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Venerdì, 23 Novembre 2018 23:25

Āyurveda and Alchemy

An introduction. We will follow the best scriptural tradition of India, by articulating clearly the purpose of our subject.

The practice of Traditional Indian Medicine or Āyurveda, sets a very high, almost impossible objective to the art of medicine, to keep the Positive Health of every living being, according to its specific nature, and to cure the so called “diseases” when they appear to point out an imbalance.

The purpose of man is to preserve and to improve his basic constitution thanks to the indications of the Āyurvedic science. When this simpler task, available through diet, discipline of life and purification, for various reasons is not realized, then Āyurveda undertakes the difficult task of curing the diseases of humans, animals and of the Earth; of the body, mind and spirit. In the East, before starting anything, one must enter a state of silence. It means to meditate and let go of the ‘mind’ with a ‘detached observation’ method, without involvement of the ego. Silence leads to the ‘dark night of the soul’; it’s not easy to live in this place, that’s why in the tradition we start practicing by lighting a lamp in order to break the darkness and a well wishes invocation, such as:

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

may all beings from all worlds be rooted in the absence of suffering

  • lokah: location, realm, all universes now existing in the now
  • samastah: all the beings sharing the path of knowledge
  • sukhino: devoid of suffering, centered in happiness and joy
  • bhav: the state of unified existence, the existence in the mode of the divine
  • antu: it may be so, it must be so (antu used at the end turns this mantra in a binding commitment)

This Mantra, although not codified in the Vedas, the ancient Indian writings of wisdom, is an invocation and a commitment to ensure that all beings are aware, and that they could be in a divine state of absence of suffering. Obviously it is a logic hyperbole and implies a state of unification with the divine not easy to realise. Indian philosophical visions, monistic as well as dualistic, both acknowledge that the heaven and the earth, including the man, are governed by the same principles.

Yathā Loke Tatha Dehe

as is the world manifold/multi faceted, such is the body (of man)

Everything that exists it happens simultaneously on several different layers, man makes no exception, in his multiple physical, mental and divine nature; objective and transcendent. Āyurveda accepts and shares this vision of a unified Macro and Microcosm. Only if you have faith in the oneness of All, you can not only envision the possibility but commit yourself to the search for realisation and for transmutation. This philosophical attitude, to Paracelsus, is the first requirement for a doctor. You are not a doctor if you are not able to use your own reason and thinking in the knowledge of the mirroring of Macro and Microcosm. Āyurveda is referring to nine schools of thought, or Darśana, which help to make flexible and adaptable to any situation, the thought and then the actions of an āyurvedic doctor. Alchemists are scientists of nature too, they are ilozoist (ilozoi-nature) philosophers, for them everything is a manifestation of Life, including minerals. Philosophical study of nature is the base of medical knowledge. The nature of man is composed of Elements that emanate from Nature Root or Mula Prakŗti.

In western alchemic research we consider four elements:

  • Earth - pŗthvī
  • Water - jāla
  • Fire - agni
  • Air - vāyu

In Āyurveda there is a fifth one; to these four is added

  • Space - ākāśa

We can say it corresponds to the Quintessence of Alchemy

Ākāśa plays a special role, because we recognise a double aspect in it; the first is a ‘potential state’ and the second is a ‘resulting state’, which is what we commonly refer in medicine. Philosophically speaking is the knowledge of the ‘potential state’ which allows the interpretation of otherwise inexplicable phenomena. What drives the ‘transformation’ from ‘potential’ to ‘resulting’ state is a subtle matter that is interpreted differently by different Āyurvedic philosophical schools: a disturbance of the balance, the law of Karma, the will of God, the oneness of all, the emptiness, the matter in itself, experience to sublimate, etc. The Alchemist or the real doctor, is the one who can draw from the world of the invisible Ākāśa, which is all containing, the concrete things, recalling first the energy qualities concentrating in this manifold/multi-verse world and in the physical body of man. We need a deeply rooted respect for Nature and its Principles to perceive and study them in ourselves with the practice of Hatha Yoga and discover them intuitively in a moment of silence. The founding event of the multi-verse / manifold world, composed of five Elements, is a process of transformation of the Elements themselves, starting from their potential of energy Tanmātra. They are not perceptible by the senses, and reside in the ‘potential state’ of Ākāśa. The world Jagat, which in Sanskrit means either ‘universe’ and ‘movement’: the world is ‘the one which is moving’, the living one. It is inherently in motion. The mode of existence for the matter is the movement. For Āyurveda the Āyus is: what is in a continuum from moment to moment. The movement manifests the presence of an effect due to a cause (existing) before; Āyurveda thought believes that indeed the effect is already pre-existing in the cause; it is only waiting the maturation of energies as the chance allowing its manifestation.

The movement manifests itself in subtle energies called:

  • Prāna, the Subtle Energy that permeates the space - Ākāśa;
  • Tejas, the Inner Radiance, is the subtle essence of the fire - Agni;
  • Ojas, Prime Vigor, is the subtle essence of water - Ap, considered as a reserve of vital energy.

These are three interdependent energies present in the mind, the consciousness, the emotions, in the psyche, in the body, in substances and are assimilable to the alchemical conception that the Unity of the Matter presents itself in countless forms, while maintaining, for the Alchemist, the characteristic of the Unity allowing the transfer of quality from a state to the other.vAlchemy and Āyurveda are experimental metaphysics, working on matter and its relation with the divine mystery, in the very bosom of nature. For example, for Samkhya Darśana, the balance of the three Mahā - Guṇa, Sattwa (clarity, knowledge), Rajas (energy, transformation) and Tamas (darkness, negativity) is troubled by an event, Kṣoba leading to the manifestation of the multi verse/manifold world. Interestingly, what changes, is not the inner nature of the Mahā - Guṇas, but their quality/quantity ratio the change affects only the expression of the quality of their Nature. Inside the Naturans Nature (Natura Naturante) the net of relations among its variations still indistinct is changing, manifesting itself in Naturate Nature (natura Naturata) that is the world as perceived with the sense organs and with the inner senses. Therefore is the medicine, which deals with the Natura Naturata and Āyurveda states that:

  • maintaining health implies the knowledge of the triple nature of the Mahā - Guṇa
  • the onset of the disease is due to the body’s adaptation to negative stimuli to maintain the continuity of life balance
  • the restoration of health requires a process of transformation of what is altered and a return to its original Constitution.

The five elements - Mahābhūta of Āyurveda, which are measurable entities, combine their qualities which are perceptible by the senses and give recognition to three Intangible Principles which are identified as:

  • VĀTA, with the quality of: dryness, mobility, lightness, coldness
  • PITTA, with the quality of: warmth, acuteness, slight greasiness
  • KAPHA, with quality of dampness, coldness, heaviness, greasiness, viscosity

They are called Doṣa because they are corruptible, when affected by positive or negative factors, and in turn can generate corruption/damage when they act on tissues. The intuitive event that brought the Vaidya, the ayurvedic seers, to identify three Doṣa emerged in the meditative experience of ‘silence’. The Trinity of Vāta-Pitta-Kapha, in the oneness of the Whole. It’s easy and can be intuitively understood to identify the VĀTA movement, with Mercury, with spirit, vitality, life, will, volatility, the colour white; Vāta is Śiva, the masculine. We Identify the fire and energy of PITTA, with Sulphur, the soul, the expansive power, centrifugal force, what burns, the light, the soul of things, the colour red; Pitta is Pārvatī, the feminine. We Identify the materiality of KAPHA, with Salt, the body, the principle of the incarnation, the astringent quality, solidification, the centripetal force; Kapha is Ardhanārīśvara (the half man half woman Lord), the androgynous. Both Āyurveda and Alchemy consider that harmony of proportions and expressions among the three ayurvedic Doṣa>, Vāta - Pitta-Kapha or the three alchemical Substances Mercury, Sulphur and Salt, is equal to health; their disharmony leads to disease. The doctor should know, in practice, the reality confronting him, the body of the sick person and the signs of illness, but also the subtle energetic reality of the Triads he has to work with. The doctor receives from the heat of the Pitta-Sulphur Nature the wisdom, and the Medical Art-Life-Mercury becomes his Experience-Kapha-Salt. Only if it does so, he will have ‘approval’ from Life and success in the art of healing. In the formulation of ayurvedic preparations we are using plants, minerals and metals. How can the Doctor-Pharmacist-Herbalist-Alchemist use appropriately a plant, a mineral or metal so as to unleash their true power-essence? The power-essence of a plant-mineral-metal is manifested in a perfect symbiosis with the Doctor-Pharmacist-Herbalist-Alchemist, who becomes himself, an ingredient amongst other ingredients. In Sanskrit the word indicating the plant-mineral-metal, as an ingredient in a formula, corresponds to Auṣa-dhi, meaning ‘dwelling place’: a transformation takes place in the ‘mind’ Dhi, implemented by Auṣa ‘fire’. The Auṣa-dhi of the Doctor-Pharmacist-Herbalist-Alchemist merges with the Auṣa-dhi of the plant-mineral-metal Then the Doctor-Alchemist is the ‘receptacle’ of consciousness, the crucible of the fire of conscience. Therefore the same Fire of consciousness acts in the ingredients of the formula and in the Doctor-Pharmacist-Herbalist-Alchemist, who himself becomes the activating ingredient of the medicine. The human being is the abode of the transformation of vile matter into life, health, creativity, intuition, fullness and satisfaction. The physical body is itself the greatest mystery and conscience is the transforming factor; if well-regulated and cultivated, it generates health, if badly used will cause disease. In Āyurveda the analysis of the substances composing the Jagat, the ‘unbroken wholeness’ of the multi-verse/manifold universe is based on ten pairs of opposite qualities, Guruvadi Guṇa, but the pair founding the multi-verse constantly raised is the sexual Union of the divine masculine and feminine in his hypostasis, as proposed by Tantric tradition. The different vital substances of animal, mineral and vegetable origin are emanations or manifestations of original fluids consisting in seed of the Supreme God Śiva – Mercury-Vāta and menstrual blood of the goddess Pārvatī - Sulfur - Pitta. The final result of their Union is Ardhanārīśvara – alt - Kapha. Since vital substances, minerals and herbal products are participating in the same flow of the divine nature, vital substances are always interchangeable, rearranging themselves, and perfectible. The program of Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine as stated in first sloka of Caraka Saṁhitā is:

athāto dīrgañjīvityam adhyāyaṃ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ
from now on I will introduce the lesson on the quest for a long life
(C.S., as Sū., 1, 1)

The quest at the basis of ayurvedic research is: what is helpful or harmful to humans so that they can live a long and healthy life that allows him to achieve the aim of life itself? The answer of Vaidya, ayurvedic physicians, is that the vitality is preserved while maintaining the balance of tissues - Dhātu. The word Dhātu means ‘what is supporting us’. The Ayurvedic medicine maintains that there are three ways to heal an individual:

  • through demonic therapies, Asuri, with surgery;
  • by means of human therapies, Manusi, involving the use of herbal medicines;
  • with divine cures, Daivī, characterized by the use of gems, minerals and metals.

Among ayurvedic therapeutic tools there are preparations containing minerals and metals: they support health and heal diseases. The main metals used in Āyurveda are indicated by the same word, Dhātu, to underline their support to heal the tissues. The first of the tissues - Dhātu is the liquid part of blood, the plasma called Rasa. The Rasa Dhātu contains all the necessary nutrients for other tissues - Dhātu, therefore, if it is of good quality it will support your entire body or it will poison it, if polluted. The purpose of any ayurvedic treatment is to keep the Rasa Dhātu in balance. Let’s mention that one of the eight branches of Āyurveda is namely Rasāyana the science of using plants, minerals and metals for the preservation of life and to prevent the decay of tissues - Dhātu. The word Rasāyana, consists of ayana, ‘way’ and rasa which stands for, ‘fluid, essence, emotion’, but particularly the ‘mercury’; Rasāyana is the discipline of Rasa, requiring dedication, study and laboratory practice, as described in details in the texts.

All Rasāyana substances, vegetable or mineral, must undergo several processes. For minerals and metals, which are known to be toxic when used in their native form, to have a Rasāyana effect, they must undergo a series of precise processing, called Samskaras, which deprive them of impurities and allow complete bioavailability, therefore becoming nutrients for the Rasa Dhātu. After undergoing alchemical as well as chemical transformations, minerals and metals can catalyze subtle changes in the metabolism.

The Suśruta Saṁhitā says:

What they call Rasa is the essence produced from fire, extremely thin, coming from the nourishment properly digested (S.S., Sū.14, 2 )

These are, in short, the starting point for a dialogue/comparison between Western Alchemy and Āyurveda.

Article published on Nitrogen 1

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  • Castelot and Ballandras made gold while nobody cared Castelot and Ballandras made gold while nobody cared

    The twenties, Nice, France... Gold! This article comes from a French review that dates from 1927, written by Andre Ibels for the Nouveau Journal de Nice At the end of the five chapters of the article you will find the protestation by a Professor of Engineering at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers in Paris, that accused the scientists of her time of being cowardly.

    We took the article from the Adam Mc Lean website1, probably the best site of alchemy ever. The article was written by Mark House, an American researcher in alchemy, who in the next issue of NitroGeno will write a commentary about this text and the experiments that took place.

    How i succeeded in making gold according to the process of mr. Jollivet Castelot - December 1925
    By A. Ballandras

    Dosage of Gold obtained by the second method.

    The residue, which had been obtained by a mixture of:

    • Silver 10 grams
    • Tin 3 grams
    • Arsenic sulphide 3 grams
    • Antimony sulphide 3 grams

    was crushed as much as possible and subdued (read: subjected) to a treatment of pure chloric acid like in the first method. [Here is a reference to a first method - not presented here - the above being the second method presented by Ballandras from a text, the name and size of which is unknown to me.] However, to completely eliminate the silver and the tin employer, I scrupled to begin the indicated treatments, that is to say that the powder which was obtained having been subdued first to the action of azotic acid then washed with distillated water, then subdued to the action of chloric acid, then once more washed with distillated water, and these different operations were begun once more with another portion of pure azotic acid, and another portion of pure chloric acid after having carefully washed the insoluble residue was subdued to the prolonged action of aqua regalis following:

    Chloric acid - 15 parts/ Azotic acid - 4-5 parts.

    It must be noted that this thing happened during the ebullition (bubbling; boiling) The washed residue contained the slighter part of gold, this thing would be found dissolved in the last liquor, which I obtained. After 18 hours of digestion at the temperature of about 25 degrees, I subdued the mixture to ebullition during 3 hours. After refrigeration, I filtered this on wool of glass and I looked to see if parts were not drawn along in suspense. Finding nothing I proceeded with an analysis of the liquor which I obtained. For that month I made two parts strictly equal of the liquor, the first being destined to qualitative analysis, the other quantitative.

    A) Qualitative Analysis: Assay of usual reagents:

    • Chloride of Tin - Rose colored precipitate
    • Pure Soda in solution - Voluminous yellow reddish precipitate
    • Sulfate of Iron - During ebullition, metallic precipitate, greenish black very dense spangles.

    B) Quantitative Analysis:

    The second part of the liquor destined to undergo quantitative analysis was treated by H2S when the most important part of chloric and azotic acids were driven out by a prolonged ebullition.

    This time the liquor was slightly acid and had a weak smell of chlorine. I called H2S into action; about 20 minutes long. The black precipitate which I obtained was received by a filter paper carefully washed first with well distillated water, then with hot water and at last with chloric acid. After drying in the vapor-bath, the precipitate was put in a capsule of porcelain and heated in a mould at about 850 degrees, so as to destroy the sulphides precipitated with gold i.e., the arsenic and the antimony. These were naturally decomposed by the temperature of 850 degrees to which it had been subdued during two hours. The quantity of gold obtained was 0.238 grains. The half of the liquor having served for the dissolution having been turned to good use for the qualitative analysis it followed that the whole quantity of gold contained in the original liquor should be equal to double the quantity obtained. i.e., 0.476 grains of gold per 10 grams of silver employed, yield then was 0.476 grains of gold per gram silver. {I must point out that the obtaining of gold is not a mathematical regularity, that is to say, the purport (proportion) of residue changes according to the conditions of heating.}

    old drugstore

    2) Dry method

    I acted on 22 grains of chemically pure silver supplied by Messrs. Poulenc of Paris and on 3.5 grains of chemically pure orpiment supplied by the Pharmacie Central of Paris. The mixture was heated to about 1600 C in a metal smelting furnace for about ¾ hour. The residue obtained was again melted for an hour with the addition of orpiment, after having been hammered for half an hour and re-melted with the addition of small quantities of orpiment every 10 minutes, it was withdrawn. After cooling and the addition of chemically pure antimony sulphide, it was again put back into the furnace, small quantities of orpiment being thrown in every 5 minutes. The residue obtained had a dark metallic tint, after hammering it became slightly golden.

    Analysis of the Residue

    The residue dissolved in chemically pure 36 degree HNO3 first cold and then hot, gave an abundant pulverulent deposit. This deposit after being washed and treated with HN3 to dissolve the arsenic and antimony salts was completely dissolved in aqua regia. The liquor after being chlorinated and filtered was subjected to the reagents of Platinum and gold.

    Mr. Andre Vandenberghe who was acting as preparator for this experiment, had thought that in accordance with the law of evolution of matter, the transmutation of bodies into gold should be preceded or accompanied by their transmutation into platinum. According to Mendeleiev’s progression, we have Pt - 195.2 and Au - 197.2

    The reactions of gold were quite characteristic; the reactions of platinum also seemed to reveal its presence. The quantity of gold obtained in this experiment was estimated at about one gram. I emit the hypothesis that the arsenic acts as a catalyzer and the sulphur as a ferment in this transmutation.

    Jollivet Castelot, Douai, December 1925

    A recent experiment in transmutation

    By M. Jollivet Castelot

    All my research work on transmutation since 1908 has started from the fact that gold is found in nature associated with antimony and arsenic sulphides as well as with Tellurium which is considered as the mineralizer of gold. I therefore considered it logical to introduce Tellurium into the artificial combination of silver and arsenic and antimony sulphides that I make. The following is an account of one of my recent experiments:bI prepared a mixture composed of 6 grams of chemically pure silver, 1 gram of native orpiment (Arsenic trisulphide A52S3) free from gold, 1 gram of chemically pure antimony sulphide, and 2 grams of chemically pure Tellurium. I added pure silica to the usual fluxes. This mixture was heated in the furnace in the usual way for one hour at a temperature of 1100 C (approximately) [note: parenthesis are not mine AMWH].

    The residue obtained was of a blackish grey color with violet reflections. It weighed 6.420 grains. When subjected to the action of nitric acid, the residue was attacked with difficulty and greenish metallic particles became detached. The solution was then decanted and a greenish-yellow residue remained which was kept at the boiling point in nitric acid for several hours, after decanting off the liquor once again, the residue, which had not changed, was washed, treated with ammonia and then subjected to the action of aqua regia in which it was entirely dissolved after boiling for several hours.

    The solution after being chlorinated and then subjected to the reagents of gold, gave the following:

    • Potassium Ferrocyanide - greenish brown coloration.
    • Tin Protochloride + Tin Bichloride - a yellow bronze coloration and then a metallic deposit of the same shade.
    • Ammonia - coloration and precipitate identical with the preceding one and which became transformed into a yellow deposit of fulminating gold at the end of a few hours.
    • Formol - light yellowish black metallic precipitate.
    • Peroxide of Hydrogen - light very finely divided brownish black precipitate.
    • Oxalic acid - yellowish black precipitate.
    • Ferrous Sulphate - golden yellow metallic precipitate.
    • Caustic Potash - a fairly abundant golden yellow metallic precipitate at the end of a few hours.

    The presence of gold was therefore very distinctly shown and a remarkable feature was that the metal obtained possessed the yellow bronze color of gold telluride and of native silver. I had therefore produced a bronze colored gold in my laboratory by artificial means thanks to the intervention of the Tellurium.

    “A certain amount of gold was certainly lost in this test as in all my previous tests, for it is known that arsenic, antimony and Tellurium entrain gold in their fusion and their volatilization. In order to obviate this disadvantage, I had thought of making the vapors of arsenic and antimony sulphides and of Tellurium act on the silver in fusion in a closed vessel by means of a special device, but I have been forced to give up this scheme for the time being on account of the difficulties met with for the construction of this apparatus, the cost of which would be very high. I consider it certain that if the vapors were allowed to bubble through the melted silver, a much higher yield of gold would be obtained than that I have obtained hitherto by an imperfect and too rapid contact of the bodies in presence; while it is undoubtedly necessary to make them react on one another in the state of vapor in a closed vessel.” Jollivet Castelot, Douai, April 24th, 1926

    The chemical manufacture of gold account of one of my last experiments in the transmutation of silver into gold

    As a sequel to my previous work on the artificial synthesis of gold, I have introduced Tin into these new tests as it is also often associated with gold in nature. The following is a description of this new process, thanks to which the percentage of gold obtained destroys all the objections that are raised with regard to impurities.

    I made an intimate mixture of 6 grams of chemically pure silver of which the purity was tested by a professional chemist, the Head of the laboratory of one of the most important Works of the region. 2 Grams of antimony sulphide, 1 gram of orpiment, and 1 gram of Tin; all these bodies were obtained from the Establishment Poulenc of Paris and were chemically pure. I added the usual fluxes and then heated the whole in a crucible in the furnace to about 1100 C fort2 about 1 hour, twice adding a small quantity of antimony sulphide.

    The residue obtained was treated for a long period in pure 36 degree nitric acid, first cold and then at the boiling point.

    The insoluble residue was next washed with distilled water, treated with ammonia, washed again and finally treated for a long period with boiling aqua regia. The liquor when filtered and subjected to the reagents of gold showed the presence of this metal in the form of deposits3 which maybe estimated at 0.05 grains in all, which is very high considering the 6 grams of silver employed.

    With Oxalic acid, the solution turned violet and gave an abundant black pulverulent precipitate.

    With Hydrogen Peroxide, a very finely divided precipitate of gold.

    With Formic Aldehyde, a brown precipitate of gold.

    With Tin Protochloride, an intense violet pink coloration.

    The addition of Tin to the other bodies has certainly facilitated the reactions of the gold and increased the yield of this metal which can be manufactured artificially by my process.

    It would be easy to show that, given the respective prices of gold and of the other substances that are used in my process to produce it, a profit could be obtained if the process were worked industrially; all the more so as the greater part of the silver employed can be recovered at each test.

    I believe I now hold the key to the regular and even industrial manufacture of gold. But the industrial question is voluntarily put aside from my thoughts, for my only object is the search for pure scientific truth.
    Jolivet Castelot, Douai, April 15th, 1927

    Table of reactions


    • C2H2O4 - Abundant deposit of metallic gold.
    • H2O2 (basic) - Brown precipitate.
    • K4 Fe Cy6 . 3H2O - Green coloration.
    • Na2CO3 (in ebullition) - Brownish precipitate.
    • NH3 - Reddish yellow precipitate (Au); topped by a yellow precipitate (Pt).
    • KOH - Reddish yellow precipitate (Au); topped by a yellow precipitate (Pt).
    • SnCL2.2H2O - Solution colored brown with reactions of platinum salts and deposit of black powder.
    • KI - Solution becomes reddish followed by a discharge of iodine and a brown precipitate (Platinum iodide).

    Extracts from the press

    “It must be admitted that it is extraordinary and incomprehensible that France for the past ten years has refused to take an interest in the experiments of a rich and universally respected scientist who has given proofs of his worth, even after the conclusive experiments carried out by an official chemist, Mr Ballandras of Lyons.”
    Andre Ibels, La Razon, June 8, 1927

    It is unjust, gentlemen, that a scientist of the value of Mr. Jollivet Castelot should be held in suspicion at the very moment when he is losing his sight through overwork. To continue his work, however embarrassing it may be to yours, is a sacred duty.”
    Declaration by Mademoiselle M.L. of Paris. Professor of Engineering at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, Paris, at the Chemical Congress in Paris. October 1927

    “Oh! it is not that Mr. Jollivet Castelot has not attempted to make his invention known in France, on the contrary, he has written leaflets and books and has founded reviews for this purpose... Not only was he not taken seriously, but he was also a butt to the sarcasm and even to the insults of the official scientists in general and of the Nobelist Perrin in particular. The Acedemie des Sciences itself - as usual - refused to record his communication.”
    Andre Ibels, Nouveau Journal de Nice, October 16, 1927

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