THIS science is related to metallurgy and medical science. In modern times, the famous scientist Acharya Prafulla Chandra Rai brought this forgotten science to the forefront by writing the book Hindu Chemistry. Chemistry is an experimental science. It helps in producing various compounds metals, and medicines for healthy living through minerals, plants and agriculture products.
There have been many Indian chemists in the past. The writings of some of them are as under:
Nagarjuna-Rasratnakar, Kakshaputatantra, Arogya Manjari, Yog Saar, Yogashtak.
Vagbhatta-Ras Ratna Sammuchchay.
Yashodhar-Ras Prakash Sudhakar.
The following chemicals are mentioned in the book Ras Ratna Sammuchchay:
The main chemicals are:
1. Abhram 2. Vaikrant
3. Bhashisk 4. Vimla
5. Shilajatu 6. Sasyak
7. Chapala 8. Rasak
1. Gandhak 2. Gairik
3. Kashis 4. Suvari
5. Lalak 6. Manah Shila
7. Anjan 8. Kankushtha
1. Koyila 2. Gauripaashaan
3. Navsaar 4. Varaatak
5. Agnijaar 6. Laajvarta
7. Giri Sindur 8. Hingul
9. Murdaad Shringakam
Similarly, there are more than 10 vish(poison). There is a description of the acids as well. Solvent acids and all dissolving acids are also described.
Various kinds of alkalis and the ash of different metals are explained in these books.
A detailed description of a laboratory is given in chapter-7 of Ras Ratna Samuchchay. More than 32 instruments or apparatus were used here, the prominent among them are:
Nagarjuna carried out numerous experiments on mercury in the laboratory. He has explained in great detail how to purify mercury and how to use it for medicinal purposes. He has also given the methods of preparing mixtures of various metals, purifying mercury and other metals and the maharasas and how to convert metals into gold or silver.
Mercury is used not just in the conversion of a metal but also to make us disease-free and for longevity. The chemistry based on mercury is, in its fully developed form, linked to man-woman symbolism in India. Mercury is considered an element of Shiva, whereas sulphur, an element of Parvati and the product that was created from their union in asafoetida was called ras sindur, which was considered the essence for longevity.
(This book is available with Ocean Books (P) Ltd. 4/19 Asaf Ali Road, new Delhi-110 002)