The original Rasa Ratnakaram is attributeed to Siddha
Nagarjuna, the propegator of Mahayana Buddhism in India. He is said to have redacted Suérta sarhita. Many authors on Rasa Sastra quoted him, but his original text is not
traced even for to-day. "He is reported to have died at SriSailarn about the beginning of the Christian era as deter-
mined by the Tibetan manuscripts vide epiegraphica Indica 1915 Page 92. Nagarjuna appears to have lived a
greater part of his life in the Telugu country. Nagarjuna
konda is a place popularly associated with his name to
these days at Amaravati on the banks of the Krishna River,
about 8 miles from Guntur of Andhra Pradesh. This was
the capital of the early Andhra Kings and was also the seat
of "Dhanya kataka" a famous university".
The present work Rasa Ratnakaram is written by
Nityanatha. It is presumed that he lived in Sri Sailam of
Andhra Pradesh; some time before 14" century and wrote
this work. It is not possible to give the accurate details of
I feel immense pleasure to write
foreword for the great treasure of
Rasa Shastra i.e. Rasaratnakara written by Shri Nityanatha. The manuscript was written about 13" Century
in Sanskrit language. The book is
further edited and commented by
Dr.A.Nagaratnam and Dr. A.
Gnaneswar who belongs to South
India and at present residing in Nellore Dt., Andhrapradesh
Sishya Parampara of Nagarjuna and as a token of his respect to Nagarjuna he might have opted to call his work
‘Rasaratnakara’. It is also known as Nityanatheyam. It 18
the most popular medical treatise that is used extensively
by Vaidyas in Andhra until Vaidya Cintamani and Basava
Rajiyam are published.
It has five parts (Khanda) 1.e. Rasakhanda,
Rasendrakhanda, Vadikhanda, Rasayankhanda and
Mantrakhanda, the subject matter of all except vadikhanda
and mantrakhanda belongs to Ayurveda. Rasa ratnakar is
a later work to Rasa ratnasamucchaya since it 1s referred
by Nityanatha. As there are some Unani terms in this work,
it appears that unani system prevailed at that time. This
reveals that the period of the author might be after 13"
century. The work contains many alchemical formulations.
Hence it indicates that alchemy must have been well established by that time. Many works like Dhaturatnamala,
Suvarnatantra, Kakacandisvaratantra, Rasacintamanl, etc.
have been brought out by then. This was the golden age of
the alchemy. The iron pillor near Kutub minar in Delhi
was built about this time. The reference of lohadruti (procedure of preserving gold, silver etc. in liquid form) and
the power of Mercury to absorb gold indicate that the development of alchemy has reached its peak by that time.
The tantric knowledge, hand and hand with the alchemic knowledge, set man on his quest for minerals like
mercury, sulphur, and their processing, which leads to a
wealth of scientific knowledge.
I feel honoured in writing this Foreword on a monumental work i.e. English commentary of Rasaratnakara by
Dr.A.Nagaratnam and ‘Dr. A. Gnaneswar. I wish, this work
will definitely gain popularity among those interested in
Ayurveda and specially Rasa Shastra.
I congratulate Dr.A.Nagaratnam and Dr. A.Gnaneswar
for bringing out this volume of Rasaratna-kara by editing :
and commenting in English language for the benefit of
Ayurvedic community. I wish them long and healthy life.
Rasa ratnakararn of Nityanatha is unique among all
other treatises on Rasa sastra, in that, he followed a scientific division of the subject. Before him and after him all
authors mixed wrote treatises on Rasa Sastra with Kasavada
(Alchemy) and Mantra sastra. Nityanatha's classification
of the subscript into five distinct parts viz; Rasa khandarn ~
Rasendra khandam - Rasayana khandam-Mantra khndam
and vada khandam, interested me to write an English commentary.
Further Nitynatha claimed to have read all the then
available treatises on Ayurveda, Rasa Sastra and Mantra
§astra. According to him he has practically verified the
method of preparation and their uses of many formulae.
He found that many recipies in Rasa sastra works are ambiguous in many respects and hence he omitted such things
in his work. Further he underwent practical training under
an able Guru, and finally he recorded his experiences for
the benefit of the future generations.
I had the opportunity to learn Rasa sastra under the
guidnace of Hakim Gulam Musthapha, Nalgonda District,
now in Telangana state. Through him only I am able to
learn many important technical details in Rasa preparations, like "Jarana" and many Bandhana processes. Unfor-
tunately, even though he lived with me for eight years, I
could gain only a part of his knowledge. Before I could
learn many more technical details, he died of heart attack,
in my house only. I am indebted to him for my knowledge
in Rasa sastra and hence I have dedicated this book to
Ancient Indian culture and heritage is well documented in different works written in Sanskrit. It has seen
the zenith of development in many sciences and arts which
the modern scientist is yet to reach. Parallel to its development, Philosophy took hold of the minds of even a com-
mon man that it has become a part and parcel of his daily
life. Indian literature, either on sciences or on arts will invariably merge with Philosophy at one stage or other. Indian medicine is no exception in this respect.
It is no hyperboly if it is said that medical knowledge
in ancient India developed as a life science on account of
Philosophy only. Being Indians we believe in Karma-siddanta (the law of retribution) and the process of reincarnation. Man is said to be a spark of the divine light,
which, by the action of Karma is embodied in different
bodies and the human body is the culmination of Biological evolution. That spark of divinity struggles through in-
numerable incarnations and ultimately, exhausting all types
of Karma, merges with the divine light and that is called
Moksa or Eternal bliss.
In order to round out the theme, mention may be made
of the fact that the same idea, stressing freedom from re-birth and union with the Supreme, occurs in the
Brahmanical scriptures. The terms usually employed in the
Upanisads, the laws of Manu and the Mahabharata (of
which the Bhagavad-Gita is an episode) are Moksa or Mukti
and Jivanmukta. yet the Bhagavad-Gta uses the word
Nirvana (in the original Sanskrit), for chapter two closes
with this verse’.
Yea! whoso, shaking off the yoke of flesh
Lives lord, not servant, of his lusts; set free
From pride, from passion, from the sin of self,
Toucheth tranquility! O Pritha’s son!
That is the state of Brahm! Therc rests no dread
When that last step is reached! Live where he will,
Die when he may, such passeth from all plaining,
To blest Nirvana, with the Gods, attaining.
"Sir Edwin Arnolds The Song celestial"’.
The terms Moksa and Mukti signify freedom, for the
root meanings of both words (moksa and mukti) mean to
free, to emancipate; hence freedom, emancipation.
Jivanmukta is translated (in dictionaries) as release from
wordly existence or transmigrations; final or eternal emancipation, since a literal translation of the Sanskrit compound
(Jivanmukta) is while living freed, the root meaning of Jiv
is to live’.
Karma has been described as the law of ethical causation, or the law of cause and effect. It should be borne in
mind, however, that the essential meaning of the Sanskrit
word is action, for Karman is derived from the verbal root
"kr' meaning to do, to act. When an action is performed
asequence of events is bound to occur depending upon
the kind of action and the force with which the action was
performed. Likewise the reaction or effect, is governed by
the motivating force: if weak, the reaction will be weak; if
strong there will be a strong reaction-untill equilibrium is
restored and harmony reigns again’.
To get over Karma of the past and not to accumulate
new and adverse Karma in different re-births, Philosophy
suggested a method and that is to extend our life span in
this birth as humanbeings. Our life 1s a Cyclic process between birth, death and rebirth. If the span between birth
and death is extended (i.e) if longevity is extended upto
the end of this Yuga, atleast, it means that to some extent
one has cut short his reincarnations.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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