Dhanvantari Jayanti was celebrated at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) by the Department of Sanskrit Studies, School of Humanities. The programme was presided by Dr. J. S. R. A. Prasad, Head, Department of Sanskrit Studies.
Dhanvantari Jayanti is celebrated on Dhanatrayodasi or Dhanteras. Dhanvantari, an avatar of Vishnu is the presiding deity of Ayurveda and the one who revealed Ayurveda to the world.
The proceedings began with Dr. Prasad introducing the significance of Dhanvantari Jayanti and setting the tone for the theme of the day: the close connection between Ayurveda and Yoga.
Prof. Korada Subrahmanyam, faculty in the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies (CALTS) at UoH was the first speaker. He spoke on Patanjali’s contribution to the three sciences of Vyakarana, Yoga and Ayurveda. He quoted a verse from Vakyapadiyam, composed around the fifth century after Christ:
कायवाग्बुद्धिविषया ये मलाः समवस्थिताः।
चिकित्सालक्षणाध्यात्मशास्त्रैस्तेषां विशुद्धयः ॥1.146॥ (The impurities situated in the body, speech and mind are being cleansed by Ayurveda, Vyakarana and Yoga) and wondered why Bhartrihari needed to assign an Ayurvedic work to Patanjali. Another author quoted is the celebrated grammarian, Nagesa Bhatta of eighteenth century, who quotes Patanjali’s words from Caraka[work] – इति चरके पतञ्जलिः। Then Prof. Korada proceeded to show the point of overlap between Vyakaranam and Yoga on one hand and of Yoga and Ayurveda on the other hand. He reminded the audience that mind is also the basis for treatment in Ayurveda and pointed out that the importance of mind in treatment is now being accepted by modern medical science as well.
Prof. Kavi Narayana Murthy, faculty in the School of Computer and Information Sciences at UoH in his address, related Yoga and Ayurveda to Vedanta and proposed that they are all, but different ways, to realize the Ultimate as preached in Vedanta. He showed the interconnection between the three Gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas), the three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) and the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) and stressed the importance of “svaasthya” – each constituent being in its own place. He also pointed out that the food we eat and the fluids we consume have a significant effect on our bodies and that regulating these would be best for a healthy life.
Dr. G. B. K. Rao, Chairman & Managing Director, Pragati Green Meadows and Resorts Limited who was the third speaker for the day spoke passionately on the need to conserve trees and grow more of them. He pointed out that against the average of 422 trees per person in the world, and in high eight thousands in Canada, in India there were only 28 trees per person and urged the audience to ensure that this number increases significantly. He spoke about the beneficial effects of many trees such as Khadira (Candra in Telugu).
The lectures were followed by an animated discussion with many in the audience posing questions to the speakers. At the end of the day, those who attended the event left with a lot of information that could be useful in daily life (such as that if one walks gently after eating, one can avoid a tummy) and an appreciation of the close connection of Ayurveda with Yoga and Vedanta.
-By N. Siva Senani, Research Scholar, Department of Sanskrit Studies