Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 2: Minerals (uparasa)

by Bhudeb Mookerjee | 1938 | 28,803 words | ISBN-10: 8170305829 | ISBN-13: 9788170305828

This second volume of the Rasa-jala-nidhi deals with the purification, incineration and medicinal uses of various minerals (uparasa), as well as preventing faults due to misuse. It is continued in the third volume which deals with the various metals. The Rasa-jala-nidhi (“the ocean of Iatrochemistry, or, chemical medicine) is a compendium of Sansk...

Part 1 - Characteristics of Pyrite (makshika)

The makshika, which, on being broken to pieces, presents a surface bright with golden tints, with a rather black interior is superior to the common variety. This variety of makshika is called, “Brihad-barna”, or having a superior colour (svarna-makshika). Makshika is of two kinds, viz, svarna-makshika and raupya-makshika. The first has got golden tints and is to be found in kanya-kubja; the other variety, called raupya-makshika, which resembles gold parts fine and contains much of stone is to be found in the banks of river Tapati. It is of inferior quality. Both these varieties of pyrites grow in rocks abounding in golden ores. They are generally found in the river Tapi, kirata, china, and kanauj. These are generally visible in spring in the hot bed of the river Tapi. The makshika which has golden tints is sweet in taste, and that which resembles silver in appearance is sour in taste. Both of them are a little astringent in taste, have a cooling effect on the system, turn pungent after their being digested in the stomach, and are light. One who takes makshika regularly is never overwhelmed with senility, disease, and poison.

Detailed classification of pyrites.

Makshikas are of three different kinds, viz, yellow, white, and red. They are also sub-divided into four classes according to their shape, due to the difference in the location of the soils in which they are to be found, viz, (1) round like a kadamba flower, (2) having the shape of an oyster shell (3) having the shape of a finger ring, and (4) resembling burnt tubari in colour.

Of these varieties, the one which is yellowish is called svarna makshika, and that which is reddish is called bimala.[1] Svarna-makshika is the best of all these varieties. It has the colour of gold parts fine. Bimala is a bit inferior in quality to svarna makshika. Similarly, the makshika which has the shape of an oyster shell and some other varieties having the colour of silver are the worst of all. As regards merit of these different varieties, it depends upon the quantity of gold contained in each.

Svarna-makshika is so called because it contains a little of gold. It is a semi-metal containing a little of gold, and, therefore, has to a certain extent, the qualities possessed by gold; but, on account of its containing other ingredients, it has got other qualities also. Svarna-makshika has the appearance of gold, has no angles, is heavy, leaves a black impression when rubbed on the palm. The svarna-makshika which is superior in quality should have the following characteristics; gold like complexion, heaviness, softness, a little blue tint, and causing a gold-like impression, when rubbed on a piece of touch stone.

The second variety is raupya-makshika. It has the colour of silver. It is so called because it contains a little of silver. It is therefore inferior to svarna-makshika in quality Not only does it possess some of the qualities of silver, but it has got some other qualities also on account of its containing some other ingredients.

Merits of makshika.

Makshika cures all sorts of diseases. It is the soul of mercury, so to speak, is nutritive, and can help the combination of two metals, otherwise difficult to combine. It is one of the best of all medicines, competent to cure all sorts of diseases and to prevent senal decay. Especially, it improves eye-sight, and cures diseases of the abdomen, leprosy, jaundice, venereal diseases, poison, udara-roga, piles, dropsy, pthisis, itches, and an abnormal excess of the three doshas.

Evil effects of taking makskika, not properly purified.

Makshika, not properly purified and incinerated, gives rise to loss of appetite, loss of vigour, swelling of the belly with gas attended with constipation, eye diseases, leprosy, scrofula, carbuncle, and even death.

Footnotes and references:


Bimala is separately treated later on.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Characteristics of Pyrite (makshika)’ included in Bhudeb Mookerjee Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 2: 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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