In Hinduism a bhāgavata (a vŗddhi derivative from bhagavant- 'lord'), is a devotee, worshipper or follower of Bhagavant namely Vishnu in his personal aspect as Lord Krishna. The form of worship is called bhakti which has the meaning of 'adoration'.

Historically, the Bhagavatas worshipped Vāsudeva-Krishna.[1][2] An early depiction of Vāsudeva-Krishna on a coin of Agathocles of Bactria, 190-180 BCE.[3][4]

Historically, Bhagavatism corresponds to the development of a popular theistic movement in India, departing from the elitist sacrificial rites of Vedism,[5] and initially focusing on the worship of the Vrishni hero Vāsudeva in the region of Mathura.[1] It later assimilated into the concept of Narayana[6] where Krishna is conceived as svayam bhagavan. According to some historical scholars, worship of Krishna emerged in the 1st century BC. However, Vaishnava traditionalists place it in the 4th century BC.[7] Despite relative silence of the earlier Vedic sources, the features of Bhagavatism and principles of monotheism of Bhagavata school unfolding described in the Bhagavad Gita as viewed as an example of the belief that Vāsudeva-Krishna is not an avatar of the Vedic Vishnu, but is the Supreme.[8][9]

Definition of Krishnaism

The Heliodorus pillar, dedicated by a Greek ambassador from the court of Indo-Greek king Antialcidas circa 100 BCE, contains the first known inscription related to the Bhagavata cult in India.[10]

In the ninth century CE Bhagavatism was already at least a millennium old and many disparate groups, all following the Bhagavata Purana could be found. Various lineages of Gopala worshipers developed into identifiable denominations. However, the unity that exists among these groups in belief and practice has given rise to the general term Krishnaism. Today the faith has a significant following outside of India as well.[11] Many places associated with Krishna such as Vrindavan attract millions of pilgrims each year who participate in religious festivals that recreate scenes from Krishna's life on Earth. Some believe that early Bhagavatism was enriched and transformed with powerful and popular Krishna tradition with a strong "human" element to it.[12]

Initial History of Bhagavata tradition

It is believed that Bhagavatas borrowed or shared the attribute or title Purusa of their monotheistic deity from the philosophy of Sankhya. The philosophy was formulated by the end of the 4th century BC and as time went other names such as Narayana were applied to the main deity of Krishna-Vāsudeva.[13]

Second Early Stage

The association of the Sun-bird Garuda with the "Devadeva" ("God of Gods") Vāsudeva in the Heliodorus pillar (113 BCE) suggests that the Bhagavat cult of human deities had already absorbed the Sun-god Vishnu, an ancient Vedic deity.[14] Slightly later, the Nagari inscription also shows the incorporation of the Brahmanical deity Narayana into the heroe-cult of Bhagavatism.[14] Vishnu would much later become prominent in this construct, so that by the middle of the 5th century CE, during the Gupta period, the term Vaishnava would replace the term Bhagavata to describe the followers of this cult, and Vishnu would now be more popular than Vāsudeva.[14]

Some relate absorption by Brahmanism to be the characteristic of the second stage of the development of the Bhagavata tradition. It is believed that at this stage Krishna-Vāsudeva was identified with the deity of Vishnu, that according to some belonged to the pantheon of Brahmanism.[15]

Rulers onwards from Chandragupta II, Vikramaditya were known as parama Bhagavatas, or Bhagavata Vaishnavas. The Bhagavata Purana entails the fully developed tenets and philosophy of the Bhagavata cult whereis Krishna gets fused with Vasudeva and transcends Vedic Vishnu and cosmic Hari to be turned into the ultimate object of bhakti.[16]

Literary references

References to Vāsudeva also occur in early Sanskrit literature. Taittiriya Aranyaka (X, i,6) identifies him with Narayana and Vishnu. Pāṇini, ca. 4th century BCE, in his Ashtadhyayi explains the word "Vāsudevaka" as a Bhakta (devotee) of Vāsudeva. At some stage during the Vedic period, Vasudeva and Krishna became one deity or three distinct deities Vasudeva-Krishna, Krishna-Gopala and Narayana, all become identified with Vishnu.[17] and by the time of composition of the redaction of Mahabharata that survives till today.

A Gupta period research makes a "clear mention of Vasudeva as the exclusive object of worship of a group of people", who are referred as bhagavatas.[18]

According to an opinion of some scholars in Patanjali's time identification of Krishna with Vasudeva is an established fact as is surmised from a passage of the Mahabhasya – (jaghana kamsam kila vasudevah).[19] This "supposed earliest phase is thought to have been established from the sixth to the fifth centuries BCE at the time of Pāṇini, who in his Astadhyayi explained the word vasudevaka as a bhakta, devotee, of Vasudeva and its believed that Bhagavata religion with the worship od Vasudeva Krishna were at the root of the Vaishnavism in Indian history."[20][21]

Other meanings

In the recent times, this often refer to a particular sect of Vaishnavas in West India, referring to themselves as 'Bhagavata-sampradaya'.[22][23]

It is also a common greeting among the followers of Ramanujacharya and other yoga sects.

Constant Satsanga with devotees and Bhagavatas, repetition of His Name, Sri Ram, Sita Ram, Hari Om, etc., constant remembrance of the Lord, prayer, study of religious books such as the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, Hari Kirtan, service of ... It can also be spelled 'Bhagavats' and refer to a Buddhist concept.[24][25]

Bhagavata Sampradaaya is a very old vedic tradition that respects all the darshana shastras & siddantas. It is neutral to any particular practices like only Vaishnava, Smarta, Shakta, Gaanapatya, Saura etc., And instructs to practice the rituals that is in accordance with Vedas. Some of the practices of this Sampradaaya are continuous study of Vedas, all time chanting of Gayatri, Nitya Agni Upaasana, Atiti Satkaara, Vaishwadeva, Pancha Yagnas, Daana-Dharma, Simpleness, humbleness, socially accepted life style, Sachitdananda Dhyana, leaving egotism, Sarva samarpana Bhaava of one's own Sampat-Bhakti-Punya Karma-Knowledge. This is actual Bhagavata.

See also


  1. "A cult of Vāsudeva, known as Bhagavatism, was already in exitence by the second century BC." in Srinivasan, Doris (1981). Kalādarśana: American Studies in the Art of India. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-06498-0.
  2. Subburaj, V.V.K. (2004). Basic Facts of General Knowledge. Sura Books. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-81-7254-234-4.
  3. Singh, Upinder (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India. p. 437. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.
  4. Joshi, Nilakanth Purushottam (1979). Iconography of Balarāma. Abhinav Publications. p. 22. ISBN 978-81-7017-107-2.
  5. Sastri, K. a Nilakanta (1952). Age Of The Nandas And Mauryas. pp. 304–305.
  6. Beck, G. (2005). "Krishna as Loving Husband of God". Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity. ISBN 978-0-7914-6415-1. Retrieved 28 April 2008. Vishnu was by then assimilated with Narayana
  7. Hastings 2003, pp. 540–42
  8. Srinivasan, Doris (1997). Many heads, arms, and eyes: origin, meaning, and form of multiplicity in Indian art. Leiden: Brill. p. 134. ISBN 90-04-10758-4.
  9. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 76.
  10. Osmund Bopearachchi, 2016, Emergence of Viṣṇu and Śiva Images in India: Numismatic and Sculptural Evidence
  11. Schweig, Graham M. (2005). Dance of Divine Love: The Rڄasa Lڄilڄa of Krishna from the Bhڄagavata Purڄa. na, India's classic sacred love story. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. Front Matter. ISBN 0-691-11446-3.
  12. KLOSTERMAIER, Klaus K. (2007). A Survey of Hinduism. State University of New York Press; 3 edition. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-7914-7081-7. Not only was Krsnaism influenced by the identification of Krsna with Vishnu, but also Vaishnavism as a whole was partly transformed and reinvented in the light of the popular and powerful Krishna religion. Bhagavatism may have brought an element of cosmic religion into Krishna worship; Krishna has certainly brought a strongly human element into Bhagavatism. ... The center of Krishna-worship has been for a long time Brajbhumi, the district of Mathura that embraces also Vrindavana, Govardhana, and Gokula, associated with Krishna from the time immemorial. Many millions of Krishna bhaktas visit these places ever year and participate in the numerous festivals that reenact scenes from Krshnas life on Earth
  13. Hastings 2003, p. 540
  14. Indian History. Allied Publishers. 1988. p. A-224. ISBN 978-81-8424-568-4.
  15. Hastings 2003, p. 541, Bhakti Marga
  16. Kalyan Kumar Ganguli (1988). Sraddh njali, Studies in Ancient Indian History: D.C. Sircar Commemoration: Puranic tradition of Krishna. Sundeep Prakashan. ISBN 81-85067-10-4.p.36
  17. Flood, Gavin D. (1996). An introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 341. ISBN 0-521-43878-0. Retrieved 21 April 2008."Early Vaishnava worship focuses on three deities who become fused together, namely Vasudeva-Krishna, Krishna-Gopala and Narayana, who in turn all become identified with Vishnu. Put simply, Vasudeva-Krishna and Krishna-Gopala were worshiped by groups generally referred to as Bhagavatas, while Narayana was worshipped by the Pancaratra sect."
  18. Banerjea, 1966, page 20
  19. A Corpus of Indian Studies: Essays in Honour of Professor Gaurinath Sastri, Page 150, 1980 – 416 pages.
  20. Page 76 of 386 pages: The Bhagavata religion with the worship of Vasudeva Krishna as the ... of Vasudeva Krishna and they are the direct forerunners of Vaisnavism in India.Ehrenfels, U.R. (1953). "The University of Gauhati". Dr. B. Kakati Commemoration Volume.
  21. Page 98: In the Mahabharata, Vasudeva-Krishna is identified with the highest God.Mishra, Y.K. (1977). Socio-economic and Political History of Eastern India. Distributed by DK Publishers' Distributors.
  22. General, A. (1920). "I. The Bhagavata Sampradaya". An Outline of the Religious Literature of India.
  23. Singhal, G.D. (1978). "The Cultural Evolution of Hindu Gaya, the Vishnu Dham". The Heritage of India: LN Mishra Commemoration Volume.
  24. "The Newly Discovered Three Sets of Svetaka Gangacopper Plates" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  25. Kielhorn, F. (1908). "Bhagavats, Tatrabhavat, and Devanampriya". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society: 502–505. Retrieved 20 April 2008.

Further reading

  • Dahmen-Dallapiccola, Anna Libera; Dallapiccola, Anna L. (2002). Dictionary of Hindu lore and legend. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-51088-1.
  • Hastings, James Rodney (2003) [1908–26]. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Volume 4 of 24 ( Behistun (continued) to Bunyan.). John A Selbie (2nd edition 1925–1940, reprint 1955 ed.). Edinburgh: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 476. ISBN 0-7661-3673-6. Retrieved 3 May 2008. The encyclopaedia will contain articles on all the religions of the world and on all the great systems of ethics. It will aim at containing articles on every religious belief or custom, and on every ethical movement, every philosophical idea, every moral practice. |volume= has extra text (help)
  • Thompson, Richard, PhD (December 1994). "Reflections on the Relation Between Religion and Modern Rationalism". Archived from the original on 4 January 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Gupta, Ravi M. (2004). Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta: Acintyabhedabheda in Jiva Gosvami's Catursutri tika. University of Oxford.
  • Gupta, Ravi M. (2007). Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-40548-5.
  • Ganguli, K.M. (1883–1896). The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa. Kessinger Publishing.
  • Ganguli, K.M. (1896). Bhagavad-gita (Chapter V). The Mahabharata, Book 6. Calcutta: Bharata Press.
  • Wilson, H.H. (1840). The Vishnu Purana, a System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition: Translated from the Original Sanscrit and Illustrated by Notes Derived Chiefly from Other Puranas. Printed for the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • Prabhupada, A.C. (1988). Srimad Bhagavatam. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
  • Kaviraja, K.; Prabhupada, A.C.B.S.; Bhaktivedanta, A.C. (1974). Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja. Imprint unknown.
  • Goswami, S.D. (1998). The Qualities of Sri Krsna. GNPress. pp. 152 pages. ISBN 0-911233-64-4.
  • Garuda Pillar of Besnagar, Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report (1908–1909). Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1912, 129.
  • Rowland, B. Jr. (1935). "Notes on Ionic Architecture in the East". American Journal of Archaeology. 39 (4): 489–496. doi:10.2307/498156. JSTOR 498156.
  • Delmonico, N. (2004). "The History of Indic Monotheism And Modern Chaitanya Vaishnavism". The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant. ISBN 978-0-231-12256-6. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  • Mahony, W.K. (1987). "Perspectives on Krsna's Various Personalities". History of Religions. 26 (3): 333–335. doi:10.1086/463085. JSTOR 1062381.
  • Beck, Guy L., ed. (2005). Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-6415-6.
  • Vyasanakere, Prabhanjanacharya. Download and Listen to Bhagavata in Kannada. Vyasamadhwa Samshodhana Pratishtana.
  • Vyasanakere, Prabhanjanacharya. Download and Listen Shloka by Shloka of Bhagavata and translation in Kannada. Vyasamadhwa Samshodhana Pratishtana.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.