Dasa (Sanskrit दास dāsa) is a term that initially had the connotation of "enemy," as relating to tribes identified as the enemies of the Indo-Aryan tribes in the Rig Veda. The word later acquired religious connotations. In contemporary usage, the surname Dasa designates a servant of God, "devotee," or "votary." Dasa more accurately translates to one who has surrendered to God. Dasa can also be used as a suffix to a given name in order to indicate "servant" or "slave" of a particular deity. The present day usage of Dasa or Das in Hinduism has a respectful connotation and is not considered derogatory.
The Dasa are often identified as the wealthy cattle-raising non-Indo-European populations subdued by the people practicing Vedic rituals in the course of the Indo-Aryan migration. Asko Parpola proposed that the original Dasas were fellow Indo-Iranians of the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex, who initially rejected Aryan religious practices, but were later merged with them.
A similar term for enemy people, Dasyu, is also used in the Rig Veda. It is unclear whether the Dasa and Dasyu are related. There is no word for "slave" in Sanskritized Hindi, so the word Dāsa is used in its place.