Alchemy

Dagmar Wujastyk

Aurifiction revisited

We are nearing the end of this series of experiments. But before we wrap up with one last recipe, we want to revisit one we did before: A recipe for imitating gold from the Rasaprakāśasudhākara.

This is the recipe:

 

ताम्रे सप्तगुणं नागं‌ वाहितं पुनरेव हि /

तेन ताम्रेण रसकं सप्तवारं च वाहयेत् // ५४ //

Dagmar Wujastyk

 

Out of all the recipes we chose, this one probably had us scratching our heads the most: The Rasaprakāśasudhākara’s second recipe for making silver. It features uncertain, and exotic materials, and an unusual method.

 

खण्डं कर्षप्रमाणं हि सुमलक्षारकस्य हि

वेष्टितं नरकेशेन द्रुते नागे निमज्जितम् //७४//

निर्वापितं निम्बुजले चैकविंशतिवारकम्

Dagmar Wujastyk

We have arrived at the eighth, and for us, final procedure! This step is called the stimulating or kindling (dīpana) of mercury. And here is what the text (Rasahṛdayatantra, chapter 2, verse 11) tells us about this step:
 

Dagmar Wujastyk

Preparing ingredients for the fifth procedure

 

ALCHEMY READER

The Alchemy Reader will provide a broad introduction to Indian alchemy, tracing and explaining alchemical thought as it developed on the Indian subcontinent. Drawing on a selection of the most important Sanskrit alchemical works from the tenth to eighteenth centuries, it will offer the reader deep insight into the motivations and goals of Indian alchemists and will illuminate the theories and methods they developed over time.

ALCHEMY RECONSTRUCTION

SERIES 2: INTRODUCTION


Dagmar Wujastyk introduces the second series of recreating alchemical procedures. In this series, we recreate formulations from a sixteenth-century alchemical treatise, the "Nectar Mine Light of Mercury" (Rasaprakāśasudhākara). The treatise focusses on the medicinal application of mercurials, but also contains a chapter on making alchemical gold and silver and artificial pearls and coral.

 

 

Anonymous
Map of Rasaratnakara mss in India created by Keith Cantú for AyurYog

Mapping alchemical manuscripts

Guest blog by Keith Cantú

 

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. 

Dagmar Wujastyk
part of image from https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/rasashala-ancient-indian-alchemical-lab/KwJCaP1RF0y-KQ

Yogis, adepts, experts: Who were the alchemists?

 

Patricia Sauthoff

On the fifth floor Science and Technology Heritage gallery of the National Science Center, Delhi, a small diorama shows some of the instruments used by South Asian alchemists. This diorama shows a cluttered space, full of yantras (apparatuses) and ovens.

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