Presentation by Dagmar Wujastyk: On medicine and alchemy in the Kalyāṇakāraka

12.07.2018

Presentation by Dagmar Wujastyk: On medicine and alchemy in the Kalyāṇakāraka

World Sanskrit Conference, Panel 22: Yoga and Ayurveda, convened by Dagmar Wujastyk and Philipp A. Maas

Thursday, July 12, 3:00 - 3:30, Allard Forum, UBC

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The Kalyāṇakāraka, a medical treatise probably composed in the ninth century by the Digambara Jain monk Ugrāditya, has a number of unusual features. The most prominent of these is the absence of meat and alcohol from its formulae. The treatise is also the earliest medical work to detail procedures for processing mercury, using specific technical terms that show an advanced stage of alchemical thought. If the dating of the Kalyāṇakāraka is correct, this work may predate the earliest alchemical works known to us, pointing to a very early connection between medicine and alchemy.

In my presentation, I will introduce the most salient features of the alchemical processes described in the Kalyāṇakāraka and will discuss how they are integrated into the medical framework of the treatise. I will also explore how this compares with the integration of medical elements into early alchemical literature.

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