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...
At a time when the moon is in combination with an auspicious star, purification (shodhana) is to be commenced with mercury, weighing 100, 50, 12, or 1 palam . A lesser quantity than one palam is not suitable for proper purification. Every mercurial operation (including purification) and worship of mercury are to be performed with the Aghora-mantra.
General rule for the rubbing of Mercury.
In the matter of mercurial operations, wherever there is a mention of a thing being rubbed with mercury, in the absence of special instructions, the latter is to be rubbed seven times a day, with each of the articles finely powdered, the quantity of the prescribed article, taken afresh each time, being one sixteenth in weight of the mercury.
The first process of purification of Mercury.
Mercury renounces its lead blemish by being rubbed in a hot mortar for the whole day with ram’s fur, powdered turmeric, powdered brick, soot, and lime juice. It renounces its tin blemish by being rubbed with powdered root of bisala and of ankotha. Blemish due to impure foreign matters is removed, if mercury is rubbed with the gum-like kernel of the fruit of aragbadha. Evil properties of fire are removed from mercury by its being rubbed with the powdered root of chitraka. Rubbing with powdered black dhustura plant removes the subtleness of mercury. Its poisonous properties are removed by its being rubbed with the powdered Triphala. The stone blemish of mercury is removed by its being rubbed with the powdered Trikatu; whereas it is purged of its blemish due to inability to stand the heat of fire, by being rubbed with the Trikantaka.
For the removal of each of the blemishes, mercury is first of all to be sifted through a fine piece of cloth, and then rubbed with one sixteenth its weight of the powder of each of the things prescribed, including the juice of kanya. After the rubbing is over, the mercury is to be taken out of the hot mortar, and washed each time in an earthen pot, containing hot aranala.
Second process of purification.
Mercury is to be rubbed for one day with the decoction of each of the following white sandal, deodar, kakayangha, jayanti, karkati, mushali, and kanya. It is then to be subjected to a process of sublimation. Thus purified, it is to be applied for necessary purposes.
Third process of purification.
Mercury is to be rubbed (for one day) with the juice of kanya and powdered turmeric, and then subjected to a process of sublimation. It will thus be fairly purified.
Fourth process of purification.
Mercury, with one twelfth its weight of sulphur, is to be rubbed with lime juice for three hours, and then to be subjected to a process of sublimation. All these are to be properly performed for seven times.
Fifth process of purification.
Mercury is purified by being rubbed with the juice of each of the following, in accordance with the order in which they are mentioned. Jayanti leaves, castor leaves, ginger, and bayasi leaves. The rubbing is to be continued until each of the juice is dried up. This process is to be performed for seven times (i.e., mercury is to be rubbed for 28 times altogether). The mercury is then to be washed with hot aranala in an earthen pot. It is thus purified, and freed from all its blemishes and the seven covers, and becomes fit for use for all purposes.
Sixth process of purification.
Mercury is freed from its seven coverings, if rubbed separately with each of the following:—
Turmeric, brick, soot, a sour vegetable juice, ram’s wool, the Triphala, aranala, chitraka, kanya, and the Trikatu.
Seventh process of purification.
Mercury is purified (shodhana) by being rubbed for one day with each of the following juice of kanya, and decoction of chitraka; and then to be rubbed for one day and half with the juice of kakamachi.
Eighth process of purifying Mercury.
Mercury is carefully to be rubbed separately with each of the following:—juice of garlic, that of betel, and decoction of the Triphala, and washed each time with kanji. Thus, it becomes free from all the blemishes and is fit for use in metallurgical operations.
Ninth process of purification of Mercury.
The tenth process of purification.
Mercury is freed from foreign matters by being rubbed with kanya, from fire blemishes by being rubbed with the Triphala, from poison by being rubbed with the roots of chitraka. So, mercury, rubbed very carefully with each of these drugs for seven times, becomes free from blemishes.
The eleventh process of purification.
Mercury may also be extracted from Hingula (cinnabar) in one of the following ways:—
(a) Hingula is to be rubbed for one day with lime juice or lemon juice, and then subjected to the process of Urdhapatana (upward sublimation by means of Vidyadhara Yantra). Mercury, thus obtained, is pure and free from all the blemishes and coverings. It may be used in everything without being subjected to the eight indispensable operations of mercury.
Or (b) Hingula is to be broken into small pieces of the size of rice, kept in an earthen pot, saturated several times with the juice of lime or of changeri for three days, and dried everytime by being exposed to the sun in day time and to open air at night. Then, it is again to be saturated with the juice of lime fruit or of changeri, and kept in an earthen vessel, which is to be covered with an earthen basin, the convex side of which is to be rubbed with powdered chalk, (the joint being cemented with mud). Water is to be put into the basin, and heat applied underneath. The water is to be replaced as soon as it gets heated; and this is to be done at least for 30 times, before mercury begins to be deposited on the convex side of the water basin. The mercury so obtained is pure.
Or (c) Hingula is to be rubbed with the juice of leaves of paribhadra (meaning two different trees, viz. margo and Erithrina Indica), or with lime juice for 3 hours, and then subjected to a process of sublimation. Mercury so obtained is free from the coverings, and may be used in all things, without being subjected to further processes of improvement.
(N.B. All these processes refer to what is called a process of Urdhapatana or upward sublimation. The processes, as given in the books, are sometimes found to be tedious, especially in view of the replacement of hot water by cool water, as long as the whole of the mercury does not come up and become attached to the convex: side of the basin. The author is aware of a kindred process of sublimation learnt from an ascetic chemist. This process, which is much simpler, is described below).
Place an earthen vessel (about two feet in height) upside down on four props made of pieces of stone or brick (with sufficient space kept open for the entrance of air into the vessel). Within the space enclosed by the three props, place an earthen basin (in such a way as not to obstruct the entrance of air into the vessel). Spread the dried and powdered Hingula over a piece of cloth and wrap it in several folds. The cloth, thus folded and made into a bundle, is then to be put into the earthen basin. The bundle is now to be covered with mild tikia fire. When the fire will be extinguished and the apparatus cooled, mercury Will be found to be deposited inside the vessel.
Footnotes and references:
One palam is equal to 4 rupees in weight, For measures of metallurgical weight, see page 310.
Any one of these eleven processes is sufficient for the purpose.
For provincial and Latin names for all the plants etc., referred to in this book, see foot note in Appendix.
In case fresh juice of herbs is not available, a decoction is to be prepared as follows:—“The prescribed herb, fresh and well-dried, is to be cut into pieces and boiled in an earthen vessel, covered with an earthen basin, with sixteen times its weight of water, which is to be reduced to one fourth its quantity. In the absence of specific instructions, this procedure is to be followed everywhere.”
See chapter on Yantra or apparata.
The apparatus described here is called a Vidyadhara Yantra.
This concludes ‘Mercurial operations (1): Purification of Mercury (shodhana)’ 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.