World has always been fascinated with ‘alchemy’ and the science of converting any metal into gold. And yes, there are places and people where this knowledge was available and people achieved success in converting metals into gold. And do you know, Bharat was one such place, where this scientific study achieved its prime. Acharya Nagarjuna is known to be among the foremost chemical scientists in ancient Bharat. His life and works are like a miracle to the current generation. But the truth is, this technique is among the oldest and in Shaiva Tantra, many yogis practiced it.
Vedic Chemistry- Rasayan
Rasayan is the Sanskrit word for any kind of works related to elements and their interaction. It also means using dhatus (metals) how the maximum nourishment can be achieved. Yajurved and rigveda are the source of this knowledge. And ‘rasa’ is the universal word used in Bharatiya Knowledge systems, where it has various meanings. In the context of anything ‘in essence’ is ‘rasa’. Literary and field of aesthetics amply use this terminology.
While in Ayurveda and chemistry, rasa again is the basis of whole science.
Acharya Nagarjuna’s life
Acharya Nagarjuna has been attributed with writing books like, ‘Ras Ratnakar’ and ‘Rasendra Mangal’.
According to the basic information received about him, Acharya was born in Shripur city in Mahakoshal area of Madhya Pradesh. Evidences of his laboratory are found in the present-day Vidarbha area of Maharashtra.
His time period was around 1st century CE. In Nagalwadi village of Maharashtra the evidence of his experiments.
Not only he was a chemist and metallurgist but also a pharmacist. In the field of medical science he has authored books like, ‘Kakshputtantra’, ‘Arogya Manjari’, ‘Yoga Saar’ and ‘Yogashtaka’.
Acharya Nagarjuna was appointed as the Chancellor of famous University of Nalanda because of his timeless accomplishments.
Achievements of Vedic chemistry
Acharya Nagarjuna is better known for his method of making gold. From his writings, we can infer that Nagarjuna conducted numerous laboratory experiments involving mercury. He has described the processes for reclaiming pure mercury and the therapeutic applications of this metal in great depth. Nagarjuna lays out the steps necessary to create an alloy of metals, purify mercury and other metals, create maharas, and transform base metals into precious metals like gold and silver in his writings. His classifications of all chemicals into 8 main types are-
Para (mercury) and gandhak (sulphur) which are the representative elements of Shiva and Shakti together constitute vermillion (sindoor). And, this is known as an age-enhancing element and one the most important part of a married Hindu woman’s life.
There are many more such hidden secrets which will be revealed to us when we carefully try to understand the history of Bharat and go into the nuances of every single thing. Blindly following the west will not take any further. However, west follows these of our great Acharyas in the field of science and knowledge.