Refining Gold

John Richards jhr at
Mon Nov 13 09:42:28 UTC 1995

> I am currently researching sloka 11.14.25 of the Bhagavat-purana which
> compares the purification of the soul to the process of purifying gold by
> fire. The Sanskrit (without sandhi) is:
> yathaa agninaa hema malam jahaati
> dhmaatam punah svam bhajate ca ruupam
> "As gold, when smelted (blown) by fire, gives up impurity and again takes on
> its own form"
> I urgently need the following information and I will be extremely grateful
> for any help:
> 1. In ancient India, how was "new" gold obtained, i.e. by mining, panning
> etc?


I'm afraid I can't give you the information you require, but the
following contributory "evidence" may be of interest to you.

In the Buddhist Pali Canon, there is a discourse of the Buddha
(Anguttara Nikaya III.16) where he uses a similar analogy, saying that
there are 5 impurities in gold that make it no longer soft, workable,
and bright (pabhassara), but brittle, namely - iron (ayo), copper (loham),
tin (tipum), lead (siisam) and silver (sajjham).

Similarly, the 5 hindrances stop the mind (citta) from becoming soft and
workable, and resplendent.

By the way, isn't there something wrong with the first word of the
second line of your quotation?

John Richards
Stackpole Elidor (UK)
jhr at


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