On #Dhanteras or Dhanvantri Trayodashi, a short thread in honour of Lord Dhanvantri, the physician of the gods and the lord of traditional medicine.
An amsa-avatara of Lord Vishnu, he was born on Aswiyuja Bahula Trayodasi during the churning of the ocean.
During the Samudra Manthanam, in search of the nectar of immortality, or Amritam, the devas and asuras churned for years and years. Dhanvantri arose from this churning holding a Kamandalam and danda in his hands. (31/45, Bala Kanda, Valmiki Ramayana)
In the 29th chapter of Harivamsa we have another description of Dhanvantri.
Dhanvantri arose from the churning paying his obesance to lord Vishnu who was in his Kurma Avatara then. He was named Abja. He requested a Yagnabhaaga but was denied. But Vishnu grants him a boon.
Since portions of the Yagna were already allotted to Devas, Dhanvantri would have a second life in Dwapara yuga. In this life, he would have knowledge of Animaa and Garimaa from the womb itself. He would author in eight portions, a treatise on medicine.
In the 2nd Dwapara, in the lineage of King Suhotra, came King Dhanvaa. Being childless he performed a penance to Abjadeva. Dhanvantri was born as his son.
In the Krishnajanma Khanda of Brahmavaivarta Purana, we find a fascinating little story of Dhanvantri connected to Manasadevi, the serpent goddess. But that is for another time!
Back to the Deva-Asura Sangramam, in one version of this story, when Lord Shiva drank the poisonous Haalahala that emanated, it was lord Dhanvantri that cured him. Shiva blessed Dhanvantri with extraordinary powers to be able to cure every disease.
The iconography of lord Dhanvantri can be seen in varied ways. In calendar art, he is shown with four hands, two holding Sudarsana Chakra, Panchajanya, a Amrita Kalasa in the third and a leech in the fourth. Yes, a leech! One of the earliest references to depicting any worm!
About 20 Kms from Guruvayur in Kerala is the beautiful temple of Nelluvai dedicated to Lord Dhanvantri. Many practitioners of Ayurveda begin with prayers here. It is considered auspicious. Many patients after getting cured visit here and offer their gratitude.
There are temples dedicated to Lord Dhanvantri in other parts of Kerala like the Rudra-Dhanvantri temple in Mallapuram and in Peringavu outside of Thrissur.
In Tamil Nadu, we find Dhanvantri temples in Walajapet and in Coimbatore.
We also have temples dedicated to Lord Dhanvanri in the ancient city of Varanasi, in Jamnagar in Gujarat, in Madhya Pradesh and in Bihar.
This traditional Mysore school painting on board in the British Musem is dated a little later. Dhanvantri can be seen with the other auspicious beings that emerged out of the churning. The vibrant colours are so south Indian!
Wish someone can re-create it now!
It is not too wrong to worship goddess Lakshmi today on #Dhanteras . She also emerged during the Samudra Manthan. However, in the traditional parlance, there are different meanings. There is money, wealth, prosperity, abundance. Dhan, Aishwaryam, Shri etc.
But a better understanding of 'dhan' as wealth is good health. For without that, you can't accomplish anything in life. A healthy body and mind makes you do better and attract positive energies into your life. Hence #Dhanvantri's blessings are important.
Ending thread with prayers and wishing everyone good health! 😊🙏
ॐ शंखं चक्रं जलौकां दधिदमृतघटं चारुदोर्भिश्चतुर्मिः।
वन्दे धन्वंतरिं तं निखिलगदवनप्रौढ़दावाग्निलीलम।
Let me add, in the last 25 yrs or more if I have managed without ever needing to pop a chemical (allopathic) pill or medicine, it is the blessings of lord Dhanvantri through the magic of Ayurveda! It is indeed a Veda for one's Ayuh! 🙂🙏
Om Shanti shanti shanti!