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Title: Bhagavat  
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Subject: Bhagat, Theodorus (meridarch), Mantra (Shelter album), Krishnaism
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For other uses, see Bhagavata (disambiguation).

Bhagavata (Bhāgavata, a vrddhi formation from Bhagavan, meaning "pertaining to Bhagavan" ("the Lord", i.e. God)") signifies in the context of Hinduism. In this context bhakti has the primary meaning of 'adoration', while Bhagavat means 'the Adorable One', and Bhagavata is a worshiper of the Adorable One.[1] It also refers to a tradition devoted to worship of Krishna, later assimilated into the concept of Narayana[2] or original form svayam bhagavan. According to some historical scholars, worship of Krishna emerged in the 1st century BC. However, Vaishnava traditionalists place it in 4th century BC.[3] 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 Vasudeva-Krishna is not an avatar of the Vedic Vishnu, but is the Supreme.[4]

Definition of Krishnaism

Main article: Krishnaism

In the ninth century the Bhagavatism was already at least millennium old and many separated groups, all following Bhagavata Purana were found. These Gopala-worshipers grew in various lines, and now precise reference requires the names of their denominations. However a usefulness remains in the single vague term Krishnaism, which recognizes a certain unity in them all. Today the faith has a significant following outside of India as well.[5] Many places of Vrindavana associated with Krishna from the time immemorial. Many millions of bhaktas or devotees of Krishna visit these paces of pilgimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishnas 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.[6]

Initial History of Bhagavata tradition

Its 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 4th century BC and as time went other names such as Narayana were applied to the main deity of Krishna-Vāsudeva.[7]

Second Early Stage

Some relate absorption by Brahmanism to be the characteristic of the second stage of the development of the Bhagavata tradition. Its believed that at this stage Krishna-Vāsudeva was identified with the deity of Vishnu, that according to some belonged to the pantheon of Brahmanism. [7]

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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

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).[11] This "supposed earliest phase is though 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."[12][13]

Other meanings

In the recent times this often refer to a particular sect of Vaishnavas in West India, referring to themselves as 'Bhagavata-sampradaya'.[14][15]

It is also a common greeting among the followers of Ramanujacharya and other yoga sects.[16] It can also be spelled 'Bhagavats' and refer to a Buddhist concept.[17][18]

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 ones own Sampat-Bhakti-Punya Karma-Knowledge. This is actual Bhagavata.


Further reading

  • Garuda Pillar of Besnagar, Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report (1908–1909). Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1912, 129.

See also

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