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Prabhu means master or the Prince [1] in Sanskrit and many of the Indian languages; it is a name sometimes applied to God.[2] The term is also used by male devotees of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna/Vishnu as a title and form of address. If a man sees another male devotee whom he does not know, he will address him as "Prabhu". It is also appended after a devotee's name, for example "Madhava Prabhu". In Indonesia, especially in Javanese and Sundanese culture, the term is used as a part of royal titles, especially to address Kings.

As a surname[edit]

It is also a common surname among Konkani speaking people across the Konkan Coast in India, from Maharashtra to Kerala and Tamil Nadu.[3] According to historian Anant Ramkrishna Sinai Dhume, Prabhu was a title accorded to the representative of the main village of the taluka (district) committee.[4] The Prabhus may have also occupied official posts in the central administration, without prejudice to their original posts which were hereditary.[4] Traditionally, a Prabhu was a landlord and as such a master to the many agricultural labourers that were needed to cultivate his lands.[4]

Prabhu is also a common first name among Tamils in Southern India[citation needed].

Notable people with the name Prabhu[edit]

Other Uses[edit]


  1. ^ Bhakti Yoga Dictionary [dead link]
  2. ^ The Master's Glossary
  3. ^ Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians (1999), Alan Machado Prabhu, I.J.A. Publications, p. 137
  4. ^ a b c The Last Prabhu – A Hunt for Roots: DNA, Ancient documents and migration in Goa (2011), Bernardo Elvino de Sousa, Goa 1556, p. 89