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 4 - Iron variety (c): Kanta iron

(note: Kanta iron refers to an oxide of iron having the magnetic power of attracting iron)

Kanta iron is of such a nature that a drop of oil thrown into water contained in a pot of this iron does not spread over the surface of the water; neither does the oil stick to the inner surface of the pot. Hingu (asafoetida) kept in a pot of this iron loses its smell in course of time. Bark of nimba tree (which is very bitter in taste), pestled with water, loses its bitterness, if kept for some time in a pot of this iron. Milk, boiled in a pot of this iron, may swell up, but will not overflow the borders of the pot, and will not flow into the ground.

Kanta iron is softer than silver. It is coarse and black in colour. Water boiled in a pot of kanta iron acquires the smell of hingu (asafoetida). Kanta iron of superior quality is generally found to be in the form of ores covered with silver. Such a kanta iron (i.e. kanta iron found in ores rolled in silver) can cure all sorts of diseases, if applied in the prescribed way, including all sorts of leprosy.

Kanta iron is that which is found to be mixed with silver.

Varieties of kanta iron.

Kanta iron is of five different kinds, viz. bhramaka, chumbaka, karshaka, dravaka, and romakanta. They may have one, two, three, four, five or more than five mouths or points. They may be of three different colours, viz. yellow, black, and red. Of these the yellow variety (populary called the philosopher’s, stone) can transform base metals by mere touch.[1] The black variety is commendable in medicines and the red variety in medicines as well as in the act of solidification of mercury.

Bhramaka iron is that which makes a piece of ordinary iron revolve round it. Chumbaka-kanta (load stone) is that which can cling to pieces of ordinary iron. Karshaka-kanta is that which can attract to it pieces of ordinary iron. Dravaka-kanta is that at the touch of which ordinary iron melts (without any heat being applied). Roma-kanta is that which causes the growth of fresh hair at that part of the skin which is lightly pierced through by it.

Of these four varieties, Bhramaka is the least efficacious. Chumbaka is superior to Bhramaka. Karshaka is superior to Chumbaka, and Dravaka is the most efficacious of all these varieties.

The kanta iron which has got only one mouth (or magnetic point) is the least efficacious; that with two or three mouths is of moderate efficacy; and that with four or five mouths is excellent. The kanta iron which has got several mouths is the best of all.

Special features of Bhramka, etc.

Kanta iron of the name of Bhramaka and Chumbaka are commendable for use in medicines intended for cure of diseases. Karshaka and Dravaka are commendable for use in mercurial operations and in medicines intended for cure of diseases as well as for prevention and cure of senile decay. Mercury can be compared to a wild elephant, whereas kanta iron to a goad which serves to control its wildness.

Kanta iron is to be obtained direct from mines. The kanta iron which has been kept exposed to sun and air should be avoided in medicines.

Properties of kanta.

Kanta iron is bitter in taste, warm in touch, but produces a cooling effect in the system. It is a good rasayana (i.e. a medicine which, if used in the prescribed manner, can prevent and cure diseases and senility). It imparts long life to a healthy man (who takes it regularly). It is soothing. If taken with suitable anupana, it can cure all the diseases, especially, spermatorrhoea, colic, dysentery, excess of the three doshas, piles, fistula, gulma, enlargement of the spleen and liver, phthisis, jaundice, and udara-roga.

Footnotes and references:


 It is an ore found in nature and is, therefore, to be distinguished from a kind of Philosopher’s stone that can be prepared (vide page 235, Vol. I).


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Iron variety (c): Kanta 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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