By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Rasavidya, RasavidyA, Rasavidyaa
Rasavidyā literally means ‘science of chemicals,’ ‘alchemy’.
Certain desires like making the physical body not only strong and healthy but also live eternally, seem to be inherent in the human psyche. So also is the desire to convert base metals into gold. Some sections of the scientists and doctors of ancient and medieval country seem to have believed that mercury, sulphur and mica possessed certain extraordinary qualities which were to be rediscovered. This gradually developed into a new branch of science called Rasavidyā. Gorakhnāth, Nāgārjuna and a few others were considered to be experts in this field of science.
A branch of philosophy, known as Raseśvara Darśana has been built around this doctrine. It propagates the theory that rasa and abhraka produced from the divine bodies of Śiva and Pārvatī, when mixed properly, can destroy death and poverty.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore