Rasavatham ரசவாதம் – Alchemy in Siddha Medicine System

Alchemy (Rasavatham) in Siddha Medicine:

What does Rasavatham ரசவாதம் Mean?

In Tamil Siddha Medicine system Rasavatham ரசவாதம் means Alchemy. Rasa denotes mercury and vatham means preparation of gold from mercury or other metals. Alchemy is called by different names in Siddha System, as Vagaara viththai வகார வித்தை, Yema viththai ஏமவித்தை, Rasavatham ரசவாதம், Thanga viththai தங்க வித்தை etc…Rasavatham is alchemy in siddha medicine system

வாதி மகன் வைத்தியன் An alchemist son is a siddha physician -Tamil Proverb


The above proverb clearly explains that Alchemy and siddha Medicine are inseparable. So essentiallly an alchemist’s son is a physician. Also Tamil siddha alchemy is the front runner for Chinese alchemy, European alchemy and Arabian. In Siddha Medicine system, Alchemy had been found and developed into a science ancillary to Medicine and Chemistry. It was found useful in the preparation of medicines for curing all sorts of sufferings, spiritual as well as corporeal and also in transmutation of baser metals into gold.

Alchemy is a grand touchstone of Siddhar’s Science. Siddhars were Masters in the art of alchemy and it is done with high reverence because of its spiritual origin. They did it as an art not for material advantages but to see immortality or divine truth. So in order to be a alchemist, he should necessarily be spiritualist.Spiritualist doesn’t mean religious. In fact Siddhars were never religious they were even opposed to caste systems which can be inferred from Siddhar Sivavaakkiyars work.

மருவாத பூசைவிட்டால் வாதமில்லை! மவுனமான பொருள்விட்டால் ஞானமில்லை!! கொங்கணர் வாத காவியம் 

Siddhars were alchemists for following reasons.

1) To prepare medicines of high potency for killer diseases.

2) To prepare metals like gold, Silver, Copper of high grade quality for medicines.

3) To financially secure them for their yogic life, as they can not do any heavy physical work.

4) To prepare Rejuvenation Medicines which will lengthen their longevity.

5) To safeguard their body from any poisonous bites, diseases they took alchemical medicines.

6) To stabilize the Vaasi(prana) in their yogic life of VAASIYOGAM.


Who can be a Alchemist or Rasavaathi ரசவாதி?

  • An alchemist should necessarily be a spiritualist and so, strong will, benevolence, charity and above all, purity of mind is essential.
  • An Alchemist should not have avarice or greediness for gold or money.
  • An aclhemist should be a born alchemist, taking birth at a particular constellation of stars, according to his former karma.
  • The principles of five elements on which the product of alchemy is based is in every way identical with those comprised in the generation of a child. If any defect excess or other changes in the five elementary principles of the alchemical process take place, it is a failure just like the abortion.

Types of Alchemists -Rasavathi’s ரசவாதி.

  1. Religious Alchemist-ஆத்தும வாதி one who guides the mankind to the study of soul and gain salvation.
  2. Philisopical Alchemist-உண்மை வாதி one who seeks to transmute metals into gold and thereby prove the unity of all things.
  3. Scientific Alchemist-இரசாயன வாதி one who desires to discover the properties of metals.
  4. Mercenary Alchemist –பேராசை வாதி one who hopes to amass unlimited riches.
  5. Chimerical Alchemist –திருட்டு வாதி one who indulges in the vagaries and trickeries of the art of transmuting metals.


Siddhars followed and preached two types of alchemy

1)Alchemy within human body.

2)Alchemy of metals.

Alchemy within human body:

மனம் பழுத்தால் பொன் பழுக்கும்.

It is a psychological alchemy where it is comparable to that of practice of yoga (Vaasiyogam). In this type of alchemy the inner energy of human body is trans mutated into energy of high level or of union with god. Here the base components like sulfur, mercury is comparable to that of five senses and on concentration of mind and relentless vaasiyogam yogic nectar or ambrosial fluid is secreted which is the real gold.

Alchemy of Metals in siddha.

The base metals are converted in gold or of high grade pure metals or oxides for preparation of medicines. Mercury இரசம் , Sulfur கந்தகம், Salt (Muppu) குரு மருந்து were used. Siddhars were adept in this type of alchemy and different versions were innovated, namely

  1. சிடிகை வேதை
  2. மாற்றுயர்வு வேதை
  3. கட்டு வேதை
  4. தூம்பிர வேதை
  5. குரு வேதை
  6. குளிகை வேதை
  7. பரிசன வேதை
  8. களங்கு வேதை etc.

Thumb rule for Alchemy of metals:

Siddhars in their alchemical preparations were closely following some established principles as follows,

  1. காரம் விட்டால் உருக்கினம் போச்சு, no fusion without flux
  2. வீரம் விட்டால் நீற்றினம் போச்சு, no calcination without corrosive sublimate
  3. புடம் விட்டால் சாரணை போச்சு, no animation without conflagration
  4. உப்பை விட்டால் கட்டு போச்சு, no fixation without salt
  5. இரசம் விட்டால் வாதம் போச்சு, no alchemy without mercury
  6. சாரம் விட்டால் செயநீர் போச்சு, no strong water without sal-ammoniac
  7. துரிசு விட்டால் குருவே போச்சு, no quintessence without blue vitriol
  8. கெந்தி விட்டால் வர்ணம் போச்சு, no coloration without sulfur
  9. ஊதுதல் விட்டால் சுண்ணம் போச்சு, no calcium compounds without blowing
  10. சிராவணம் விட்டால் சத்து போச்சு, no essence without sravanam (an ointment prepared from the bile of various living creatures mixed with other secret ingredients.)