This chapter examines the tantric dimensions found within Sanskrit alchemical textual tradition called rasaśāstra. This canon of literature, which dates to the 11th century to today abounds in references to early tantric alchemists, the use of mantra and maṇḍala within alchemical healing practices, and the protection of children from illness caused by demonic possession. The deities of rasaśāstra tend toward the tantric as well, with familiar deities such as Bhairava, Tripurasundarī, and Cāmuṇḍā worshipped during the processing of medical mercurials. This chapter explores the rasaśāstra canon for tantric elements and traces the how the texts combines herbal, metal, mineral, and spiritual medicines to provide a more complete understanding of both healing and religion in the medieval and pre-modern South Asian context.
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|