Vedic Concept of Soma

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Preface

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.

Introduction

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 .

Contents

 

I Introduction 1
II Agnisomavidya 14
III Adhidaivika Soma 34
IV Adhibhautika Soma 53
V Adhyatmika Soma 68
VI Is Soma a Reality or a Mere Concept? 80
VII Conclusion 86

Sample Pages










Item Code: NAD211
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 1995
Publisher: Rajasthan Patrika
ISBN: 8186326008
Size: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Pages: 86
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 239 gms