Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 3: Metals, Gems and other substances

by Bhudeb Mookerjee | 1938 | 47,185 words | ISBN-10: 8170305829 | ISBN-13: 9788170305828

This third volume of the Rasa-jala-nidhi deals with purification techniques of the Seven Metals (sapta-dhatu) and various Gems (ratna). It also deals with substances such as Alkalis (kshara), Salts (lavana), Poisions (visha) and Semi-poisions (upavisha) as well as various alcholic liquors. The Rasa-jala-nidhi (“the ocean of Iatrochemistry, or, che...

Part 3 - Iron variety (b): Tikshna iron

There are six different kinds of tikshna iron, viz. (1) khara (2) sara, (3) hrinnala (4) tarapatta (5) bajraka and (6) kala.[1]

(1) Khara.

Khara Iron is that which is coarse, inflexible, and devoid of pogara[2] or carved lines on its surface, This iron, when broken into pieces, presents sectional surfaces as glazy as mercury.

(2) Sara iron (Steel?).

(a) This is a kind of tikshna iron which breaks into pieces, when hammered, and has pogara or carved lines on its surface. It is obtained from ores of yellowish colour.[3]

(b) Sara iron is hard. Its surfaces give rise to hard and fine figures having the appearance of mountain peaks, if smeared with some kind of amla (sour vegetable juice).

(3) Hrinnala iron.

Hrinnala has a yellowish black colour. It has, on its surfaces, pogara of the shape of birds beaks. It presents very coarse sectional surfaces at the places where it is cut into pieces.

(4) Tarapatta iron.

Tarapatta iron is obtained from iron ores by a class of smiths who are specialists in the science of ores. This iron is black, smooth, glazy, and has very fine pogara (carved lines) on its surface. This is prepared in the shape of a spoon (minus the handle). It is a kind of iron which never rusts, even if it is exposed to the sun, rains, and wind.[4]

(5) Bajra iron.

Bajra iron is that which has got on Its surface plenty of fine and deep-seated lines—straight and carved (pogara)—of the appearance of an electric flash (bajra), and is of a glossy black colour.

(6) ala or Black iron.

Kala iron is heavy and of a deep blue-black colour. Its surface is glossy, heavy, and bright. It can not be broken into pieces by being hammered upon by means of another piece of iron.

Properties of tikshna iron.

(1) Khara iron is coarse and warm in touch, bitter in taste, but it turns sweet, when digested in the stomach. It produces a cooling effect upon the system. It is efficacious in the following diseases:—excess of kapha and pitta, leprosy, udara-roga, enlargement of the spleen, mucus, jaundice, colic, derangement of the liver, wasting diseases, senility, spermatorrhoea, inflammation, and rheumatism. It increases strength and appetite and prevents and cures senile decay, if taken in the manner prescribed hereafter. Each of the varieties of iron named after “khara” is superior in quality to that which precedes it.

(2) Sara iron cures the following diseases, if taken in the prescribed way—diarrhoea, both chronic and acute, paralysis affecting the whole or half of the body, colic felt at the time of digesting food, nausea, pinasa, diseases due to an excess of pitta, asthma, and cough.

Footnotes and references:


Import of cheaper iron products from foreign countries has led to the total ruin of iron industry of an indigenous character in India. The last generation of iron smiths who were acquainted with the different kinds of iron, as described here, became totally extinct about 50 years back. The classification, as given here, has therefore nothing but a historical interest for us.


Anga-chhaya and banga are the two synonyms of pogara (carved lines on the surface of some kind of steel). The best pogara is smooth, glazy, and capable of being obliterated by means of friction with a piece of metal.


According to another version, it is obtained from a province called “Pandya” (Pandra in Manbhum?)


This is most probably the iron out of which the wonderful iron pillar of Delhi, the iron beams in the ruins of konarka temple, the cannons in visnupur etc. were prepared. The art of preparing such iron is now hope lessly lost.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Iron variety (b): Tikshna iron’ included in Bhudeb Mookerjee Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 3: 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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