Esoteric meaning of bhagwan and bhakta


Although Aphorisms of Narada Bhakti sutras define Bhakti, Bhakta is only known in perspective, of its summary -

Narada says in Narada Bhakti sutra that Bhakti is supreme love of God. God is the Indwelling Self of all living beings in this world. Thus love of God means love of all creatures, who are all His manifestations. A Bhakta is thus one who does not separate religious and secular activities, but considers all of them as service of God.A person who looks upon every action, whether religious or secular, as worship of God will act without selfishness and will not harm others in any way
Sri. SN . Sastri(summary NaradaBhaktiSutras)

Gradation of Bhaktas according to Srimad Bhagavad Puran 9.2.45 -47

Bhaagavatottama, is: "He who sees himself in all creatures and all creatures in his own self.

The second category of devotees is: "He who cherishes love for the Lord, is friendly towards other devotees, compassionate towards the ignorant and does not harbour any enmity even towards those inimical to him".

The last category of devotees is: "He who worships the Lord with faith in an image, but does not serve His devotees or other beings".

Prahlada says in the Bhagavata purana 7.10.4 that a person who worships God expecting some worldly benefit in return is not a devotee at all, but only a trader.

Sri. SN . Sastri

Four kinds of Bhaktas according to BG 7.16 are Artharthi(the self-interested),Jijnasu (the seeker after knowledge),Arti(the afflicted) Jnani(Wise)

Definition of Bhakti according to Narada Bhakti Sutras

sā tv asmin parama-prema-rūpā
It is of the form of Supreme Love to wards God.

The term Bhakti comes from the root "Bhaj", which means "to be attached to God. " Bhajan, worship, Bhakti, Anurag, Prem, Priti are synonymous terms. Bhakti is love for love's sake. The devotee wants God and God alone. There is no selfish expectation here. There is no fear also. Therefore it is called "Parama-prema-rupaa. "
amṛta-svarūpā ca
And it is of the nature of Nectar.
Devotion gives Immortality. Bhakti is an embodiment of Amritam or nectar. Nitya Sukha (eternal bliss), Immortality, Parama Santi (supreme peace), Nitya Tripti (eternal satisfaction), Akhanda Sukha (unbroken joy) can be had only in God
Swami Sivananda


Sri Shankaracharya in His commentary of Vishnu Sahasranama(60) and Bhagavad Gita, explains the term Bhagavan in accordance with Vishnu Purana 6.5.74 and 6.5.78

Here Bhaga means opulence in completeness , and Van or Vat conforms (suffix known as matup prathyay) meaning the possessor. for eg..Dhanavan-possesor of dhana or wealth

Bhagavan bhagahanandi vanamali halaydhaha( Vishnu Sahasranama 60)

aiśvaryasya samagrasya dharmasya yaśasariśrayaḥ jñānavairāgyayoścaiva ṣaṇṇāṃ bhaga itīraṇā [Vishnu Purana - 6.5.74]
Lordliness, prowess, fame, beauty, knowledge,non-attachment--the combination of all these six attributes is Bhaga. One who possesses these six attributes is Bhagavan.
It is also said:
utpattiṃ pralayaṃ caiva bhūtānāmāgatiṃ gatim vettiṃ vidyāmavidyāṃ ca sa vācyo bhagavāniti [VishnuPuran- 6.5.78]
The origin, dissolution, the bondage and salvation of creatures, knowledge, ignorance-one who knows alI these is Bhagavān.

Sri Shankara commentary - Translation Swami Tapasyananda

Swami Sivanandas commentary on BG 10.14

Bhagavan is He? in whom ever exist the six attributes in their fullness? viz.? Jnana (wisdom)? Vairagya (dispassion)? Aisvarya (lordship)? Dharma (virtue)? Sri (wealth) and Bala (omnipotence). Also? He Who knows the origin? dissolution and the future of all beings and Who is omniscient? is called Bhagavan.Arjuna addresses the Lord as Keshava (Lord of all) because the Lord knows what is going on in his mind? as He is omniscient. As the Lord is the source of the gods? the demons and others? they cannot comprehend His manifestation or origin.

VishnuPuran- 6.5.74 looks quite similar to the ref. (cited in another answer) , Linga Purana I.70.98

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