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Atharvan - Vedic Rishi - Physician

Atharvan is the name of a Rishi found in the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda. As per Satapatha Brahmana he is an ancient wise teacher. It is widely accepted that the Atharva Veda, the fourth of the Vedas, was once known as Atharvana Veda.

It is stated in the Rig Veda that Atharvan produced Agni or fire. Thus he was the messenger of Surya (Sun) on Earth.

Rig Veda also mentions that he brought order on earth through Yajnas. He had the blessings of Indra.

Atharva Veda mentions about the rishi receiving Kamadhenu, divine cow, as a gift from Varuna. The Rishi is believed to have gifted ‘Soma Juice’ to Indra.

Atharvan is also a generic term used to refer to priests in the Vedas. Thus Rig Veda mentions about Bhishaj Atharvan and Brihaddiva Atharvana.

The prefix Bhishaj relates to physician. Thus the Atharvana priests might have been famous physicians. This argument gets more strength as Bhishaj Atharvana is a composer of Atharva Veda, which is mainly concerned with cures.

It must be noted here that when the term ‘Atharvans’ is used it means Pitris – who reside in the heavens.