Dhanvantri - The Hindu God of Medicine
Dhanvantri, also known as Physician of Gods and Guardian deity of hospitals, is an incarnation of Lord VishnuVishnu
Vishnu is one of the Supreme Gods of Hindus and is a part of Hindu Trinity,.. (one of the Supreme Gods of Hindus, also known as the Preserver). He is the originator of the Ayurvedic medicine (Hindu traditional medicines made of herbs and minerals).
The Legend of His Birth
Gods and demons were in a competition named Samudhra Manthan, also known as the Churning of the Ocean. It was an elaborate process to gain objects being emerged from the ocean. The objects included flying horse, white elephant, nymphs, moon etc. Dhanvantri also emerged from the ocean with a pitcher in his hand full of amrita (the elixir of life). The liquid could bestow immortality. Demons snatched the pitcher from his hand and started fighting among themselves as to who should drink the elixir. Vishnu played a trick and transformed himself into a beautiful woman, MohiniMohini
Mohini is one of the most popular and iconic characters of the Hindu mythology and is the only female incarnation of Vishnu.. He lured the demons and took the elixir from them and gave them to Gods who distributed it among themselves. As soon as they drank nectar, they became all the more powerful and defeated the army of demons.
Vishnu also promised the return of Dhanvantri on earth to teach humans the science of Ayurveda. Humanity was inflicted with pain and diseases. Seeing the deplorable condition of mankind, Dhanvantri descended into the material world. He was born in a rich household in Kashi, a holy city in India, also called Varanasi. He became a king but as a child he was much disciplined. He had ascetic tendencies. He started communicating with sages and taught them the art of Ayurvedic medicine. His teaching were compiled and recorded in Agni Purana (a Hindu religious text).
As Dhanvantri is an incarnation of Vishnu, he is also depicted with blue skin. He has four hands and holds a conch symbolizing fame, longevity and prosperity, Sudarshan Chakra (disc symbolizing the eternal circle of time), a pot containing the elixir of life and a leech. Leech is used to suck up the impure blood from the body thus signifying a new healthy body. Sometimes he is also shown holding the heeling herbs.
Dhanvantri has a young and healthy body, broad chest and strong arms. He is clad in bright yellow and possesses curly hair. Shining earnings made of pearls and necklaces made of tulsi (holy basil) beads are worn by him.
Mantra (sacred words)
People worship Dhanvantri for a healthy and prosperous life. Good health is gained on the recitation of the following Mantra A group of sacred words chanted in order to gain something, be it materialistic pleasures or peaceful mindwhich means that people surrender themselves to the power of Dhanvantri and ask him to remove all their fears and diseases.
"Om Namo Bhagavate Maha Sudharshana Vasudevaya Dhanvantaraye; Amrutha Kalasa Hasthaaya Sarva Bhaya Vinasaya Sarva Roka Nivaranaya Thri Lokya Pathaye Thri Lokya Nithaye Sri Maha Vishnu Swarupa Sri Dhanvantri Swarupa Sri Sri Sri Aoushata Chakra Narayana Swaha"
In North India there is no permanent temple established particularly for Dhanvantri but in places like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, there are few dedicated temples which include Sri Dhanwanthari Temple (Palluruthy) and Thevalakkadu Sree Dhanwanthari Temple (Kottayam).