Today, the global community comes together to celebrate the gift and knowledge of Ayurveda. This annual celebration is a time to reflect upon how Ayurvedic doctors, practitioners, business owners, schools, students, herbalists, therapists and enthusiasts can collectively continue to share the wisdom of Ayurveda with the world. If you are interested in learning more about this ancient healing system, there are many ways to do so! At PAAVANI, we are dedicated to introducing the science through our Apothecary offerings, Ayurvedic Consultations, Virtual Courses and also with the robust amount of Ayurvedic information that we provide on our website. Additionally, today from 12:30-5:30 pm PST our friends at the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine are hosting a free webinar with Ayurvedic experts including Chief Ayurvedic Consultant at Kerala Ayurveda USA, Vaidya Jayarajan Kodikannath and Ayurvedic chef, Amadea Morningstar. This webinar is dedicated to celebrating National Ayurveda Day and sharing ways that Ayurveda can replenish, revitalize and balance your body and mind.
the god of Ayurveda
It is important to note that International Ayurveda Day is celebrated on Dhanvantari Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Lord Dhanvantari. If you have never heard of Lord Dhanvantari, he is the Hindu god of Ayurvedic medicine, the physician of the gods and is revered by the Ayurveda community. An avatar of Lord Vishnu, the origin story of Dhanvantari was first handed down in India through the generations by oral tradition. After the 4th century BCE, Lord Dhanvantari’s mythological creation story was written down in the ancient Indian text, the Puranas. His origin story goes like this…
THE CHURNING OF THE OCEAN OF MILK
Since the beginning of time, the gods (devas) and demons (asuras) were at war. Central to their animosity was that both the gods and demons desired immortality. Both groups knew that in order to achieve immortality, they would need to possess the sacred amrita or nectar of immortality. This sounds easy enough, but both the gods and the demons were unsure of how to obtain the amrita. One day, the gods decided that this was a question for Lord Vishnu. When the gods went to Lord Vishnu with this inquiry, Vishnu explained that they must churn the ocean of milk in order for the sacred amrita to manifest; however, there was a catch. The gods must churn the ocean of milk with the demons. This is the story known as Kshir Sagar Manthan, the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.
After some discussion, the gods decided it was worth it to work alongside the demons to reveal the amrita. In order to churn the ocean of milk, they would need a churning rope and a churning rod. Thus, the gods and demons borrowed Lord Shiva’s snake, Vasuki, to be used as the churning rope, and wrapped it around Manda, the great mountain at the center of the universe, which acted as the churning rod. In order for the churning rod to have a steady base, the gods and demons placed the huge mountain on the back of a giant tortoise at the bottom of the ocean. Now they were prepared. The gods and demons began to pull the snake back and forth and churned the ocean of milk. As the churning intensified, multiple sacred Hindu symbols and deities sprung from the ocean of milk. e Kalpavriksha, the wish-fulfilling divine tree, Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and abundance and finally, Lord Dhanvantari, the founder and god of Ayurveda, emerged from the churning ocean of milk holding the sacred amrita, the nectar of mortality. Once Lord Dhanvantari and the amrita appeared, the gods were able to triumph over the demons and obtained the amrita of immortality.
THE GIFT OF AYURVEDA
Lord Dhanvantari’s origin story is also the origin story of Ayurveda because it is through Lord Dhanvantari that this healing system was born. Thus, it is part of Ayurvedic tradition to take a moment to honor Lord Dhanvantari prior to working with Ayurvedic medicine and rituals. One can do this by chanting the deity’s name or simply sitting in meditation with an image of Lord Dhanvantari and his gift of Ayurveda in your mind’s eye. Now that you are familiar with Lord Dhanvantari, you may notice a picture of him at your Ayurvedic doctor’s or practitioner’s office. If you do see this deity’s image, we encourage you to take a moment to honor Lord Dhanvantari. After all, it is through Lord Dhanvantari that we are all able to strive towards greater peace, balance and harmony in this life through the implementation of Ayurveda.
Wishing you a very Happy International Ayurveda Day!