Who is Dhanvantari, The Hindu God?

Who is Dhanvantari, The Hindu God?
Posted on 24-06-2023

Who is Dhanvantari, The Hindu God?

Dhanvantari is a revered figure in Hindu mythology and is considered the god of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. As an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver, and protector in Hinduism, Dhanvantari holds a significant place in Hindu religious and cultural traditions. In this detailed explanation, we will explore the origins, legends, symbolism, and worship associated with Dhanvantari, shedding light on his role and significance in Hinduism.


Origins of Dhanvantari:

The origins of Dhanvantari can be traced back to Hindu scriptures, primarily the Puranas. The Puranas are a vast collection of ancient texts that contain myths, legends, and genealogies of gods, sages, and heroes. Dhanvantari finds mention in various Puranas, including the Vishnu Purana, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Agni Purana.


Dhanvantari's Birth:

According to Hindu mythology, Dhanvantari emerged during the cosmic event known as the Samudra Manthan or the Churning of the Ocean. This event took place in the primordial times when the gods (devas) and demons (asuras) joined forces to churn the cosmic ocean to obtain the elixir of immortality, known as Amrita. It was believed that by consuming Amrita, one would gain eternal life and immense power.

As the churning commenced, numerous divine and mystical entities surfaced from the ocean. Among them, Dhanvantari emerged holding a pot (kalasha) filled with Amrita. He was resplendent, adorned with divine attributes, and possessed unparalleled knowledge of medicine and healing.


Dhanvantari and Ayurveda:

Dhanvantari's association with Ayurveda is of paramount importance. Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of medicine that originated in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago. It encompasses a comprehensive approach to health, emphasizing the balance between body, mind, and spirit.

Legend has it that Dhanvantari presented the knowledge of Ayurveda to humanity as he emerged from the churning ocean. He bestowed this invaluable wisdom upon sages and physicians, empowering them to heal and cure ailments. Ayurveda encompasses a wide range of therapeutic practices, including herbal medicine, diet, lifestyle recommendations, yoga, meditation, and various healing techniques.

Dhanvantari's Iconography and Symbolism: Dhanvantari is typically depicted as a four-armed deity, standing or sitting in a calm and composed posture. He is adorned with divine attire and ornaments, radiating a sense of tranquility and grace. The four arms of Dhanvantari represent his divine attributes and powers.

  1. The first arm holds a Shankha (conch shell), symbolizing the primordial sound and the creative aspect of the universe. The sound of the conch is considered auspicious and is often used in religious ceremonies and rituals.

  2. The second arm carries a Chakra (discus), representing the cosmic wheel of time, eternity, and the cyclical nature of life. The discus is a symbol of the divine power that destroys ignorance and impurities.

  3. The third arm holds a Jalauka (leech), signifying Dhanvantari's expertise in the field of surgery and bloodletting. Leeches were commonly used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments and promote blood circulation.

  4. The fourth arm cradles a Kamandalu (pot), containing Amrita, the nectar of immortality. The pot symbolizes abundance, healing, and the divine elixir that bestows eternal life and rejuvenation.


Dhanvantari's symbolism extends beyond his physical attributes. He embodies the qualities of compassion, healing, knowledge, and divine grace. His presence signifies the pursuit of well-being, the preservation of life, and the harmonious integration of the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of human existence.


Worship and Festivals:

Dhanvantari is venerated and worshiped by devotees, particularly those seeking good health, healing, and well-being. The practice of invoking Dhanvantari's blessings is prevalent among Ayurvedic practitioners, physicians, and individuals seeking remedies for physical ailments.

The festival of Dhanteras, which falls a few days before Diwali (the festival of lights), holds great significance in the worship of Dhanvantari. Dhanteras is observed by Hindus worldwide, and it is customary to buy gold, silver, or utensils on this day, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

On Dhanteras, people often offer prayers and perform rituals to invoke Dhanvantari's blessings. They may create a sacred altar or shrine adorned with flowers, incense, and lamps, and place an image or idol of Dhanvantari. Devotees recite sacred mantras, chant hymns, and offer fruits, sweets, and other auspicious items as a gesture of devotion.

During the worship, individuals seek Dhanvantari's grace for physical healing, the well-being of their loved ones, and the attainment of spiritual enlightenment. It is believed that by sincerely invoking Dhanvantari, one can receive divine blessings and guidance for a healthy and fulfilling life.

Apart from Dhanteras, Dhanvantari's worship also takes place during other auspicious occasions, medical conferences, and gatherings where Ayurvedic knowledge and healing are celebrated.


Dhanvantari in Modern Context:

In contemporary times, Dhanvantari continues to hold relevance and reverence in the field of medicine and healing. Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine associated with Dhanvantari, has gained global recognition and is embraced by individuals seeking natural and holistic approaches to health.

Practitioners of Ayurveda, both in India and around the world, invoke Dhanvantari's blessings as they diagnose and treat patients. His presence serves as a reminder of the divine source of knowledge, the importance of compassion in healing, and the holistic approach to well-being.

Moreover, Dhanvantari's teachings and principles extend beyond the realm of physical health. Ayurveda emphasizes the balance between body, mind, and spirit, acknowledging the interconnectedness of various aspects of human existence. This holistic approach resonates with individuals seeking overall wellness and a harmonious lifestyle.

In addition to medical professionals, individuals from various backgrounds also revere Dhanvantari and seek his blessings. Those on a spiritual path recognize the significance of well-being as a foundation for spiritual growth and seek guidance from Dhanvantari to navigate their journey.


Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of Ayurveda, embodies the ancient wisdom of healing and well-being. His emergence from the cosmic ocean during the Samudra Manthan and his bestowal of Ayurvedic knowledge to humanity hold immense significance in Hindu mythology. As an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Dhanvantari's worship and veneration encompass the pursuit of good health, physical and spiritual healing, and the harmonious integration of body, mind, and spirit.

Dhanvantari's symbolism, iconography, and legends offer profound insights into the holistic approach to well-being and the interconnectedness of various aspects of human existence. His teachings continue to inspire individuals to embrace Ayurvedic principles and seek natural, holistic approaches to health.

Whether in traditional rituals, medical conferences, or personal prayers, the worship of Dhanvantari serves as a reminder of the divine grace and the pursuit of balance and harmony in life. In an era where holistic healing approaches are gaining recognition and acceptance, Dhanvantari's significance and teachings continue to resonate with individuals seeking well-being, health, and spiritual growth.

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