There’s an interesting story ascribed to the origin of Dhanteras. It’s about a 16-year-old son of King Hima whose horoscope had predicted death by a snake-bite on the fourth night of his marriage. On that night, his newly-wed wife laid out all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap at the entrance of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the place. Then, she narrated stories and sang songs to keep her husband from falling asleep.
The next day, when Yama, the god of Death arrived at the prince's doorstep in the disguise of a serpent, his eyes were dazzled and blinded by the brilliance of the lamps and the jewellery and he could not enter the Prince's chamber. With the cleverness of his new bride, the young prince was saved from the clutches of death, and the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras.
This folklore marks the association of Dhanteras to wealth. To this day, Dhanteras is widely celebrated as an auspicious occasion to buy gold, silver and steel-ware. It is believed that buying money or metal on this day brings home immense good luck.
While that’s how most people celebrate Dhanteras, did you know that the occasion of Dhanteras is also connected to Ayurveda? Dhanteras, also known as Dhanvantari Jayanti and National Ayurveda Day, is the birthday of God Dhanvantri, the god of Ayurveda.
The origin of Ayurveda is narrated elaborately in the Indian mythologies Bhagavata Purnana and Mahabharata in the famous chapter of Samudra Manthan - the churning of the ocean by Devtas and Asuras. Samudra Manthan had yielded amrita, the nectar for immortality and it was none other than the God Dhanvantri who emerged bearing it. This nectar was a gift of healing for all - the gift of Ayurveda.
God Dhanvantri was the first to impart the wisdom of Ayurveda for the betterment of mankind. He imparted the Vedic knowledge on all levels from diet and herbs to pranayama, mantra and meditation. Dhanwantri is the ideal doctor, representing the wisdom of ayurveda and its practical application. By honouring Dhanvantari and his Ayurvedic learnings, one can open up to Ayurveda’s power of healing.
Dhanteras isn’t just about outer prosperity but also for inner renewal. On Dhanteras, let’s all pray to god Dhanwantri to seek his blessings for sound health for themselves and their family. May Dhanvantari as the universal healer bring well-being and lasting happiness to you!