Raseśvara

Raseśvara was a philosophical tradition which arose around the commencement of Christian era.[1] It advocated the use of mercury to make the body immortal. This school was based on the texts Rasārṇava, Rasahṛidaya and Raseśvarasiddhānta, composed by Govinda Bhagavat and Sarvajña Rāmeśvara.

Overview

Raseśvaras, like many other schools of Indian philosophy, believed that liberation was identity of self with God and freedom from transmigration. However, unlike other schools, Raseśvaras thought that liberation could only be achieved by using mercury to acquire an imperishable body.[2] Hence, they called mercury pārada or the means of conveyance beyond transmigratory existence.[3] Extrication of soul to Raseśvaras was a cognizable act and therefore, for liberation it was necessary to maintain an imperishable bodily life. They used scriptural evidence from the Purusha Sukta and Puranas to support this point of view.[4]

Usage of Mercury

Mercury was sacred to the Raseśvaras, so much so that they considered disparaging mercury blasphemy.[5] Rasahṛidaya mentions mercury to be a creation by Shiva and Gauri whereas, Rasārṇava holds the worship of mercury to be more beatific than the worship of all symbols of Shiva.[5] Raseśvaras described eighteen methods of treating mercury — sweating, rubbing, swooning, fixing, dropping, coercion, restraining, kindling, going, falling into globules, pulverising, covering, internal flux, external flux, burning, colouring, pouring, and eating it by parting and piercing it. Mercury could applied to both blood and body.[6]

Raseśvarasiddhānta described three modes in which mercury could be used together with air — swooning, dead and bound. Swooning mercury and air were thought to carry diseases, dead they were thought to restore life and bound they were thought to give the power of levitation. Mercury was described as swooning when it was of various colours and free from excessive volatility. It was dead when it showed wetness, thickness, brightness, heaviness and mobility. And it was bound when it was continuous, fluent, luminous, pure, heavy, and if it parted under friction.[7]

However, it is now known that exposure to mercury and its compounds causes hydrargyria or mercury poisoning.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Pandey and Iyer, p. iv.
  2. ^ Dash, p .38-39
  3. ^ Cowell and Gough. p. 137
  4. ^ Cowell and Gough, p. 141-142.
  5. ^ a b Cowell and Gough, p. 143.
  6. ^ Cowell and Gough, p. 140
  7. ^ Cowell and Gough, p.139

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.