Prabhu means master or the Prince in Sanskrit and many of the Indian languages; it is a name sometimes applied to God.[1] The term is also used by male devotees of the Hindu God 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 people across the Konkan Coast in India, from Maharashtra to Goa and Karnataka.[2][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. 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.[4]

Notable people

See also


  1. Frank Davis. "BABA WORDS, The Master's Glossary, N-P". Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  2. "Prabhu Family History". Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press. Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press. 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  3. Alan Machado (1999). Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians - Google Books. I.J.A. Publications, 1999. p. 264. ISBN 9788186778258.
  4. Bernardo Elvino de Sousa (2011). The Last Prabhu: A Hunt for Roots : DNA, Ancient Documents and Migration in Goa - Google Books. Goa 1556, 2011. p. 163. ISBN 9789380739151.
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