Dhanvantari Jayanti: ‘The National Ayurveda Day’

Mahadeep Singh Jamwal                                                                                According to Hindu mythology (Bhagavata Purana) Dhanvantri, regarded as ‘Hindu God of Ayurveda’, is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu who arose from ‘Samudra Manthan’, holding the nectar pot of immortality. His birthday is celebrated by the practitioners of Ayurveda every year on Dhanteras, two days before Diwali and now also observed as ‘The National Ayurveda Day’ since 2016. In Hinduism, on this day, worshipers pray to Dhanvantari seeking his blessings for sound healing.
The main classical Ayurveda texts begin with accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the Gods to sages, and then to human physicians. Ayurveda literally means the science of life and is ancient medical science incorporated in the ‘Atharva Veda’, the last of four Vedas. Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times, and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or even earlier. Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts. It follows a holistic approach to maintain health and fighting illness through therapies, massages, herbal medicines, diet control and exercises.
Ayurveda is the ‘The Science of Life’ and is one of the branches of Vedas, as Upaveda of Rigveda or Atharva-Veda. It is a holistic system of medicine from India, which evolved from Brahma sages of Ancient India some 3000- 5000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healings”. The principles and philosophy of Ayurveda are derived from universal laws of nature that have changed little through time. Ayurveda believes in five basic elements Pancamahabhutas (space, air, fire, water and earth) manifest in the human body as three basic humours known as tridosas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and states that balance of three ‘Doshas’ results in health while imbalance results in ill-health. These three govern creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissues as well as the assimilation and elimination.
Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing. When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need is the Ayurvedic proverb. Ayurvedic philosophy maintains that people are born with a specific constitution, which is called the Prakruti. The Prakruti, established at conception, is viewed as a unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics that affect the way each person functions. Life (Aayu) is the combination (Samyoga) of body, senses, mind and reincarnating soul. Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans. It stems from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. Some of this knowledge was set to print a few thousand years ago, but much of it, is inaccessible. Ayurveda is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.
Globalized and modernized practices derived from Ayurveda traditions are a type of alternative medicine. In countries beyond India, Ayurvedic therapies and practices have been integrated in general wellness applications and in some cases in medical use. According to the Charaka Samhita, “Compendium of Charaka” a Sanskrit text on Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine) first taught by Atreya, and then subsequently codified by Agnivesa, revised by Charaka, (a Kashmiri by origin), the knowledge of Ayurveda is eternal and is revealed in each of the cycles of the creation of the universe. When needed, Lord Vishnu himself incarnates as Lord Dhanvantari and reestablishes the tradition of Ayurveda in the world to help relieve some of humanity’s suffering. In Sushruta Samhita (Sushruta’s Compendium), Sushruta wrote that Dhanvantari, Hindu god of Ayurveda, incarnated himself as a king of Varanasi and taught medicine to a group of physicians, including Sushruta.
Lord Dhanvantari is conferred with the virtues of granting health and wealth. Therefore, Dhanvantari Jayanti was preferred for the celebration of ‘Ayurveda Day’ to nationalize this system of medicine. The objectives of ‘Ayurveda Day’ are: to further promote Ayurveda into the mainstream of health system, reduce the burden of disease and related morbidity and mortality by utilizing the potential of Ayurveda, exploring the potential of Ayurveda to contribute towards National Health Policy & National Health Programmes and create a sense of awareness in today’s generation and promote Ayurvedic principles of healing in society. The National Ayurveda Day celebrations started in 2016. The first National Ayurveda Day was observed on 28th October on the occasion of Dhanwantari Jayanti. The theme for the year was ‘Ayurveda for Prevention and Control of Diabetes’. The theme for the year 2017 was ‘Ayurveda for Pain Management’, for the year 2018 ‘Ayurveda for Public Health’, for the year 2019 ‘Ayurveda for Longevity’, for the year 2019 ‘Ayurveda for COVID’ and the theme for the year 2021 is “Ayurveda for Poshan – Ayurvedic Concepts of Nutrition”.
Remarkably this year as a part of “Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav” ‘AAPNA – Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America’, USA, are celebrating the 6th World Ayurveda Day on November 2, 2021, in which speakers from 36 countries such as India, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Tunisia, Germany, France, Netherlands, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Australia are participating and speaking on the theme “Ayurveda for Poshan – Ayurvedic Concepts of Nutrition”.
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