Dhanvantari, dieu et père de l’Ayurveda est souvent représenté sous les traits d’un Vishnu à quatre bras tenant les herbes médicinales et la coupe contenant l’Amrita, le nectar de revitalisation et d’immortalité. Selon la mythologie hindoue, Dhanvantari émergea de l’océan de lait lors de son ‘baratement‘ par les Devas et les Asuras (les démons).
Dhanvantari est considéré comme le médecin des dieux, père de la médecine ayurvédique mais aussi comme l’un des premiers chirurgiens du monde. Il a élaboré de nombreux médicaments et traitements à base de plantes.
Il est fréquent de nos jours que les pratiquants hindous invoquent le seigneur Dhanvantari pour qu’il protège ou améliore leur santé et celle de leurs proches.
Lord Dhanvanthri – “Father of Ayurveda”
Lord Dhanvanthri is referred to as the Father of Ayurveda. He can always be seen holding a conch shell, a disc of energy, a leech, and a pot of celestial ambrosia. A subtle clear blaze of light can be seen shining around his head, lotus eyes and his heart. He is Lord of Divine Healing who destroys all disease like a mighty forest fire.
He was the first divine incarnation to impart its wisdom amongst humans. He first appeared during the great churning of the cosmic ocean of milk to deliver amrit (ambrosia, or Divine nectar) to the demigods. The churning of the ocean of milk is a famous episode in the Puranas that represents the spiritual endeavor of a person to achieve Self-realization through concentration of mind, withdrawal of the senses, control of all desires, austerities and asceticism. It is celebrated in India every twelve years in the holy festival known as Kumbha Mela.
King Dirghatamas of Kashi (Benares) was performing severe austerities and offering them to Lord Dhanvantari in the hopes that he would be pleased with them and grant him a son. The Lord replied that he would. Soon after, Lord Dhanvantari was born in the royal household of Kashi. He taught Ayurveda orally to the sages and rishis (seers) who became his disciples. His teachings are recorded in the Agni Purana, as well as through the teachings of his disciples Susruta, Pauskalavata, Aurabha, Vaitarana, and others.
It is written in the scriptures that, “One who remembers the name of Dhanvantari can be released from all disease.” Lord Dhanvantari is worshipped all over India as the God of Medicine. Even today, two days before Diwali, the Festival of Lights, people remember and honor him. At dusk, a lamp pointing toward North by North-East is lit at the doorstep of the house to welcome Lord Dhanvantari for health and happiness in life. This day is known as Dhanteras (or Dhanwantari Triodasi, or Dhantrayodashi).