ śmaśānād upādāya kaścic chirasi kuryād devāya vā dadyāt, tatrāśvasīta kaḥ/bhāvipiśācādyu padravāśaṅkicetāḥ syāt-ity arthaḥ); a king who, following the Śāstra, teaches Dasyus to pay attention to place and time is not touched by sin (deśakālapratīkṣe yo dasyor darśayate nṛpaḥ/śāstrajāṁ buddhim āsthāya nainasā sa hi yujyate//) 12. 25. 11 (Nī., however, who reads marṣayate in Bom. Ed. 12. 24. 11: marṣayate dasyūn api na hanti enasā tajjena pāpena); in bad times, if a king had to take resort to a forest and live with Dasyus he should not associate with Dasyus who threw all norms of behaviour to the winds; it was easy to raise an army of Dasyus (of good behaviour) for performing fearful acts (apy araṇyaṁ samāśritya cared dasyugaṇaiḥ saha/na tv evoddhṛtamaryādair dasyubhiḥ sahitaś caret/dasyūnāṁ sulabhā senā raudrakarmasu bhārata) 12. 131. 10 (but Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 133. 11: dasyubhiḥ dasyuprāyair amātyaiḥ); when a king considered himself more prosperous than his (Dasyu) adversaries, he should turn on them and strike the (horde of) Dasyus without hesitation (yadā bahuvidhāṁ vṛddhim manyate pratilomataḥ/ tadā vivṛtya prahared dasyūnām avicārayan//) 12. 104. 38 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 103. 39: pratilomataḥ śatror apekṣayā vivṛtya prakaṭībhūya dasyūnāṁ dasyūn); Dasyus should not thoroughly annihilate even those who happened to be under their control; they should not act in a cruel manner thinking that they were very strong (tasmāt saśeṣaṁ kartavyaṁ svādhīnam api dasyubhiḥ/na balastho 'ham asmīti nṛśaṁsāni samācaret) 12. 131. 17; Dasyus, if not forced to remain within certain limits of behaviour, acted as robbers (nirmaryādā dasyavas tu bhavanti paripanthinaḥ) 12. 101. 3 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 100. 3: ye 'rthadharmayor nirmaryādās te paripanthīno nāśakā bhavanti).


H. Epic events:

(1) Arjuna, in his conquest of the north before the Rājasūya, conquered Dasyus who lived on mountains (dasyūn parvatavāsinaḥ) 2. 24. 15; he also conquered the Dasyus living in the forest in the northeast (prāguttarāṁ diśam ye ca vasanty āśritya dasyavaḥ/ nivasanti vane ye ca) 2. 24. 23;

(2) Yudhiṣṭhira asked Saṁjaya whether the Kauravas, if they encountered the bands of Dasyus, remembered Arjuna 5. 23. 19;

(3) Arjuna told Saṁjaya that when he would scatter the hordes of Dasyus gathered for the battle, Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his sons would repent 5. 47. 59;

(4) On the fourteenth day of war, Sātyaki covered the earth with the shaven heads of Dasyus together with their headgears 7. 95. 40; he killed many Dasyus 7. 97. 20;

(5) Kṛṣṇa told Babhru to protect the Yādava women so that they were not attacked by Dasyus due to their greed for wealth (naitā hiṁsyur dasyavo vittalobhāt) 16. 5. 4;

(6) When Arjuna stopped at Pañcanada on his way to Hāstinapura with Vṛṣṇi women, Dasyus became greedy and took counsel among themselves; then, thousands of them, using sticks as weapons, attacked Vṛṣṇis desirous of looting property; they disregarded Arjuna's warning and continued their attack; Arjuna could not check them as he forgot his astras; the Vṛṣṇi warriors could not stop Dasyus running away with Vṛṣṇi women; Arjuna and the Vṛṣṇi warriors killed some of the plundering Dasyus with arrows; when Arjuna's arrows were exhausted, he killed Dasyus with the tip of his bow; but that was of no avail; before his very eyes, Dasyus (mlecchas) took away Vṛṣṇi and Andhaka women 16. 8. 44-61.


I. Past events:

(1) Nahuṣa, during his rule, had killed hordes of Dasyus 1. 70. 26;

(2) Yayāti pleased the Dasyus by completely controlling them (atarpayad…dasyūn saṁnigraheṇa ca) 1. 80. 3-4;

(3) Dasyus who had stolen wealth, when pursued by royal guards, reached the hermitage of Māṇḍavya; they kept the loot in the āśrama and hid themselves due to fear; the guards asked Māṇḍavya which way the Dasyus had fled; when Māṇḍavya did not reply they searched the āśrama and found the hidden thieves (corān); the guards reported them and Māṇḍavya to the king; the king asked to kill the thieves (Dasyus) and Māṇḍavya (taṁ rājā saha taiś corair anvaśād vadhyatām iti) 1. 101. 4-11;

(4) some Dasyus were in search of men who, afraid of the Dasyus, had entered a forest; the Dasyus asked the ascetic Kauśika which way the men had disappeared; Kauśika told them that they had taken resort to the forest; the cruel Dasyus found them out and killed them 8. 49. 4345;

(5) Aśvagrīva (= Hayagrīva), whose limbs were cut off while fighting with Dasyus, enjoyed life in heaven 12. 25. 25;

(6) In order to illustrate that a Dasyu, who observed proper limits, did not perish after death (yathā dasyuḥ samaryādaḥ pretyabhāve na naśyati) is told the story of Kāpavya; he was born of a Niṣādī by a Kṣatriya; he obtained perfection on account of his being a (good) Dasyu (since he lived righteously carrying out the duties of a Kṣatriya) (dasyutvāt siddhim āptavān); when the Brāhmaṇas, who had retired to a forest, did not accept food brought to them by Kāpavya because he was a Dasyu, he left some of it in their homes and went away early in the morning; many Dasyus who behaved cruelly disregarding the rules elected Kāpavya as their leader; they agreed to live as instructed by him and requested him to act as their father and mother; he taught them the way they should live and ended by saying that Dasyus, if they observed the rules of dharma, would obtain perfection in spite of their being Dasyus (ye punar dharmaśāstreṇa varterann iha dasyavaḥ/api te dasyavo bhūtvā kṣipraṁ siddhim avāpnuyuḥ//); the Dasyus carried out the instructions of Kāpavya and abstained from sinful deeds; Kāpavya, who by his act turned the Dasyus away from committing sins, obtained great perfection (maha tīṁ siddhim āptavān/sādhūnām ācaran kṣemaṁ dasyūn pāpān nivartayan//) 12. 133. 1-24;

(7) A certain Brāhmaṇa, Gautama by name, happened to take shelter in the house of a wealthy Dasyu who was truthful and generous; Gautama got from the Dasyu new garments and wife; he lived there happily and helped the Dasyu to maintain his family; like the Dasyus, Gautama began to kill geese (vakrāṅgān) with arrows (Nī. who reads cakrāṅgān explains it as haṁsān, Bom. Ed. 12. 168. 36): the Brāhmaṇa Gautama, due to contact with Dasyus and leading their life, became similar to them (dasyubhiḥ samatām iyāt); many months passed while Gautama lived happily in the settlement of the Dasyus (dasyugrāme) killing many birds (pakṣiṇaḥ); once another Brāhmaṇa happened to arrive in that settlement of the Dasyus (dasyugrāmam); in that settlement which was full of Dasyus (grāme dasyujanākīrṇe) he searched everywhere for a Brāhmaṇa; he entered the house where Gautama lived; he recognized that Gautama belonged to Madhyadeśa; he asked Gautama how he came to live like a Dasyu (madhyadeśaparijñāto dasyubhāvaṁ gataḥ katham) 12. 162. 29-44.


J. Mythological events: Gods appointed Kṛṣṇa to kill Dasyus (here Asura Naraka and his Asura followers are meant by the word Dasyu) (nyayojayan dasyuvadhāya kṛṣṇam) 5. 47. 74, 76.


K. Future event: Kalki will always be engaged in killing Dasyus; they would perish crying pitiable words like ‘oh father, oh son’ (kalkiś cariṣyati mahīṁ sadā dasyuvadhe rataḥ//hā tāta hā sutety evaṁ tās tā vācaḥ sudāruṇāḥ/vikrośamānān subhṛśaṁ dasyūn neṣyati saṁśayam//) 3. 189. 5-6.


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Vedic Index of Names and Subjects[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


Dasyu, a word of somewhat doubtful origin, is in many passages of the Rigveda[१] clearly applied to superhuman enemies. On the other hand, there are several passages in which human foes, probably the aborigines, are thus designated. This may be regarded as certain in those passages where the Dasyu is opposed to the Āryan, who defeats him with the aid of the gods.[२] The great difference between the Dasyus and the Āryans was their religion: the former are styled ‘not sacrificing,’ ‘devoid of rites,’ ‘addicted to strange vows,’ ‘godhating,’ and so forth.[३] As compared with the Dāsa, they are less distinctively a people: no clans (viśaḥ) of the Dasyus are mentioned, and while Indra's dasyu-hatya, ‘slaughter of the Dasyus,’ is often spoken of, there is no corresponding use of dāsa-hatya. That the Dasyus were real people is, however, shown by the epithet anās applied to them in one passage of the Rigveda.[४] The sense of this word is not absolutely certain: the Pada text and Sāyaṇa both take it to mean ‘without face’ (an-ās),[५] but the other rendering, ‘noseles’ (a-nās), is quite possible,[६](** 4 Rv. i. 51, 5, 6; 103, 4; x. 95, 7; 99, 7; 105, 11. Cf. dasyu-han. ‘Dasyuslaying,’ i. 100, 12; vi. 45, 24; viii. 76, 11; 77, 3; x. 47, 4 (all of Indra); vi. 16, 15; viii. 39, 8 (of Agni), etc. and would accord well with the flat-nosed aborigines of the Dravidian[७] type, whose language still persists among the Brahuis, who are found in the north-west. This interpretation would receive some support from Vṛtra's being called ‘broken-nosed’ if this were a correct explanation of the obscure word rujānās.[८]

The other epithet of the Dasyus is mṛdhra-vāc, which occurs with anās,[९] and which has been rendered[१०] ‘of stammering, or unintelligible speech.’ This version is by no means certain, and since the epithet is elsewhere[११] applied to Āryans, its correct meaning is more probably ‘of hostile speech.’

Dasyu corresponds with the Iranian daṅhu, daqyu, which denotes a ‘province.’ Zimmer[१२] thinks that the original meaning was ‘enemy,’ whence the Iranians developed the sense of ‘hostile country,’ ‘conquered country,’ ‘province,’ while the Indians, retaining the signification of ‘enemy,’ extended it to include demon foes. Roth[१३] considers that the meaning of human enemy is a transfer from the strife of gods and demons. Lassen[१४] attempted to onnect the contrast daqyu: dasyu with that of daeva: deva, and to see in it a result of the religious differences which, according to Haug's theory, had separated the Iranians and the Indians. The word may have originally meant ‘ravaged land’[१५] as a result of invasion; hence ‘enemies’ country,' then ‘hostile people,’ who as human foes were more usually called by the cognate name of Dāsa.

Individual Dasyus are Cumuri, Śambara, Śuṣṇa, etc.

In the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa[१६] the word has, as later,[१७] the sense of uncivilized peoples generally.

  1. i. 34, 7;
    100, 18;
    ii. 13, 9, etc. See Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, pp. 157, 158.
  2. Rv. i. 51, 8;
    103, 3;
    117, 21;
    ii. 11, 18, 19;
    iii. 34, 9;
    vi. 18, 3;
    vii. 5, 6;
    x. 49, 3. Probably also in v. 70, 3;
    x. 83, 6, people are meant.
  3. The Dasyu is called a-karman, ‘riteless,’ x. 22, 8;
    a-devayu, ‘indifferent to the gods,’ viii. 70, 11;
    a-brahman, ‘without devotion,’ iv. 16, 9;
    a-yajvan, ‘not sacrificing,’ viii. 70, 11;
    a-yajyu, id., vii. 6, 3;
    a-vrata, ‘lawless,’ i. 51, 8;
    175, 3;
    vi. 14, 3;
    ix. 41, 2;
    anyavrata, ‘following strange ordinances,’ viii. 70, 11;
    deva-pīyu, ‘reviling the gods,’ Av. xii. 1, 37. It is impossible in all cases to be certain that people are meant.
  4. Rv. v. 29, 10.
  5. This sense allows of two interpretations: ‘misfeatured,’ which seems that of Roth, St. Petersburg Dictionary, s.v., and Grassmann, Wo7rterbuch;
    or ‘speechless’ (that is, unable to speak the language of the Āryans), which is that of Bollensen, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 41, 496.
  6. This view is supported by Megasthenes' report as to natives who were: see Strabo, p. 711;
    Pliny, Nat. Hist., vii. 2, 18, cited by Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, 430. See also Ludwig, Translation of the Rigveda, 2, 109;
    5, 95;
    Hillebrandt, Vedische Mythologie, 3, 277;
    Knauer, Kuhn's Zeitschrift, 29, 52;
    Wackernagel, Altindische Grammatik, 2, 293 (accent).
  7. The suggestion in the Indian Empire, 1, 390, that the modern Brahui type is the true Dravidian, while the modern Dravidian is the result of fusion with Muṇḍā-speaking tribes, would render this theory improbable. But it seems more probable that the Brahuis in speech preserve the tradition of Dravidian settlements in North India.
  8. See Bloomfield, American Journal of Philology, 17, 415 (who takes rujānāḥ of Rv. i. 32, 8, as = rujāna-nāḥ);
    Oldenberg, Ṛgveda-Noten, 1, 31, 32 (who suggests as possible the analysis of the word as rujā-anāḥ). But cf. Lanman, Sanskrit Reader, 361, who suggests the emendation rujānaḥ as nominative singular of the simple participle ‘broken’;
    Macdonell, Vedic Grammar, p. 59, n. 1.
  9. Rv. v. 29, 10.
  10. Cf. Muir, Sanskrit Texts, 2^2, 393 et seq.
  11. The expression is used of the Āryan Pūrus in vii. 18, 13;
    of the Paṇis in vii. 6, 3;
    and of hostile persons in i. 174, 2;
    v. 32, 8;
    x. 23, 5. Roth, Erläuterungen zum Nirukta, 97, thinks the sense is ‘of insulting speech,’ and Zimmer, op. cit., 114, 115, strongly supports this view. But Hillebrandt, op. cit., 1, 89, 90, 114, prefers to see in it ‘speaking an enemy's speech,’ and thinks that the Pūrus were dialectically different from the Bharatas--a view which can be supported from the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, iii. 2, 1, 23, 24, where the Asuras say he'lavo (= he'rayo, ‘ho, enemies,’ in Sanskrit). See Muir, op. cit., 2^2, 114;
    Davidson, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 37, 23 (the Mahābhāṣya version);
    Eggeling, Sacred Books of the East, 26, 31, n. 3. The word could thus apply to the Dasyus also, as the strange speech of the enemy could be either Āryan or aboriginal.
  12. Op. cit., 110 et seq. So Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 158.
  13. St. Petersburg Dictionary, s.v.
  14. Indische Alterthumskunde, 1^2, 633 et seq. This theory is now generally discredited. Cf. Justi, Go7ttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1866, 1446 et seq.;
    Geldner, Vedische Studien, 1, 142;
    Oldenberg, Religion des Veda, 162 et seq.;
    Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 156.
  15. Both this word and Dāsa appear to be derived from the root das, which, according to Whitney, Roots, means ‘lay waste’;
    but, according to Roth, ‘suffer want,’ ‘waste away.’
  16. vii. 18, where the descendants of Viśvāmitra are called dasyūnāṃ bhūyiṣṭhāḥ;
    Śāṅkhāyana Śrauta Sūtra,
    xv. 26, 7.
  17. Manu, v. 131;
    x. 32. 45;
    Zimmer, op. cit., 118.

    Cf. Hillebrandt, op. cit., 3, 276 et seq.;
    Zimmer, op. cit., 101 et seq.
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