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 1 - Definitions of technical terms

Salts—There are six kinds of salts, viz, samudra, saindhava, bida, sauvarchala, romaka (or sambhara), and chulika (or nabasara).

The three Ksharas—There are three kinds of ksharas viz, javakshara, sarjika-kshara, and tankana.

The five ksharas—They are as follows:—the kshara of palasha, that of ghantapatali; java-kshara, subarchika, and the kshara of tila-nala.

The three madhus (sweets)—They are three, viz, ghrita (clarified butter), molasses, and honey.

Oils, extracted from the seeds of the under mentioned plants, are to be used in mercurial operations:—kanguni, katu-tumbi, ghosha, karanja, vilba, katu-bartaku, (kantakari or brihati?), rajika, somaraji, bibhitaki, atasi, mahakali, nimba, tila, apamarga, devadali, danti, tumburu, ankola; dhatura, bhallataka und palasha.

The following are also used in mercurial operations:—fat of jackal, frog, tortoise, crab, porpoise, cow, hog, man, goat, camel, ass, ram, and buffalo; urine of elephant, camel, she-buffalo, ass, horse, cow, goat, and ram; menstrual discharge of women, and semen of men.


The urine, curd, milk, clarified butter, and juice of stool of a buff do are called the pancha-mahisha. Similarly, chagala-panchaka are the same five different substances relating to a goat.

The following and other sour vegetables are called the Amlabarga (sour group);—amlabetasa, jambira, nimbu, bijapura, changeri, chanaka juice, tintidi, kola, darima, ambastha (hog plum), tintidi leaves, nagaranga, chukra leaves, and karamarda.

Of all these, amlabetasa, and chanak leaf juice are the best. The former is especially suited to the requirements of purifying, liquefaction, and exhaustion of mercury.

Juices of the following five sour materials are called the amlapanchaka—kola, darima, tintidi, chullika, and chukrika.

The following five kinds of earth are called the pancha-mrittika, or mrit-panchaka;—brick, red ochre, salt, ashes, and soil raised by white ants.

The following poisons are called the bisha-varga:—shringaka, kalakuta, batsanabha, kritrima (artificial), and biles. These are commendable in mercurial operations including the solidification of mercury. These poisons, if swallowed improperly, cause death.

The following are called the upabishas:—(semipoisons):—langali, bishamushti, karabira, jaya (bhanga), nila, dhatura, and arka.[1]

Milks of the undermentioned animals and trees are called Dugdha-barga. They are used in mercurial operations:—elephant, horse, cow, ass, goat, ram, camel; udumbara, asvattha, arka, bata, lodhra, dugdhika, snuhi, and uttamakandika (small dugdhika).

Stools of the undermentioned birds are called the bidgana. All the lohas (metals excepting mercury), are purified, if coated all over with these bidgana, and subjected to puta-paka.

The following are called Rakta-barga (red group), and are used in preparing a red colour:—kusumbha, khadira, laksha, manjistha, rakta chandana, akshi, bandhujiba, karpura-gandhini, and makshika.

The undermentioned plants are called the Pita barga (yellow group). They are used in mercurial operations:—kinshuka, karnikara, haridra, and daru-haridra.

The undermentioned are called sveta barga (white group):—tagara, kutaja, kunda, shveta-gunja, jivanti, and root of white lotus.

The following are called, the krisna varga, (black group):—kadali, karaballi, triphala, nilika, chitraka, panka, kasisa, and tender mango fruits.

If it is intended to impart a particular colour to a metal, etc, the latter is to be subjected to bhavana, at the time of its exhaustion, with the juices of the corresponding group of plants, (such as raktabarga, etc.).

The following articles are destroyers of the hard -ness of metals:—ashes of the horns of she-buffalo, and of ram, indrajava, dhava seeds, and bone of hare.

The following serve to facilitate the smelting of those metals which are very difficult to smelt:—molasses, guggulu, gunja, clarified butter, honey, and tankana.

The characteristic of ksharas is the destruction of impurities, that of amlas (sour non-mineral liquids)

is purification and exhaustion, that of poison is the destruction of tardiness, and that of oil, fat, marrow, etc. is to soften and to remove coarseness.


Kacha, tankana, and shipra are called sodhaniya-gana. They are the destroyers of impurities in essences of metals, solidified mercury, and metals. They are also said to be the destroyers of what is called the “kapalika guna.”

Kajvali is the fine black powder obtained from rubbing of mercury with metals, sulphur, and other things, without the addition of any liquid substance. This powder, if rubbed with a liquid substance, becomes what is called a rasa-panka.


Copper and an equal quantity of mercury, makshika, and sulphur—each even so little as half a niska or one triti in weight—turn into a paste-like substance, called rasa pisti, if rubbed together and kept in an intense heat of the sun.

The paste-like substance, prepared out of sulphur, milk, and mercury, rubbed together in a mortar, is also called rasa-pisti.


The paste-like substance, obtained by rubbing mercury with one fourth its weight of gold, is called Patana-pisti. It is of much importance in mercurial operations.

Svarna-kristi and Rupya-kristi.

Gold or silver, incinerated with mercury, sulphur, etc. and restored to its former condition for several times, is called svarna-kristi, or rupya-kristi, respectively. If svarna-kristi is mixed with gold, the latter does not undergo a loss of colour. The seed prepared out of svarna-kristi is a good dyer of mercury.

Copper, combined with an equal quantity of tikshna (steel), is to be smelted and immersed, for several times, in a solution of sulphur and the sour juice of a lakucha fruit. The amalgam turns, by this process, into an excellent metal. Gold, reddened by being mixed with this amalgam, is called Hema-rakti, which, if thrown upon smelting gold, improves the colour of the metal.

Tara-rakti, which improves the colour of silver and tara-bija (silver seed), is prepared similarly.

Footnotes and references:


For some other kinds of poisons and semi-poisons, see page 91.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Definitions of technical terms’ 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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