LORD DHANVANTARI (God of Medicines)

The Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who invented the Science of Medicine in the Universe, and it is He who quickly cures the diseases of the ever diseased living being.

Shrimad Bhagwatam 8/8/31-35


Commonly worshiped as the HINDU Goa of Medicine, DHANVSNTARI is regarded as the original exponent of Indian medicine. DHANVANTARI has many myths and legends woven around him. He emerged with the pot of ambrosia (symbolic of medicine) in his hand from the ocean when it was chemed by the contesting gods and demons. He is viewed as the very incarnation of Goa VISHNU. He is said to have recovered ambrosia which had beeen lost, and thus obtained a share in sacrifices.

Legends make him reappear as “DIVODASA”, the prime of Banaras (Kasiraja), in the family of Ayus. Dhanvantari, Divodasa and Kasiraja are name of the same person who is “the first god and who freed the other gods from old age, disease and death,” and who in his Himalayan retreat taught surgery to Sushruta and other sages. DHANVANTARI appeared on earth in Banaras in the princely family of Bahuja and became known as Divodasa; he wandered about as a mendicant even during his early years.

DHANVANTARI also appears to have been an actual historical person although his precise identity is hard to be ascertained. He taught surgery and other divisions of Ayurveda (Indian system of medicine) at the instance of Sushruta, to group of sages among whom Sushruta was the foremost. DHANVANTARI is regarded at the patron-god of all branches of medicine. While DHANVANTARI is not credited with any medical treatise of his own, in the early accounts, there is a voluminous glossary and material medica in mine sections known as Dhanvantari-Nighantu; it is a complation which is probably contemporaneous with th famous Amara-kosha (A.D.100). There are a few other works which are also ascribed to Dhanvantari .

There are numerous preparations, which are ascribed to him, and many of them quite ancient.

Dhanvantari-Nighantu is considered the most ancient of the medical glossaries that are available. The original work is said to have been in three recensions; the present version which may have been based on one of them, is in six sections and deals with 373 medicinal substances; their names, synonyms, and description of properties being given. The work which claims be ‘like the third eye’ for the practicing physician, is extensively relied upon, despite several more comprehensive glossaries that have complied subsequently. Since there are authentic source of information, this text can be considered more as indicative.

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