Treatise on Rasashastra mention about the eight natural impurities or doshas of Parad. They are
Apart from the eight mentioned natural impurities of Parada, Rasashastra text mention about additional seven impurities/defects of Parada in form of encapsulation or external coverings or layers. These layers are known as Kanchukas and since they are totaled 7 in number they are refered to as Sapta (7)-Kanchuka (coverings) dosha (impurities) of Parada. In brief these coverings are baically mixture of other metals in powdered form with Parada which cause following 7 disorders in the human body if Parada is consumed without getiing rid of these impurities;
Parada due to its mystical importance in Ayurveda and Rasasshastra is briefly used for two purposes ; Deha-vadha (Medicine, body rejuvenation) and Loh-vadha (Occult, Alchemical and Spiritual upliftment). To completely attain all the purposes, Ayurveda texts inform about Ashtadash-Sanskar (Eighteen process) required to purify mercury. Of these, only the first eight are recommended for Deh-vadha(medicinal purposes) while the remaining ten steps, which are obscure and have occult overtones, are used only for purifying mercury in such a way that it can transform vulgar metals into gold (Loh-vadha).
The first eight steps to preapre Parada for Deh-vadha (consumption as medicine, rasayana) comprise of:
The remaining 10 sanskaras (treatments) which are speciffically used for Loh-vadha (alchemical , spiritual and occult purposes) are as follows.
Since, NLAM is strictly concerned with medicinal uses of Parada we would be discussing only the eight steps of medicinal purification. Readers can refer to standard textbooks on Indian Alchemy and Parada for further details.
Chitraka, Pippali, Maricha, Aradraka, Saindhav Lavan and Triphala are blended together and made into paste. Parad 16 times the weight of the prepared herbal paste is added with this paste, thoroughly blended and the mixture rolled into a ball. The ball is tied in a poultice and steamed in dolayantra filled with Sauveer (see glossary) for three days. Each day fresh herbal paste and Kaanji is used. This process of steaming Parada with herbs is known as Svedan Sanskar which helps loosen or clear the impurities present in Parada.
Parada obtained after Svedan sanskar is further vigourously rubbed individually with the following ingredients;Triphala, Sarshap, Rasona, Aradrak, Lavan (Saindhav Lavan) and Soot (Jute or any cloth with rough surface). This process is known as Mardana Sanskar which helps clear Parada of all impurities that might not have been cleared by Svedan process or might have loosely been attached with Parada after the Svedan process.
The third process after Mardana includes further blending or processing of Parada with decoctions prepared from Chitraka, Kumari and Triphala for 1 week each (or collectively one week as suggested by some authors). This process is known as Murchana Sanskar which completly eradicates Parada with all its impurities and gives it a pulverised form. In this form the ever mobile metal looks stagnant ang gives an appearance of fainting or swooning hence the name (Murchan== faint, swoon)
Parada needs to regain its natural mobile properties and form which is achieved from this process. The Murchit Parada is steamed with Kaanji (see glossary) and thoroughly washed (The time-span for this procedure is not exactly clear). The process gives Parad its normal form eliminating all abnormalities. Hence the process is known as Utthapana Sanskar (or one of upliftment or elevation). Some authors suggest that Parad gains upward direction after this treatment.
Parada in this process is treated to 3 types of Patana-karma (sublimation process; upward, downward and oblique). This procedure is carried out in a special set of appratus known as Patan-Yantra which are differnt for each process.
The upward sublimation process is carried out in Urdhvapatan (Urdhava==up)-Yantra (see glossary).Parada is mixed with Tamra bhasma (1/4th the wieight of Parada) and Kaanji and thoroughly blended. The mixture is then aplaced in the lower vessel of Urdhvapatanyantra and heated. At the end of the process Parad is collected from top vessel. This procedure is said to completely eliminate the and Vang impurities of Parada.
The downward sublimation process is carried out in Adha (adha==down)-Patan Yantra(see glossary). Parada is mixed with Sarshap, Saindhava Lavan,Shobhanjan Beej(Beej == seeds) and Triphala (All ingredients taken 1/16th weight of Parad) and the mixture is thoroughly blended in Kaanji. The Parada paste is applied on the inner side of the upper vessel of Adhapatan Yantra and the lower vessel is kept immersed in water. The upper vessel is subjected to heat which results in collectin of Parad in the lower vessel.
Tiryakpatan sanskaraThe third process of oblique sublimation is carried out in Tiryak (tiryak==oblique)-Patanyantra (see glossary). Parada procured from above two procedures is mixed with Abarakh (Dhanyabrakh, 1/4th the weight of Parada) and thoroughly blended. The Parad-Abrakh paste is transferred to the Tiryak-Patan Yantra and heated to obtain Parada as the end result in a more pure form.
All the three yantras are distinctively comparable to modern apparatus used for process of sublimation. Patan sanskar is specifically done to help Parad get rid of its Naag (lead) and Vanga (tin) doshas (impurities).
This specific sanskara or process is said to implement logic or awaken Parada after its previous treatments which give Parada its powers to move in all directions. This process is said to curtail Parad of its audacity and move in an instructed manner in the body when used as medicine or likewise. To accomplish this , Parada procured from the previous Patana sanskara is tied in a poultice with help of bark procured from the Bhurjapatra tree. The poultice is then steamed in salt-water (water mixed with Sindhav Lavan) or saline water. Here it is not clearly mentioned about the period the process of steaming must be undertaken. Few treatise mention to expose the entire mixture to heat treatment equal of one Laghuput (see gossary). Certain scholars denote to Bodhana sanskara as removing impotency of Parada which occurs due to its previous sanskaras of Mardana (rubbing) etc.
Niyamana sanskar is done to remove any defects of instability that may have been remained with Parada after the Bodhana sanskar. This sanskara can be looked upon as restrainment or curtailment of the fickle nature of Parada (Metaphorically stating as to remiving the mecurial nature of Mercury). Parada is steamed with Bhringaraja, Rason, Navsagar, Amlika and Musta (Here it is not specific if Parada needs to be steamed in juices/ decoction of the above mentioned ingredients or mixed with their individual/combined paste and steamed.). The process needs to be carried out over a period of 3 days which is said to purify Parada of its Kanchuka, Bhushali and Mala impurities.
Parada procured after the Niyamana sanskar is considered free of its natural impurities and its inherint unpredictable properties. However it still needs to be prepared for combining with other ingredients to form complex and compound formulations. To acheive this, Parada is steamed with the help of Dolayantra filled with Kaanji /Arnaal (see glossary) for 1Prahara (3 hours, see glossary). This process is known as Deepana-sanskara which makes Parada capable of digesting, swallowing or amalgamating other entities. Deepana is the last Parad sanskara for Deh-Vada. Parad procured after Deepana sanskar can be used as medicine.
Certain texts mention of few more process like Jarana(Amalgamation) and Murchana (Swooning) to further potentiate the medicinal limits of Parada. Theses process are specidfically done by amalgamating Parada with Gandhak (Sulphur) and treating the mixture to various methods of heating. Readers can refer specific texts for further information