Soma: The Lost Drink of A God

The identity of the ancient plant known as Soma is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the field of religious history. Common in the religious lore of both ancient India and Persia, the sacred Soma plant was considered a God. When Soma was pressed and made into a drink, the ancient worshipper who imbibed it gained the powerful attributes of this God.

The drink was an important ritual drink among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities. In the Avesta, Soma has the entire Yašt 20 and Yasna9-11 dedicated to it.

The RigVeda calls the plant the “God for Gods” seemingly giving him precedence above Indra and the other Gods.

Hindu God "Soma"

In the Vedas, Soma is portrayed as sacred and as a god (deva). The god, the drink, and the plant refer to the same entity. Drinking Soma produces immortality. Amrita is phonetically and conceptually very similar to the Greek ambrosia; both is what the gods drink, and what made them deities. Indra and Agni are portrayed as consuming Soma in copious quantities. The consumption of Soma by human beings is well attested in Vedic ritual.

It is described as prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. In both Vedic and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity.

There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the identity of the original plant. There is no solid consensus on the question, although most Western experts outside the Vedic and Avestan religious traditions now seem to favour a species of Ephedra, perhaps Ephedra sinica.

In Hindu art, the god Soma was depicted as a bull or bird, and sometimes as an embryo, but rarely as an adult human. In Hinduism, the god Soma evolved into a lunar deity. Full moon is the time to collect and press the divine drink. The moon is also the cup from which the gods drink Soma, thus identifying Soma with the moon god Chandra. A waxing moon meant Soma was recreating himself, ready to be drunk again. Alternatively, Soma’s twenty-seven wives were the star goddesses, the Nakshatras – daughters of the cosmic progenitor Daksha – who told their father that he paid too much attention to just one of them, Rohini. Daksha subsequently cursed Soma to wither and die, but the wives intervened and the death became periodic and temporary, and is symbolized by the waxing and waning of the moon. Monday is called Somavāram in Sanskrit and modern Indian languages, such as Hindi, Bengali, Kannada Marathi and Telugu, and alludes to the importance of this god in Hindu spirituality.

The Sushruta Samhita localizes the best Soma in the upper Indus and Kashmir region.

The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi Program involves a notion of “Soma”, allegedly based on the Rigveda.

Candidates For The Soma Plant:

There has been much speculation as to the original Proto-Indo-Iranian Sauma plant. Many descriptions of Soma are associated with excitation. Soma is associated with the warrior-god Indra, and has been drunk by him before his battle with Vṛtra. For these reasons, there are stimulant (amphetamine like) plants as well as entheogenic plants among the candidates that have been suggested. Soma is also often associated with Light and Indra is the “Lord of Light” as shown in the following verses from the RgVeda: RV 8.82.25 For thee, O Lord of Light, are shed these Soma-drops, and grass is strewn. Bring Indra to his worshippers. May Indra give thee skill, and lights of heaven, wealth to his votary. And priests who praise him: laud ye him.

A more plausible, realistic explanation may be that the plant is opium, the region’s best known and most cultivated narcotic crop. “Soma” is Vedic Sanskrit for “moon”, describing both the shape of the bulb and its nocturnal juice emission, which in ancient times would have been visible by moonlight only. This term may be derived from the Sanskrit words “rddhi” and “hrdya”, which mean “magical”, “a type of medicinal plant”, and “heart-pleasing.” To date, the upper South Asian belt of Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, and Burma still account for the world’s largest supply of opium.

source: wikipedia, Joe Rogan.


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6 Responses to Soma: The Lost Drink of A God

  1. cloustonenergy says:

    I must question the symbols and materialist point of view. Here the text and discussion that follows is materialistic. Plants and such, do we not also see the word God and Gods as well as understand about consciousness that is an aspect of life that a person has when spirit gives life to the elements and material body? A change in consciousness can occur with plants like peyote in a vision Quest or other plants. However, in sincere prayer and meditation things can occur. In attunement to your atman and drawing near to Atman. The true Yoga is our spirit drawing near or joining the Great Spirit.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear List,
    Rigveda is dripping with honey.
    Clear: nobody on earth can copious amounts of honey press out of a mostly dry or even moldy stick.
    My solution to the problem: rigvedic soma was not a green plant but an honeycomb.
    To make it clearer: please look at internet-sites on honey-hunters and their success in gaining the drink or immortality.
    But do not forget Rigveda 8.48.1, when claiming Rigveda 8.48.3 (“We have drunk Soma….)

  3. Angiras says:

    Soma was the means by which vegetative matter which originated on Mars was transferred to the Earth between 2700 and 687 BC, along with its oceans, atmosphere and minerals.. Vegetative matter was cooked and blasted into space by volcanic convulsions on Mars which orbited close to the Earth (geostationary), it freeze-dried in space and eventually fell all over the Earth like dew and was collected each morning as told in the Bible (manna). It fermented and therefore had an alcohol content. It was praised because it made people feel good The real benefit to the Earth was that Soma (Haoma, Ambrosia, manna) contained seeds of tens of thousands of plant species from Mars, a much more ancient planet than the Earth. These seeds formed sprouts which the ancient peoples learned to plant and gave us the diverse vegetation we enjoy today.

  4. My study of a pre-Columbian mushroom cult began in 1996, inspired by a theory first proposed over fifty years ago by my father, the late Maya archaeologist Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi, that hallucinogenic mushroom rituals were a central aspect of Maya religion. He based this theory on his identification of a mushroom stone cult that came into existence in the Guatemala Highlands and Pacific coastal area around 1000 B.C. along with a trophy head cult associated with human sacrifice and the Mesoamerican ballgame.

    My study presents visual evidence of encoded mushroom imagery never identified before, “Hidden In Plain Sight”, that proves that the late ethno-mycologist Robert Gordon Wasson was in fact correct in surmising that the true identity of Soma was the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom. Moreover, I also believe that both the Amanita muscaria mushroom and the Psilocybin mushroom were worshiped and venerated in Mesoamerica like the god Soma in ancient India and southeast Asia. These sacred mushrooms were so cleverly encoded in the religious art of both the New and Old Worlds, that prior to this study they virtually escaped detection.

    For more on Soma in the Americas, vist,

  5. I love this blog! I never know what new things I’m going to learn!

  6. Ann Novek says:

    Ephedrin origins from China and was also a drug for Gods.Ii is at least 5000 year old. It has had some modern medical areas where it has been used but side effects are too bad , so it’s withdrawn.
    Have tried ephedrin it makes you sleepless, can also give psychosis.

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