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Soma (Sanskrit: सोमः), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the later Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, which contains many hymns praising its energizing or intoxicating qualities. In the Avesta, Haoma has an entire Yasht dedicated to it. SOMA (Semantic Object Modeling Approach) by Ian Graham Service-Oriented Modelling and Architecture, coined by IBM. See Service-oriented analysis and design SOMA: Sharing of Ministries Abroad, charity in Anglican Communion world-wide in Biology Soma is also the Greek word for body, see somatic Soma (biology), the cell body... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Haoma is the Avestan language name of a plant and its divinity, both of which play a role in Zoroastrian doctrine and in later Persian culture and mythology. ... Yasna 28. ... The term Indo-Iranian includes all speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, i. ... Map of the Sintashta-Petrovka culture (red), its expansion into the Andronovo culture during the 2nd millennium BC, showing the overlap with the BMAC in the south. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Greater Iran (in Persian: ایران بزرگ pron: Iran-e Bozorg, also ایران‌زمین pron: Iran-zameen) is a term for the Iranian plateau in addition to the entire region where Iranian languages are today spoken as a first language, or as a second language by a significant minority. ... Rig veda is the oldest text in the world. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ...


It is described as prepared by pressing juice from the stalks of a certain mountain plant, which has been variously hypothesized to be a psychedelic mushroom, cannabis, Peganum harmala, Blue lotus[1], or ephedra. In both Vedic and Zoroastrian tradition, the drink is identified with the plant, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity. Psychedelic mushrooms is a general term for fungi that contain psychoactive substances. ... Look up Cannabis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Binomial name Peganum harmala Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala) is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae. ... Binomial name Sav. ... Ephedra in medicine. ...

Contents

Etymology

Both Soma and the Avestan Haoma are derived from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-. The name of the Scythian tribe Hauma-varga is related to the word, and probably connected with the ritual. The word is derived from an Indo-Iranian root *sav- (Sanskrit sav-) "to press", i.e. *sav-ma- is the drink prepared by pressing the stalks of a plant (cf. es-presso). The root is probably Proto-Indo-European (*sewh-), and also appears in son (from *suhnu-, "pressed out" i.e. "newly born"). Haoma is the Avestan language name of a plant and its divinity, both of which play a role in Zoroastrian doctrine and in later Persian culture and mythology. ... The term Indo-Iranian includes all speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, i. ... Approximate extent of Scythia and Sarmatia in the 1st century BC (the orange background shows the spread of Eastern Iranian languages, among them Scytho-Sarmatian). ... Espresso brewing, with a dark reddish-brown foam, called crema or schiuma. ... The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. ...


Vedic Soma

In the Vedas, Soma is portrayed as sacred and as a god (deva). The god, the drink and the plant probably referred to the same entity, or at least the differentiation was ambiguous. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita); it 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 was probably under the belief that it bestowed divine qualities on them. Veda redirects here. ... It has been suggested that Deva (tribe) be merged into this article or section. ... In ancient Greek mythology, Ambrosia (Greek ) is sometimes the food, sometimes the drink, of the gods, often depicted as conferring immortality on whoever consumes it. ... Look up Amrita in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Indra (disambiguation). ... Chinese (Wu Xing) Japanese (Godai) Earth (地) | Water (水) | Fire (火) | Air / Wind (風) | Void / Sky / Heaven (空) Hinduism (Tattva) and Buddhism (Mahābhūta) Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Bön New Zealand Agni is a Hindu and Vedic deity. ...


In the Rigveda

The Rigveda (8.48.3, tr. Griffith) states, Rig veda is the oldest text in the world. ... Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith (1826-1906), scholar of indology, translated the vedic scriptures into English. ...

a ápāma sómam amŕtā abhūmâganma jyótir ávidāma devân
c kíṃ nūnám asmân kṛṇavad árātiḥ kím u dhūrtír amṛta mártyasya
We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered.
Now what may foeman's malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, mortal man's deception?

The Ninth Mandala of the Rigveda is known as the Soma Mandala. It consists entirely of hymns addressed to Soma Pavamana ("purified Soma"). The drink Soma was kept and distributed by the Gandharvas. The Rigveda associates the Sushoma, Arjikiya and other regions with Soma (e.g. 8.7.29; 8.64.10-11). Sharyanavat was possibly the name of a pond or lake on the banks of which Soma could be found. For the film, see Mandala (film). ... Rig veda is the oldest text in the world. ... // In Hinduism, the Gandharvas (Sanskrit: गंधर्व, gandharva) are male nature spirits, husbands of the Apsarases. ... The Sohan is a river of the Punjab, northern Pakistan, forming the northern border of the Bannu District (at ca. ... Haro is the name of a river and its valley in the Abbottabad District, northern Pakistan, identified with the Rigvedic Arjikiya. ...


The plant is described as growing in the mountains (giristha, cf. Orestes), with long stalks, and of yellow or tawny (hari) colour. The drink is prepared by priests pounding the stalks with stones, an occupation that creates tapas (literally "heat", later referring to "spiritual excitement" in particular). The juice so gathered is mixed with other ingredients (including milk and honey) before it is drunk. Orestes Ορεστης is a Greek name, literally he who stands on the mountain, or mountain-dweller. Orestes can refer to: In Greek mythology, the son of Agamemnon. ... Hari (Sanskrit: हरि) is another name of Vishnu or God in Vaishnavism, Smarta or Advaitan Hinduism, and appears as the 650th name in the Vishnu sahasranama. ... It has been suggested that Tapasya be merged into this article or section. ...


Growing far away, in the mountains, Soma had to be purchased from travelling traders. The plant supposedly grew in the Hindukush and thus it had to be imported to the Punjab region.[citation needed] Later, knowledge of the plant was lost altogether, and Indian ritual reflects this, in expiatory prayers apologizing to the gods for the use of a substitute plant (e.g. rhubarb) because Soma had become unavailable. The Hindu Kush or Hindukush (هندوکش in Persian) is a mountain range in Afghanistan as well as in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. ... Punjab, 1903 Punjab Province, 1909 Punjab (Persian: ‎, meaning Land of the five Rivers) (c. ... Species About 60, including: R. nobile R. palmatum For other uses see Rhubarb (disambiguation) Rhubarb is a perennial plant that grows from thick short rhizomes, comprising the genus Rheum. ...


In Hinduism

See also: Chandra

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, and became associated with the underworld. The moon is the cup from which the gods drink Soma, and so Soma became identified 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 daughters of Daksha, who felt he paid too much attention to just one of his wives, Rohini. He cursed him 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. This article is about the Hindu moon deity. ... This article discusses the adherents of Hinduism. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages[1]) is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... An 18th century drawing of Khoikhoi worshipping the moon In mythology, a lunar deity is a god or goddess associated with or symbolizing the moon: see moon (mythology). ... For other uses, see Underworld (disambiguation). ... This article is about Earths moon. ... This article is about the Hindu moon deity. ... In Hinduism, Daksha, the skilled one, is an ancient creator god, one of the Prajapatis, the Rishis and the Adityas, and a son of Aditi and Brahma. ... Rohini is a nakshatra in Indian astronomy corresponding to Aldebaran. ...


The famous ayurvedic scholar Sushruta wrote that the best Soma is found in the upper Indus and Kashmir region (Sushruta Samhita: 537-538, SS.CS. 29.28-31). Ayurveda (आयुर्वेद Sanskrit: ayu—life; veda—knowledge of) or ayurvedic medicine is a more than 2,000 year old comprehensive system of medicine based on a holistic approach rooted in Vedic culture. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Sushruta Samhita. ... The Indus River (Urdu: Sindh; Sindhi: Sindhu; Sanskrit and Hindi: सिन्धु ; Persian: حندو ; Pashto: ّآباسنFather of Rivers; Tibetan: Lion River; Chinese: Yìndù; Greek: Ινδός Indos) is the longest and most important river in Pakistan and one of the most important rivers on the Indian subcontinent and has given the country India its... Kashmir (or Cashmere) may refer to: Kashmir region, the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent India, Kashmir conflict, the territorial dispute between India, Pakistan, and the China over the Kashmir region. ...


Avestan Haoma

Main article: Haoma

The continuing of Haoma in Zoroastrianism may be glimpsed from the Avesta (particularly in the Hōm Yast, Yasna 9.11), and Avestan language *hauma also survived as middle Persian hōm. The plant Haoma yielded the essential ingredient for the ritual drink, parahaoma. Haoma is the Avestan language name of a plant and its divinity, both of which play a role in Zoroastrian doctrine and in later Persian culture and mythology. ... Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra, Zartosht). ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... Avestan is an Eastern Old Iranian language that was used to compose the sacred hymns and canon of the Zoroastrian Avesta. ... Pahlavi is a term that refers: (1) to a script used in Iran derived from the Aramaic script, and (2) more broadly, to Middle Persian, the Middle Iranian language written in this script. ...


In the Hōm yašt of the Avesta, the Yazata (divine) Haoma appears to Zoroaster "at the time of pressing" (havani ratu) in the form of a beautiful man. Yasna 9.1 and 9.2 exhort him to gather and press Haoma plants. Haoma's epitheta include "the Golden-Green One" (zairi-, Sanskrit hari-), "righteous" (ašavan-), "furthering righteousness" (aša-vazah-), and "of good wisdom" (hu.xratu-, Sanskrit sukratu-). See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Zoroastrian angelology. ...


In Yasna 9.22, Haoma grants "speed and strength to warriors, excellent and righteous sons to those giving birth, spiritual power and knowledge to those who apply themselves to the study of the nasks". As the religion's chief cult divinity he came to be perceived as its divine priest. In Yasna 9.26, Ahura Mazda is said to have invested him with the sacred girdle, and in Yasna 10.89, to have installed Haoma as the "swiftly sacrificing zaotar" (Sanskrit hotar) for himself and the Amesha Spenta. Haoma services were celebrated until the 1960s in a strongly conservative village near Yazd[citation needed]. Ahura Mazda () is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God. ... In Zoroastrianism, Amesha Spentas are the Holy Immortals, the equivalent of Archangels in Christian theology. ... Yazd or Yezd (In Persian: یزد), is the capital of Yazd province, one of the most ancient and historic cities in Iran and a centre of Zoroastrian culture. ...


Candidates for the Soma plant

Main article: botanic identity of Soma-Haoma

There has been much speculation as to the original Proto-Indo-Iranian Sauma plant. It was generally assumed to be hallucinogenic, based on RV 8.48 cited above. But note that this is the only evidence of hallucinogenic properties, in a book full of hymns to Soma. The typical description of Soma is associated with excitation and tapas. Soma is associated with the warrior-god Indra, and appears to have been drunk before battle. For these reasons, there are energizing plants as well as hallucinogenic plants among the candidates that have been suggested, including fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) which was widely used as a brew of sorts among Siberian shamans for its hallucinogenic and 'religious experience'-inducing properties. Several texts like the Atharva Veda extol the medicinal properties of Soma and he is regarded as the king of medicinal herbs (and also of the Brahmana class). Since the late 1700s, when Anquetil-Duperron and others made portions of the Avesta available to western scholarship, several scholars have sought a representative botanical equivalent of the haoma as described in the texts and as used in living Zoroastrian practice. ... The term Indo-Iranian includes all speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, i. ... The general group of pharmacological agents commonly known as hallucinogens can be divided into three broad categories: psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. ... Binomial name Amanita muscaria Amanita muscaria is a basidiomycete mushroom of the genus Amanita. ... The Atharva Veda is a sacred text of Hinduism, part of the four books of the Vedas. ... The Brahmana (Sanskrit ब्राह्मण) are part of the Hindu Shruti; They are composed in Vedic Sanskrit, and the period of their composition is sometimes referred to as the Brahmanic period or age (approximately between 900 BC and 500 BC). ...


Since the late 1700s, when Anquetil-Duperron and others made portions of the Avesta available to western scholarship, several scholars have sought a representative botanical equivalent of the haoma as described in the texts and as used in living Zoroastrian practice. Most of the proposals concentrated on either linguistic evidence or comparative pharmacology or reflected ritual use. Rarely were all three considered together, which usually resulted in such proposals being quickly rejected. ...


In the late 19th century, the highly conservative Zoroastrians of Yazd (Iran) were found to use Ephedra (genus Ephedra), which was locally known as hum or homa and which they exported to the Indian Zoroastrians. (Aitchison, 1888) The plant, as Falk also established, requires a cool and dry climate, i.e. it does not grow in India (which is either too hot or too humid or both) but thrives in central Asia. Later, it was discovered that a number of Iranian languages and Persian dialects have hom or similar terms as the local name for some variant of Ephedra. Yazd or Yezd (In Persian: یزد), is the capital of Yazd province, one of the most ancient and historic cities in Iran and a centre of Zoroastrian culture. ... Ephedra in medicine. ... Species See text. ... The Iranian languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family. ...


There are numerous mountain regions in the north west Indian subcontinent which have cool and dry conditions where soma plant can grow. In later vedic texts the mention of best soma plant coming from kashmir has been mentioned. This is also supported by the presence of high concentration of vedic Brahmans in Kashmir up to the present day who setteled there in ancient times because of the easy availability of soma plant.



From the late 1960s onwards, several studies attempted to establish soma as a psychotropic substance. A number of proposals were made, included an important one in 1968 by Robert Gordon Wasson, an amateur mycologist, who (on Vedic evidence) asserted that soma was an inebriant, and suggested fly-agaric mushroom, Amanita muscaria, as the likely candidate. Wasson and his co-author, Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, drew parallels between Vedic descriptions and reports of Siberian uses of the fly-agaric in shamanic ritual. (Wasson, Robert Gordon (1968). "Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality". Ethno-Mycological Studies 1. ) A psychoactive drug or psychotropic substance is a chemical that alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness, or behaviour. ... Robert Gordon Wasson (September 22, 1898 – December 23, 1986) was an author, amateur researcher and banker. ... Binomial name (L.:Fr. ... Specifically, Shaman (saman) is a term in Evenk, Manchu and other Manchu-Tungus languages for an intellectual and spiritual figure; who usually possess power and influence on other peoples in the tribe and performs several functions, one of which is analogous to the function of a healer in other cultures. ...


In Western culture

In Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel Brave New World, Soma is the popular dream-inducing drug which is employed by the government as a method of control through pleasure and immediate availability. It is ordinary among the culture of the novel for everyone to use it for whatever various practices: sex, relaxation, concentration, confidence. It is seemingly a single-chemical combination of many of today's drugs' effects, giving its patients the full hedonistic spectrum. Aldous Leonard Huxley (July 26, 1894 – November 22, 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. ... A dystopia (or alternatively cacotopia) is a fictional society, usually portrayed as existing in a future time, when the conditions of life are extremely bad due to deprivation, oppression, or terror. ... For other uses, see Brave New World (disambiguation). ... Soma is a fictional, happiness-inducing drug in Aldous Huxleys novel Brave New World (1932). ...


Soma is the central theme of the poem The Brewing of the Soma by the American Quaker poet, John Whittier (1807-1892) from which the well-known Christian hymn "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" is derived. Whittier here portrays the drinking of soma as distracting the mind from the proper worship of God. John Greenleaf Whittier (born December 17, 1807, Haverhill, Massachusetts - died September 7, 1892, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire) was an American Quaker poet, and an advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. ... Dear Lord and Father of Mankind is a popular hymn with words taken from a poem by Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier. ...


Soma has also been frequently referenced in popular culture, see Soma (disambiguation). SOMA (Semantic Object Modeling Approach) by Ian Graham Service-Oriented Modelling and Architecture, coined by IBM. See Service-oriented analysis and design SOMA: Sharing of Ministries Abroad, charity in Anglican Communion world-wide in Biology Soma is also the Greek word for body, see somatic Soma (biology), the cell body...


References

  • Bakels, C.C. 2003. “The contents of ceramic vessels in the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, Turkmenistan.” in Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies, Vol. 9. Issue 1c (May 5)
  • Bhishagratna, Kunjalal (tr.) Susruta Samhita. Varanasi: Chowkhama Sanksrit Series, 1981.
  • Frawley, David. The Rig Veda and the History of India. Aditya Prakashan, 2001. ISBN 81-7742-039-9
  • Jay, Mike. Blue Tide: The Search for Soma. Autonomedia, 1999.
  • McDonald, A. "A botanical perspective on the identity of soma (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) based on scriptural and iconographic records" in Economic Botany 2004;58:S147-S173
  • Nyberg, Harri, The problem of the Aryans and the Soma: The botanical evidence, in: The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia ed. G. Erdosy, de Gruyter (1995), 382–406.
  • Parpola, Asko, "The problem of the Aryans and the Soma: Textual-linguistic and archaeological evidence" in The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia ed. G. Erdosy, de Gruyter (1995), 353–381.
  • PBS. Secrets of the Dead. Day of the Zulu (pbs.org). Retrieved February 5, 2005.
  • Rudgley, Richard. Soma article from The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances. Little, Brown and Company (1998) (huxley.net)

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