voc. of polite address: Sir, venerable Sir, used like bhadante. Either abs. as voc.: Vin.i.76; DN.ii.154, DN.ii.283; Ja.ii.111; Ja.iii.46; Mil.19; or with another voc.: Mil.25; or with other oblique cases, as with nom. DN.i.179; Dhp-a.i.62. with gen. DN.i.179.

would correspond either to Sk. *bhavantaḥ (with ending ˚e as Māgadhism for ˚aḥ) = bhavān, or to P bhadanta. In both cases we have a contraction. The expln bhante = bhadante (bhadantaḥ) is advocated by Pischel, Prk. Gr. §§ 165, 366b, intimated also by Weber Bhagavatī 156 n. 3 (unable to explain-e); the expln bhante = bhavantah (see bhavaṃ) by Geiger,

Pali Grammar

§ 98#3 hinted at by Weber loc. cit. (bhavantaḥ = bhagavantaḥ).