Water As Elixir of Longevity: A Rasāyana Practice from the Ānandakanda


Water As Elixir of Longevity: A Rasāyana Practice from the Ānandakanda

Patricia Sauthoff will present "Water As Elixir of Longevity: A Rasāyana Practice from the Ānandakanda" as part of the Yoga in Theory and Practice Unit's Consumption for Transcendence: Foodways, Diet, and Drugs in Yoga Practice panel. 

The American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA

November 23-26

Hilton Bayfront, Aqua 305

This paper examines the longevity practices of the Ānandakanda, an alchemical manual that dates to no earlier than the twelfth or thirteenth century, specifically as they relate to the ingestion of water into the body of the practitioner. I present several passages, previously untranslated into English, to demonstrate the different ways in which the practitioner utilizes water as a purification substance for alchemical substances, such as sulfur and mercury. I then compare these purificatory acts to those meant to purify the body. I argue that the external and internal substances in need of purification are similar, which leads to the use of water as an internally purificatory substance. Though focusing on one small section of a longer text, this study will further connect the Tantric, Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Alchemical bodies and extend our understanding of those bodies as part of a cohesive whole.

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