Rasāyana

alchemy

Don’t look to the West for any answers, my mother said to me today.

Love falls under the Sringara rasa, and thus must include all elements that make it so. It’s simple chemistry, if you change the composition, it becomes something else. In ancient Indian poetry, love without an earthly reality is devotion. Devotion, then, has two branches: devotion to something that has form (saguna); devotion to something formless (nirguna).

Rasa, that elusive Sanskrit word that has baffled generations of scholars, therein lies the answer. Essence, taste, the underlying composition. The ancients of the subcontinent called its alchemy, Rasāyana Shāstra. The path of rasa. Even now, this is the modern Hindi word for the discipline of chemistry.

Dear India, hold my hand. There is no one else.

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