'Rasamritam' is a most important and popular text of Rasasastra written by Late vaidya Sri Yadavaji Trikamaji- Acarya of Bombay in 20th century A.D.
Sri Yadavaji has written it in the light of modern scientific knowledge and had made it most useful as a text and reference book of Rasasastra for the students, the vaidyas and the modern scholars by indulging necessary Ayurvedic as well as modern scientific knowledge in it and also the contemporary knowledge of other medicinal branches also like unani and modem medicine etc.
While classifying the drugs of mineral origin found described in Rasasastra texts he has followed his own pattern instead of following the ancient traditional pattern. Further while describing each drug he has also followed his own pattern which gives a very clear knowledge in brief about each drug to the reader. It is further important to mention here that many important and essential aspects of Rasasastra knowledge which are not included in the descriptions of original text are added in it through the nine appendices and the 10th appendix is added by me to make the text more useful to the students in understanding the subject material properly and making the text complete in all sense.
Sri Yadavaji also tried to avoid the descriptions of the drugs and the processes about which any confusion or controversy persists and only such drugs, processes and the preparations have been described in this text which are non- confusing, non-controversial and which have been experienced by him and other vaidayas several times in their practice and which proved to be most useful and acceptable by majority of Ayurvedic physicians.
In many places where the subject material is not clear he tried to explain it either on the basis of the descriptions of the other contemporary texts or on the basis of the modern knowledge or with his own experience added in the text as 'Vaktavya' .
Late Sri Yadavaji trikamaji Acarya the original author of 'Rasamrtam' was a very learned and a very experienced scholar of Ayurveda. He has edited number of ancient text books and Manuscripts and written many subject-wise text books on almost all the important subjects of Ayurveda. He is not an orthodox scholar of Ayurveda rather an open minded scholar who without any hesitation has accepted and digested the modern scientific knowledge, ideas and advancements considered necessary for the development and for the explanations of Ayurvedic doctrines, principles and the subjects.
Besides himself he has also inspired many modern scholars to learn Ayurveda first and then write a few books on the Ayurvedic subjects of their choice or interest and thus helped much in the incorporation of modern knowledge and the ideas for enhancing the Ayurvedic literature on important subjects and in making the Ayurveda more acceptable to the modern scientists and the scholars. Dr. R. N. Chopra, Dr. Vaman Ganesh Desai, Dr. D. K. Kulkarni and Prof. Balwant Singh etc. Scholars deserve mention in this context. The services rendered by these scholars with regards to the development of Ayurveda in general and Rasa Sastra & Drvyaguna in particular would be remembered forever.
Though, 'Rasamritam' is one of the most important contributions of Late Sri Yadavaji Acarya on Rasasastra however because of its being written in hindi language it could not be made understood properly neither by the modern scholars, foreign scholars nor by non-hindi speaking persons hence could not become so popular as it should have been and moreover the text has now become out of print also.
Considering this I thought it proper to translate this important text of great scholar of Ayuraveda into English and supplement it with my own comments and notes with a view to make it more useful and popular in large number of Indian as well as foreign scholars. I have added one more Appendix No. - 10 to it with a view to include the description of few important Yantras (apparatuses) Musas (Crucibles), Kosthies (furnaces) and Putas (Heating schedules) considered highly useful and essential from the point of view of Rasasastra as these have been left in the description of the original text.
As the English translation of 'Rasamritam' is done mostly for modern and foreign scholars who are completely ignorant and unfamiliar with the knowledge concerning to Rasasastra and its concepts hence a brief account about Rasasastra, its concepts and historical development is given here as follows.
In brief Rasasastra means Ayurvedic pharmaceutics and as such it deals mainly with the drugs of mineral origin, their varieties, characteristics, processing techniques, properties and the therapeutic uses along with the descriptions of apparatuses musas (crucibles), different kinds of furnaces, heating devices and heating schedules etc.
Here the term 'Rasasastra' is composed of two words i.e. Rasa and Sastra, In general the word 'Rasa' represents for many things however in this context it might have been used for two meaning. The first meaning is 'Rasa' means 'an absorbable form of drugs' and the second meaning is 'Rasa' means 'Mercury' which is also in liquid form at room temperature and which possess the capacity to make the other metals to be soluble or dissolvable in it and to make these similar to it (Mercury) i.e. in liquid/Rasa form.
The word 'Sastra' means the science or the knowledge. Thus the technical term 'Rasasastra' means the science or the knowledge which may teach to convert the drugs, irrespective of their nature (i.e. herbal, Mineral or Animal) in Rasa like form means in an absorbable form and according to this meaning 'Rasasastra' is a pharmaceutical science of Ayurveda or it is an Ayurvedic pharmaceutics.
As per the second meaning the term 'Rasasastra' is to denote a science or the knowledge related to mercurial processings, operations and the preparations. Further in the context of 'Rasasastra' two terms denoting concepts are generally referred to i.e. 'LohavedhaRasavada/Dhatuavada and 'Dehavedha' or Rasayanavada, Actually these are the two main objectives of Rasasastra. As said by Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada' in his text 'Rasahridaya tantra' Viz.
Na Ca Rasasastram Dhatuvadarthmeva mantavyam Dehavedha dvara muktereva parama prayojanatvat R.H.T.
It means the Rasasastra is not meant only for Dhatuvada (Alchemy or gold/silver making) purposes with a view to remove poverty from the world but it is essentially meant for Dehavedha which by making the body very strong, free from diseases, and stable for longer duration with the use of mercury and sulphur .compounds prove highly helpful to achieve 'Mukti' means emancipation or final liberation from the world through. continuous sadhana. Here the term Dehavedha represents for Rasayana aspect of Ayurveda. And the Rasayana means that which are capable of removing/ destroying/preventing jara (senil changes) and vyadhies (the onset of diseases). And if the body is made strong by the continuous use of Ayurvedic rasayanas like mercurial compounds (Makaradhwaja, candrodaya etc.) and the metallic/ mineral bhasmas. then the Jara (ageing process) and the vyadhies are cured or prevented and the men may certainly become capable of achieving 'Mukti' by doing continuous sadhana.
Thus, the later scholars of Rasasastra like 'some deva', 'Rasavagbhata' etc. had claimed in their respective texts like Rasandra Cudamani' and Rasaratna samuccaya' that Siddhe rase karisyami nirdaridryamidam jagat' it means the above authors claimed that when the success in Rasakarmas (Lohavedha) is achieved the poverty could be removed from the world. These authors further claimed that 'Siddhe rasa Karisyami mahimaham nirjaramaranam means when the success is achieved in Rasakarmas (Dehavedha) the earth could be made free from the jara (ageing process) and Marana (death due to the onset of diseases)
In short it may be said here that the 'lohavedha' and the 'Dehavedha' concepts are the most superior objectives of Rasasastra and the Rasasiddhas have worked hard for number of centuries in these directions and have claimed to achieve remarkable success in achieving these objectives which is evident from the vast literature available on Rasasastra and Rasacikitsa.
Development of Rasasastra :
The actual development of 'Rasasastra' as an independent branch of learning and therapy was started from the 8th century A.D. and onwards but before that period in 'caraka' and 'Susruta Samhitas' also there is a good deal of description of parthiva type of drugs, their processing techniques and their principles but during ancient period (8th Century A.D. to 6th Century B.C.) mainly the processing techniques for herbal drugs are found described as during ancient times mainly the herbal drugs were used in therapeutics. The use of the drugs of mineral origin though, started in therapeutics in that period also however that was to a Rasasastra scholars have also to evolve and recognise number of sodhana processes, drugs and the techniques to minimise or remove/prevent the toxic effects of these drugs of mineral origin.
The review of ancient rasa literature revealed that the ancient Rasacaryas have recognised number of dosas fro almost all the drugs of mineral origin including metals, minerals and mercury. Not only this ancient scholars have specifically recognised the bad effects of each dosas of the drugs and tried to remove these specifically and have evolved or described suitable processes, techniques and drugs also for that purposes.
Thus, theancient description regarding the type or the nature of toxic material, its bad effects and their removal method/process/technique is very systematic and such description was found. available even in the texts of 8th/9th century A.D.
As such it may be mentioned here with emphasis that mercury, metals and minerals may produce some toxic effects on the body organs and tissue on internal use, is not a new observation of the modern scientists only. The ancient scholars have given very much due importance to this aspect and have taken care of this point effectively by evolving common as well as specific methods for their sodhana process.
The another point which is generally mentioned by the modern scholars is about the bhasmas of metals and minerals that these are not absorbed into the system on their internal use. And for this also Ayurvedic Rasasastra scholars have evolved and described Marana process which means to kill it i.e. when the drugs of mineral origin are treated with this Marana process these' have to undergo with bhavana and putapaka treatments for several times or till these are not divided into desired compound form leaving their metallic nature completely. The repeated Bhavana and puta-paka treatments help in the conversion of the finest particles and into desired chemical compound formation which when used internally could be absorbed into the system easily and produce their desired therapeutic effects. Not only this these Bhavana and Putapaka treatments also help to convert these drugs into organometallic or mineral compounds and thus making their absorption into the system very easy.
In the last it may be claimed here that the Sodhana and Marana processes of Rasasastra which occupy a major portion in Rasasastra and a very important place amongst the various processes of Rasasastra play a very important role in making the Ayurvedic metallic and mineral preparations free of toxicity and in making these highly absorbable into the system as compared to the metallic and mineral compounds prepared by modem chemical methods.
It has been proved by the toxicity studies of Ayurvedic mercurial, metallic and mineral compounds conducted various centers in collaboration with the medical college department of the country that these Ayurvedic bhasmas and Rasa- preparations when used in Therapeutic dosas of even three to four times to therapeutic dosas did not show any remarkable permanent toxic changes in the vital organs and tissues of the body even after their continuous administration for four to six weeks or even for longer times.
In the end I may mention here that though, according to me the development of Rasasastra as an independent branch of learning and therapy had started since 8th/9th century A.D. and onwards however there are a few scholars which claim that its development had started even much earlier to 8th century A.D. in other countries of the world and this knowledge had come to Indian continent from out side the country but it is sure that it (Rasasastra) on the basis of the present evidences had flourished in the Indian continent only in about 8th/9th century A.D. and onwards and then number of ancient Indian scholars have contributed much in its development since 8th century A.D. and onwards.
Lastly, I extend my sincere thanks to my dear disciple Dr. G. Prabhakara Roa who helped me very much in preparing this manuscript and making it upto date. I am also thankful to late Sri Devanandan Jha who inspired me to take up this work and complete it as early as possible. He also arranged its printing with sriman Mohan Das Ji the owner of Chaukhambha Sanskrit Bhawan, Varanasi.
Finally I extend my thanks to sriman Mohan Das Ji also who inspite of this very busy press schedule arranged for its printing and making its get up very attractive.
Though I have taken much care in writing and reading the proofs while printing however here may be some printing mistakes due to over sight and other unavoidable reasons the learned readers and the scholars may forgive that and take only the best of it.
The objective of writing this text is to prepare a text book of Rasasastra for the students and to serve as a reference book for the physicians while preparing various Bhasmas, Pisties and other Rasa preparations. In the second part of DRAVYA GUNA VIJNANA, the description of Udbhija and Pranija dravyas has been given for the reference of physicians. But the description of khanija ( Parthiva) dravyas of mineral origin was not included in that text hence that is being given in this text.
Historicallage the use of mineral drugs in therapeutics has been started from the period of classical texts hence the mineral drugs refered-to in Caraka and Susruta have been collected along with their references and added in this text in the form of appendix 9. It is important to mention here that during that period herbal and animal products were more frequently used and the use of mineral drugs was limited to certain diseases only. Their frequent use has been started only after the development of Rasa-sastra. The Rasa siddhas have tried to use mineral drugs for the herbal and treatment of almost all the diseases. In Rasa classics the Hesbal and animal products have been used either for preparing bhasmas or rasayogas or as their anupanas,
During the period of classical texts the drugs of mineral origin were used in the form of collyrium like fine powder (in the form of Anjanabha suksma curna ). Their marana method with the help of various putas as found mentioned in Rasa classics is not seen in Caraka and Susruta samhitas. The method of making pisti of Ratnas (Precious stones) and upa-ratnas (Semi precious stones), now popular amongst Ayurvedic physicians is probably introduced by the Unani physicians, is not tota ly correct. As even in the period of Caraka and Susruta these are used after preparing in the pisti like fine form and for this iron, gold, silver etc metals are first converted into thin sheets/leaves and then heated to red hot and quenched in triphala and salasaradi group drugs decoction or cow's urine etc liquids for several times and thus making their fine powders. These methods have been found in Caraka and Susruta samhitas. This type of preparation was given the name "Ayaskriti" in Susruta samhita. In Susruta Uttara tantra 18th chapter 85• 95 verses the preparation method of curnanjana has been described in which sauviranjan, gold copper and silver have been advised to be heated in a musa on fire and to be quenched into cow’s urine, curd, ghee and honey etc liquids for several times to convert these into fine powder form. In this way heat treatment was found mentioned in classical text. But the method of making bhasmas of mineral origin of drugs through agniputa became popular only after the development of Rasasastra.
Item Code: IDF599 Author: Translated By: Dr. Damodar Joshi Cover: Paperback Edition: 2003 Publisher: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Bhawan ISBN: 8186937005 Language: English Size: 8.5" X 5.5" Pages: 315 Other Details: weight of the book is 420 gm