Meet the Gods: Dhanvantar
With the country still reeling from a pandemic, demands for racial justice and calls to end police brutality, meet Lord Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of healing. He is one of the greatest deities because he gave people the knowledge of Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of medicine. In his four hands, the physician god carries a bowl of amrit (the nectar of immortality), a discus or chakra (a divine weapon to cut away evil), a conch shell (when ground it’s used in some medicines), and herbs. He is dressed in yellow clothes, with a wreath of herbs and flowers around his neck. His eyes are reddish, his skin a bluish black, his curly hair anointed with oil.
It is common in the Hindu tradition to worship Dhanvantari for good health and freedom from disease. He is considered the physician of Gods. Temples dedicated to him across India overflow with followers.
Ayurveda practitioners celebrate his birthday on Dhanteras (November 13 this year), two days before Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Small gas lamps pointing north by northeast are lit and placed on the doorstep of the house welcoming Dhanvantari, and health and wellness to the family.
The best way to worship Lord Dhanvantar, according to information on daily.bhaskar.com, is to “[s]it with your face towards East. Keep an idol or image of Dhanvantari before you and wash it with water, milk, ghee, honey and sugar while also reciting mantras. Offer yellow flowers or garland and turmeric to the idol. Distribute and partake Trifala [polyherbal preparation comprising three fruits] as prasada [food offered to the gods].”
This video shows a statue of Dhanvantari being honored.
If you find yourself drawn to ask Dhanvantari for healing, but aren’t sure what to do, here is my idea of what to do to get you thinking. I would put an image of him on my altar, light a yellow candle and some India Temple incense. Then I would ground and center, and begin a conversation with Dhanvantari, recognizing his gifts and asking for his help with my health issue. I’d offer him yellow flowers; milk and honey; and cloves, cardamom, turmeric or other herbs I was moved to give. I might also offer a promise or willingness to do something. I would continue to sit before the altar until I felt I had made a connection with him. If possible I would keep a candle burning and continue to light incense daily, refreshing flowers and herbs as necessary until I experienced some relief from my condition. Then I would thank Dhanvantari with a final offering. I would offer the altar items to the earth or to a fire.
If you have more experience with Hindu traditions, I hope you’ll share in the comments.
About the Author:
All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-and-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, candle magic, gems, and, as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. When accepting the mantle of crone, I pledged to serve and teach. This is what I do from my skoolie – a 30-year-old school bus converted into a tiny house on wheels that I am driving around the country, following 72-degree weather, emerging myself into nature, and sharing magic with those I meet. Find me at thewitchonwheels.com, Facebook and Instagram.