Guiding Light: Dhanvantari – The God of Health

Dhanvantari represents the soothing, holistic healer. He offers hope and healing to the tried and tired

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Wednesday, August 03, 2022, 12:12 AM IST
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Art of healing |

Dhanvantari is the God of science called Ayurveda. He is the giver of health and hope. Dhanvantari is worshipped by the healers and the ayurvedic vaidyas, who treat him as their mentor and guru.

It was at the initial times that the needy things that were required for the world were to be brought out of the depths of the ocean. Samudra-manthan (churning of the ocean) was the act that was proposed to be conducted. A huge mountainous rock of Manthara was brought in by Garuda as the churning anchor. The great snake of Vasuki was requested to be the girdle that is required for the churning act. As the huge rock was submerging into the ocean, lord Vishnu assumes the form of Koorma (tortoise) and helps the rock balace. Manthan, the churning continued. A few of the benefits of the churning were the boon-giving tree Kalpavriksha, Kamadhenu - the abundance cow, and Lakshmi who became the consort of Vishnu. Also emerging from the ocean was Dhanvantari, the lord of healing.

The act of Dhanvantari emerging was soothing. He is described as the ‘Amrita kalasha hastaya’, meaning one who is carrying the nectar-filled-vessel in his hands. Nectar or the amrit here is both material and figurative. The Amrit as the rejuvenating drink that gives perpetuity is often known. But before the act of ocean-churning, the divine forces were defeated in a war with rakshasas, hence they needed nectar almost desperately. Bhagavan Dhanvantari offered the same, and in time.

However, there was a dispute between devas and rakshasas regarding distribution. Vishnu assuming the form of Mohini resolved the crisis and offered it only to devas, but for Svarabhanu, the only rakshasa who could get some. Prompted, lord Vishnu cut him into two pieces. Svarabhanu’s head becomes Rahu and the tail, the Ketu. Dhanvantari’s mission of strengthening divine forces or devatas now succeeded.

Dhanvantari is respected as ‘trailokya-natha’ and is deemed to be the avatar of Vishnu. He is also believed to be the good resort in prayers pertaining to gaining health from prolonged disease and suffering. Dhanvantari represents the soothing, holistic healer. He offers hope and healing to the tried and tired. Hence, is the powerful prayer of ‘Shri Dhanvantaraye namaha’.

Dr S Ainavolu is a professor at VPSoM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You can read more at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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