- Vedas and Daas
- Rakshas in Vedas and Hinduism
- The reality of caste system – 1
- Vedas and Shudra
- Vedas and Dignity of Labor
- Vedas and Dasyu in Hinduism
- Is Purush Sukta of Vedas casteist?
- There is no caste-system in Vedas
- The reality of caste system – Next Move
- The reality of caste system – 2
- Brahmin, Shudra….I don’t care
A predominant theme that pervades the Macaulay brand of education is about Vedas being primarily a description of struggle between Arya and Dasyu. This theory, which is a favorite of semi-literate western indologists and their communist tails weaves a creative story – that Aryans were nomadic tribes with barbaric instincts. They came to India from Central Asia and spread loot and rape all around. The natives of India were called Dasyu or Daas. After winning over them, they established their Aryan supremacy based on birth-based discrimination.
And today, most consider Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma or Vedic Dharma to be primarily characterized by this birth-based discrimination having its origin in massacre of the Dasyu or Daas. Its a pity that this theory has led to alienation of a large number of our brothers and sisters who consider themselves Anarya (non-Arya) and bear a grudge against those who follow Vedas. These include those who call themselves Dalit or Dravid these days.
A lot has already been explored by scholars to debunk the stupid Aryan Invasion Theory which has no evidence whatsoever. Even someone like Dr Ambedkar was extremely critical of this theory as well as myth of subjugation of Dasyu.
However the purpose of this article is to explore what Vedas exactly say about Arya and Dasyu. After all Vedas are supposed to be the primary evidence to support this theory of Aryan subjugation of Dasyu or Daas.
So let us review some of the allegations.
Vedas describe Arya and Dasyu at several places. Many mantras pray for destruction of Dasyu and looting of their wealth. Several mantras state that even women should not be spared if they are Dasyu. Hence one can conclude that Vedas describe the brutal Aryan invasion of Dasyu people.
In total, there are 85 mantras referring to Dasyu in Rigveda. Several refer to Daas as well, which is a synonym. Let us review some of the mantras evaluate what they mean.
O, All Powerful Warrior! You possess a variety of powers and roam alone. Do use your powerful weapon to destroy wealthy Dasyu (criminals) and Sanakah (those who steal from others). May they reach their deaths through your weapon. These Sanakah are devoid of noble acts.
The adjective used for Dasyus are “Ayajva” meaning those who do not perform noble acts or noble resolutions. Obviously such people would be criminals. Thus the king is advised to destroy such criminals to safeguard his people.
Sayana defines Dasyu as thief. Dasyu origins from root ‘Dasa’ which means “Upakshaya” or that which leads to destruction. Hence Dasyu refers to those people who are destructive or criminals. It does not refer to any caste or race.
Those Dasyu (criminals) who are themselves devoid of noble resolutions and clash with noble people, flee away due to your protection. O brave warrior, you have destroyed the Avrata (unscrupulous) from everywhere.
In this mantra, two adjectives are used for Dasyu – Ayajva (those who do not perform noble acts and noble resolutions) and Avrata (indisciplined and unscrupulous).
Very clearly, Dasyu refers to criminals and they are accorded the same treatment in Vedas as they deserve in any civilized society.
O brave warrior! Destroy and drive away these Dasyu, whether they laugh or cry, from the world and protect those having noble resolutions and those who pray.
O brave warrior! Make those cunning people tremble with fear through your cleverness who consume everything only for themselves. O protector of people, destroy the habitations of those Dasyu who spread violence and protect those who are simple and truthful.
In this mantra, Dasyu refers to those who only consume for themselves and are devoid of noble deeds like charity and helping others.
In Kaushitaki Brahman, such people are referred as Asur. Thus Asur and Dasyu, both refer to criminals and not to any caste or race.
O brave warrior! You have been killing those who exploit others and protect those who are saints. To protect those who help others, you trample the most powerful wicked people. You have always been born to destroy the Dasyu (criminals).
The adjective used for Dasyu is Shushna which means those who do “Shoshan” or exploit others.
O God! You know very well the Arya and the Dasyu. Destroy the Avrata (unscrupulous) Dasyu for sake for those who perform noble deeds. I want to follow all the noble actions. Kindly inspire me.
O powerful warrior! For sake of disciplined people possessing noble resolutions and performing noble actions, you destroy the Avrata (unscrupulous). For sake of those having polite speech, you keep the rude and indisciplined people under control.
O Powerful warriors! You support the noble people and destroy the Dasyu. In this mantra, word “Arya” is used to denote humans involved in constructive activities.
O Powerful warrior! You indulge in three types of wars – ordinary, competitive and prosperity-enhancer. You protect the Yajaman Arya (noble people indulged in benevolent acts) and destroy the Avrata (unscrupulous) people with darkness in heart who are indulged in violence or plan to indulge in violent activities.
Here “Krishnatvak” is used which is misleading interpreted to mean people with dark skin. However it means dark exterior in esoteric sense and to remove any doubts, the words “Tatrisham” and “Asharsaanam” are used. They mean “desiring to kill” or “ involved in killing”. In contrast, “Arya” is used for benevolent people.
No doubt should remain that Arya means noble person and has nothing to do with any race.
This mantra also implies that Arya should be protected and Dasyu be destroyed. “Varna’ is used for Arya. Varna means “worthy of being accepted”. Thus “Arya Varna” means one who is worthy of being accepted as Arya.
I provide land to Arya, rains to charitable people and other resources to people as well.
Very clearly Arya is an adjective here in line with Charitable.
Similarly, one can go through the following mantras
All these mantra clearly elaborate that Arya is an adjective for noble benevolent peaceful people, and Dasyu/ Daas denotes unscrupulous people with criminal tendencies. This is amply evident from the adjectives used along with Arya and Dasyu/ Daas in these mantras.
In fact Rigveda 6.22.10 states that ‘Daas should be made ‘Arya’. How could it be possible if these were to denote races!
Rigveda 6.60.6 states that even those people should be destroyed who were Arya so far but now got into criminal activities. Same sentiment is repeated in Rigveda 10.69.6 and 10.83.1. Thus, even Arya is not a permanent adjective. One has to continue earning it, or else he or she deserves the same punishments as accorded to those who are historically or habitually Dasyus.
This mantra states that no one can overrule the laws created by Supreme, be it a Daas or an Arya.
Skeptics attempt to distort the meaning of this mantra by claiming that the mention of Daas and Arya implies two different races. Because if Daas were to mean criminals, why is God allowing them to do crimes when this mantra states that no one can overrule His laws.
By laws of God, one does not imply restrictions on free-will. Soul has free-will in human incarnation and can very well choose to indulge in crime or noble deeds. This freedom is also law do God. However, one cannot escape the consequences of his or her deeds, and this is what is emphasized in this mantra.
The next two mantras of same Sukta – Atharvaveda 5.11.4 and 5.11.6 clarify that further. They state that even the rogues are scared of unchangeable laws of God. But they continue to disturb humans because they are not scared of humans. Hence the devotee prays to God that may these rogue criminals be subdued and scholars be promoted.
It is also to be noted that Daas or Dasyu are not the only words used to denote the rogue. Many mantras mention the word “Brahmadvish” which means one who hates penance, knowledge and noble deeds.
For example, Rigveda 3.30.17 and 7.104.2 pray that Brahmadvish, cannibals, dangerous and corrupt people should be always fought against to keep them under control. Now just as cannibal, dangerous and corrupt people do not form a race, similarly Daas, Dasyu and Brahmadvish do not form any race. They only denote criminal nature of certain people.
Rigveda 7.83.7 makes it more clear by stating that even 10 kings who are indulged in criminal tendencies cannot defeat a single righteous king because the prayers of noble people become true and many powerful people and resources partner with missions of such noble people. Again the word used for criminals is “Ayajva” which is used with Dasyu also in some of the mantras discussed before.
Its a matter of pity that many semi-literate biased western indologists try to prove a story of war between ten kings in this mantra!
I would conclude with another excellent mantra from Rigveda which summarizes the whole concept of fight between Arya and Dasyu/Daas/ Avrata/ Ayajva. Rigveda 7.104.12 proclaims that:
“The wise should know that Truth (Sat) and Falsehood (Asat) compete with each other. Truth attempts to destroy Falsehood and vice versa. However, only the Truth (Sat) and Fundamental Truth (Rit) are protected by the Supreme.”
May we all destroy the False ego and become crusaders of Sat and Rit!
In next post, we shall discuss the word Daas and see how it has nothing to do with Shudra and is merely a synonym of Dasyu.
This article is also available in Hindi at http://agniveer.com/vedas-and-dasyu-hi/