Categories: Hindu God and Goddess

Dhanvantari:The Divine Healer of Ancient Scriptures

In the rich tapestry of Hindu mythology, Dhanvantari occupies a significant place as the divine physician. His name, derived from “dhanu” (meaning “pot of medicine”) and “antari” (meaning “within”), signifies his role as the harbinger of healing and well-being. In Hindu scriptures he is also mentioned as an Avatar of Lord Vishnu (The Complete List of 24 Avatars of Lord Vishnu). This essay delves into the different scriptures where Dhanvantari is mentioned, exploring the fascinating aspects of this revered figure.

Dhanvantari in the Vedas

The ancient Vedas, the foundational texts of Hinduism, provide glimpses of Dhanvantari’s presence and his association with healing. In the Atharva Veda, he is invoked as the guardian of health and bestower of immortality. His blessings are sought to cure ailments and alleviate suffering, showcasing his importance in early Vedic society.

Dhanvantari in the Puranas

The Puranas, which are a collection of ancient Indian texts, offer elaborate narratives about the divine personalities. The Bhagavata Purana, one of the eighteen Mahapuranas, presents captivating narratives surrounding Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Here, Dhanvantari’s divine presence is recounted during the episode of the churning of the cosmic ocean (Samudra Manthan). The text describes him emerging with the Amrita, transforming the world into a realm of eternal well-being. Dhanvantari’s appearance in this scripture highlights his role as a bestower of health and a symbol of divine grace.

Dhanvantari in the Sushruta Samhita

The Sushruta Samhita, a classical text on Ayurveda (the traditional Indian system of medicine), plays a vital role in shaping our understanding of Dhanvantari’s healing prowess. In this scripture, he is revered as the originator of Ayurveda, imparting profound knowledge of medicinal plants, therapies, and surgical techniques to humanity. Dhanvantari’s teachings, as documented by Sushruta, continue to guide practitioners of Ayurveda to this day.

Dhanvantari and Manasa

According to the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Dhanvantari, accompanied by his disciples, embarked on a journey to Kailash (Kailash Parvat). Along the way, a naga named Takshaka unleashed a venomous hiss. One of Dhanvantari’s disciples swiftly plucked the diamond from Takshaka’s head and threw it to the ground. Upon learning of this, the mighty serpent-king Vasuki gathered numerous serpents led by Drona, Pundarika, and Dhananjaya to confront Dhanvantari’s entourage. The combined venomous emissions of the serpents caused Dhanvantari’s disciples to faint. However, Dhanvantari quickly prepared a medicine using vanaspati, reviving his followers and causing the serpents to faint in turn. Vasuki, realizing what had occurred, sent the Shaiva serpent goddess Manasa (Manasa Devi) to face Dhanvantari. Manasa induced a swoon in Dhanvantari’s disciples, but he, being skilled in Vishvavidya, swiftly revived them. Unable to defeat Dhanvantari or his disciples, Manasa wielded the trishula given by Shiva, prompting Shiva and Brahma to appear and restore peace, allowing all parties to continue their journey.

Avatar of Dhanvantari

During the second Dvapara Yuga, King Dirghatapas of Kashi sought the birth of a son through the physician deity. The deity granted his wish and incarnated as the child named Dhanavantri. Dhanavantri became a remarkable king and was renowned as the “dispeller of all ailments.” He possessed immense knowledge and was unaffected by any infirmities. Sage Bharadvaja educated him in Ayurveda, and he shared his medical expertise with diverse disciples through eight specialized fields.

Dhanvantari Temples and Festivals

Across India, numerous temples and shrines are dedicated to Dhanvantari, where devotees seek his blessings for good health and healing. The Dhanvantari Jayanti, celebrated on the twelfth day of the bright fortnight in the Hindu month of Kartik, commemorates his birth anniversary. During this festival, special prayers, rituals, and offerings are made to honor Dhanvantari’s healing powers.

Dhanvantari Mantra

om namo bhagavate vasudevaaya

dhanvantaraye  amritakalasahastaya

[vajrajalukahastaya]

sarvaamayavinashaaya trailokyanaathaya

srimahavisnave svah।

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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