The Holy Medicine “Soma” in the Rig Veda

The Soma Plant is visualised in the Rig Veda as a God and as a liquid, pressed by stones in wooden bowls and filter to a woollen sieve. These processes are described in some detail in 9.74, 10.94, And are the inspiration for rich cloth of imagery woman by the Vedic poet, an imagery also applied to the flowing of sacrificial butter (4.58):

  • women uniting with lovers,
  • wild animals attacking,
  • rivers flowing to the sea.

Soma can be dangerous but the effects of drinking Soma are usually admired or at least sought after:

  • a sense of immense personal power (10.119 particularly valuable in the God Indra),
  • intimations of immortality (9.113)
  • the assurance of immortality 8.48)and
  • the hallucinations of trance (10.136)

Soma’s form and activities are referred to in several other hymns in this collection: 8.91, 9.112, 10.85, 10.94, 10.109; the story of his descent from heaven (4.26-7) is the only episode in his mythology naturally in any detail.



1) The Rig Veda