[INDOLOGY] Soma and Amanita muscaria

Nagaraj Paturi nagarajpaturi at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 18:46:39 UTC 2018

Shrikant Jamdagni-ji posted on another list:

Dear Scholars,

I am reproducing some passages from Collected Works of Acharya T.V.Kapali
Sastry Vol.1 Book Of Lights.Page 62. Acharya Kapali Sastry was a
collaborator of Sri Aurobindo in their work of reconstructing the esoteric
or inner meaning of the RgVeda.

"........ Here we may note in passing that the Soma plant is an extinct
species and it was not easily available even thirty centuries ago.
Twenty-four varieties of Soma plant are mentioned along with the places of
their growth and their therapeutic virtues such as strength and longevity
in the Sushruta Samhita (Chikitsa-sthana, Chapter 29), but the intoxicating
property is not mentioned"

"...And some Riks cannot be properly construed at all if the Soma is taken
to mean the drug. What are we to say when the Veda plainly hymns "O Thou,
all-seeing, the illuminating rays of thee, who art the lord, encompass all
the abodes;Soma, with thy natural powers thou pervadest (the all) and
flowest, thou art the king and ord of the whole world" ? (RgVeda 9.86.5).
Another Rik openly decides the question of Soma. "When they crush the herb,
one thinks that he has drunk the Soma; but no one ever tastes him whom the
Brahmans know to be the Soma" (RgVeda 10.85.3)


Shrikant Jamadagni


On the same list,

Subodh Kumar-ji wrote:

Soma: What it is and what it does

Monier Williams (in his great Sanskrit English Dictionary)  interprets SOMA
only at physical level  as a -juice, extract,(esp.)the juice of Soma plant,
(also) the Soma plant itself,(said to be a climbing plant) the stalks, an
अंशु  anshu of which  is pressed between stones by the priests, then
sprinkled with water , and purified in a strainer to get Soma.  Anshu
अंशु however
is translated by MW  as  a filament(especially of Soma plant);thread; end
of a thread, a minute particle; a point, end;..

....... There is an obvious incongruity in this interpretation of Soma. It
will be physically a difficult / impractical task to press the thread, end
of thread, a minute particle, a point of Soma plant. The entire concept of
an  already minute particle, to be pressed between stones, sprinkled with
water and purified in a strainer is more in the realm of an imagined
process and not physically feasible .

In fact Dr Nene beautifully describes the human anotomical process by which
human brain processes all information as if crushing on stones and then
sifts the findings for concusive decision to arrive at final wisdom. That
is Soma. Dr Nene actually describes the physical features in human anatomy
that work like two stones to press by and then a seive of wool like
structure throgh which the pressed substance is actually strained in
processing of information by human brain.

 Thus  in popular perception SOMA is  a kind of  herbal preparation, which
is consumed for exhilarating/ stimulating  benefits.  But  Soma is a lot
more than a mere stimulating herbal  concoction. The entire 9th  chapter
Mandal on Pavmani Soma of Rig Veda appears to have escaped notice of MW in
giving this highly limiting interpretation of Soma. Pavmani Soma signifies a
  non physical  entity  that provides the stimulant for physical action for
welfare and benefit of entire creation.

Vedic Soma

सोमेनादित्या बलिन: सोमेना पृथिवी मही !

अथो नक्षत्राणामेषामुपस्थे सोम आहित: !! ऋग्वेद 10/85/2

Solar radiations, the greatness of earth and all the planets in the sky
that support life, derive their abilities from the SOMA that is established
in them.

सोमं मन्यते पपिवान्यत्संपिंषंत्योषधिम् !

सोमं यं ब्रह्माणो विदुर्न तस्याश्नाति कश्चन !! ऋग्वेद 10/85/3

 Yask translates this mantra by saying-" Some chemists crush soma and then
drink it , and think that they have drunk soma. This is not correct,
because that is not true soma."

But The Soma that Learned, Scientists, Intellectuals, know of is not an
edible product.

आच्छद्विधानैर्गुपितो बार्हते सोम रक्षित: !

ग्राव्णामिच्छृएवन्तिष्ठसि नते अश्नाति पार्थिव: !! ऋग्वेद 10/85/4

It is covered and protected by well regulated non material  laws  governing
in the material world .

Soma can not be physically consumed by a living being*.*

* -.....     .......   .......  *

*......    ......  .........*

On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 9:33 PM Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Thanks to everyone for alerting me also offline to the missing picture!
> Meanwhile I had to realize that others who had explored the secret
> Himalayan Soma vendor cave (after me), made haste to publish it (before I
> could), failing however to decipher and translate the inscriptional
> caption. Anyhow, for those interested in the pre-Śrauta early Aryan Soma
> trade, here is the link for further research:
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zwerg_Postkarte_001.jpg
> Best wishes,
> WS
> Am Mi., 10. Okt. 2018 um 17:48 Uhr schrieb Madhav Deshpande <
> mmdesh at umich.edu>:
>> Dear Walter,
>>      This sounds exciting.  The png file you attached is not opening for
>> some reason.  Could you please send it again in a readable format.  Thanks.
>> Madhav
>> Madhav M. Deshpande
>> Professor Emeritus
>> Sanskrit and Linguistics
>> University of Michigan
>> [Residence: Campbell, California]
>> On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 7:33 AM Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <
>> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>>> An approximately 4000+ years old wall painting recently retrieved from a
>>> western Himalayan cave will solve the disputed matter unless and until the
>>> ephedra party succeeds in producing comparably firm counterevidence:
>>> [image: grafik.png]
>>> The Soma vendors left a caption below the painting:
>>> “*Aṃśu* of only the finest quality being carried down the slopes by a
>>> satisfied Āryan customer with his personal cart. Please note his thrill of
>>> anticipation and replenish your stocks at your trusted dealers from
>>> Mount Mūjavant !”
>>> pīyatām, svastaye!
>>> WS
>>> Am Mi., 10. Okt. 2018 um 11:44 Uhr schrieb rainer stuhrmann via INDOLOGY
>>> <indology at list.indology.info>:
>>>> Dear all,
>>>> To answer to Prof. Houben long statement, skipping future experiments
>>>> that can prove everything and nothing:
>>>> Main problem with Ephedra is: it does not fit at all
>>>> 1. the Rigvedic ritual, for a detailed discussion of that see my
>>>> article, p.22ff, p.31 (btw. nothing is said in the RV
>>>> about “sprinkling” the Soma),
>>>> 2. Somas colours which refer to the pressed juice, see p. 31-38
>>>> 3.  the effects described by the poets, see p.44-71
>>>> whereas Amanita muscaria does in all respects.
>>>> To
>>>> “The main error in the argument ... by Dr. Stuhrmann and others
>>>> would seem to be that *all* poetic-hallucinogenic descriptions of the
>>>> Soma plant are taken as resulting *directly and exclusively* from the
>>>> use of a drug or psychoactive substance, whereas (1) the ritual in
>>>> which
>>>> the Soma-beverage is produced contains other, significant
>>>>   "transformative-hallucinogenic" practices that appear as crucial
>>>> already in the pre-Srauta, Rgvedic ritual; (2) from Saint Franciscus
>>>> and
>>>> Teresia of Avila to William Wordsworth and Apollinaire, poets write
>>>> "psychedelic" or "visionary" poetry without being known to have used
>>>> strong psychotropic substances.“
>>>> the answer is:
>>>> (1) has not be demonstrated for the RV
>>>> (2) is not disputed at all (see my article p.20), but the occurence of
>>>> which elsewehere is of course no proof for the RV.
>>>> But if Houben argues:
>>>> “ In addition, a lack of nutritients through fasting and thirsting may
>>>> induce hallucinations as well. The same applies to the deprivation
>>>> sleep. Most importantly, whether a substance or the absence of
>>>> substances does indeed produce a hallucination will usually depend to a
>>>> large
>>>> extent on the physiological and psychological condition of the subject,
>>>> whereas the nature of the hallucination or vision will depend on his
>>>> psychology and cultural background.“(Houben, 2003: 3,1)
>>>> the problem here is:
>>>> the Rigveda does not tell us about “fasting and thirsting, deprivation
>>>> of sleep” (Houben) etc, but the poets say very often loud and clear:
>>>> “We
>>>> have just drunk Soma” (see discussion of this, p. 19ff).
>>>> And that is a dried plant arriving on the ritual place, soaked in
>>>> water,
>>>> swelled by that process(as e.g. mushrooms do), pressed out (not
>>>> beaten),
>>>> giving a red to yellowish juice (as e.g. the fly-agaric does),
>>>> mixed with milk and drunken for /máda/ “inebriation”, the described
>>>> effects of which fit the optical illusionsproduced by hallicunogenic
>>>> drugs (as e.g. the fly agaric and btw. also his dreaded side-effects,
>>>> see pp. 49-52). For a detailed discussion of this, including
>>>> counterarguments by Brough, Houben, Falk and others etc see my article
>>>> 2006, pp 10-21 and pp 44-70 .
>>>> Best regards
>>>> Rainer Stuhrmann
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Nagaraj Paturi

Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.

Director, Indic Academy of Sanskrit and Indological Studies.

BoS, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune, Maharashtra

BoS, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Veliyanad, Kerala

Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies

FLAME School of Communication and FLAME School of  Liberal Education,

(Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA )

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