On Sri Dhanvantari’s birth anniversary (Jayanti), let us open ourselves to the universal power of healing within us.
Ayurveda, India’s natural system of Vedic healing, has spread worldwide over the past several decades as an innovative and comprehensive system of mind-body and consciousness based medicine and healing.
Wherever yoga has gone, Ayurveda is now following as the essence of yogic healing for both physical and psychological well-being. It takes the teachings of yoga and expands these into a full medical system for disease treatment and health enhancement. We can now find Ayurvedic clinics and schools in North and South America, Europe, Asia extending to Japan and Indonesia, Africa and parts of the Middle East.
This modern global Ayurveda is rooted in traditional Ayurveda with its embracing of Vedic knowledge on all levels from diet, herbs and massage to pranayama, mantra and meditation. It seeks to extend the boundaries of medicine beyond chemical drugs and physical concerns to a higher awareness within us connected to the universe as a whole. It is ecologically harmonious and works with nature’s abundance, attuning us to the transformative movement of life.
Ayurveda Day, Dhanteras and Dhanvantari
Ayurveda Day is based on Dhanvantari Jayanti, the birth date of Sri Dhanvantari, which occurs at the beginning of Diwali on Dhanteras. Ayurveda Day is honored nationally in India, but is also spreading worldwide as International Ayurveda Day.
Dhanvantari is the form of Vishnu, who sustains the universe and is the basis of all the avatars, who arose from the samudra manthana, the original churning of the cosmic ocean, as a gift of healing for all living beings.
Dhanvantari holds the nectar pot of immortality that grants optimal health and wellbeing, extending to rejuvenation of body and mind. He is the Adi Vaidya and ideal doctor, the manifestation of compassion, representing the wisdom of Ayurveda in practical application. His image and statue can be found at Ayurvedic schools and clinics, where mantras to him are chanted daily.
By honoring Dhanvantari on this day we can open ourselves to the power of healing from all of nature and from our own deeper awareness. This is much more transformative than the outer seeking of wealth and gold that usually marks the Dhanteras festival in India.
Vast Scope of Ayurveda
The Ayurvedic view of the human being, based upon Yoga and Vedanta, is of body, mind, and universal Consciousness (Atman) as a single continuum. We can contrast this with the modern medical view of the human being as a mere physical body and complex of chemical reactions.
Ayurveda helps us understand our own unique constitution according to the three doshas of vata, pitta and kapha, reflecting nature’s elements and forces within us. It is an individualised system of medicine that shows us the right therapies for health and longevity – which differ person by person and cannot be reduced a single formula or mass treatment for everyone. These also must be adjusted on a daily basis relative to the influences within and around us.
Ayurveda teaches us the inner energetics of foods, spices and herbs, so that we can use them according to our individual constitution. It provides the details of right living through proper use of our senses and motor organs, and control of the mind through dharmic values and meditation. These are part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle to keep all that we do in harmony with the energies within an around us.
Ayurveda is not just a system of medicine that aims at treating diseases. It teaches daily and seasonal health regimens that keep us in harmony with the movement of life, so that diseases do not arise in the first place.
Health and well-being remains one of the greatest challenges in this information technology era in which we are losing our moorings in nature to an invasive technology and artificial way of life. The current pandemic is a reflection of this.
It is time to acknowledge Ayurveda as one of the most important traditions of natural healing in the world, yet extending to the powers of mind and consciousness and the universal Prana as yoga teaches us. Ayurveda is one of the greatest gifts of India’s profound spiritual and yogic culture.
May Dhanvantari as the universal healer bring well-being and lasting happiness to all from the very core of our being!
Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)