Eight Divine Qualities of a Physician – Ashta Jnana Devata

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
For an Ayurveda student, who is an aspiring physician of the most revered medical science in future days, the definitions of physician and qualities of quack are lessons of how a physician should be and how he should not be. These definitions will enable a medical student to craft and mould self in accordance to the qualities which allows him or her to become a respected physician.
Read – Designations Given To Ayurvedic Doctors – Vaidya Upadhi

We can find an interesting instance in Charaka Samhita, wherein eight divine qualities of a physician, have been mentioned. These qualities are also applicable for an Ayurveda teacher or student.

8 wisdoms

Ashta Jnana Devata – Eight types of wisdom, divine qualities of an Ayurveda physician or student
Context and incidence – Submission of completed treatises by Agnivesha and his team of friends to their group of teachers led by sage Atreya
Read – How Ayurveda Originated? Detailed Explanation [Video]

Sage Atreya, the best student of sage Bharadwaja, teaches the divine knowledge of Ayurveda to his disciples. Before this, sage Bharadwaja, as a representative of the sages had gone to Lord Indra, the king of Gods and had learnt Ayurveda in a nut-shell form and had brought its wisdom to the Earth for the welfare of the ailing mankind. The transfer of this unparalleled medical science would henceforth take place from one generation to the other.
Read – Acharya Atreya – legacy, works, contribution to Ayurveda

Among the disciples of sage Atreya, the best six disciples are as listed below.

Name of the author Name of the treatise Remarks
Master Agnivesha Agnivesha Tantra Became Charaka Samhita in future
Master Bhela / Bheda Bhela Samhita  
Master Jatukarna Jatukarna Samhita  
Master Parashara Parashara Samhita  
Master Harita Harita Samhita  
Master Ksharapani Ksharapani Samhita  

Among these students of Atreya, Agnivesha was the first among them to document the teachings of his master, the first instance of creation of a treatise ‘Agnivesha Tantra’ which went on to become the most popular reference book for Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita, once it got revised by master Charaka in later period.
Read – Acharya Charaka – Work, Samhita, Legacy, Chapters, Description

The other students of Atreya too followed the same principle and noted down the teachings of their teacher and later made treatises of those notes, in their respective names, as given in the tab above.

In spite of being taught by the same teacher, these six treatises were totally different form each other. The presentation of subject, chronology and content too differed from one another. According to Master Charaka, the reason behind these differences is ‘buddhi vishesha’ i.e. different levels of intelligence of these masters. Among these, Agnivesha Tantra / Charaka Samhita became more popular in the timeline of evolution.
Read – Acharya Agnivesha – Legend, Works, Samhita

Master Punarvasu and other great sages heard the recitation of the scriptures, felt happy and proud for their students and also acknowledged them with good words of appreciation.

Agnivesha and other students of Atreya were not only praised by their teachers, but also were praised and acknowledged for their unparalleled works by the Gods, divine sages and beings of all the three terrains, the heaven, the earth and the underworld. Their works would protect the entire creation and all life from the threats and clutches of diseases and sorrow, would provide answers and remedies for all the ailments and enable people to live to their fullest, provide the longevity of life and a good status of health to everyone.
Read – 11 Tips To A Junior Ayurvedic Doctor

The events of applauses and flowers showering from the sky could have been the first instance of celebration of completed and submitted works in the field of medical academics. It marked the first moments of convocation and graduation in Ayurveda, in fact any medical science. It was an instance when the entire universe celebrated the success and accomplishment of the disciples of Atreya.

Following these events it is said that the ‘Eight Gods of Knowledge’ entered Agnivesha and the five other disciples of Atreya. On the other hand we can understand this concept as – ‘the Gods bestowed eight divine qualities / wisdom in these 6 disciples’. These can be considered as medals of acknowledgment and felicitation.
Read – My Ayurvedic Doctor Does Not Reveal Names Of Medicines

The eight types of divine knowledge blessed upon Agnivesha and his friends were –

  1. Buddhi – Intelligence
  2. Siddhi – Perfection
  3. Smriti – Memory
  4. Medha – Wisdom
  5. Dhriti – Courage
  6. Kirti – Reputation
  7. Kshama – Forgiving nature
  8. Daya – Compassion

Later the grandmaster Punarvasu Atreya and the other great sages declared the treatises written by Agnivesha and his friends as reference books of Ayurveda.
Read – What Is Ayurveda? 5 Dimensions Of The Ancient Indian Health Wisdom!


What do these qualities signify?
These eight qualities that sage Agnivesha and his friends were bestowed with shouldn’t merely be seen in terms of eight types of gods representing each quality entering the disciples as explained in the classical verses i.e. they should not be taken in exact meaning. We should understand that each quality is divine and has sanctity. This also means that only the students who have committed themselves towards learning Ayurveda under the guidance of their teachers, totally submitting themselves to the process of learning and having achieved great heights and scales of academic excellence shall be bestowed with these rare qualities, otherwise not.
Read – Kerala Vs North Indian Ayurvedic Practice – Which One Is Better?

The students who have passed out with comprehensive knowledge of Ayurveda and those who have understood the science in its true sense and those who do not have any bad intentions of using the science, i.e. those who are desirous of using the knowledge of Ayurveda towards welfare of all living beings and to establish health and longevity would be bestowed with these divine qualities.

On the other hand, those Ayurvedic students or teachers who are rich in these eight qualities are said to be the best students of Ayurveda. By adorning these qualities, the physicians / students would become divine, i.e. Godly. Only these people will be respected and worshipped in the society.
Read – Ayurveda Is Not A Granny Medicine

Don’t we all have these qualities?
Yes, we do. We have one or the other mentioned qualities at some point of our life, but not all at a time and not all constantly throughout our life. But these disciples of master Atreya embedded with these qualities at a time. The Gods too trusted that these disciples would carry those qualities throughout their lives, and they did. Therefore their treatises are read, understood, followed and praised even today.
Read – Gaining Inspiration And Health Tips From Sir M Visvesvaraya

The secret message is that when we accomplish our designed and assigned tasks and contribute something great to the science and society, these divine qualities would come in search of us and give us divinity. The message attracts and demands dedication, concentration and commitment towards academic studies and aim towards perfection.

It also means that, in the process of learning and a journey towards academic excellence; one should develop these qualities and nurture them. On the other hand, when one is focusing towards his goals and doesn’t deviate from the purpose of being in academics, one would naturally develop these qualities. By the time one finishes his studies and contributes something great to his science, he would find himself being adorned by these divine qualities. These qualities in turn would make the student more focused towards the goals of his life, practice of medicine and travel in a righteous way in terms of serving the mankind and healing all lives.
Read – Is Sanskrit Hindering You From Joining Ayurveda?


Are these qualities only limited to the students and academics?
No, medical studies is not limited until one gets graduated or until he or she finishes the higher studies. The completion of studies and mastery over the subjects and areas of specialisation is the point of beginning of yet another journey. He or she shall practice medicine and help the ailing mankind by getting rid of their diseases and also enable the healthy people to maintain their status of health. One can also pursue teaching in a medical school. Some may prefer doing both. Therefore these divine qualities should not just be a part of one’s life until he is a student but should also continue throughout his life. These qualities are also applicable to the teachers and practitioners of Ayurveda.
Read – Ayurveda Is Best Medical System For You – 10 Strong Reasons

One should treasure these qualities and make it a habit of living them every moment. This would make great physicians, teachers and human beings of an Ayurvedic student or learning enthusiast.

A famous quote ‘Vaidyo Narayano Harih’ equates the status of a physician to that of a God, a divine being. In this context too we have seen that master Charaka has described the manifestation of eight divine qualities in an accomplished medical student. Being adorned with highest degrees of a medical science, reputation, success and felicitations is not enough for one to be an ideal physician. One should also nurture all the above said divine quality in one’s self along with the theoretical and practical expertise over the science. This will make one a physician and teacher of medical science who will be respected and worshipped forever. This would also make the physician equal to God.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu) – Email / Skype

4 Unique Qualities Of Ayurvedic Doctors – Dr Hebbar

Ayurvedic doctors are among the best healthcare providers in society. They have lot of patience to listen into health – disease details of the patients, they have thorough knowledge of  both human anatomy and physiology, both from Traditional Ayurvedic and modern perspectives. Let us list down the qualities that make Ayurvedic doctors best at healthcare service.

1. Thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology
In BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine And Surgery – 5.5 years medical course), Ayurvedic doctors study anatomy, physiology and pathology of disease process in detail, both from Ayurveda and modern perspectives. This gives them advantage of looking at disease from both the lenses of Ayurveda and modern medicine.

2. Good listeners
I have not seen any Ayurvedic doctor rushing through patient details. They always listen to the patients health complaints in detail, because the principle of Ayurvedic treatment lies in deep understanding of the patient’s body, symptoms, how the symptoms have grown over a period of time, how is the patient’s digestion power, sleep, diet pattern, mental strength etc.

3. Thorough detailed examination of patient
Starting from pulse, An Ayurvedic doctor needs to examine all aspects of the patient so as to get a clear understanding of disease development in the patient’s body (and mind).

4. Detailed explanation
Ayurvedic doctor need to explain a lot to their patients – medicines, method of intake, home remedies, diet and lifestyle changes, etc.
All in all, an able Ayurvedic doctor will provide ample time for you to explain your list of symptoms, get examined in detail and to get suitable treatment for you.

If you have been thinking of consulting an Ayurveda doctor but having inhibitions, just consult one today and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

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