Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Wed Nov 6 00:37:23 UTC 2002

Certainly should take into account the use of bhagavat in the Bhagavadgiitaa to refer to teacher-god Krishna, in the Jain canonical literature to refer to Mahaaviira, and the occasional use of this term to refer to respected teachers in the Upani.sads.  In later Hindu texts the words bhqagavat and the feminine bhagavatii are routinely used to refer to gods and goddesses.  The Vaishnava use of the term bhaagavata as a devotee of bhagavat (= Vishnu) is attested in inscriptions, and is attested in the title of the  There is a late traditional verse explaining the meaning of the term bhaga in bhagavat:

        aizvaryasya samagrasya viiryasya yazasa.h zriya.h /
        j~naanavairaagyayoz caiva .sa.n.naam bhaga itiira.naa //

The term bhaga, according to this verse, has six meanings:  complete (ruler-like) prosperity, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and dispassionate nature.  So a person endowed with these is termed bhagavat.  The earlier usage is probably also related to the respectful address form bhago cited in Panini, and bhagava.h found in the Upani.sads.

                                                        Madhav Deshpande

> ----------
> From:         Jan Nattier
> Reply To:     Indology
> Sent:         Tuesday, November 5, 2002 4:28 PM
> To:   INDOLOGY at
> Subject:           bhagavat
> For a paper on the so-called "ten epithets" of the Buddha in
> early Chinese translations, I would appreciate hearing whether
> any of the list members have ever seen an explanation of the
> meaning of this term as "world-honored one" (or anything
> close) in any Indian source (not necessarily Buddhist).
> with thanks in advance,
> Jan Nattier

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