Tri-Dosha founder Sunita Passi explains the significance of the deity Lord Dhanwantari who is worshipped all over the world as the God of medicine and celebrated by practitioners of Ayurveda, India’s traditional medicine system.
Dhanwantari, the God of medicine
In Hindu mythology, one feature which crops up time and again is what’s called the Ocean Of Milk. Nobody can say for sure what kind of milk it was, though we’re pretty sure it wasn’t soymilk.
For centuries godlike beings called devas had been churning the milky ocean – using a mountain as a stirrer – while fighting asuras, their enemies, which were nature spirits. All that activity churned up the milk even more, and some say the different qualities we have as humans are a result of the particular concoction of influences from those days that we inherit when we’re born.
Another effect of all that activity was a substance called amrita, which was said to be an elixir for immortality. And that’s where Ayurveda comes in. A pot of amrita is held in one hand of the four-armed Dhanvantari, the god associated with Ayurveda. He’s tall, broad chested, with yellow garments that go well with blue-black skin and smouldering reddish eyes.
Dhanvantari also holds a Jalauka. You’ll know it as a leech. They’re used in blood-letting, as they have been elsewhere in the world over the centuries, and the NHS has recently rediscovered. In a third hand he holds a conch shell, associated with the sound Aum, that people use to meditate on. He also holds a weapon, often a discus, but sometimes a mace.
In Hindu thinking the gods exist not only as mythic beings, but can also take mortal form. As a monarch, a king of Benares, he was instrumental in the foundation of medical science. Now, Dhanvantari is treated as a patron for people working in medicine, and people worldwide pray to him for guidance about their health.
Learn more about this and more on our 5-day Ayurvedic massage therapies course https://tri-dosha.co.uk/therapists/5-day-ayurvedic-massage-therapy/
Until next time … Namaste!