One of Lord Krishna’s favorite names is Vaasudev. To understand the Sanskrit term, we must explore the roots of some other names. The sons of Pandu were called Pandavas; Arjuna was also called Kaunteya since he was the son of Kunti. Krishna was called Vaasudev since he was the son of Vasudev.
Krishna Vaasudeva cult is one of the earliest forms of worship in Vaishnavism and Krishnaism.
Bhagavatism was a religion that formed somewhere between the 4th century BC and 2nd Century BC roughly during the time of Maharishi Patanjali. We have references to this in the works of Megasthanes and also the Artha Shastra of Kautilya. Bhagavatism was a monotheistic religion that worshipped Vaasudeva as the Supreme Reality and the absolute Godhead. The cult described the term Vaasudev as referring to the Supreme Being which is perfect, eternal and full of grace and compassion.
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Krishna is addressed by Arjuna as Vaasudeva several times in Bhagavad Gita.
In two places, Krishna calls himself Vaasudev. The first example of Vasudeva is in Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 7, verse 19:
Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavam mam prapadyate
Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabah
After innumerable births one who is perfected in wisdom, understanding completely that Vasudeva is the ultimate cause of all causes surrenders unto Me; such a great soul is very rare.
In Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 10, verse 37 Lord Krishna says once again:
Vrsinam vasudeva’smi pandavanam dhananjayah
Muninam apy aham vyasah kavinam usana kavih
Of the descendants of Vrisni I am Vasudeva, of the Pandavas I am Dhananjaya, of the holy sages I am Vyasadeva and among great scholars of scriptures I am Usana.
There is a beautiful verse that describes Krishna as Vasudeva:
Vasudeva para veda vasudeva para makhah
Vasudeva para yoga vasudeva para kriyah
Vasudeva param jnanam vasudeva param tapah
Vasudeva paro dharmo vasudeva para gatih
The final destination of all wisdom is the Supreme Lord Krishna also known as Vasudeva. The sole objective of all austerities is to satisfy Vasudeva. The goal of all yogic practices is to realize Vasudeva. All the benefits we get are awarded only by Vasudeva and all meditations are performed only to discover Vasudeva. Vasudeva is the Supreme knowledge. The fullest form of Righteousness (Dharma) is offering loving devotional service unto Him. Vasudeva is the eternal goal and final reality of all existence.
Vasudev is therefore one of the most special references to Lord Krishna that has a long tradition in the Puranas, mythology, Bhagavad Gita and history.