[INDOLOGY] Translation of bhagavān / bhagavatī

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at uchicago.edu
Thu Sep 29 19:28:59 UTC 2022

Hi Dean,

In Buddhist contexts, Bhagavan is typically the Lord, the Blessed One, or something similar.

Bhagavatī, as in Bhagavatī Prajñāpāramitā, is usually Blessed or Glorious.


Sent from Outlook for iOS<https://aka.ms/o0ukef>
From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Dean Michael Anderson via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2022 9:18:38 PM
To: Harry Spier <vasishtha.spier at gmail.com>; rajam <rajam at earthlink.net>
Cc: indology at list.indology.info <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Translation of bhagavān / bhagavatī

Yes, bhagavan/bhagavati are used to refer to the deity. So in your quote, you could translate it as "goddess", "divinity", "deity" or something similar.

But bhagavan is also used to refer to an honored person. I've never seen bhagavati used in that way, but I don't see why not. I would imagine devotees of one of the many modern woman gurus could use that term.



On Friday, September 30, 2022 at 12:27:36 AM GMT+5:45, rajam via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

From my understanding (as a non-Sanskritist) as a Tamilian …

1. The term ‘bhagavAn’ is used as an epithet to a revered religious guru, personal deity, and such.

2. In Kerala, 'bhagavati’ refers to the ‘goddess.’
2a. In the Earliest Missionary Grammar of Tamil by Henrique Henriques, a Jesuit Missionary,  we find the term ‘pakavati’ to refer to the local usage ‘goddess.’  If you can, please see https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674727236

3. Here’s what I find in Apte’s translation:

भगवत्<https://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/app/apte_query.py?qs=%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%97%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%8D&searchhws=yes&matchtype=exact> bhagavat (p. 1181<https://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/app/apte_query.py?page=1181>)
भगवत् bhagavat a 1 Glorious illustrious -2 Revered venerable divine holy an epithet applied to gods demigods and other holy or respectable personages स्वर्गप्रकाशो भगवान् प्रदोषः Ram558 अथ भगवान् कुशली काश्यपः S5 भगवन् परवानयं जनः R881 so भगवान् वासुदेवः &c उत्पत्तिं च विनाशं च भूतानामागतिं गतिम् । वेत्ति विद्यामविद्यां च स वाच्यो भगवानिति ॥ -3 Fortunate Ved -m 1 A god deity -2 An epithet of Visnu -3 Of Siva -4 Of Jina -5 Of Buddha -Comp - N of a celebrated sacred work it is an episode of the great Bharata and purports to be a dialogue between Krisna and Arjuna - a resembling the Supreme - N of the source of Ganga साक्षाद्भगवत्पदीत्यनुपलक्षितवचः Bhag5171


On Sep 29, 2022, at 9:49 AM, Harry Spier via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:

Clarification. If it wasn't clear from my previous email. The meaning of bhagavAn/bhagavatI I'm needing to translate for a non indologist audience is only when it's used as a  honorific to a deity.
Harry Spier

Sent from mobile phone.

On Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 09:59 Harry Spier, <vasishtha.spier at gmail.com<mailto:vasishtha.spier at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear list members,
Firstly happy Navaratri.
Secondly I'm wondering what the best way to translate bhagavati and bhagavan would be.  The target audience is a non-specialist non-sanskritist audience.  The contexts are typically where someone is addressing a god or goddess  where the actual name of the god/goddess is also mentioned fairly close . A typical example would be this gayatrī to annapūrṇā .

bhagavatyai ca vidmahe
māheśvaryai ca dhīmahi
tan no annapūrṇā pracodayāt

Harry Spier

INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info<mailto:INDOLOGY at list.indology.info>

INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info<mailto:INDOLOGY at list.indology.info>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology/attachments/20220929/f4d86bb3/attachment.htm>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list