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Dhanvantari in Ayurveda

Who is Lord Dhanvantari in Ayurveda?

Dhanvantari Even though ‘Brahma’, the creator of the universe taught Ayurveda at first, it is observed that Lord Dhanvantari became more popular as the God of Ayurveda.

“Dhanvantari’ was the physician of the gods in heaven. He appeared in this world as Divodasa, the king of Kasi.

Dhanvantari was the master of surgery and he taught it to Susruta, Aupadhe-Nava, Vaitarana, Aurabhra, Poushkalavata, Karavirya, Gopurarakshita, etc.

In the name of Dhanvantari, so many references are available as follows.
(a) ‘Dhanvantari’ arose during the churning of the ocean for Ambrosia (Amrita).
(b) King of Kasi
(c) Divodasa Dhanvantari – preceptor of Susruta, etc.

the incarnation of Dhanvantari

Kasyapa Prajapati had 2 wives named Diti and Aditi, and the progeny through Diti was known as Daityas or Danavas who had dominantly the qualities of Rajas & Tamas. The sons of Aditi were called Suras or Gods having the dominance of Satwa Guna,

Both these Suras and Asuras used to quarrel with each other, and once they prayed to Lord Vishnu for their immortality. Then Lord Vishnu suggested that they should churn the ocean to get Ambrosia (Amrita).

During the process of the churning of the ocean by the Gods and Demons, along with the Moon, Goddess Lakshmi, Kaustubha, Kalakuta Visha, Airavata, and Lord Dhanvantari rose with Amrita Kalasa,

According to Vishnu Purana and Agni Purana, “Dhanvantari’ who rose from the ocean was no other than the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

in Harivamsa, Vayu Purana, and Brahmanda Purana also it was quoted that Lord Vishnu might have been born as Dhanvantari, the son of Dhanva, the king of Kasi.

Genealogical tree of the king of Kasi

Kasa → deerghatapa → Dhanva → Dhanvanatari → Ketuman → Bhinaradha → divodash → Pratardana → Vatsa → Alarkas

In almost all Ayurvedic treatises, it is seen that Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, taught life science to Daksha Prajapati at first. Even though Lord Brahma taught the science of life i.e. Ayurveda at first, it is observed that Dhanvantari’ became more popular as the God of Ayurveda’.

While the ocean was churned by the gods and demons, Lord Dhanvantari was born, and he was called ‘Abju’ by Lord Vishnu as he was born from water.

Then Dhanvantari asked Lord Vishnu for special recognition in this universe and also a share in the sacrificial acts. Afterward, Lord Vishnu replied that as he was the last ‘person’ among the gods and as all the portfolios were already filled, his desire would be fulfilled in Dwapara Yuga.

Hence in Dwapara Yuga, Lord Vishnu incarnated as Dhanvantari and was born as the son of the king of Kasi, Dhanva. Lord Dhanvantari learned the life science from the sage Bharadwaja and he, in turn, taught it to his disciples Susruta, Aupadhenava, Aurabhra, etc.

Afterward, Dhanvantari was blessed with Ketuman. Ketuman had one son namely Bhimaradha. Bhimaradha’s son was Divodasa who later on became the king of Varanasi. Every year Aswayuja Bahula Trayodasi is celebrated as “Dhanvantari Jayanthi” by the world of Ayurveda.

Though Lord Brahma propounded and propagated the science of life from immortals to mortals, he is not worshiped; whereas Dhanvantari Jayanthi is celebrated because of his popularity.

In Susruta Samhita it is seen that Dhanvantari, Divodasa, and Kasi Raja are the different names of the same individual. Formulations:

1. Dhanvantari Ghrita
2. Pasupata Rasa
3. Mrityunjaya Loha
4. Vari Soshana Rasa
5. Rasa Rajendra
6. Aswagandhadi Taila
7. Saptavimsati Guggulu
8. Rasabhra Guggulu

Works of Dhanvantari:

1. Chikitsa Tatwa Vignana – Dhanvantari
2. Chikitsa Darshana – Divodasa
3. Chikitsa Koumudi – Kasiraja
4. Ajeernamrita Manjari – Kasiraja
5. Roga Nidana – Dhanvantari
6. Vaidya Chintamani – Dhanvantari
7. Dhanvantari Nighantu – Dhanvantari (A dictionary of Materia Medica and Therapeutics)
8. Vaidyaka Bhaskarodaya – Dhanvantari
9. Chikitsa Sara Sangraha Dhanvantari


Dhanu or Dhanva means surgery. Anta means end. Dhanvantari means the science of surgery or the end of surgical (science) knowledge.

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