Prabhu means master or the Prince  in Sanskrit and many of the Indian languages; it is a name sometimes applied to God. 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
It is also a common surname among Konkani speaking people across the Konkan Coast in India, from Maharashtra to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. According to historian Anant Ramkrishna Sinai Dhume, Prabhu was a title accorded to the representative of the main village of the taluka (district) committee. The Prabhus may have also occupied official posts in the central administration, without prejudice to their original posts which were hereditary. Traditionally, a Prabhu was a landlord and as such a master to the many agricultural labourers that were needed to cultivate his lands.
Prabhu is also a common first name among Tamils in Southern India.
Notable people with the name Prabhu
- K. N. Prabhu
- Lakshman Prabhu
- Neeraj Prabhu
- R. Prabhu
- Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu
- Vasant K. Prabhu
- Samantha Ruth Prabhu
- Prabu Siliwangi, legendary Sundanese emperor
- Prabhu (film), Indian Malayalam film in 1979
- Bhakti Yoga Dictionary [dead link]
- The Master's Glossary
- Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians (1999), Alan Machado Prabhu, I.J.A. Publications, p. 137
- The Last Prabhu – A Hunt for Roots: DNA, Ancient documents and migration in Goa (2011), Bernardo Elvino de Sousa, Goa 1556, p. 89
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