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Soma Rasam referred to in the Vedic rites

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Nov 05 2000 - 12:58:00 PST

Namo RaamAnujAya !
Namo NaarAyaNAya !

Dear BhakthAs:

There was recently a question about Soma Rasam.
One BhakthA wanted to know how the Gods can accept
some thing intoxicating as Soma rasam in the context
of the most sacred Yaj~nam .

Here are some Information points on Soma Rasam:

Soma paanam and SurA Paanam

Soma has to be differentiated from SurA
(physically intoxiating alcohol ) made from
grapes or grains). Soma is a CONCEPTUAL 
beverage of Gods ,  which is described as 
Truth (Sathyam), Auspiciousness( Sri:) ,
light /radiance (Jyothi:) . SurA  in contrast 
is untruth (anrutham), misery (Paapmaa) and
darkness ( tama:). SomA leads to Jn~Anam
(enlightenment ) and Anandham ( bliss):

"sathyam vai SrI: JyOthi: SOma:
 anrutha paapmA tama: SuraithE "
--Satapatha BrahmaNam: VI.1.3.10  

SomA is not produced by crushing and filtering
a Creeper with the name of SomA. The creeeper is 
also a conceptual creeper , the juice of which is 
presented in a RITUALISTIC manner in Soma Yaagams .

Where are the Manthrams for Soma Yaagam ?
The Soma PavamAna sections (Rg &Saama Vedams)
deals exclusively with the conceptual effusion , 
filtration and purification of the Soma rasam 
from the mythical Soma creeper.

Soma rasam & GeethAchAryan
GeethAchAryan states in GitA that He is SomA
among medicinal herbs . By that He means that 
all the medicinal herbs owe their curative powers
to the POWER OF SomA present in them. All the medicinal 
herbs on this earth are recognized as the gift 
of SomA , which is not cultivable by Humans.

The significance of Soma rasam offering 
SomA is offered to Indra in Soma Yaagam , since it is 
considered as his favorite drink. At a metaphysical level ,
IndrA is the Atman and the SomA is the spiritual
love and  affection that flows from the Supreme Lord to
fill the inner conscience of the man with Jn~Anam 
and Aanandham.

Soma Yaagams
There are Seven Paaka Yaj~nams , Seven Havir Yaj~nams
and Seven SOMA YAJ~NAMS. Here , " Soma rasam (juice)" 
is squeezed and offered unto the fire for different
DevathAs , whose antharyAni is Sriman NaarAyaNan.
These seven Soma Yaj~nams are: AgnishtOmam , 
AthyagnishtOmam,Ukthyam , ShOdasee , VaajabhEyam , 
AthirAthram and AbdhOryAmam .
Some of them take many days to complete with the help
of four Ritvikhs ( HothA , adhvaryu , UdhgAthru 
and BrahmmA ).HothA is for recitation of Rg Veda
manthrams , UdhgAthru is for the singing of Saama
Vedam ; Adhvaryau priests are for performing Homams.
BrahmA class of priests are for supervision so that
every thing is done according to saasthrAs.

Soma Yaagams are the loftiest of the Yaj~nams.


           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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