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 8 - Incineration of iron (27-34)

Twenty-seventh process.

Shiva is to be worshipped on a piece of land, duly cleansed, on a day considered auspicious for the man for whom the iron is meant to be prepared (an auspicious day is to be ascertained having regard to the configuration of the planets for the time being, with special reference to the position of the moon at the time of birth). The worship is to be conducted and a sacrificial fire is to be kindled in accordance with the rites prescribed in the Vedas. Presents may also be given to the Brahmanas, chemists, and the smiths according to ability. First of all, the Iron is to be purified very carefully. It is to be coated with a paste made of

the following herbs, covered by means of charcoal prepared from shala wood (previously cleansed by being washed off in clear water), and heated by means of a bellows:—kuthara-chinna, triphala, girikarnika (black aparajita), asthi-sanhara, hasti-karna-palasha-roots, shatavari, kesha-raja, shalincha-roots, mulaka, and bhringa-raja. The iron, thus heated, is to be immersed into decoction of triphala only, when the coating is completely burnt out. It is then to be washed off, dried, and duly powdered. The process is to be repeated over and over again until the iron is reduced to ashes. The metal which is not incinerated by the above process is not iron at all. In performing the process, care should be taken to see that dust, mud, and other impurities do not find their way into the iron at any stage of its incineration, in as much as herbs and other medicinal ingredients lose their property coming in contact with foreign matters.

How to heat a thing by puta.

The material which is meant to be heated by puta is to be dried up by sun’s rays, and put upon an earthen basin, covered by another basin of the same kind, the joint being closed by means of mud and rags. The basins, thus joined, are called puta, samputa or sharaba-samputa. Heating of materials, confined in this appartus, is called puta-paka.[1]

Fill up one half of a cubical pit, one cubit in dimensions, with cow-dung cakes or wood and husks, set fire to it, and place the samputa containing iron, etc, upon the heap. Fill up the remaining half of the pit with cow-dung cakes, etc. Such a fire is to be kept burning for 12 hours continuously.

When cooled of itself, the samputa is to be taken out, and the iron, etc, to be obtained, breaking open the samputa. Heating in this way is known by the name of kukkuta-puta (see page 296, Vol. 1) Heated in this way, even a little longer than the prescribed time of 12 hours at a time, the contents of the iron becomes incinerated; but they lose in quality, if they are heated for a shorter than the time prescribed.

Twenty-eighth process.

For the purpose of incineration, the minimum and maximum quantities of iron should be 5 and 13 palas, respectively. In other words, iron less than 5 palas and more than 13 palas in quantity is unfit for incineration. For the purpose of such incineration, triphala, three times in weight of the iron, plus 6 palas is to be made use of. One third of this triphala is to be used for the purpose of rubbing, heating by puta and by sthalipaka process. For the purpose of the final act of roasting, the remaining two thirds of triphala is to be used. For the purpose of rubbing and heating by puta of iron, the quantity of water to be used for the preparation of decoction of triphala should be sixteen or thirty two times that of the triphala. If the quantity of iron varies from seven palas to 13 palas, the quantity of water to be used in preparing decoction should be as stated above, plus an additional quantity of 3 to 11 sarabas on the whole. The quantity of water thus used is to be reduced, by boiling, to one eighth of its original quantity. The decoction, thus prepared, should be used in rubbing and heating by puta and then boiling the iron by the sthali-paka process.

Next is the process of final roasting. For this purpose, the parts of triphala, as referred to above, should be boiled with water, eight times in weight, plus an additional quantity of two sarabas added to the whole. The water thus boiled with triphala should be reduced to one fourth its original weight. The decoction so prepared is the most important factor in the process of final roasting of the iron. If kanta iron or load stone is to be reduced to ashes, milk, one and one fourth prasthas in weight, should be added to the decoction at the time of the final roasting. Kanta iron or load stone may be incinerated, even if it is less than five palas in weight. As a matter of fact, the less the weight of the kanta iron to be incinerated, the greater is its efficacy. The milk referred to above is prescribed for the preparation of kanta-lauha, 5 to 13 palas in weight. If the quantity of the kanta iron is less than 5 palas, the quantity of the milk to be used should be reduced accordingly. At the time of the final roasting of all sorts of iron, including load stone, powder of the following herbs, equal in quantity to the iron, is to be mixed with the iron undergoing roasting:—triphala, trikatu, chitraka roots, nagarmustaka, bidanga, jatiphala, jatipatra, ela, kakkola, lavanga, white jira, and black-jira. Of these, triphala, trikatu, and bidanga are to be used in all cases, whereas they are to be chosen from, having regard to the constitution of the patient for whom the preparation is meant. For the purpose of removing the faults of black iron (kālāyasaḥ), all the herbs from jatiphala to lavnga (lavanga?) are to be given so far as they can be procured. In the event of the one being incapable of being procured, that which precedes it in the above list should be used as a substitute. Of all the herbs named above, only nagara-mustaka is sufficient for removing the faults of any iron. In all cases of final roasting, clarified butter to the extent of 2 to 4 times in weight of the iron (to be decided upon in reference to the constitution of the patient) is to be applied at the final roasting. Herbs, not included in the list, may also be made use of, if considered necessary, exactly as one or more of those included in the list may be rejected, if called upon by the nature of the case.

Twenty-ninth process.

Two palas of purified and powdered iron and the same quantity of each of gandhaka and gurh (molases) are to be rubbed together and heated by puta. This process is to be performed for twenty times leading to the incineration of the iron, which should then be rubbed with the juice of white punarnava for ten times, and subjected to heat each time it is so rubbed. The product will be ashes as red as vermilion.

Thirtieth process.

Powdered and purified iron is to be saturated with the juice of pomegrante leaves pestled with four times their weight of water. When dried by the sun, they are to be subjected to heat by puta. Performance of the process for two times results in the incineration of the iron.

Thirty-first process.

All the metals including gold are incinerated by being subjected to heat for twelve times, after having been rubbed with manas-shila, gandhaka and milk, of arka plant.

Thirty-second process.

The following are some of the drugs having the property of killing iron:—shalincha, kutharachhinna, bikankata, rakta-marisha, tvacaka, manas-shila, hingula, and svarna-makshika. All of these combined have the property of curing pitta, kapha, menorrhagia, anemia, itches, loss of appetite, and loss of complexion. (Iron may be rubbed with all these drugs and heated by puta in the usual way).

Removal of defects of iron incinerated without mercury.

Iron incinerated without mercury is to be rubbed with one third its weight of mercury, and sulphur, double the quantity of mercury, for six hours with the juice of kanya. It is then to be heated by Laghuputa, before it is used as a drug.

Thity-third process.

The sage, Shukra, who was a very great chemist, gave the following recipe to his disciple, Adima, for curing piles, etc., without the use of surgical instruments, etc:—A leaf of iron of a superior quality is to he freed, first of all, from rust by manas-shila or makshika. It is then to be smeared with a paste made of the roots of shalincha rubbed with the juice of the same, and burnt by means of a fire, made of charcoal prepared from the shal wood, and blown by bellows, The intensity of the heat is to be tested by means of decoction of triphala. When sufficiently burnt, the iron is to be removed from the fire and immersed at once into the pure decoction of triphala. If it has not been completely incinerated, the iron is again to be burnt in the same way and immersed in the decoction of triphala. It is then to be cleansed properly, and powdered in an iron mortar, by means of an iron rod, and then again finely powdered in a boat-shaped iron mortar by being rubbed by an iron pestle. The iron is then to be mixed with the juices of the under mentioned drugs in such a way as to resemble mire, and then heated over fire made of cow-dung cakes in an iron cauldron or in an earthen pot sufficiently strong. The iron is next to be subjected to puta after having been rubbed with the juice of each of the following, separately, and in accordance with the order in which they have been given:—triphala, ardraka, bhringaraja, kesharaja, bidari-kanda, mana, bhallataka, chitraka, shurana, hasti-karna-palasha, and kulisha (khanda-karna).

The iron is to be powdered each time after it is heated in the afore said way. Sixteen palas of this iron[2] is to be roasted in an iron cauldron with a decoction prepared from triphala, seventeen palas in weight, boiled with 136 palas of water which is to be reduced to seventeen palas. In course of the roasting, eight palas of clarified butter is to be put into the iron which is. to be turned all along with an iron ladle. The preparation is to be considered complete, as soon as the clarified butter is found to float on the surface in a clear state. It may however be still roasted according as it is intended to make it soft, harder, and very stiff (see process No, 5 page 77.)

The minimum dose of the iron, thus prepared, is one rakti (i.e., it may be increased up to six raktis a day) to be taken every morning with clarified butter and honey. After taking the medicine, the patient is to drink a little of cow’s milk which is to be increased day by day. In the absence of cow’s milk, goat’s milk may be used. The diet should be prepared with clarified butter and be of a nutritious character.

This medicine increases at once the power of digestion. It cures bhasmakagni or an abnormally strong appetite, all the diseases due to an abnormal excess of vayu and pitta, leprosy, visama-jvara (malaria, kalazar, etc.), gulma, eye-diseases, anemia, excess of sleep, lethargy, aversion to food, all sorts of colic, prameha, dysentery, dropsy, bleeding, and especially piles of all sorts. It increases strength, nutrition, beauty, activity, longevity and voice. It is easily digested and is agreeable to the patient. It increases procreative power and is a destroyer of senile decay. It has been found to cure piles immediately.

Thirty-fourth process (Sudha Sagara Lauha)

Iron is to be rubbed during certain part of the day with the juice of the leaves of any tree, herb, or grass. It is then to be dried by the sun and then heated by puta at night. This process is to be performed for 4380 days, juice of leaves of a new tree, herb, or grass being used each of these days. In other words, the iron is to be heated by puta for 4380 times, after having been rubbed each time with the juice of the leaves of a tree, herb, or grass, which is to be used in this way for one day only, so that 4380 different kinds of vegetable juices are required to complete the process. The tree, herb, or grass which has once been used must not be used for the second time. The iron, thus incinerated, has the property of rejuvenating an old man. It causes the growth of new teeth in place of fallen ones, even in old age; turns grey hair black; and makes the skin of an old man as tight as in youth. Ripe fruit turns green, if a grain of this iron is kept for a few hours inside the former. One dose of this medicine is to be taken once in every 20 years.

Footnotes and references:


See page 293 and 296, Vol, I.


Iron is generally not to be prepared in quantities greater than 13 palas. The present case is an exception.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Incineration of iron (27-34)’ 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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