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Rasaśāstra, aka: Rasa-shastra; 3 Definition(s)


Rasaśāstra means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. Check out some of the following descriptions and leave a comment if you want to add your own contribution to this article.

The Sanskrit term Rasaśāstra can be transliterated into English as Rasashastra or Rasasastra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Rasaśāstra (chemistry and alchemy)

Rasaśāstra (रसशास्त्र):—Sanskrit technical term corresponding to “applied alchemy”. Used in Āyurveda and such works.

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra

Rasaśāstra consists of the study of Mercury along with number of metals, minerals, gems and many plants and animals products. Primarily, dehavāda (living long and healthy life through use of formulations prepared from mercury and other metals and minerals) is the foremost aim behind evolution of Rasaśāstra. During the later period this science was also utilized for lohavāda (conversion of lower metals into precious metals like gold and silver). From the history, it is clear that Rasaśāstra was at its greatest glory during 8th Century C.E. because of the contribution of Nagārjuna.

Source: PMC: Critical Review of Rasaratna Samuccaya

about this context:

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

General definition (in Hinduism)

The term ‘Rasaśāstra’ is composed of two words i.e. Rasa and Śāstra. In general the word ‘Rasa’ represents for may things, however in this context it might have been used for two meanings i.e. according to first meaning ‘Rasa’ is an absorable form of drugs’ and as per the second meaning ‘Rasa’ means ‘Mercury’ which is also in liquid form at room temperature and which possessesthe capacity to make other metals to be soluble or dessolvable in it and to make these similar to it (mercury) i.e. in liquid (rasa) form. The second word ‘Śāstra’ means the Science or the Knowledge thus thetechnical term ‘Rasaśāstra’ means the science or the knowledge which teaches us to convert the drugs, irrespective of their nature (i.e. Herbal, Mineral or Animal) into Rasa like form means in an absorbable form and according to thismeaning ‘Rasaśāstra’ is a Pharmaceutical science or it is an Āyurvedic Pharmaceutics

Further as per the second meaning the term ‘Rasaśāstra’ is to denote ascience or the knowledge related to mercurial processings, operations or the preparations and their therapeutic uses.

Rasaśāstra is not merely meant for Dhātuvāda (Alchemy or Gold/Silver making purposes) with a view to remove poverty from the world but it is essentially meant for Dehavedha or Rasāyanavāda purposes by making the body very strong, free from diseases and stable for longer duration with the use of mercury and sulphur compounds. It proves highly helpful to achieve ‘Mukti’ (emancipation or final liberation) from the worldly affairs through continuous Sādhanā.

Source: Indian National Science Academy: Hinduism

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Relevant text

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