Recreating alchemical operations

Dagmar Wujastyk

The Rasahṛdayatantra, the earliest of the Sanskrit alchemical works transmitted to us, is characterised by its concise style. With few flourishes, it succintly describes alchemical operations in a structured way, providing a quick overview of procedures. However, the brevity of its descriptions also means that it can be difficult to fully understand the described procedures. 

To gain a deeper understanding of the Rasahṛdayatantra's presentation of procedures, A. Mason and I have been working on reconstructing some of this text's alchemical operations as they are described in chapter two. These procedures, called saṃskāra, are supposed to ready mercury and also other materials for their use in mercurial elixirs. The first eight of the saṃskāra (of a total of eighteen) are aimed at ridding mercury of unwanted contaminants and flaws.

Here is an excerpt of one of the films we produced, showing part of the steaming (svedana) process. The svedana procedure is step one of the eight saṃskāra-s that we will be examining.


See here for the film.


We plan to present the full series of eight saṃskāra-s at the Ayuryog conference on May 16.

Recreating alchemical operations

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