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 3 - Burning pits (puta or samputa)

The excellence of the preparation of mercury and other things depend upon the prescribed number of putam. A medicine must not be subjected to a greater or a less number of puta than are actually necessary for its efficaciousness.

By means of puta it is possible to reduce a metal to a state of incineration, from which it cannot be restored to its former condition. It is puta which causes the excellence in the quality of metals, the ability of metals to float in water, the ability of metals to enter into the lines in the palms, lightness of metals, rocks, and other hard substances, the power of metals etc., to spread through the system in a short time, and the ability of the metals to increase the power of digestion. It is puta which invests metals with even a greater amount of efficaciousness than what is possessed by exhausted mercury.

A puta or samputa is an act of burning a material being kept inside two basins, joined with each other by means of mud, rag, mixed with mud etc. The apparatus, so constructed, is also called a puta or samputa.


Fill up a pit, of cubical shape, two cubits in length, breadth, and height, with one thousand pieces of cowdung balls, found dried in a pasture. The prescribed article, confined in a crucible, tightly covered, is to be put upon this heap of cowdung cakes. Five hundred pieces of the same fuel are then to be put upon the crucible, and fire set upon the heap. Heating an article in this way is called, burning it by “Mahaputa.”


A cubical pit, one gaja in length, breadth, and height, each, is to be filled up with cowdung cakes up to the brim. A crucible, containing the prescribed material, is to be placed upon the heap of cowdung cakes. Half the number of the cakes, required for filling up the pit, are now to be placed upon the heap, which is next to be set fire to. Burning a metal in this way is called, burning by “Gajaputa.” A “gaja” is equaivalent to 30 angulis of an ordinary human being. Burning in this way increases the potency of mercury to a great extent.

Baraha-puta, kukkuta-puta, and kapota-puta.

A Baraha-puta is a pit, one aratni in each of the three dimensions, meant for the burning of metals, etc., in the same manner, as described above. A kukkuta-puta is a pit, two bitastis in length and breadth, meant for the burning of metals, etc., in the same manner, as described above.

A kapota-puta is an act of burning in which a crucible, containing mercury etc., and tightly closed, is subjected to heat of fire made by eight pieces of cowdung balls found dried in the pasturage. This process of heating is resorted to for the purpose of effecting an incineration of mercury.


It is an act of burning resorted to for the purpose of incineration of mercury by a fire made of husk or cowdung found powdered by the strokes of the feet of cows grazing in a pasturage.


It is a big vessel filled with husk, inside which is placed a crucible containing the article to be heated by the fire set upon the husks.


This is an act of heating an article contained in a crucible by means of heated sand placed on all sides of the crucible.

In this case, the crucible is heated by means of being placed two angulis below the surface of the earth in a pit covered with a fire made of cowdung cakes.


It is an act of heating a very mild substance, by means of a fire made at the top of a samputa or crucible containing the substance, by husks, or powdered cowdung, sixteen times in weight of the substance cooked.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Burning pits (puta or samputa)’ 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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