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...

Introduction to Gems (ratna)

Gems are precious stones. The best of them are as follows:—(1) Vajra (diamond), (2) marakata (emerald), (3) manikya (rubies), (4) mukta (pearls), (5) nila-mani (sapphire), (6) gomeda (zercon), (7) vaidurya (oriental cat’s eye), (8) dagdha-hiraka or vaikranta (garnet), (9) sphatika (quartz), (10) chandra-kanta (moon-stone), (11) surya-kanta (sun-stone), (12) pravala (coral), (13) karketa (chrysoberyl or chrysolyte), (14) pusparaga (topaz), (15) rajavarta (lapis lazuli), and (16) bhismaka (a kind of anti-poisonous white quartz).

These gems are used in consolidating mercury.

The following are some of the upa-ratnas or minor gems:—(1) palanka (onyx), (2) rudhira (carnelian), (3) puttika (peridote or bottle-green stone), (4) turkshaja (turquoise, biraja, or peroja), (5) pilu (jade), (6) upala (opal, chalcedony, and agate), (7) sugandhika (spinel),

All these ratnas and uparatnas may be used in the preparations of mercury as well as in preparing medicines meant for curing and preventing diseases and senile decay.

Note: For a detailed account of these stones, see Vrihat Sanhita of Baraha-mihira (1st century B.C.), Jukti- kalpa-taru of Bhoja-raja, Vishnudharmottara-purana, Agnipurana, Garuda-purana. Ratna-shastra by the sage Agastya, etc.

The Five Gems.

(1) The following five are reckoned to be gems of superior quality:—(1) padma-raga (ruby), (2) indra-nila (sapphire), (3) marakata (emerald), (4) puspa-raga (topaz), and (5) hiraka (diamond).

(2) The following five are gems in ordinary use:—sapphire, diamond, ruby, pearl, and coral.

Gems favourite to the planets.

Manikya (ruby), mukta (pearl), pravala (coral), turkshya (emerald), puspa-raga (topaz), hiraka (diamond), nila-mani (sapphire), gomeda (zercon), and vaidurya (oriental oat’s eye)—These nine gems are favourites, respectively, to the nine planets, viz. Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu (Dragon’s head), and Ketu (Dragon’s tail).

Note: In addition to these nine planets, the Hindu Astronomy recognises five minor planets (See Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra).

Gems fit for use.

Only gems of excellent qualities should be used in mercurial preparations, in medicines meant to cure and prevent diseases and senile decay, in making gifts to objects of charity (such as priests, astrologers, etc), in being used by one’s own self as an article of jewellery conducive to health and happiness, and in making offerings to God. Gems of inferior quality are abortive for each of these purposes.

Defects found in gems in general.

The following five are the defects found in gems in general:—dirt, crack, spots, lined spot, and bubble spot.

Gems are not affected by defects in the soil in which they are found or in the water in which they are submerged.

Liquefaction of all the gems.

Hingu, five salts, the three ksharas, that variety of amla-vetasa which can decompose flesh into a liquid, nava-sara, well-developed and well-ripened jayapala seeds, bhallataka, dravanti, rudanti, bidari, chitraka roots, milks of snuhi and arka—all these are to be rubbed together and made into a lump, into which is to be kept any of the nine gems of excellent quality. The lump is then to be wrapped up with leaves of bhurja (birch) tree, and again covered with a piece of cloth. It is then to be boiled by means of a Dola-yantra containing fermented liquid mixed with all the amlas. Strong heat is to be applied for 72 hours at a stretch, after which the gem, in a state of liquefaction, is to be collected from inside the vessel. This liquid has the glaze of gems. It is light. It makes the body as strong as iron.

Purification of Gems in general.

Metals, minerals, and gems do not spread through the different parts of the body, if not properly purified. They are positively harmful, if used without purification and incineration.

General Process of purification of gems.

First process.

Masculine diamond, emerald, sapphire, ruby, topaz, cat’s eye, zercon, pearl, and coral—these nine gems are like nectar itself, if purified and incinerated in the prescribed manner.

(1) Ruby, (2) pearl, (3) coral, (4) emerald, (5) topaz, (6) diamond, (7) sapphire, (8) zercon, and (9) cat’s eye—these nine gems are purified by being boiled with the following, respectively:—(1) a sour vegetable juice, (2) juice of jayanti, (3) all the ksharas, (4) cow’s milk, (5) fermented liquids mixed with the decoction of kulattha, (6) juice of tanduliya, (7) juice of indigo, (8) go-rochana (dried bile of a cow sometimes found deposited in its horns), and (9), decoction of triphala.

Second process.

One drona of kulattha is to be boiled with eight dronas of water. Gems and stones are to be boiled with this decoction. They are then to be dried in the sun for three days, saturated all this while with the same decoction, put upon them over and over again. This is how the gems are purified.

Third process.

All sorts of metals, makshika, manas-shila, tutthaka, abhra, haritala, mukta (pearl), pravala (coral), shukti (oyster-shell), ehapala, and cowri-shells are purified, if boiled with a solution of vegetable acids and alkalis (ksharas). Sulphur is purified, if boiled in the same way and then immersed (through a piece of dry cloth) into milk.

Fourth process.

See Process VI. page 172.

Incineration of gems other than diamond.

First process.

All the gems, with the exception of diamond, are incinerated, if subjected to heat by puta for eight times, after having been smeared each time with a paste made of manas-shila, gandhaka, and haritala, rubbed with the juice of lakucha.

Second process.

Any gem may be incinerated, if it is heated and immersed, for seven times, into the juice of each of the following:—kanya, tanduliya, and human milk.

Third process.

The rest of the gems may be purified and incinerated in the same way as diamond.

Desirability of avoiding defective gems.

(a) One who uses a defective gem is subjected to such calamities as loss of friends and wealth, imprisonment, etc.

(b) Exactly as a man of noble birth is ruined by coming in contact with a man of low birth and vulgar taste, the good effects produced by a genuine gem are nullified by the contact of bad gems.

General Properties of all the gems.

They are laxative, cool, astringent, sweet, destroyer of fat, beneficial to eye-sight, and destroyer of vice and misfortune.

Conclusion:

Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Introduction to Gems (ratna)’ included in Bhudeb Mookerjee’s Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 3: Metals, Gems and other substances. 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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