[INDOLOGY] Soma and Amanita muscaria

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 18:56:19 UTC 2018

Dear Walter,
Indeed a remarkable piece of evidence!
But it does not clinch the issue as the scene must have been not just
pre-Śrauta but faaar pre-Rgvedic (as the continuity of Śrauta ritual, and
late and early Rgvedic ritual, in some crucial respects even pre-Rgvedic
Indo-Iranian ritual, is well-known: cp. Hillebrandt 1897: 11 ).
And if the last line suggests a contemporary exclamation I would expect,
instead of su-astaye: pra-astaye > prāstaye (cp. L. and G. Prosit !)

On Wed, 10 Oct 2018 at 16:33, 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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*Jan E.M. Houben*

Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology

*Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite*

École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, PSL - Université Paris)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

54, rue Saint-Jacques, CS 20525 – 75005 Paris

*johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr <johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr>*

*johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu <johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>*


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