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Bhagavān (Skt., 1st person nom. of bhagavat, ‘having shares’, from √bhaj, ‘distribute, partake’). Hindu epithet for God as constantly concerned for human well-being, and as ‘one who receives his share’ (sc., of offerings and honour). Although the term can be used as a title of respect for honoured individuals, especially teachers (it is used of the Buddha, see BHAGAVĀ, or more recently in the form ‘Bhagwan’ in Rajneeshism), it is most commonly used of God as Lord. A Bhāgavata is one who is devoted to Bhagvān, in a disposition of bhakti. Major texts of this devotion are Bhagavad-gītā and Bhāgavata-purāṇa.

Initially, Bhāgavatas were not organized as a movement or sect. Subsequently many bhakti movements of Bhāgavatas came into being.

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