Mātṛkābhedatantram and its alchemical ideas
In the Indian alchemical literature, apart from the well-known texts which are generally classed under the Rasaśāstra, are a few tāntrik texts which deal with alchemical ideas in consonance with their psycho-experimental-symbolic presentation of tāntrik ideals. The Mātṛkābhedatantram, a tāntrik text in Sanskrit, is one of them. The main alchemical ideas of this text relate to transmutation processes, preparation as well as powers of mercurial compounds and the rasaliṅga. The concept of rasaliṅga is clearly suggestive of the male-female symbolism associated with mercury and sulphur respectively Significantly, in the opening chapter, the text makes a reference, among others, to Cīnatantra and its precepts, and its precepts, indicating thus a possible transmission of mercury-based ideas and practices between the southern parts of China as well as their adjoining areas and India. On the basis of the tāntrik elements as well as what are generally known as `intentional language' expressions (sandhyā bhāṣā) presented in the text, the probable date of the Mātṛkābhedatantram may be eleventh or twelfth century A.D., perhaps belonging to the Nātha-Siddha cult of Indian tāntrism.
Vol. 3, no. 1.