Father of Ayurveda – Dhanwanthari
“Aham hi dhanvantariraadidevo jwaraaruja mrithyuharo amaraanam
Shalyangamangayiraparayi upetham praapthosmi gaambhooya ihopadeshtum”
It was I who cured the diseases of the gods and prevented their deaths and decrepitude. I have now come to this world to teach Salya Tantra and other divisions of Ayurveda in detail “- thus said Lord Dhanvantari.
Dhanvantari is the god of Ayurveda, the science of life. Since the immemorial time Ayurveda has been in existence. It is very difficult to establish the time period of Ayurveda, but from that very time onwards it was lord dhanvantari who was known to be the God of Ayurveda.
Even though the creator of universe “Lord Brahma ” taught Ayurveda at first , it is observed that Lord Dhanvantari became more popular as the God of Ayurveda. Dhanvantari was the propounder of surgery and taught the same to his disciples. “Dhanu “or” Dhanv ” means surgery, ” Anta “means the end. Therefore Dhanvantari “the science of surgery or the end of surgical knowledge.
“Dhanu shalyashastram yasya antham param eeyarthi gachathi dhanvantareem”
Many references are available in the name of Dhanvantari. He aroused during the churning of ocean for Ambrosia (Amrita) , which earlier was showcased due to the battle between Devas and Asuras. He was called “abju “by lord Vishnu as he was born from water.
Dhanvantari hold the same esteemed position in the “puranik ” age which was held by Aswini Kumaras in the Vedic age. The pot of ambrosia in hands of Dhanvantari symbolises the longevity of life. Lord Vishnu is the god of preservation and as such Dhanvantari, a deity of health and happiness. In puranas Dhanvantari has been eulogised as the gods of life not limited only to surgery. He is seen even in the contexts of toxicology and medicine relating to horses and elephants. He is also said to have divided the science of Ayurveda into eight specialties.
Every year Aswayuja Bahula Trayodasi is celebrated as “Dhanvantari Jayanti “by the world of Ayurveda.
Disciples of Dhanvantari
He is said to have intiated and taught one hundred disciples in the science of medicine. In Susruta Samhitha, we find the names of Aupadhenava, Aurabhra, Paushklatava, Karaveerya, Gopurukshitha, Vaitharana, Susrutha and other. By “other ” are meant such persons as Bhoja, Nimi, Kankayana, Gargy, Galava.
Formulations Attributed to Dhanvantari
Dhanvantari Ghrita, Pasupata Rasa , Mrityunjaya Loha , Varishoshana Rasa , Rasa Rajendra, Aswagandhadi Taila, Sapthavimshathi Guggulu, Rasabhra Guggulu.
Important Works by Lord Dhanvantari
Chikitsa Tatwa Vinjana , Chikitsa Darsana , Chikitsa Kaumudi, Roga Nidana, Ajeernmritha Manjari, Vaidya Chintamani, Vaidyaka Bhaskarodaya, Chikitsa Sara Sangraha.
Dhanvantari Nighantu – a dictionary of Materia Medica and Therapeutics. It has nine chapters or “Vargas” in total.
Dhanvantari is usually depicted with 4 hands in puranas. He holds Shankha (counch), Chakra (disc), Jaluka (leech) and Amruta kalasa (pot of amritha) in those four hands . this is according to the reference from Vishudharmottara , an old sanskrit work.
He is being worshiped from the vert early eras . At present era, many temples are dedicated to Lord Dhanvantari in India. Although Northern India does not posses such temples, but in South India, especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu manu temples are present in the name of Dhanvantari, where he is being worshipped as the god of health.
Nelluvayi Dhanvantari Temple is one among the biggest of temples in his name . It is situated in Nelluvai village of Erumapetti Panchayat, Trissur, Kerala. Here Dhanvantari moorthi faces towards west. In Kerala another famous name among the Dhanvantari temples is the Maruthoorvattam temple at Alappuzha. Thottva Dhanvantari temple near Kalady in Ernakulam district and Prayikkara temple of Mavelikkara, Arakkal temple of Thalassery can aslo be added to the list.
In 1977 April 26 one of the world’s rarest Dhanvantari temple was consecruted at renouned Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam and Research Institute, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. His idols are also present at temples of Trichy Ranganatha Temple, Chidambaram Vaitheeswaran temple and Kanchipuram Varadaraja temple.
As he is the god of health, mantras are recited to remove fears and diseases from one’s life. The most recited one is
“om namo bhagavate Mahasudhrsanam
Vasudevaya dhanvantaraye, Amrutha kalasa hasthaaya
Sarva bhaya vinaasaya ,Sarva roga nivaranaya
Thri lokya pathaya, Thri lokya nithaye
Sri maha Vishnu sarupa, Sri dhanvantari swarupa
Sri sri sri, Aushata chakra naryana swaha”
It is said that a common man should recite this mantra 8 / 16/ 64/ 128 times based on availability of time. It helps in defending the diseases and maintaining health of the body.
During his birthday on Dhanvantari Trayodasi worshipers do certain pooja vidhis such as Achamana , Sankalpa, Atma shodhan, Dhyana, Avahana etc.