I have great pleasure in placing before the readers this book, ‘Vedic Concept of Soma’, which is the second book in the series, ‘The logic of Vedic Thought’. I have tried to make it as comprehensive as possible and have summarized the results of my analysis of the subject in Section VI. It is now for the reader to judge to what extent we have moved away from true Vedic tradition in our understanding of the wisdom of our ancients. I would feel more than justified in writing this book, if it attracts more scholars, particularly the scientists to this fascinating field of research. Vedic thought, if interpreted properly, is capable of uniting the entire mankind.
I am grateful to Shri Karpur Chand Kulish, Founder-Editor of Rajasthan Patrika, .Jaipur, for arranging the printing and publication of this book.
No literature in the world is so extensive and so difficult to
decipher as, the literature of the Aryans. In spite of the large number of
commentaries and investigations undertaken by very talented scholars,
our understanding of the wisdom of our ancients is far from satisfactory;
In our first book in this series entitled "What is Veda?", we highlighted
the deficiencies in the existing studies and have stressed the need for a
scientific understanding of the original texts. With this objective in view,
we presented in that book, the basic concepts of our sages in the
composition of Vedic mantras. We also defined the Vedas as the
processes in Nature leading to constructive creation. The actual creation
itself is achieved by a process called yajna, which involves not only the
three Vedas vk Yajus and Saman directly related to vak, prana and
manas, but also the two basic substances-agni and soma. Though we
dealt with rk, yajus, saman as well as manas, prana and vak in some detail
in the above study, we did not explain what soma is, except that we
mentioned that it forms the food to the Sun. We shall therefore attempt
in the present book, to present a comprehensive and coherent account of
the concept of soma, as formulated by our sages. Soma is an extremely
interesting concept from our point of view. Most of the existing research
literature has done little to bring out its true functions, as conceived by
our sages. We come across statements in literature which are extremely
diverse in character regarding the nature and functions of soma. Is it a
drink prepared from a plant juice? Or is it the Moon? Or is it pure
radiation coming down from interstellar regions? Does it mean waters or
food or amrta? Does it constitute the life principle? Is it manas or prana
or vak pervading the entire space? And above all, is it the real link
between gravitation and electrical phenomenon according to the Vedic
seers? Well, we do not need an)' more guesses for causing confusion in
the mind of the reader. Yes, soma is really a difficult concept. Yet, if we
proceed systematically and study the Vedas, Brahrnanas and Upanjsads
with cross references, we can to some extent understand it. Our task is
rendered more difficult because of many contradictory statements in the
'literature and we have to proced cautiously and sift the material usefu1
to us from the vast heterogeneous literature, which baffles any scientist.
The Vedic seers believed in a grand unity in the structure and
functioning of the universe in adhidaivika, adhyatmika and adhibhautika
spheres. The oft quoted saying 'Yathande tatha pinde' has its origin in
this belief. Based on this hypothesis, they inferred many things,whether
right or wrong, regarding the structure and functioning of the Universe.
This is an important point to be remembered throughout our studies. This
immediately gives us a clue to understand why soma is being differently
described at different places. When soma is described as a drink prepared
from the juice of a plant, we have no difficulty in identifying it as
adhibhautika soma and, when it is described as moon or radiation
coming down from interstellar regions, we can identify it as
adhidaivika soma and so on. But soma, as an entity has distinct properities
and functions common to all the levels and therefore, it has many
interesting ramifications which are of great interest to us.
The Vedic seers discovered, that there are three fundamental.
entities in the Universe viz. manas, prana and vak (matter), and these are
responsible for every type of creation. With these three entities they
worked wonders. According to the Brahman theory of creation, it is the
Brahman that is responsible for bringing into existence this Universe
with all its diversities and Brahman has to first manifest itself in the form
Of Prajapati, or Purusa or Atman or the combined presence and coordinated
functioning of manas, prana and vak before creation starts. Actually prior
to the coming into existence of the Brahman theory of creation, there
were many cosmogonic theories prevalent during the early Rgvedic
period. The Nasadiya sukta gives details of these schools of thought and
finally upholds the Brahman theory of the origin of the cosmos.
Madhusudan Ojha categorised them into ten distinct schools and dealt
with them in his works. In the opinion of the author, these works have no
parallel in the existing research contributions to the understanding of
Vedic philosophic thought.
All the above theories speculate on the nature of the primordeal
substance, that gave rise to this Universe. One of them says that, there
was 'asat' in the beginning. The Satapatha Brahmana makes a pointed
reference to this and says-
'This cosmos was 'asat' in the beginning. What is 'asat'? Rsis
were asat in the beginning. Who were those rsis? Pranas were the rsis.
They strained themselves desiring creation of the cosmos, hence they are
called rsis .
Is Soma a Reality or a Mere Concept?