[INDOLOGY] Translation of bhagavān / bhagavatī

Matthew Kapstein mkapstei at uchicago.edu
Fri Sep 30 07:51:20 UTC 2022

Dear Dr. Haas,

In English usage the phrase "Blessed Lord" is current in reference to the deity of the Western monotheisms. I believe that this usage was extended to Indian religions
during the nineteenth century.


Matthew Kapstein
Directeur d'études, émérite
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

Associate, The Divinity School
The University of Chicago



From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Dr. Dominik A. Haas, BA MA <dominik at haas.asia>
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2022 1:18 AM
To: indology at list.indology.info <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Translation of bhagavān / bhagavatī

Dear native speakers,

to me “blessed” implies that someone has pronounced a blessing on a person/object. How does this work with a deity such as Kṛṣṇa? Or can “blessed” be used in a more figurative sense (is this what you have in mind?)?

Best regards,

D. Haas

Dr. Dominik A. Haas, BA MA
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Am 30.09.2022 um 01:41 schrieb Harry Spier via INDOLOGY:
Tracy Coleman wrote:
Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Blessed Lord Krishna

Thank you Tracy for this.  "Blessed" is exactly what I need. And of course thank you to everyone else who answered, Rajam, Donald Davis, Dean Michael Anderson, and Matthew Kapstein.

"Blessed" is a little more concise than this definition of bhagavat in the Vishnu Purana translated by Sw. Tyagīśānanda
"That which is imperceptible, undecaying, inconceivable, unborn,
inexhaustible, indestructible; which has neither form, nor hands, nor
feet, which is almighty, omnipresent, eternal; the cause of all things
and without cause, permeating all, itself unpenetrated, and from which
all things proceed, that is the object which the wise behold, that is
Brahman, that is the Supreme State, that is the thing spoken of by the
Vedas, the infinitely subtle, supreme condition of viSNu.  That Essence
of the Supreme is defined by the term Bhagavat;  the word Bhagavat is
the denotation of that primeval and eternal God; and he who fully
understands the meaning of that expression is possessed of holy wisdom,
the sum and substance of the three vedas. The word Bhagavat is a
convenient form to be used in the adoration of that Supreme Being, to
twhom no term is applicable; and therefore bhagavat expresses that
Supreme Spirit which is individual, almighty, and the cause of causes of
all things. . . .

Harry Spier

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