Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Vedic Concept of Soma.
Ramanathan, A. S. (1995).
Jaipur, India: Rajasthan Patrika, Ltd.
Description: Hardcover, xii + 86 pages.
Contents: Preface, From the Publisher by Karpur Chandra Kulish, 7 chapters.
Note: Numerous diacritcal marks are not included.
Excerpt(s): We shall therefore attempt in the present book, to present a comprehensive and coherent account of the concept of soma, as formulated by our sages. Soma is an extremely interesting concept from our point of view. Most of the existing research literature has done little to bring out its true functions, as conceived by our sages. We come across statements in literature which are extremely diverse in character regarding the nature and functions of soma. Is it a drink prepared from plant juice? Or is it the Moon? Or is it pure radiation coming down from interstellar regions? Does it mean waters or food or amrta? Does it constitute the life principle? Is it manas or prana or vak pervading the entire space? And above all, is it the real link between gravitation and electrical phenomena according to the Vedic seers? Well, we do not need any more guesses for causing confusion in the mind of the reader. Yes, soma is really a difficult concept. Yet, if we proceed systematically and study the Vedas, Brahmanas and the Upanisads with cross references, we can to some extent understand it. Our task is rendered more difficult because of many contradictory statements in the literature and we have to proceed cautiously and sift the material useful to us from the vast heterogeneous literature, which baffles any scientist. (pages 12)
Soma playing the role of manas wills the bringing into existence of the creative forces. Soma playing the role of vak, exhibits stickiness and a strong capacity to attach itself to prana. Together with prana it activates the creative forces and brings life into existence. Since agni is prana-oriented it feeds agni and serves his interests as a friend and servant. As food it nourishes all forms of life. it mixes freely with water and is responsible for all sweetness (madhurya) in food. It enters the herbs and provides people as elixir, which will give long and healthy life when consumed. In short, soma provides everything that will ensure healthy species of life in all forms in this world. It covers everything that is conducive to healthy and long life. if a man wants to enjoy spiritual and material prosperity in this world, he should worship Soma. Soma will bring into existence any good thing in this world when the right type of agni-soma interaction takes place. Soma can therefore be defined as 'satyvataraya agnau suyate tasmat somah' i.e. soma is that, which is made to react with agni to bring into existence any object which can be called satya. Soma itself is said to exist always in the rta state.
If soma could provide all good things in this world (i.e. samsara) why do some people want mukti or liberation from samsara? This we shall answer in our next book.
In view of what has been stated above, it is more appropriate to consider soma as a wonderful concept of the Vedic seers rather than as a reality. ...
The author would like to translate the above rk in the following way:
'People think that the juice, which they extract from the herb i.e. the soma creeper, and consume, is the real soma which the brahmanas knew is not consumed by anybody. It is a mere concept.
If however, soma is a reality, it is yet to be discovered. (pages 85-86)
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This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP