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धन्वन्तरितिघण्टुः Dhanvantri Nighantu

Introduction

The Dhanwantari Nighantu was once very popular among the scholars which is evident from the fact that it has been quoted as authority by several commentators of repute like Hemadri, Arunadatta, Ksira- swami etc. Niscala Kara has referred to it by the name of ‘Dravyavali’? while Vardhamiana in his Ganaratnamahodadhi" quotes a verse from its text without naming it. Moreover, it stood as an ideal pattern of nighantu which was followed by later authors in this field like Sodhala, Narahari’ etc.

Initially the Ayurvedic nighantus were composed on the style of the vedic Nighantu containing only the synonyms which communicated the prevalent names, morphological characters, properties, actions of drugs, habitat and other relevant information. Later on properties, actions and uses were also added after the synonyms. Thus there were two distinct patterns which created two types of nighantu literature—one giving only synonyms and the other describing the items by way of synonyms as well as properties, actions and uses. Astanganighantu, Paryayaratnamala, Nighantusesa, Abhidhanaratnamala, Madhava-dravyaguna etc. come in the first group while Dhanvantari Nighantu, Sodhalas Gunasamgraha, Madanapalanighantu, Rajanighantu come in the second group.

If one goes through the introductory verses it becomes clear that the original work was known as Dravyavalit or Dravyavali and not Dhanwantari Nighantu because it is not mentioned at all in this con- text. Thus Dravydvali contained only synonyms as evident from the author’s statement at the end of the introduction. He says that the synonyms of the drugs guduci etc. listed under the contents ( gana-dravyavali ) will follow in order? but instead description of rasa, virya, vipaka etc. of drugs starts after salutation to the feet of Lord Dhanvantari. This anomaly shows that

(1) The original text was Dravyavali containing only the synonyms.

( 2 ) Description of properties was added to it later on converting it into a new text known as Dhanvantari Nighantu on the basis of the salutation to Dhanwantari in the beginning.

Thus the existing text of the Dhanvantari Nighantu is the Dravyavali added with description of properties, actions and uses of substances. The Dravyavali too continued to exist in its original form.

It is mentioned that the Dravyavali is composed by taking a portion of the ocean-like literature of Nighantus. This shows that the Dravyavaliis not the first Nighantu but followed a vast literature of Nighantu. However, the Dhanwantari Nighantu scems to be the first Nighantu giving synonyms as well as descriptions of properties, actions as well as uses of drugs.

**Contents and Sample Pages**
























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