Date: 03 Jul 2000
dear hormuzd.. i read in the book of one of the indian shankaracharyas that even until recently, the rajah of kolengode (south india) used to provide the soma plant (haoma) for the soma yajna (haoma yasna).. apparently it was not very palatable, and definately not some sort of liquor.. i know that zarathustris believe it will bring the dead back to life on the day of judgement... its sad western scholars have made our great aryan forebears out to be drunkards... here's an extract from a post i made on a hindu forum:
'what is the true soma? has our understanding of this ancient word and the object it signifies changed at all? the aryan scholars whose books i've read, define it variously from 'the milk of devotion' (rgvedbhashya) to 'material preparations' offered to the almighty (aryabhivanaya), and 'medicinal herbs'... the shatpatha brahmana (184.108.40.206) tells us that soma is the juice of devotion mingled with wisdom, in a secondary sense... (primarily, soma refers to the almighty god - yo vai vishnu somah sah (shat 3.3.4))... it is no doubt derived from 'su' -to distill, in the secondary sense...
modern writers claim som is the juice of inspiration, the muse that enamours poets and lovers alike, not an actual physical substance but a concept, a revitalising idea... verses from the ved praise not only god as soma (the giver of solace) but also as a name of either, collectively, the medicinal herbs of the earth or one particular lifegiving plant...
vaayavaayaahi darshateme somaa aramkrtaah - almighty god (vaayo darshata), these worldly preparations are arranged in thy honour (aramkrtaah) rgved 1.2.1
jaatavedase sunavaama somam - let us place (sunavaama) at the disposal of that all-knowing god, all the worldly riches (somam) we possess rgved 1.99.1
sutaaso maddhumattamaah somaa indraayamandinah pavitravanto aksharan devaan gacchantu vo madaah
'the juices of devotion, which give joy to the souls, and which are full of sweetness and purifying, are flowing. may your rapturous joy go forth to the truthful and enlightened ones' -sama ved, pavamaana prapaa 6
'o pure soma, give us light, give us blessedness, give us all things and make us happy. soma, give us strength, give us wisdom, drive away our enemies and make us happy.' rgved
our fellows aryans, the zarathustris make similar claims about the original soma (homa)... the zend yasht prays : 'this second blessing i beseech of thee, oh homa, thou that drivest death afar - this body's health' yasna ix 'oh yellow homa, i keep thee by my word (the power of giving) knowledge, strength, victory, health, healing, advancement, growth, vigour to the whole body and understanding of all things' -homa yasht
the parsi translater of the zend, darmasteter maintains 'it (soma/homa) comprises the power of life of all the vegetable kingdom... both the ved and the avesta call it the 'king of healing herbs'... the zarathustri scriptures say that homa is of two kinds, the white haoma and the painless tree (no doubt the source of the 'tree of knowledge' and 'the tree of life' in the biblical paradise)... could it be that soma is the tree of life? the giver of immortality?
(and then there's the western scholars who would have us believe the ancient aryas were quite the drunkards, and claim that soma is nothing more than some hallucinatory drug or fermented liquor that put our holy rshis into intoxicated stupors in which they babbled the mantras we consider so profound...)
as madame blavatsky aptly comments: 'plainly speaking, soma is the fruit of the tree of knowledge forbidden by a jealous elohim to adam and eve, 'lest man should become as one of us' '