Tamils Vedic Tribes Yadus Turvasas Rig Veda

I had an interesting comment to one of my Posts.

‘If the Tamils have been mentioned in the Vedas, is The Tamil Sangam mentioned in the Vedas , Ramayana and Mahabharata?’

The answer is that the Vedas or the Ithihasas do not mention the Tamil Sangam, though the Tamil Classical Poetry of the Tamil Sangams mention the Vedas, Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Krishna as a Toddler.jpgLord Krishna attended Tamil Poet summit.jpg
Toddler Krishna.

I shall provide the answer to the question at the end of the Post.

To understand the Vedic references to other communities, one has to understand the Tribal Groups during the Rig Vedic period.

What were they and where were they?

five major tribal groups mentioned in Rig Veda : Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus, Druhyus and Purus. Tthe TRkSis are not included because they are referred to as people beyond the Vedic Aryan realm.

It is emphasised however that the Rig Veda hymns are composed under the patronage of Purus, who alone among the five named above are Aryas or Aryans, as is meant in the text. Only the PUrus are addressed as “Arya” in the Rig Veda. The other four may or may not have been of the same racial stock but, to the Rigvedic people and the composers of Rig Veda hymns, they are considered and termed as non-Aryans or “an-Arya”.

Rig Veda hymns include in mention and references : with Aryas – the Purus – on one part, and the other part comprising of Yadus, TurvaSas, Anus and Druhyus,

But there are two distinct words by which the Rig Veda refers to these others :

a. DAsas

b. Dasyus

It is necessary to understand the distinction between the two words.

The word DAsa is found in 54 hymns (63 verses) :

I.   32.11; 92.8; 103.3; 104.2; 158.5; 174.7;

II.  11.2, 4; 12.4; 13.8; 20.6, 7;

III.  12.6; 34.1;

IV.  18.9; 28.4; 30.14, 15, 21; 32.10;

V.  30.5, 7-9; 33.4; 34.6;

VI.  20.6, 10; 22.10; 25.2; 26.5; 33.3;  47.21; 60.6;

VII.  19.2; 83.1; 86.7; 99.4;

VIII.  5.31; 24.27; 32.2; 40.6; 46.32; 51.9;  56.3, 70.10, 96.18;

X.  22.8; 23.2; 38.3; 49.6, 7; 54.1; 62.10; 69.6;
73.7; 83.1; 86.19; 99.6; 102.3; 120.2;  138.3; 148.2.

The word Dasyu is found in 65 hymns (80 verses) :

I   33.4, 7, 9; 36.18; 51.5, 6, 8; 53.4; 59.6;
63.4; 78.4; 100.18; 101.5; 103.3, 4; 104.5;
117.3, 21; 175.3.

II 11.18, 19; 12.10; 13.9: 15.9; 20.8;
III. 29.9; 34.6, 9; 49.2
IV. 16.9, 10, 12; 28.3, 4; 38.1;
V. 4.6; 7.10; 14.4; 29.10; 30.9; 31.5, 7; 70.3;
VI. 14.3; 16.15; 18.3; 23.2; 24.8; 29.6; 31.4; 45.24;
VII. 5.6; 6.3; 19.4;
VIII. 6.14; 14.14; 39.8; 50.8; 70.11; 76.11; 77.3;  98.6;
IX. 41.2; 47.2; 88.4; 92.5;
X. 22.8; 47.4; 48.2; 49.3; 55.8; 73.5; 83.3, 6;
95.7; 99.7, 8; 105.7, 11; 170.2.

There are two distinct aspects that differentiates the DAsas and Dasyus :

  1. The term DAsa clearly refers to other tribes (ie. non-PUru tribes)

while the term Dasyu refers to their priestly classes (ie. non-Vedic priestly classes).

[This is apart from the fact that both the terms are freely used to refer to the atmospheric demons as much as to human enemies to whom they basically refer.]

a.  According to IV. 28.4, the Dasyus are a section among the DAsas.

b.  The Dasyus are referred to in terms which clearly show

that the cause of hostility is religious in nature :

ayajña (worshipless): VII.6.3.
ayajvan (worshipless): I.33.4; VIII.70.11.
avrata (riteless): I.51.8; 175.3; VI.14.3; IX.41.2.
akarmA (riteless): X.22.8.
adeva (godless): VIII.70.11.
aSraddha (faithless): VII.6.3.
amanyamAna (faithless): I.33.9; 11.22.10.
anyavrata (followers of different rites): VIII.70.11; X.22.8.
abrahma (prayerless): IV.16.9.

Not one of these abusive terms are used even once in reference to Dasas.

c.  The family-wise pattern of references to them also shows

that the Dasyus are priestly rivals while the DAsas are secular rivals.

The Dasyus are referred to by all the nine priestly families of RSis,

but never by the non-priestly family of RSis (the Bharatas).

The DAsas are referred to by the Bharatas (X.69.6; 102.3) also but not by the most purely ritualistic family of RSis, the KaSyapas, nor in the purely ritualistic of MaNDalas, the MaNDala IX.

d.  The Dasyus, being priestly entities, do not figure as powerful persons or persons to be feared, but the DAsas, being secular entities (tribes, tribal warriors, kings, etc.) do figure as powerful persons or persons to be feared:

In three references (VIII.5.31; 46.32; 51.9), the DAsas are rich patrons.

In seven references, the DAsas are powerful enemies from whose fury and powerful weapons the composers ask the Gods for protection (I.104.2; VIII.24.27; X.22.8; 54.1; 69.6; 102.3) or from whom the Gods rescue the RSis (I.158.5).

In three others, the word DAsa refers to powerful atmospheric demons who hold the celestial waters in their thrall (I.32.11; V.30.5; VIII.96.18).

In contrast, Dasyus never figure as rich or powerful enemies. They are depicted as sly enemies who incite others into acts of boldness (VI.24.8).

e. While both DAsas and Dasyus are referred to as enemies of the Aryas, it is only the DAsas, and never the Dasyus, who are sometimes bracketed together with the Aryas.

Seven verses refer to both Aryas and DAsas as enemies (VI.22.10; 33.3; 60.6; VII.83.1; X.38.3; 69.6; 83.1; 102.3) and one verse refers to both Aryas and DAsas together in friendly terms (VIII.51.9).

This is because both, the word DAsa and the word Arya, refer to broad secular or tribal entities, while the word Dasyu refers to priestly entities : thus, one would generally say “both Christians and Muslims”, or “both padres and mullahs”, but not “both Christians and mullahs” or “both Muslims and padres”.

2. The second difference is in the degree of hostility towards the two.

The Dasyus are clearly regarded with uncompromising hostility,

while that towards the DAsas is relatively mild and tempered :

a.  The word Dasyu has a purely hostile connotation even when it occurs in the name or title of heroes :

Trasadasyu = “tormentor of the Dasyus”.
DasyavevRka = “a wolf towards the Dasyus”.

It is clear , then, that the Tamils who were living South od the Vindhyas are the people being referred to as Dasyus.

This is confirmed by the information that Sage Viswamitra banished his sons to the Dasyu Region for disobeying him.

Apasthamba, a descendant of these excommunicated sons of Viswamitra complied the Apasthamba Sutra which incorporated the Tamils’ customs like Mangalya Sutra for marriages.

Lord Krishna married a Pandyan Princess and had a child through her;he had her married to a Pandyan prince.

Please read my Post on this.

Yadu families, after the Dwaraka deluge migrated to the South.

The connection between the Yadus and the other Vedic tribes, though frowned upon, continued.

The system of worship by the Dravidas, called by the Purus as Dasyus, was differnt.Tthey had Lord Shiva as the First Siddha and were more inclined towards the worship of Reality without Form.

Reference to this may be found in Thirumoolar’s Thirumandiram, where Formless worship is emphasized and one may find reference to passages ridiculing the idolatry practices.

Siva Vakkiyar, A Siddha observes thus.


Why do you go around an Idol, chanting?

Would the Idol speak when the God is within You”

However Tamils, at a later period worshiped various Gods.

They divided the lands into five, assigning Gods to each land.

Kurinji-Mountainous Region- Murugan, Subrahmanya.

Mullai-Forest areas, Maayon, Krishna,


Neydhal , Seashore, Varuna and

Palai, Desert, Kotravai, Durga.

And these Tamil Kings fought with the Vedic tribes of the North and have won many a battle.

Ravana, belonging to Vedic people (though many people dispute this,he was a Vedic scholar) was defeated by a Pandya King and signed a peace treaty with him.

Even Krishna and Arjuna fought with the southern tribes.

No wonder the people of the North viewed the people of the South as Hostile, Dasyus and did not refer to the Tamil Sangam.

I am continuing my research in this area as I am sure the there would be a reference to the Tamil Sangams.

The present post is with the resources available to me now.

* Please read my Post Rama’s Ancestor Manu a Dravida.


Citation and Reference.




  1. Nice article, any update with reference to “No wonder the people of the North viewed the people of the South as Hostile, Dasyus and did not refer to the Tamil Sangam.

    I am continuing my research in this area as I am sure the there would be a reference to the Tamil Sangams.”.


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