According to Purana’s Siddhar Dhanvantari is an avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, who appeared at the churning of the ocean. Bhagavata Purana states that Dhanvantari emerged from the Ocean of Milk and appeared with the pot of amrita (elixir for immortality) during the story of the Samudra (or) Sagara Mathana whilst the ocean was being churned by the Devas and Asuras, using the Mandara mountain and the serpent Vasuki. He also appears in the Vedas and Puranas as the physician of the gods (devas), and the god of Ayurveda.
But, Siddhar Agathiyar in his acclaimed work of Agathiyar 12000 says that “Siddhar dhanvantari belongs to the ancestry of Lord MahaVishnu and was born to a family of musical tradition. Also, he learned Siddha Medicine System top to bottom seeking knowledge from 18 Siddha’s”. In the glorified history of Tamil Siddha Medicine System, Siddhar dhanvantari occupies a distinctive position as an exponent of Ayurveda System of medicine, which is an arm of Siddha Medicine System. He perfected many herbal based cures and natural remedies and was credited with the discovery of the antiseptic properties of turmeric and the preservative properties of salt which he incorporated in his cures.
Being a very skilled surgeon according to the standards of his time, he is widely believed to be the pioneer of modern medical practices like plastic surgery Thus he is considered “Father of Ayurveda”. His birthday is celebrated by the practitioners of Ayurveda every year, on Dhanteras, two days before Diwali.
He had compiled his works on universal salt- Muppu, Amuri and Jayaneer. He has also performed black magic and miracles, which he has cited in his works with full descriptions. According to traditions, he taught surgery methods and procedures to Susrutha, the Father of Ayurvedic Surgery. His disciples are Susruta, Pauskalavata, Aurabha, Vaitarana, and others. His Jeeva samadhi is in Vaitheeswaran Koil in Chidambaram, where there is a small temple dedicated to him. There are a few dedicated temples to Dhanvantari in South India especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where Ayurveda is highly practiced and patronized. The Dhanvatari temple in Thottuva in Kerala is a particularly famous temple, where Lord Dhanvatari’s idol is almost six feet tall and facing east. On the right hand the lord holds Amrith and with the left hand, the lord holds Atta, Shanku, and Chakra. The ‘Ekadasi’day celebration, which falls on the same day as the ‘Guruvayur Ekadasi’ is of special significance.
His works are mostly in Sanskrit so, segregated as Ayurvedic medicine system by the next generation people. And yet, like other Padinen Siddhas, he also compiled many mystical songs in Tamil language too. Let us see of his poems now.
In our tradition, we always begin any work with worship of Lord Ganesha. Let us look at one of Dhanvandhiri Siddhas poem to Lord Ganesha, and how his dedication to Lord Ganesha include other Divine Beings too.
கலையடங்கி அறிவறிந்த பெரியோர் பாதங்
கண்ணாடிக் குள்ளிருந்த அசைவின் பாதம்
மலரெடுத்து நிலையறிந்த ரிஷிகள் பாதம்
மதிகடந்த அயன்பரத்தி னருளின் பாதம்
குலைசாய்ந்த வட்டத்தின் முனையின் பாதம்
குணமூன்று மொத்துநின்ற குருவின் பாதம்
நிலையொடுங்கி அருளுயர்ந்த பிரமன் பாதம்
நிறைந்தமலர் நிர்வாணி கணேசன் காப்பே
The feet of great men who have attained by controlling birth
The feet of the awakened living within a glass door
The feet of the realized sages, awakened through the flowers (chakras)
The graceful feet of Bhramha who resides in the crescent
The feet of the circle filled with cluster flowers
The feet of the Guru who has gone beyond the three gunas
The feet of Bhrahman steeped in Grace in the tranquil state
Seek the protection of Nirvani Ganesha who abides in the fully blossomed flower
All of the Siddhas that we have seen have shown us the importance of raising our Kundalini Shakthi. Dhanvandhiri Siddhar also urges the seeker for purifying and raising the Kundalini Shakthi.
துருப்பான ரவிமதியின் சத்தி வாங்கிச்
சுத்தமுற்ற கல்வத்தி லாட்டு ஆட்டு
மருப்பான மூன்றெழுத்தி லுருக்கிச் சாய்க்க
மயங்காதே நெடுங்காயந்த் தங்கம் போலாம்
நெருப்பான அறைதிறந்து புடத்தைப் போடு
நிலைச்சுதடா பளிங்குபோல் நிறமே யாகும்
குறிப்பாக அணுவளவு மேலே கொள்ளு
கோளில்லை நமனில்லை அருளிற் சேர்வோம்
By acquiring the prana from the Sun and the Moon
Activate at the purified apothecary’s mortar
By concentration, transcend the Anu
By melting and pouring the sharp three letters
Be not deluded! The body will turn into gold
By opening the fiery chamber, place it for refinement
It has stabilized! The colour will now become lie crystal
There is no influence of the planets nor the god of death; There is only union with Grace
And what happens when we follow our path to the end? Dhanvandhiri promises us that we shall be welcomed to his own fold!
குகைதனிலே தவங்கள்செய் திருந்தாய் யானால்
கோடியுகம் பிர்மத்தோ டிருக்க லாகும்
தகைசபையில் நீயோடிக்கிச் சித்து மாடித்
தன்வந்தரி மகனென்று பேரும் வங்கித்
துகைதனிலே உன்தேகம் வலுத்துப் போச்சு
தோற்றாத பிர்மத்தின் செயல்தன் னாலே
செகமதிலே சிவயோக மார்க்கப் போக்கைச்
செப்பினேன் இதுவழியே சேர லாமே
If one remains in the Samadhi state
One could abide within the Absolute for crores of years
Ath the convergence, remain tranquil attaining Siddhi
The name Son of Danvantri shall be bestowed.
One’s body has been tempered and strengthened
By the act of the formless Absolute;
To this world I have imparted the Siva-Yoga Maarga (path)
I have extoled and you can join this path
It is said that he has learned three lakh kranthas from his teachers. Three is certainly a tip of the iceberg of the work of Dhanvandhiri Siddhar. Some of his works such as Dhanvantari balavagadam,
Dhanvantari thailam 500, Dhanvantari vaithiya kaaviyam 1000, Dhanvantari kalaignanam 500 are still used by Ayurveda and Siddha doctors to prepare medicinal cures. We invite you to contemplate more on these lines and share with us your insights. We also invite you to share with us lines from Siddhar Padalgal that have deeply touched you. You could write to us at email@example.com.
In absorbing this, may our abhyasa continue, may our shraddha in the Siddha Parampara strengthen and may revelations awaken as we grow within!