Gandhaka: 11 definitions

Introduction

Gandhaka means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra

1) Gandhaka (गन्धक) is a Sanskrit technical term corresponding to “Sulphur”, which is a naturally occurring non-metallic chemical element (symbol S). It is commonly used in Rasaśāstra literature (Medicinal Alchemy) such as the Rasaprakāśasudhākara or the Rasaratna-samuccaya. Gandhaka is an ingredient often used in various Āyurvedic recipes and Alchemical preparations.

2) Gandhaka (गन्धक, “sulphur”):—One of the eight uparasa (‘secondary minerals’), a group of eight minerals, according to the Rasaprakāśasudhākara: a 13th century Sanskrit book on Indian alchemy, or, Rasaśāstra.

There are two varieties of Sulphur (gandhaka)

  1. Śvetagandhaka (‘white sulphur’),
  2. Pītagandhaka (‘yellow sulphur’),
  3. Raktagandhaka (‘red sulphur’),
  4. Kṛṣṇagandhaka (’black sulphur’)

3) Gandhaka (गन्धक) or Gandhakarasa is the name of an Ayurvedic recipe defined in the fourth volume of the Rasajalanidhi (chapter 3, grahaṇī: chronic diarrhoea). These remedies are classified as Iatrochemistry and form part of the ancient Indian science known as Rasaśāstra (medical alchemy). Meghanādā is an ayurveda treatment and should be taken with caution and in accordance with rules laid down in the texts.

Accordingly, when using such recipes (eg., gandhaka-rasa): “the minerals (uparasa), poisons (viṣa), and other drugs (except herbs), referred to as ingredients of medicines, are to be duly purified and incinerated, as the case may be, in accordance with the processes laid out in the texts.” (see introduction to Iatro chemical medicines)

Source: Google Books: Alchemical Traditions

Gandhaka (गन्धक, ‘sulfur’, lit.: “that which is aromatic”):—According to the Rasārṇava and Rasaratnasamucchaya, sulfur (gandhaka) is the menstrual emission of the great Goddess, which flowed into the Ocean of Milk while she was bathing there. When the Gods and Asuras later churned that ocean, her blood rose to the surface, together with the amṛta (“nectar of immortality”).

Source: archive.org: Rasa-Jala-Nidhi: Or Ocean of indian chemistry and alchemy

Gandhaka refers to “Sulphur”. (see Bhudeb Mookerji and his Rasajalanidhi)

Source: Indian Journal of History of Science: Rasaprakāśa-sudhākara, chapter 6

Gandhaka (sulphur).—Four varieties of Gandhaka have been told by the ancient Sūrī (scholars):

  1. Śveta (white),
  2. Pīta (yellow),
  3. Rakta (red),
  4. Kṛṣṇa (black).

The Vipāka of sulphur is madhura, its Karmas are rasāyana, dīpana, viṣahā, rasaśoṣaṇa, sūtavīrya-prada (potentiates mercury-powers/effects), destroys kṛmiroga (worms), cures visarpa, kaṇḍu and kuṣṭharogas, and āmājīrṇa (indigestion due to āmādoṣa), if it is mixed with mercury definitely converts it into mūrcchita state (compound suitable for destroying diseases), its origin is similar to the menstrual flow of Goddess Pārvatī. As this very charming Sulphur is taken internally by the king Bali for acquiring more strength hence it is also called Balivasā.

It stimulates kāma (sexual desire), destroys kṣaya, pāṇḍu, duṣṭa-grahaṇī, śūlaroga, śvāsa and kāsa-roga, cures amājīrṇa (indigestion due to āmadoṣa) and induces laghutva (lightness) in the body and what more except lord Śaṅkara none else could describe the properties of sulphur.

Rasashastra book cover
context information

Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

In the rasaśāstra tradition, sulfur is called gandhaka (गन्धक, literally “the smelly”). Indian alchemists, practitioners of “the science of mercury” (sanskrit rasaśāstra, रसशास्त्र), wrote extensively about the use of sulfur in alchemical operations with mercury (rasa), from the eighth century AD onwards.

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

gandhaka (गंधक).—m (S) Sulphur. 2 A certain medicinal compound.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

gandhaka (गंधक).—m Sulphur.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Gandhaka (गन्धक).—Sulphur.

Derivable forms: gandhakaḥ (गन्धकः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Gandhaka (गन्धक).—m.

(-kaḥ) 1. Sulphur. 2. The morunga tree, (M. hyperanthera, &c.) see śobhāñjana. E. kan added to the preceding.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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