RARE CHEMISTRY/ ALCHEMY/ MEDICINE BOOKS OF ANCIENT INDIA (Post No.7178)

Written by LONDON SWAMINATHAN

swami_48@yahoo.com

Date: 4 NOVEMBER 2019

Time  in London – 16-37

Post No. 7178

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INDUS-SARASVATI VALLEY


In almost every country the progress of chemistry can be traced to medicine and alchemy. Alchemy details the method of changing base metals into silver or gold. It describes the elixir of life and philosopher’s stone. In India religious worship and certain religious rites are also included in the study of Chemistry or Rasayana. Throughout the Rig Veda we see people praying for 100-year life span. To keep themselves fit, they drank the Soma rasa which gave them long and healthy life. Indian life in all its aspects, social, political and intellectual has always been  under the mighty sway of religion. Soma rasa, juice of Soma plant is described as an Amrita (ambrosia, elixir of life).

Magic (Electric) Light

The ‘Vasavadatta’ and the’ Dasakumara charita’ in the sixth century allude to the preparation of a mass of fixed or coagulated mercury, (Paradindadrab), ; of a chemical powder capable of producing deep sleep or stupor by its inhalation ( Yoga churna); of a chemically prepared wick for producing light without fire (Yogabartika) and of a powder which acts like an anaesthetic and paralyses sensor and motor nerves, (Stambana churnam.) These are in the above mentioned two books.

MERCURY IN THERMOMETER

(Mercury is Paatha rasam in Tamil)


KUBJIKATANTRA is a manuscript in the collection of Maharajah of Nepal. This was written in Gupta character and copied in the sixth century. In one place of this Tantra work, Lord Shiva himself speaks about the efficacy of mercury when it is ‘killed’/ treated six times. Transmutation of copper into gold with the help of mercury is also explained.

Tantrics believe that preservation of body is necessary to achieve liberation through certain rites and mercury will  make the body undecaying and immortal.

Nagarjuna, the great Buddhist philosopher and alchemist is credited with a work called RASA RATNAKARA. He is also the reputed author of KAKSHAPUTA TANTRA and AROGYAMANJARI. He was the redactor of Susruta Samhita. He lived in the second century CE. There are two dialogues, one between Salivahana (Sathavahana) and Nagarjuna, and the other between Ratnagosha and Mandavya.

Letter of Nagarjuna

One Friendly epistle of Nagarjuna to King Udyana is available in Chinese and Tibetan languages. The Sanskrit original is lost. Sathavahanas ruled Andhra region in the first two centuries of modern era. It looks like there were more than one Nagarjuna. Arabian scholar Alberuni wrote about one Nagarjuna of Daihak near Somnath, nearly a century earlier than his own time. He was a great expert in alchemy according to Alberuni. Rasa ratnakara might have been written by the second Nagarjuna. In the Durbar Library of Nepal there are two more works attributed to Nagarjuna. They are Yogasara and Yogasatak.

RASARNAVA is a Hindu Saiva Tantra work which describes mercury as of divine origin. This book has valuable information on chemistry. Mica has been described as the seed of Goddess Gouri. It says mercury can not only improve the quality of metals but also can make human body undecaying and imperishable.


RASAHRIDAYA is another book which talks about ‘Rasa Siddhas’. They got another body without quitting their own bodies .

Asmaga was a Buddhist monk of Gandhara who lived around 400 CE. He composed Yogachara Bhumisastra. He introduced Patanjali yoga principles into Buddhism.

During the reign of the Pala Dynasty, there were many masters of magic and ‘Mantra Vajracharyas’, who performed the most prodigious feats with the Siddhis they attained. Siddhis are of eight types with which one becomes Superman with supernatural powers .


Following Buddhist works are minor chemistry books:-


RASAHRIDAYA was written by Govindabhagavat around 11 th century at the request of king of Bhutan, Kirataland .


RASENDRACHUDAMANI of Somadeva compiled lot of information from early works. He has praised Nagarjuna and others.


RASAPRAKASA SUDHAKARA by Yasodhara is another important work of 12th century.


Metallurgy of Zinc is explained in RASA RATNA SAMUCHCHAYA.


RASAKALPA is part of Rudrayamala Tantra which describes metals and minerals and the methods to kill/ treat them.


About the gigantic voluminous encyclopaedic Tibetan Tanjur and Kanjur, a separate article is posted already.

Please see the attached list of Chemistry Books (In Sanskrit):–

ONE PAGE FROM EACH CHEMISTRY BOOK

—–SUBHAM——

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