Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 1: Initiation, Mercury and Laboratory

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...

Part 16 - Mercurial operations (14): Exhaustion of mercury (yarana)

Construction of a hard crucible for use in the exhaustion of mercury,

Two parts of burnt husks and one part of the soil, raised by white ants; one part of particles of iron thrown out of red hot iron on the anvil by means of a blacksmith’s hammer; one part of powdered white stone, one part of man’s hair—all these are to be rubbed steadily for three hours, with a little of goat’s milk; and made into a crucible. This is then to be dried and coated all over with a plaster made of the foregoing materials. Such a crucible is to be closed with the same ingredients,

(1) First process of exhaustion of mercury.

Essence of mica, previously soaked with sour asava and dried; and kanta iron or steel, reduced to ashes;—each of these two things, one sixty fourth part of the mercury in weight, is to be mixed, very slowly and little by little, with the mercury mixed with kanji, and rubbed very fine in a hot mortar. The mercury is then to be put upon a bhurja leaf, previously painted with jabakshara, kanji, saindhava, milk of snuhi, and that of arka, and then wrapped up in a

piece of cloth and tightly bound, the bundle being boiled in kanji, equal in quantity to the mercury, then washed off with hot kanji, and well dried. The mercury is now to be mixed with one eighth its quantity of bida, and subjected to heat by means of a Kacchapa Yantra. This is how mercury is exhausted, and is capable of standing fire. If, iron, mica etc. with which mercury was rubbed—are properly swallowed, the mercury retains its original quantity, and can stand the heat of fire. In case these are not properly swallowed, the mercury will have to be subjected to a process of sublimation by means of sour asava, and then again to be rubbed and boiled, as before. Every such new act of exhaustion (yarana) will require increased fire and increased morsel (i.e., mica, iron etc., meant to be swallowed by mercury).[1] Iron rust or oxidised iron, aconite, urine, rasaka, manas-sila, haritala, and gandhaka are not to be made use of in the exhaustion of mercury, since mercury exhausted with these things give rise to leprosy, boils etc,

The bida referred to above.

Powdered gunja and powdered saindhava are to be saturated, for a hundred times, with the juice of devadali leaves, and dried. Similarly, tankana is to be saturated with the juice of kinsuka; chulika salt with vinegar prepared out of lime juice; gandhaka with the ashes of mulaka mixed with cow’s urine; and sarjika, earthworm and the trikatu, taken together, are to be saturated with sigru root juice. Each of these substances is called a bida. They are as strong as fire in mid sea.

Mercury with an equal quantity of gold is to be smelted and mixed with svarna-makshika, kanta-pashana (load stone), gandhaka, (each duly reduced to ashes or purified, as the case may be, and equal in quantity to gold). The whole thing is then to be rubbed with earth worms and made into pills, six ratis in weight. This pill is called bida-bati, and is always used in the exhaustion of gold.

Another process of enabling mercury to stand fire.

Mercury is to be rubbed with one fourth its weight of copper, and made into a lump, which is to be subjected to sublimation by means of a Damaru-yantra, filled with lime juice. Mercury is then to be rubbed steadily with the raktagana (red group[2]), and is thus enabled to stand fire, leaving no possibility of danger. Thus is mercury to be exhausted.

(2) Second process of the exhaustion of mercury.

A well-burnt crucible containing oil, made of bitter tumbi, and mercury, is to be placed upon some cow-dung deposited on the ground. The juice of kakamachi equal in quantity to the oil, and a grain of gandhaka are also to be put inside the crucible which is to be hermetically closed, and heated by fire set on all sides, The heating is to be continued so long as the oil is not completely consumed. The crucible is then to be cooled, and fresh quantity of gandhaka and kakamachi juice are to be put inside the crucible which is again to be subjected to heat in the foregoing manner. Thus, gandhaka, six times in weight of the mercury is to be consumed by means of a crucible, placed upon cowdung and heated on all other sides. This mercury is to be rubbed again and again with lime juice. Then one sixty-fourth part, one thirty-second part, and one-sixteenth part, of its weight of gold leaves rubbed with peacock’s bile and mustard oil are to be mixed gradually with the mercury, and tubbed with lime juice for three hours each. The mercury is then to be put with lime juice inside a crucible which is to be closed and heated on all sides by fire, as before. It is better, if the gold leaves can be rubbed with lime juice rasamulikas, salt and sulphur. In the event of their not being available the gold leaves can be rubbed with peacock’s bile, oil, and lime juice. Thus is mercury to be exhausted. It is then to be killed. Mercury may also be exhausted by being rubbed in a hot mortar with a bida, and then by swallowing, as much as possible, of gold, mica, and other metals.

(3) Third process of ike exhaustion of mercury.

Mercury is to be enclosed with its morsel (i.e., mica, gold etc. meant to be swallowed) in a bhurja leaf, previously painted with an amalgam of salt, sour vegetable juice (or aranala), kshara, cow’s urine, and milk of snuhi, and then tightly wrapped in a piece of cloth, to be boiled for 3 days in kshara, kanji, and cow’s urine. Thus, four morsels are to be swallowed gradually by means of a Dola-yantra. (N. B.—The process is to be observed at evary morsel being swallowed.) The mercury is then to be exhausted (yarana) by means of a Kachchapa-yantra.

Quantity of the morsels referred to above.

The quantity of the four morsels referred to above are as follows:—1/64, 1/32, 1/16 and ¼ of the mercury, respectively. The first morsel makes the mercury look very beautiful, the second gives it the appearance of a leech; the third makes it appear like a crow’s stool; and the fourth makes it look like butter milk.

Another version.

Mercury is first of all to swallow the following five morsels of essence of mica:—1/64, 1/40, 1/30, 1/20, and 1/16 of the mercury, which is then to swallow one fourth its weight of gold or silver, as the case may be.[3]

Footnotes and references:


In the event of mercury having previously swallowed sulphur, mica, gold etc. this process need not be gone into.


These are—kusumbha, khadira, laksha, manjistha, raktachandana, redsbigru, bandhujiba, karpura-gandhini and makshika, These are used in preparing a deep red colour.


If the mercury is meant to be used for medicinal purposes only, boils gold and silver or any one of them may be used at this stage. But if the mercury is meant to be used in the transformation of base metals into gold or silver, the use of these two metals at this stage, will depend upon whether it is meant to manufacture gold or silver.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Mercurial operations (14): Exhaustion of mercury (yarana)’ 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.

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