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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