This text book incorporates 27 chapters framed strictly as per most recent UG and PG syllabus of Rasashashtra outlined by CCIM. The chapters, its concepts and the formulations dealt here are earnestly motivated by; ‘scientific approach’, ‘rationality’, ‘practical applicability’, ‘present day utility’, ‘feasibility’ and their ‘worthiness in the field of treatment’.
More than one method of purification and incineration of ‘Rasadravya’ are intentionally explained in the book to make the students understand the rationality behind each method. UG students may choose the easiest method advised by their learned teachers. However, for PG scholars it is better if they meticulously go through all the explained methods to evaluate, compare, and understand the rationality.
It is appealed to the readers of this text to think over the explained concepts with an open and unconventional mindset.
Hope this book will be useful to everyone in the field of Ayurveda, especially to the under graduates, the postgraduates and the students appearing for PG entrance examination.
Dr. Ravindra Angadi works as Associate Professor and recognized PG guide in Post Graduate department of Rasashastra and Bhaishajya Kalpana at SDM College of Ayurveda, Kuthpady, Udupi, Karnataka since 2003.
In earlier books: A Textbook of Bhaishajya Kalpana (as per CCIM’s new UG and PG Syllabus) and Vaidyaka Paribhasha Pradip both published by Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan Varanasi are widely appreciated and blessed by seniors in the field; and are gladly accepted by the student fraternity of Ayurveda.
The origin of ‘Rasasastra’ has its roots in the ‘Indian alchemy’. Alchemy was a form of chemistry studied in the medieval period, in which people tried to discover different ways to change ordinary metals into gold. This practice went on for centuries, yielding some of the significant findings in the field of alchemy.
History of ‘Indian Alchemy’, can be traced to pre-Vedic period. The archaeological excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harappa in the ‘Indus valley’ have brought to light that, the people in ancient India were possessing chemical knowledge as early as in the pre-historic period.
Alchemy in India, was started for the preparation of a ‘potion’ of life for imparting immortality and later for the transmutation process for converting ordinary metals into gold. Indian alchemy derived its essence largely from the Tantric cult.
Then, in later centuries, all the previous accumulated alchemical ideas were put to practical use and a number of preparation of mercury and other metals were evolved as helpful accessories in medicine.
‘Rasasastra’ or the Ayurvedic Alchemy is an important branch of Ayurvedic pharmacology. This branch deals with the use of metals, minerals, gemstones and their processing.
In ancient Ayurveda, the emphasis has been over the herbs and their therapeutic usages. Later on the animal products, metals and minerals started to find favor of the Ayurvedic practitioners. The minerals and metals are very effective and potent for immunization, rejuvenation and elimination of diseases.
In ‘Alchemy’, the primary motto was conversion of ordinary metals into gold, which is a higher and valuable metal. The experts applied the same analogy to the human body and found out that the ‘saririka dhatu’ can also be enriched in the same way by the use of different metals. This study came to be known as the ‘Dehavada’.
The study of Dehavada and the use of metals were successful and it was found that the mercury was very useful and effective when compared to its other mineral and herbal counterparts.
In the earlier days, ‘tantrics’ made use of the ‘rasa-cikitsa methods’ for achieving immortality and these experiments were later utilized for the Ayurvedic treatments. The modern Indian Ayurveda makes an extensive use of the ‘Rasasastra’ so much so that it has become the vital or inseparable component of the therapeutic process.
We all know that, ‘Rasasastra’ is not counted among the eight branches of Ayurveda. This is indicative of the fact that ‘Rasasastra’ in its initial days was developed as an independent pharmaceutical science.
Eventually, ‘Rasasastra’ became a significant part of Ayurveda and has played a major role in the development of ‘Ayurveda’ in later centuries.
‘Rasasastra’ is the special science, which deals with the metallic, mineral and poisonous drugs. These drugs are pharmaceutically processed and rendered fit for internal administration.
This work is a humble attempt to bring a handy Textbook of ‘Rasasastra’, which is written as per the new syllabus outlined for both UG and PG by CCIM.
Hope it will be useful to everyone in the field of Ayurveda, especially to the under graduates, the postgraduates and the students appearing for PG entrance examinations.
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