Lord Dhanvantari, god of healing

Dhanvantari is a Hindu god of healing. He is the father of Ayurveda, the physician god who carries in his hands a bowl of amrit (the nectar of immortality), a discus or chakra (to cut away evil), a conch shell (which is used in a ground form in some traditional medicines), and herbs or a leech (an ancient method still in use today for bloodletting – the saliva of the leech contains a compound very similar to the pharmaceutical blood-thinner Coumadin).

This morning – Tuesday – three people I know are having surgery. They are in different time zones across the planet, and their surgeries are for different reasons. They are all fathers, and they are all dear to me. As I learned of their pending surgeries over the past week, one after the other, it began to feel like more than a coincidence that their procedures are all falling on this day.

Today is January 11, 2011, or 1/11/11. Tuesday is the day of the week in which the elephant god Ganesh is traditionally honored, and I will be making a pilgrimage to a renowned Ganesh temple here in Mumbai to make an offering and ask for his blessing. Ganesh, also known as Ganapati, is the god of beginnings, often honored at the start of a new enterprise, journey or undertaking. He is known as the remover of obstacles.

Some are turned off by the many gods of Hinduism. The way I see it, we all have many facets. Sometimes we call upon the mother in ourselves to respond to a certain situation, and at other times we call upon the student, or the healer, or the teacher. There are many archetypes within each of us, and I believe that the tremendous power that drives existence is similarly infinitely faceted. By seeking the blessing of Ganesh, or Shri Dhanvantari, I am calling upon a certain aspect of this infinite power, focusing and directing my own energy on that quality, and honoring what I believe is the one source of love and beauty upholding this universe.

Today, if you are willing, I ask you to please send whatever prayer or good energy or healing thoughts you wish towards these three men to support their healing. May Shri Dhanvantari guide their surgeons’ hands. May Ganapati remove all obstacles on their path to healing. May their own healing powers be strengthened and supported by the love of strangers directed their way. May today bring them comfort, peace and ease in their bodies and spirits, and may those who love and support them be equally comforted by our community of shared energy.

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