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 2 - Alchemical crucibles (musa)

A musha (crucible) is so named, simply because it causes the removal of impurities from metals by their incineration. The main ingredients of a crucible are mud and iron. The mud which is yellow, reddish yellow, tough, devoid of pebbles, and is capable of standing fire for a long time, is commendable for the purpose of preparing crucibles. In the absence of such mud, preference is to be given to the mud created by white ants, or to the mud used by the potters.

An ordinary crucible is prepared with mud, mixed with burnt husk, hemp fibres, and cow dung or horse’s stool—all mixed well and hammered by means of an iron rod.

The mud used in the preparation of crucibles is to contain, in sufficient quantities, white stone finely powdered, burnt husks, cow dung, hemp fibers, horse’s stool, oxidised iron, and black mud.


A Bajra Musa is prepared with the following:—three parts of mud, one part of hemp fiber, one part of cow dung or horse’s stool, one part of burnt husk and powdered stone combined, and half a part of oxidised iron. This crucible is used in the extraction of essences of metals.


Yoga-musa is made of the following:—burnt charcoal, burnt husk, mud, and earth raised by white ants, mixed with a sufficient quantity of bida, suited to the requirements of the case. The inner side of the crucible is to be plastered with a sufficient quantity of the same bida. Mercury heated in this crucible, becomes more powerful than before.


Mud, immersed in water for a long time, soil raised by earth-worms, jute fibers, and burnt husk,[1] each equal in quantity, and the mud suitable for the preparation of crucibles, as described above, equal in quantity to the fore-going—all of these rubbed together with buffalo’s milk and plastered with a paste, made of the blood of bugs, balaka, and the root of tanduliyaka, make a crucible strong enough for the purpose of smelting diamonds. If filled with a liquid subastance, and heated, it can stand the heat of fire for twelve hours.


Buffalo’s milk, mud immersed in water for a long time, and six times in weight of the milk, oxidised iron, charcoal, jute fiber, and black soil are to be rubbed together and made into a crucible, called, “Gara-musa” This can stand fire for more than six hours.


Powdered iron (or mica, or diamond, or quartz), charcoal, burnt husk, one part each, mud for crucible—four parts, mud immersed in water for a long time—four parts—all these are to be rubbed together and made into what is called a Bara Musa. This can stand fire for three hours.

Barna-musha or Raupya-musha.

Powdered stone, red earth, rubbed with the juice of that group of plants called the rakta-varga (see page 304) are to be made into a crucible which is to be plastered with catechu and green sulphate of iron. This is called, “Barna-musha”. It is used for intensifying the colour of red metals. If plastered with the juice of plants called, “shveta varga,” instead of that of rakta-varga (see page 304), the crucible is called a “Raupya Musa.”


A crucible prepared with specially prescribed mud, and plastered with specially prescribed bida, is called Bida-musha. This is used for the preparation of medicines for strengthening the body, and for transformation of metals.


It is a crucible of the shape of a brinjal (egg fruit), and furnished with a strong funnel, twelve angulis in length, of the shape of a dhatura flower, and attached to the crucible, in the same manner as a flower is to its stem. This crucible is eight angulis in length, and is provided with an outlet (through the passage in the funnel). This is used for the purpose of extracting essences of kharpara, etc.


This crucible is of the shape of a cow’s udder, and is provided with a cover furnished with a handle. It is used for the purpose of extraction of essences, and of purification of metals.


This crucible is made of one basin, placed up side down upon another, the joint being tightly closed. It is used for the purpose of heating parpati and other mercurial preparations.


It is a small vessel such as is made by potters, made specially strong, and burnt, as usual. It is specially used for the purpose of heating a special class of medicines, called “pottali”. etc.


It is a ball-shaped crucible, without any mouth. The material meant to be subjected to heat is to be kept inside this crucible at the time it is prepared. (Having no mouth and no joint whatsoever, it leaves very little room for the passing of air from the inside to the outside, and vice versa). By means of this crucible, it is possible to have the desired operation performed very soon.


It is pointed at the bottom, and gradually widened on the upper parts, resembling a big egg fruit in appearance. It is used for the purpose of extraction of essences and incineration of iron, mica, etc.


It is of the shape of a frog, and is six angulis in height, length, and breadth. It is to be put, inside a pit in the earth, and covered with fire made at the top.


It is flat at the bottom, cylindrical, and eight angulis in height. It is suitable for the purpose of heating a paste of mercury.

Footnotes and references:


According to another version eight parts of burnt husk is to be used, instead of jute fiber and burnt husk.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Alchemical crucibles (musa)’ 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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