Shilajit/Shilajeet can be translated to mean invincible rock, rock-like. Rasayana, also a Sanskrit word, translates to: “The Path of Essence”. Lastly, Amrita translates to “immortality”.
For those of you interested in the alchemical origins of Shilajit, it is important to understand the Indian Ayurvedic concept of the Rasayana / Rasayan, and Amrita. (If you want complete info on Shilajit visit the hompage)
So what is a rasayana in the modern context? It is any medicinal compound with powerful restorative properties that can be applied to a broad range of ailments. In the traditional sense, a rasayana was more than just a curative substance, it was a metaphysical tincture instilled with mystical alchemical attributes and ingredients. So, as in common in alchemy, rasayans were extremely complex elixirs that required esoteric knowledge and skills to concoct.
Amrita is not unlike the classical Greek ambrosia, or drink of the gods. It refers to a holy substance or nectar, that when consumed, sustains immortality. Amrit, in modern form, now refers to holy drinks or blessed food to be consumed before religious ceremonies in places like Tibet, China, and India.
Let’s return to “The Path of Essence”. This interpretation basically implies that the rasayan, when properly formulated and used, would grant mastery over all ailments and instill long life in the user. The ancient Ayurvedic manual called the Charaka Samhita (the cornerstone of classical Ayurvedic medicine) details the ingredients, and preparation of many different rasayans. Unfortunately, most of these formulas required the inclusion of rare substances many of which we now know to be toxic, such as mercury.
The texts however refer to a “true rasayana”, one that doesn’t require complex preparation and ingredients. This amazing substance was claimed to have the power to overcome any disease or sickness afflicted upon humankind. What was this holy elixir? You guessed it, Shilajit. This amazing substance, which seeped from the stones themselves, required virtually no modification to impart its benefits to the user. (Shilajeet requires some purification before consumption, to remove heavy metals, you can read Is Shilajit Safe?: here) The earth itself had done the hard work of alchemically transforming shilajit rasayan, and produced a compound that, after thousands of years, is still considered the most nutrient dense mineral substance on the planet.
Shilajit’s continued use as a rasayan it a great testament to its effectiveness! Almost all of the other formulations referenced in the ancient Ayurvedic manuals have fallen out of use or been replaced by modern herbal equivalency. There has been no replacement, herbal or otherwise, for Shilajeet after all this time. In fact, Shilajit, as an Amrit, is still consumed as part of a sacramental rasayana drink in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism today. Nepali Sherpas have counted Shilajit as an essential part of their survival, and attribute their great strength and longevity in no small part to the substance! Children in Nepal drink warm milk with Shilajeet as a daily part of their breakfast.
Classical uses aside, Shilajeet is one of the most widely distributed “Ayurvedic” rasayan medicines used throughout India today. As long as users continue to experience the many benefits of Shilajit this amazing compound will persist well into the future. In addition to its wide use in the East, Western medicine is taking more and more interest in Shilajeet. Clinical studies and research here in the West is slowly starting to pick up pace, and the results so far confirm many benefits that scientific skeptics originally dismissed as unlikely. (Read about Shilajit clinical research and confirmed benefits in our article Does Shilajit Work?)
If you’re considering trying Shilajit as a supplement take a look at our Recommended Products. Having sampled Shilajit from many places in India, Pakistan, Tibet and even Bhutan, the products we recommend are without a doubt the most complete and potent formulas we’ve tried.