Lessons in Yoga Exercises

Lessons In Yoga Exercises
On asanas.
1. Salutation to Âdinatha (Siva) who expounded the knowledge of
Hatha Yoga, which like a staircase leads the aspirant to the high
pinnacled Raja Yoga.
2. Yogin Swatmarama, after saluting his Gurû Srinatha explains
Hatha Yoga for the attainment of Raja Yoga.
3. Owing to the darkness arising from the multiplicity of opinions
people are unable to know the Raja Yoga. Compassionate
Swatmarama composes the Hatha Yoga Pradipika like a torch to
dispel it.
4. Matsyendra, Goraksa, etc., knew Hatha Vidya, and by their favor
Yogi Swatmarama also learnt it from them.
5. The following Siddhas (masters) are said to have existed in
former times:- Sri Adinatha (Siva), Matsyendra, Natha, Sabar,
Anand, Bhairava, Chaurangi, Mina Natha, Goraksanatha, Virupaksa,
6. Manthana, Bhairava, Siddhi Buddha, Kanthadi, Karantaka,
Surananda, Siddhipada, Charapati.
7. Kaneri, Pujyapada, Nityanatha, Niranjana, Kapali, Vindunatha,
Kaka Chandiswara.
8. Allama, Prabhudeva, Ghoda, Choli, Tintini, Bhanuki, Nardeva,
Khanda Kapalika, etc.
9. These Mahasiddhas (great masters), breaking the sceptre of
death, are roaming in the universe.
10. Like a house protecting one from the heat of the sun, Hatha
Yoga protects its practisers from the burning heat of the three
Tapas; and, similarly, it is the supporting tortoise, as it were, for
those who are constantly devoted to the practice of Yoga.
11. A yogi desirous of success should keep the knowledge of Hatha
Yoga secret; for it becomes potent by concealing, and impotent by
12. The Yogi should practice Hatha Yoga in a small room, situated in
a solitary place, being 4 cubits square, and free from stones, fire,
water, disturbances of all kinds, and in a country where justice is
properly administered, where good people live, and food can be
obtained easily and plentifully.
13. The room should have a small door, be free from holes,
hollows, neither too high nor too low, well plastered with cow-dung
and free from dirt, filth and insects. On its outside there should be
bowers, raised platform (chabootra), a well, and a compound.
These characteristics of a room for Hatha Yogis have been
described by adepts in the practice of Hatha.
14. Having seated in such a room and free from all anxieties, he
should practice Yoga, as instructed by his gurû .
15. Yoga is destroyed by the following six causes:-- Over-eating,
exertion, talkativeness, adhering to rules, i.e., cold bath in the
morning, eating at night, or eating fruits only, company of men, and
16. The following six bring speedy success:-- Courage, daring,
perseverance, discriminative knowledge, faith, aloofness from
17. The ten rules of conduct are: ahimsâ (non-injuring), truth, nonstealing,
continence, forgiveness, endurance, compassion,
meekness, sparing diet, and cleanliness.
18. The ten niyamas mentioned by those proficient in the
knowledge of Yoga are: Tapa, patience, belief in God, charity,
adoration of God, hearing discourses on the principles of religion,
shame, intellect, Tapa and Yajna.
19. Being the first accessory of Hatha Yoga, asana is described first.
It should be practiced for gaining steady posture, health and
lightness of body.
20. I am going to describe certain âsanas which have been adopted
by Munis like Vasistha, etc., and Yogis like Matsyendra, etc.
21.Having kept both the hands under both the thighs, with the body
straight, when one sits calmly in this posture, it is called
22. Placing the right ankle on the left side and the left ankle on the
right side, makes Gomukha-asana, having the appearance of a cow.
23. One foot is to be placed on the thigh of the opposite side; and
so also the other foot on the opposite thigh. This is called Virâsana.
24. Placing the right ankle on the left side of the anus, and the left
ankle on the right side of it, makes what the Yogis call Kurmaâsana.
Kukkuta asana.
25. Taking the posture of Padmâ-âsana and carrying the hands
under the thighs, when the Yogi raises himself above the ground,
with his palms resting on the ground, it becomes Kukkuta-âsana.
Utana Kurma-asana.
26. Having assumed the Kukkuta-asana, when one grasps his neck
by crossing his hands behind his head, and lies in this posture with
his back touching the ground, it becomes Uttana Kurma-asana,
from its appearance like that of a tortoise
Dhanura asana.
27. Having caught the toes of the foot with both hands and carried
them to the ears by drawing the body like a bow, it becomes
Dhanura âsana.
28-29. Having placed with the right foot at the root of the left thigh,
let the toe be grasped with the right hand passing over the back,
and having placed the left foot on the right thigh at its root, let it be
grasped with the left hand passing behind the back. This is the
âsana, as explained by Sri Matsyânatha. It increases appetite and is
an instrument for destroying the group of the most deadly diseases.
Its practice awakens the Kundalini, stops the nectar shedding from
the moon in people.
Paschima Tana.
30. Having stretched the feet on the ground, like a stick, and having
grasped the toes of both feet with both hands, when one sits with
his forehead resting on the thighs, it is called Paschima Tâna.
31. This Paschima Tâna carries the air from the front to the back
part of the body (i.e., to the susumna). It kindles gastric fire,
reduces obesity and cures all diseases of men.
32. Place the palms of both hands on the ground, and place the
navel on both the elbows and balancing thus, the body should be
stretched backwards like a stick. This is called Mayura-asana.
33. This âsana soon destroyed all diseases, and removes abdominal
disorders, and also those arising from irregularities of phlegm, bile and
wind, digests unwholesome food taken in excess, increases appetite
and destroys the most deadly poison.
34. Laying down on the ground, like a corpse, is called Sava-âsana.
It removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind.
35. Siva taught 84 âsanas. Of these the first four being essential
ones, I am going to explain them here.
36. These four are:-- The Siddha, Padma, Sinha and Bhadra. Even
of these, the Siddha-âsana, being very comfortable, one should
always practice it.
The Siddhâsana.
37. Press firmly the heel of the left foot against the perineum, and
the right heel above the lingha. With the chin pressing on the chest,
one should sit calmly, having restrained the senses, and gaze
steadily at the space between the eyebrows. This is called the
Siddha âsana, the opener of the door of salvation.
38. This Siddhâsana is performed also by placing the left heel on
the Medhra (above the penis), and placing the right one next to it.
39. Some call this Siddhâsana, some Vajrâsana. Others call it Mukta
âsana or Gupta âsana.
40. Just as sparing food is among Yamas, and Ahimsâ among the
Niyamas, so is Siddhâsana called by adepts the chief of all the
41. Out of the 84 âsanas Siddhâsana should always be practiced,
because it cleanses the impurities of 72,000 nâdis.
42. By contemplating on oneself, by eating sparingly, and by
practicing Siddhâsana for 12 years, the Yogi obtains success.
43. Other postures are of no use, when success has been achieved
in Siddhâsana, and Prâna Vâyu becomes calm and restrained by
Kevala Kumbhaka.
44. Success in one Siddhâsana alone becoming firmly established,
one gets Unmani at once, and the three bonds (Bandhas) are
accomplished of themselves.
45. There is no âsana like the Siddhâsana and no Kumbhaka like
the Kevala. There is no mudrâ like the Khechari and no laya like the
Nada (Anahâta Nâda).
46. Place the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the
right thigh, and grasp the toes with the hands crossed over the
back. Press the chin against the chest and gaze on the tip of the
nose. This is called the Padmâsana, the destroyer of the diseases of
the Yamis.
47. Place the feet on the thighs, with the soles upward, and place
the hands on the thighs, with the palms upwards.
48. Gaze on the tip of the nose, keeping the tongue pressed against
the root of the teeth of the upper jaw, and the chin against the
chest, and raise the air up slowly, i.e., pull the apâna-vâyu gently
49. This is called the Padmâsana, the destroyer of all diseases. It is
difficult of attainment by everybody, but can be learnt by intelligent
people in this world.
50. Having kept both hands together in the lap, performing the
Padmâsana firmly, keeping the chin fixed to the chest and
contemplating on Him in the mind, by drawing the apâna-vâyu up
(performing Mula Bandha) and pushing down the air after inhaling
it, joining thus the prana and apâna in the navel, one gets the
highest intelligence by awakening the sakti (kundalini) thus.
N.B.-- When Apâna Vâyu is drawn gently up and after filling the
lungs with the air from outside, the prana is forced down by and by
so as to join both of them in the navel, they both enter then the
Kundalini and, reaching the Brahma randra (the great hole), they
make the mind calm. Then the mind can contemplate on the nature
of the atmana and can enjoy the highest bliss.)
51. The Yogi who, sitting with Padmâsana, can control breathing,
there is no doubt, is free from bondage.
The Simhâsana.
52. Press the heels on both sides of the seam of the Perineum, in
such a way that the left heel touches the right side and the right
heel touches the left side of it.
53. Place the hands on the thighs, with stretched fingers, and
keeping the mouth open and the mind collected, gaze on the tip of
the nose.
54. This is Simhâsana, held sacred by the best Yogis. This excellent
âsana effects the completion of the three Bandhas (the
Mulabandha, Kantha or Jâlandhar Bandha and Uddiyâna Bandha).
The Bhandrâsana.
55 and 56. Place the heels on either side of the seam of the
Perineum, keeping the left heel on the left side and the right one on
the right side, holding the feet firmly joined to one another with
both the hands. This Bhadrâsana is the destroyer of all diseases.
57. The expert Yogis call this Goraksa âsana. By sitting with this
âsana, the Yogi gets rid of fatigue.
58. The Nadis should be cleansed of their impurities by performing
the mudrâs, etc., (which are the practices relating to the air)
âsanas, Kumbhakas and various curious mudrâs.
59. By regular and close attention to Nâda (anâhata nâda) in Hatha
Yoga, a Brahmachari, sparing in diet, unattached to objects of
enjoyment, and devoted to Yoga, gains success, no doubt, within a
60. Abstemious feeding is that in which 3/4 of hunger is satisfied
with food, well cooked with ghee and sweets, and eaten with the
offering of it to Siva.
Foods injurious to a Yogi.
61. Bitter, sour, saltish, green vegetables, fermented, oily, mixed
with til seed, rape seed, intoxicating liquors, fish, meat, curds,
chhaasa pulses, plums, oil-cake, asafoetida (hinga), garlic, onion,
etc., should not be eaten.
62. Food heated again, dry, having too much salt, sour, minor
grains, and vegetables that cause burning sensation, should not be
eaten. Fire, women, travelling, etc., should be avoided.
63. As said by Goraksa, one should keep aloof from the society of
the evil-minded, fire, women, travelling, early morning bath,
fasting, and all kinds of bodily exertion.
64. Wheat, rice, barley, shâstik (a kind of rice), good corns, milk,
ghee, sugar, butter, sugarcandy, honey, dried ginger, Parwal (a
vegetable), the five vegetables, moong, pure water, these are very
beneficial to those who practice Yoga.
65. A yogi should eat tonics (things giving strength), well
sweetened, greasy (made with ghee), milk butter, etc., which may
increase humors of the body, according to his desire.
66. Whether young, old or too old, sick or lean, one who discards
laziness, gets success if he practices Yoga.
67. Success comes to him who is engaged in the practice. How can
one get success without practice; for by merely reading books on
Yoga, one can never get success.
68. Success cannot be attained by adopting a particular dress
(Vesa). It cannot be gained by telling tales. Practice alone is the
means to success. This is true, there is no doubt.
69. âsanas, various Kumbhakas, and other divine means, all should
be practiced in the practice of Hatha Yoga, till the fruitóRâja Yoga is

Mudras in Yoga practise

Mudra is the science of hand and finger postures. It can help to cure bodily
ailments in a wonderful manner. It affects the body's energetic system and the
flow of prana (life energy) within it. It actually helps in balancing the five
elements ( panch-tattvas ) in the human system to their optimal levels.
Abhaya Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Abhaya Mudra
"Abhaya" means "fearless". Abhaya Mudra represents protection, peace,
benevolence, and dispelling of fear.
1. Raise both your hands to the sides of your head.
2. Touch the forefinger to tip of thumb (just as in Gyan Mudra).
3. Hold the hand vertically straight by the sides.
• Mind becomes fearless.
• Gives a feeling of courage and strength.
Gyan Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Gyan Mudra
"Gyan" means "knowledge". It is the gesture of knowledge. This mudra is
considered to bestow intelligence and wisdom. Hence the name.
1. Bestows intelligence and wisdom.
2. Purifies the mind of the practitioner.
3. Cures many mental ailments.
4. Gives a feeling of joy.
5. Cures intoxication and addictive habits.
Linga Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Linga Mudra
"Linga" or "Angustha" means "phallus". Thumb is a symbol of masculinity.
1. Join both the palms.
2. Interlace fingers of both hands.
3. Extend one thumb upwards.
4. Encircle extended thumb with the index finger and thumb of the other
• This mudra generates heat in the body and thus, while it "burns" away
accumulated phlegm in the chest, it also makes the body more resilient to the
• It helps in increasing dynamism in a person.
• Persons with bilious temperament should practice this mudra under the
guidance of able and experienced person.
• Chronic cold is easily cured.
• It burns unwanted calories in the body, thus reducing obesity.
Mritasanjeevani Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Mritasanjeevani Mudra
"Mritasanjeevani" means "Air". This mudra helps balance the air element in the
1. Fold the index finger (fore finger) on the pad of thumb.
2. Press the forefinger gently on the pad.
3. Touch the fore part of third (longest) finger and fore part of fourth (ring)
finger with the fore part of thumb.
• This mudra strengthens the heart.
• It is very useful in all heart ailments.
• It helps normalize blood pressure.
• This mudra has also been found to increase self-confidence.
Prithvi Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Prithvi Mudra
"Prithvi" means "Earth". This mudra helps balance the earth element in the body.
1. Place the tip of the ring finger (third finger) on top of the tip of the thumb.
2. Extend all the other fingers.
3. Keep them comfortably straight as possible.
• Normalizes body equilibrium.
• Helps remove physical weakness.
• Increases tolerance and patience.
• Helps all who practice spiritual meditation.
Shunya Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Shunya Mudra
"Shunya" means "zero" or "sky". Sky is connected with the highest forces - with
the "upper person" - with head.
1. Lower the middle finger and place finger pad on the fleshy mound area of
your thumb.
2. Cover it with your thumb.
3. Extend index, ring and little fingers.
This should be practiced for atleast for 45 minutes at a stretch for optimum
• This mudra improves impaired hearing.
• It cures earaches in minutes.
• It also helps in nausea, vertigo, and travel sickness.
Surya Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Surya Mudra
"Surya" means "sun". Sun is the source of energy. Virtue of its energy is present
in all living beings. Surya mudra attracts energy of the Sun.
1. Touch the third (ring) finger to the pad of thumb.
2. Press the thumb gently over this third (ring) finger.
3. Keep the other fingers aloof.
• This mudra decreases Earth element in body.
• It cures mental heaviness.
• It also reduces body fat.
• The mudra is good for weight loss.
Varuna Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Varuna Mudra
"Varuna" means "Water". It balances the water element in the body.
1. Touch the fore part of the smallest finger to the fore part of thumb.
• Regular practice of this mudra balances water element in body.
• This mudra enhances physical beauty.
• It decreases dryness in skin and body.
• It is beneficial in controlling coughs, colds, asthma, paralysis, vibration,
sinuses, and low blood pressure.
Vaayu Mudra
Yoga Exercises > Yoga Mudras > Vaayu Mudra
"Vaayu" means "Air". This mudra helps balance the air element in the body.
1. Fold the index finger (fore finger) on the pad of thumb.
2. Press the forefinger gently on the pad.
3. Keep the other fingers aloof.
• Helps in all nervous ailments.
• Helpful in pains and aches.
• Specific mudra for patients of Cerebral Palsy and Parkinson's ailment.

Metals and Mineral Drugs of Ayurveda

Metal and Mineral Drugs of Ayurveda
Metals like gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, and iron, sand (balu from river banks), lime and
minerals like red arsenic (manassila), gems (manayah), salts (lavana), and red chalk (gairika)
are indicated as drugs pertaining to earth (bhauma). In Indian metallurgy, the term loha is
often used for metals like gold and silver and minerals containing metals (ores) are called
dhatus. There are seven dhatus: suvarna (gold), rajata (silver), tamra (copper), trapa (tin),
tiksna or ayas (iron), sisa or naga (lead), and vaikrintaka.11 Salts or lavanas are mentioned
under the parthive substances. According to Charaka, there are five salts: sauvarcala,
saindhava, vida, audbhida, and samudra. Mani and ratna, being synonyms for each other,
stand for the modern term “jewel” or “gem.”
Mercury is considered eighth metal in rasa shastra. It earned the supreme position among
the minerals and metals. The learned Acharyas also studied the relation and effects
between these metals and planets over the human body and called them grahanga
navaloha. Metals are grouped as shuddha, sishra, and pooti loha.
The calcined forms of metals that are termed bhasmas in Ayurveda are referred to as
parpams and kushta in Siddha and Unani-tibb, respectively. Kushta literally means to kill;
in medical terms it is detoxifying the toxic properties of a toxic metal.12
Although bhasmas are regarded as chief metal-containing pharmaceuticals of Ayurveda,
there are several other preparations prepared from metals. Some of these pharmaceuticals
are described below.
Animal derivatives such as horns, shells, feathers, and metallic and nonmetallic minerals
are normally administered as bhasmas. A bhasma means an ash obtained though incineration.
The starter material undergoes an elaborate process of purification (shodhana). This
process is followed by the reaction phase, which involves incorporation of some other
mineral and herbal extracts. Then the material in pellet form is incinerated in a furnace.
The end product is expected to be a nontoxic material. Examples include swarn bhasma,
shankha bhasma, and tamra bhasma.
These are specialized mercury preparations. The name is derived from the method by
which flakes of the compound are obtained. A black sulfide of mercury is obtained by
mixing purified mercury and sulfur. Other drugs as per the formula are added to this and
mixed well by triturating them in mortar and pestle. A shallow pit is made in fresh cow
dung and a banana leaf is placed. The melted compound is poured onto the leaf and is
covered with another leaf. Fresh dung is spread on it evenly. When it is cooled the flakes
are removed and powdered.
Rasayogas are compound formulations containing mercury and sulfur (in the form of kajjali)
with other metals or minerals. Most of the ingredients contained in a rasayoga are added
in the form of bhasmas. The final form may be either a pill or powder.
Sindoora are prepared by the elaborate process of sublimation. This procedure is termed
kupipakwa vidhi and the sublimed mineral available on the neck of the sublimation glass
flask is called sindoora. Sindoora preparations are considered to be more potent than bhasma
 Types of Bhasma
Attempts have been made to classify various bhasmas. They have been classified on the
basis of color and appearance. A more scientific way of classification is on the basis of
dominant metal and mineral group. According to this classification, bhasmas have been
grouped as rajata group (silver), tamra group (copper), loha group (iron), pravala group
(shells), etc. Often two metals and a metal with mineral are the ingredients of bhasmas.
For example, Trivanga Bhasma contains lead, tin, and zinc. The metals yield three different
types of bhasma corresponding to the nature of the ingredient used. They appear as best,
medium, and inferior quality. Mercury is always used as a basic substance in the process
of marana.
 Preparation of Bhasma: General Procedures
The name bhasma is generally applied to all metallic and nonmetallic substances that are
subjected to the process of incineration and reduction to ash. Here it is applied to the
metals, minerals, and animal products that are, by special processes, calcinated in closed
crucibles in pits with cow dung cakes (puttam). Bhasmas are generally white, pale, or red.
The color of the preparation primarily depends on the parent material. The following
pharmaceutical steps are used to prepare bhasmas.
In Ayurveda, purification is called shodhana. Shodhana is the process through which the
external and internal impurities of metals and minerals are removed. Chemical purification
is different from medicinal purification. In chemical purification it is only elimination of
foreign matters, whereas in medicinal purification the objects are involved in the
1. Elimination of harmful matter from the drug
2. Modification of undesirable physical properties of the drug
3. Conversion of some of the characteristics of the drug to different stages
4. Enhancement of the therapeutic action
There are two kinds of shodhana. The first type, samanya shodhana (general purification),
is applicable to the large number of metals or minerals as heating the thin sheets of metals
and immersing them in oil (taila), extract (takra), cow urine (gomutra), and other materials.
The second type, Vishesha shodhana (special purification), is applicable only to specific
metals, minerals, and in certain preparations. Vishesha shodhana includes bhavana, svedana,
nirvapana, and mardana.
After shodhana bhasmas become soft and malleable for further processing and their
metallic property is improved. The main apparatus required includes dola yantra, khalva
yantra, and musha yantra. Various procedures employed for shodhana are described below.
When mineral drugs are heated in a furnace in the presence of dravaka, substances
(liqueficants) like alkali and acid release their satva. This is the purest form of any herbal
or mineral drug. All the metals except mercury are found in nature in solid state, and
they all fuse under high temperature to attain a liquid state. When the temperature lowers
they again return to their natural physical form (i.e., in the solid state). But these fused
metals in the presence of some liqueficants do not return into their natural solid state even
when the temperature lowers (i.e., the metals remain in liquid form). This method of
obtaining metals in liquid form is called dravana and the obtained liquid metal is called
druti. Druti holds superior character with respect to efficacy, toxicity, and increased shelf
life than its native metals and retains its fluidity for a longer time with proper preservation.

Shuddhavarta is a particular stage of heating when the fire becomes strong enough to
yield the pure substance (metal, satva). At this time the flame becomes golden yellow.
Marana is essentially the burning process or calcination. The purified metal is placed into
a mortar and, with a pestle, ground with the juice of specified plants or kashayas, mercury
(in metallic state), or a compound of mercury such as mercury perchloride (sauviram),
mercuric subchloride (ras karpur), cinnabar (ingalekam), or an amalgam of sulfur and
mercury (kajjali) for a specified period of time. The metal that is intended for marana is
known as a primary metal (pradhan dhatu); the other metal, which is taken in small
proportions for the marana of the primary metal, is known as secondary metal (sahaya
dhatu).14 Small cakes (chakrikas) are made with the ground paste of the minerals and dried
under the sun. The size and thickness of the cakes depend on the heaviness of the drug
and size. The heavier the drug, the thinner the cakes. These cakes are dried well under
the shade and placed in one single layer in a mud tray (sharava) and closed with another
such tray; the clay-smeared cloth keeps both the lid and the container in apposition. The
clay-smeared cloth is applied seven times and dried to seal the crucibles properly. A pit
is dug in an open space and half the pit is filled with dried cow dung cakes. The crucibles
are placed in the half-filled pit and are covered with cow dung cakes up to the brim of
the pit. Fire is then ignited on all four sides and in the middle of the pit. When the burning
is over, the contents are allowed to cool completely on their own.
Marana differs with the nature of the substance to be calcinated. For example, organic
substances such as herbs are burnt in open air, whereas inorganic substances such as
metals like rajata (silver) are burnt in closed containers. In either case the end product is
a bhasma of substance taken for marana. For example, the end product in the case of silver
(rajata) is called as rajata bhasma. Marana of inorganic substances is called puta and the
process of marana of herbs in closed freshly made containers is known as puta paka.13
Bhasmas obtained by marana from primary metals together with herbs (mulika) are called
mulika marita bhasma; the ones where the second metal is taken for the marana of primary
metal are called parada (mercury) marita, or talaka (arsenic trisulphide) marita bhasma,
depending upon the second metal used for the purpose. During the process the second
metal would finally volatilize itself at the temperature of marana, leaving behind the bhasma
of primary metal.
Very few metals like copper or iron still bear some impurities after the marana. In such
cases the whole process is repeated until a purified and therapeutically safer product for
internal use is obtained. In addition, a process called amritikarana is done to make these
metals safer. The process consists of heating the product from the marana procedure in
the presence of some herbal materials to improve safety and therapeutic effect. In this
process the required amounts of triphala decoction, cow’s ghritika, and dhatu bhasma are
placed in an iron pot. Mild heat is applied until the medicinal fluids are completely
evaporated. Bhasma that remains at the end of this process is safer and possesses higher
therapeutic efficacy.

History of Alchemy in Ayurveda

Ayurvedic literature places great emphasis on the pharmaceutical process known as
Samskara literally means a process. It is designed to enhance the desirable qualities
of the drug being processed. The s
can be classified into two stages:
(purification or detoxification of toxic substances) and
bhaishajya kalpana
(formulation of
a dosage form). A number of toxic herbal drugs like
Strychnos nuxvomica, Aconitum ferox,
Semicarpus anacardium, Commiphora mukul,
and almost all metal and mineral drugs are
purified and rendered safe for use, before their use as drugs.
In Ayurveda,
is a well-developed concept. Literally,
means the augmentation
the vital fluid produced by the digestion of food, which sustains the
body through the strengthening of the
It is the
flowing in
the body that sustains
life; when it stops flowing, life comes to an end.
is the medium through which
is maintained, replenished, and augmented.
In modern terms, the study and practice of
such as
is referred to as
alchemy. It is generally believed that alchemy appeared in India in the fifth or sixth century
A.D. and greatly prospered for the next seven or eight centuries under royal patronage.
Hindu tantriks
developed the mercury-based alchemy in India and related it to the
male–female symbolism (Shiva and Parvati). Mercury was regarded as male principle
(Shiva) and sulfur as the female principle (Parvati).
the laboratory of an Indian alchemist was known as
, a place where the alchemists
carried out their various operations under the benign influence of the
, a
symbol of esoteric potentiality.
was either a gold amalgam, prepared by triturating
gold and mercury, or a compound of mercury and sulfur shaped into a
. The
Rasaratna Samuchchaya
describes how and where a
can be established. It also
describes important apparatuses that should be available in a
. It is amply clear
that knowledge of science of metals and its medicinal usage was well developed in India.
Alchemical or related texts can also be found in other Indian languages like Tamil,
Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Oriya, and Gujarati. There are more than
200 works in Tamil on the Siddha system of medicine. Plants occupied an important place
in the practices of Indian alchemists. More than 200 names of plants are mentioned in
different texts of
. The Indian alchemists (rasavadins) treated the minerals and
metals with one medicinal plant or the other to render them the desirable chemical
properties. Even mercury considered to be divine was subjected to this process.

to the
“mercury cannot be reduced to bhasma without the help of
one or more of medicinal plants.”
The plants used were referred to as
(divine medicinal plants). Mercury is
considered to be the king of
and it is referred to by various names like
etc. There are detailed descriptions of
a number of compositions with mercury as the chief ingredient. In Indian alchemical texts,
the chemical substances have been divided into five main categories:
, and poisons (visha). There are eight maharasas , eight uparasas, and seven dhatus,
Scientific Basis for Ayurvedic Therapies
including three alloys: brass (pittala), bell metal (kamsya), and a mixture of five metals
(vartka). The precious gems were placed under the catagory of
. Various plant products
and minerals having toxic properties are included in the category of poisons.

Introduction about Bhasma

Accumulated toxicity data on the hazardous effects of heavy metals have made health
scientists afraid of heavy metals. As a result, renewed interest in the beneficial effects of
metals and minerals is often viewed with skepticism. However, available literature from
all the ancient civilizations indicates that man has used metals in disease treatment since
time immemorial. Ayurvedic literature is full of the use of metals. Not only have Ayurveda
and other Indian systems of medicine used metals, but their use is also amply described
in Chinese and Egyptian civilizations in 2500
Gold in medicine was also mentioned
by Roman physician Pliny and Greek philosopher Dioscrides. Later, Arabic and Persian
physicians used gold in various forms in a number of their prescriptions. Besides gold,
other metals that are extensively described in Indian and other ancient systems of medicine
include silver, arsenic, copper, iron, lead, mercury, and zinc. As far as Ayurveda is concerned,
metals have been used mainly as
literally means anything inorganic or organic burnt into its ash. The process of
burning in Ayurvedic terminology is known as
(calcination). The process of calcination
is also employed for preparation of
of coral, pearl, and shell. The wellknown
Ayurvedic texts,
Charaka Samhita
Susruta Samhita,
which are regarded as the
texts scripted by the forefathers of Ayurveda, include ample description of the use of the
metals and minerals in the treatment of diseases. It is also reflected in later texts that were
attempted to simplify the knowledge of
(e.g.,Astanga Hridaya,Vagbhata,Mdhahva Nidan,Sharangadhara Samhita, and Bhava Prakash).
Here, an attempt
has been made to describe various medicinal uses of
in general and
swrana bhasma
in particular.
The principles of Ayurvedic treatment are for the most part the same as those of
allopathic treatment. They consist of removing the injurious agent, soothing the injured
body and mind, and eradicating the cause. The difference lies in the methods adopted
by the two systems. In Ayurveda, great importance is given to the study of the various
stages of vitiation of the three
or humours of the body. When an imbalance occurs
among three
, they defile the normal functioning of the body, leading to the manifestation
of disease.
Consciousness or intelligence (sattva), motion or action (rajas), and
the inertia that resist them (tamas) are the three omnipresent nonmaterial qualities (gunas)
that govern all material forms of basic matter. These material and nonmaterial attributes
subsequently dictate the medicinal and healing properties of plants and other healing

Ayurveda uses the concept of purification as a means to eradicate disease rather than
to cure as perceived by modern medicine.

When treating acute and chronic infections,

Ayurveda does not aim to kill the microbes; restoration of
balance and host immunity
(rasayna) ensures elimination of the infectious agent. Numerous Ayurvedic medicinal
plants have shown strong chemotherapeutic and immunomodifying effect in experimentally
induced infections.


General Descripition:

Drugs according to the formulation composition of the particular Choorna¸a are collected, dried,
powdered individually and passed through sieve number 85 to prepare a fine powder. They are mixed in
the specified proportion and stored in well closed container.
The term Choorna may be applied to the powder prepared by a single drug or a combination of
more drugs.
Raja and Ksoda are the synonyms for Choorna.Choornas may be of plant origin, or mixed with other
ingredients. The following points are to be noted.
If metals / minerals are used, prepare Bhasma or Sind£ra of the minerals unless otherwise
In cases where Parada and Gandhaka are mentioned, prepare Kajjal¢ and add other drugs, one by
one, according to the formula.
In general the aromatic drugs like Hi´ngu [Asafoetida] etc. should be fried before they are
converted to fine powders.
Specific care should be taken in case of Salts and Sugars. Formulations with hygroscopic
components should not usually be prepared during rainy seasons. If so, specific precautions should be
taken during storage.
Choornas should be stored in air tight containers. Polyethylene and foil packing also provides
damp proof protection.
Special precaution for storage should be taken in cases of formulations with salts, sugars and Ksharas.

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