Rasa shastra

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Rasa shastra means the “science of mercury”.

Rasa is a word derived from Sanskrit which has several meanings, including:
  1. "Taste", as in "Rasyate aaswadyate iti rasa".
  2. "Juice", as in "Rasati shariire aasu prsarati it Rasa".
  3. "First material formed after digestion, or liquids under the transportation system of the body like plasma, chyle, lymph etc.", as in "Rasati aharahargachhati iti Rasa".
  4. "Material which is capable of engulfing and consuming all metals" (i.e., mercury), as in "Rasanaat Sarva dhatuunam Rasaityabhdhiiyate".

According to the traditions, mercury, after various kinds of processing known as sanskaras, yields a "bhasma," a sacred residue that may be used as a medicine. (Processed mercury was also used in alchemical attempts to convert base metals to higher metals.) In this context the metal, once converted, was to be so light as to float if sprinkled on water (varitara), and its particles so small as to vanish between the lines of the palm and become invisible (rekha purnata). Creation of very small particles of metals and minerals is the basic approach of rasa shastra. Rasa shastra uses "fusion" mixtures of these particles, accomplished with the help of mercury, of various plant materials, and of heating processes. Such mixtures have other, non-therapeutic uses.

Rasa Shastra texts classify the poisons, metals, minerals, and diamonds and gemstones in...
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