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For other uses, see Bhagavan (disambiguation). This article contains Indic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks or boxes, misplaced vowels or missing conjuncts instead of Indic text. Bhagavan Krishna with Radharani Bhagavan, also written Bhagwan or Bhagawan, from the Sanskrit nt-stem bhaga-vant- (nominative/vocative भगवान् Bhagavān) literally means "possessing fortune, blessed, prosperous" (from the noun bhaga, meaning "fortune, wealth", cognate to Slavic bog "god", Russian богач (boga'ch) "wealthy"), and hence "illustrious, divine, venerable, holy", etc.[1] In some traditions of Hinduism it is used to indicate the Supreme Being or Absolute Truth, but with specific reference to that Supreme Being as possessing a personality (a personal God)[2]. This personal feature indicated in Bhagavan differentiates its usage from other similar terms[3] such as Brahman, the "Supreme Spirit" or "spirit", and thus, in this usage, Bhagavan is in many ways analogous to the general Christian conception of God. Bhagavan used as a title of veneration is often translated as "Lord", as in "Bhagavan Krishna", "Bhagavan Shiva", "Bhagavan Swaminarayan", etc. In Buddhism and Jainism, Gautama Buddha, Mahavira and other Tirthankaras, Buddhas and bodhisattvas are also venerated with this title. The feminine of Bhagavat is Bhagawatī and is an epithet of Durga and other goddesses. The title is also used as a respectful form of address for a number of contemporary spiritual teachers in India. Contents 1 Definitions 2 Early epigraphical evidence 2.1 Bhagavat 2.2 In Buddhism 3 See also 4 Notes 5 References // Definitions The Bhagavata Purana (1.2.11) clearly states the meaning of Bhagavan to mean the supreme most being: vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate The Learned Know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan. In the Vishnu Purana (6.5.79) the personality named Parashara Rishi defines six bhagas as follows: aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva ṣannāḥ bhaga itīṇganā Jiva Gosvami explains the verse in his Gopala Champu (Pūrva 15.73) and Bhagavata Sandarbha 46.10: jñāna-śakti-balaiśvarya-vīrya-tejā aśeṣataḥ bhagavac-chabda-vācyāni vinā heyair guṇādibhiḥ "The substantives of the word bhagavat (bhagavat-śabda-vācyāni) are unlimited (aśes.atah.) knowledge (jñāna), energies (śakti), strength (bala), opulence (aiśvarya), heroism (vīrya), splendor (tejas), without (vinā) objectionable (heyair) qualities (guṇādibhiḥ)." Early epigraphical evidence Bhagavat The Bhāgavat religion of early Hinduism is documented epigraphically from around 100 BCE, such as in the inscriptions of the Heliodorus pillar, in which Heliodorus, an Indo-Greek ambassador from Taxila to the court of a Sunga king, describes himself as a Bhagavata ("Heliodorena bhagavatena"): "Devadevasa Va [sude]vasa Garudadhvajo ayam karito i[a] Heliodorena bhaga- vatena Diyasa putrena Takhasilakena Yonadatena agatena maharajasa Amtalikitasa upa[m]ta samkasam-rano Kasiput[r]asa [Bh]agabhadrasa tratarasa vasena [chatu]dasena rajena vadhamanasa" "This Garuda-standard of Vasudeva (Vishnu), the God of Gods was erected here by the Bhagavata Heliodoros, the son of Dion, a man of Taxila, sent by the Great Greek (Yona) King Antialcidas, as ambassador to King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the Savior son of the princess from Benares, in the fourteenth year of his reign." (Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report (1908-1909)) In Buddhism The word "Bhagava" has also been used to describe the Buddha in the earliest Pali texts. The term "Bhagava" has been used in Pali Anussati or recollections as one of the terms that describes the "Tathagatha". In the Buddha anussati, Bhagavan is defined the following way: Iti pi so Bhagava Thus is Buddha, 1) Araham - deserving homage. 2) Samma-sambuddho - perfectly awakened. 3) Vijja-carana sampanno - perfect in true knowledge and conduct. 4) Sugato - well gone (to Nibbana) 5) Lokavidu - knower of the worlds 6) Anuttaro purisa damma sarathi - incomparable leader (lit. charioteer) of persons to be tamed. 7) Satta deva manusanam - teacher of gods and humans. 8) Buddho - awakened one. 9) Bhagavan - Blessed One. (Sakamunisa bhagavato), is recorded in the kharoshthi dedication of a vase placed in a Buddhist stupa by the Greek meridarch (civil governor of a province) named Theodorus (Tarn, p391): "Theudorena meridarkhena pratithavida ime sarira sakamunisa bhagavato bahu-jana-stitiye": "The meridarch Theodorus has enshrined relics of Lord Shakyamuni, for the welfare of the mass of the people" (Swāt relic vase inscription of the Meridarkh Theodoros [1]) See also Acintya Bhagavad Gita Bhakti Ishvara Jnana Narayana Om Tat Sat Para Brahman Svayam bhagavan Turiya Yoga Notes ^ Macdonell Sanskrit-English dictionary ^ Who is Krishna? "God the person, or Bhagavan" ^ Bhag-P 1.2.11 "Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan" References The Shape of Ancient Thought. Comparative studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies by Thomas McEvilley (Allworth Press and the School of Visual Arts, 2002) ISBN 1-58115-203-5 Buddhism in Central Asia by B.N. Puri (Motilal Banarsidass Pub, January 1, 2000) ISBN 81-208-0372-8 The Greeks in Bactria and India, W.W. Tarn, Cambridge University Press. v • d • e Hinduism Aum · Ayurveda · Chakra · Dharma · Denominations · Deities · Gurus and saints · Schools · Karma · Jyotish · Mantras · Moksha · Sruti · Smriti · Yoga Portal v • d • e Buddhism • Portal Articles: Glossary • History – Timeline • Schools • Texts • Countries – Regions • Culture • Lists: Temples – People – Index – Outline v • d • e Avatars of Vishnu Dashavatara Matsya · Kurma · Varaha · Narasimha · Vamana · Parashurama · Rama · Krishna · Balarama* · Buddha* · Kalki Other avatars Catursana · Narada · Nara-Narayana · Kapila · Dattatreya · Yajna · Rishabha · Prithu · Dhanvantari · Mohini · Vyasa · Prsnigarbha · Hayagriva · Hamsa *Buddha or Balarama is considered the ninth avatar of Vishnu, depending on the tradition. In North India, Buddha is included and in south India, Balarama. v • d • e Theories of Truth Coherence · Consensus · Constructivist · Correspondence · Deflationary · Epistemic · Indefinability · Pragmatic · Redundancy · Semantic