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.