by Bhudeb Mookerjee | 1938 | 67,774 words | ISBN-10: 8170305829 | ISBN-13: 9788170305828
This first volume of the Rasa-jala-nidhi includes preliminary information on Alchemy including initiation of a discpiple, laboratory setup, mercurial operations and commonly used technical terms. The Rasa-jala-nidhi (“the ocean of Iatrochemistry, or, chemical medicine) is a compendium of Sanskrit verses dealing with ancient Indian alchemy and chem...
On the eastern side of the laboratory should be placed the Rasalingam. Metallurgical operations requiring the use of fire should be performed on the south eastern side. Grinding, rubbing, and powdering operations on the southern part; surgical operations on the south-eastern part; washing on the western part; drying on the north-western part; transformation of base metals into gold on the northern part; and storing of finished products to be done on the north-eastern part. The central part of the laboratory should be utilized for storing raw materials.
Equipments of the Laboratory:
Furnaces for the extraction of essences of metals, those for distillation, those that are movable, and those that are embeded into the ground, water troughs of various kinds, a pair of bellows; tubes made of bamboo as well as of iron; pots; made of gold, iron, bell-metal, copper, stone, and leather—these and all sorts of other strange and interesting apparata, such as those under-mentioned are to be collected. Iron mortars for powdering drugs, grinding stones, boat-shaped as well as circular, stone mortars for rubbing of drugs, iron mortars meant to be placed on fire, all furnished with adequate rods for rubbing and hammering. Sieves furnished with thousands of very minute holes, meant for sifting fine powders, and made of both leather and fine sticks. Sieves are of three different kinds as per descriptions given below.
The first kind, meant for sifting coarse things, is made of bamboo sticks and threads. The second kind, meant for sifting powders, is also made of bamboo. The third kind, meant for the sifting of finer powders, consists of a circular cylindrical edge, made of wood or bamboo, one aratni in height, and a surface made of horse hair or a piece of cloth.
Crucibles; mud; husk; cotton; cakes made of cow-dung; three kinds of medicines, vis. of metals, animals, and plants; fuel made of burnt wood and leaves (tikias); cow-dung; sugar; sugar-candy; jars and bowls made of glass, iron, mud and cowri; winnowing plate; and other utensils made of bamboo; all sorts of cutlery for chopping vegetables (perhaps kshudra is what in Bengal is called a khunti; kshipra, is perhaps forceps; sankika may be an iron rod for probing the condition of a metallic compound, while it is still on fire, kskurapra is perhaps an iron spoon; pakya is a ladle; palika is a small dagger; and karnika is what in Bengal is called a kurni),—these and all other articles necessary from the sweeping of the laboratory to the termination of a metallurgical operation are to be purified by the supreme mantra referred to before, otherwise Bhairavas (terrible spirits) might take away the inherent potencies of all these things,
Those who are engaged in metallurgical operations should secure the services of those physicians who are well-versed in the science, in lexicography, and in the commentaries of the difficult books on the subject; and of those attendants who are persevering and are neat and clean, courageous and strong. The Aghora-mantra is to be frequently chanted all the time a mercurial operation is carried on.
For the purpose of performance of metallurgical operations, one should engage a chemist of the following description:—pious, truthful, learned, worshipper of Shiva and Keshava (personifications of the two different aspects of the same God), kind-hearted, and having the following marks on the palm:—flag, vessel, lotus, fish, bow, and a line just below the ring-finger (i.e., on the mount of sun). Such a chemist is called nectar-palmed. A chemist who is unfortunate, cruel, greedy, uninitiated, and has black spots on his palm is called burnt-palmed, and should therefore be avoided in metallurgical operations.
Invariably successful are the metallurgical operations carried on by those who are pure in body and mind, are truthful, believers in God, learned, and full of optimism. That man is the greatest of all metallurgical operators who succeeds in performing all the eighteen different operations with mercury. He is a giver and enjoyer, not a dependant on any one. He is free from physical decay due to old age, is respected by the whole world, looks handsome, and is always happy.
This concludes ‘Details and Equipments of the Laboratory’ included in Bhudeb Mookerjee Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 1: Initiation, Mercury and Laboratory. The text includes treatments, recipes and remedies and is categorised as Rasa Shastra: an important branch of Ayurveda that specialises in medicinal/ herbal chemistry, alchemy and mineralogy, for the purpose of prolonging and preserving life.