Soma and fivefold rasa

Pinco Pallino p.magnone at
Mon Jun 9 18:01:37 UTC 1997

Dear fellow indologists,

In adhyAya I, 29 of the ViSNudharmottara PurANa the lunar orb is described, among others, as:

zarIriNAM zaroreSu (read: zarIreSu) rasaM paJcAtmakaM smRtam / (5)
AlambakaM kledakaM ca tathA caivAvabodhakaM /
saGghAtakaM tarSakaM ca dehinAM dehagocaram / (6)

Since the numbering appears to span the zloka boundary, the following  half-zloka may also be connected in meaning:

manaH sarvendriyANAM ca sarveSAM nAthamaK tathA.

Does anybody have a hint as to the origin and meaning of this doctrine of soma as fivefold bodily essence: sustaining, moistening, awakening, holding together (?) and appetite-stirring?

Paolo Magnone
Catholic University of Milan
p.magnone at

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