soma सोम

Definition: m. (fr.3. su-) juice, extract, (especially) the juice of the soma- plant, (also) the soma- plant itself (said to be the climbing plant Sarcostema Viminalis or Asclepias Acida, the stalks[ aṃśu-]of which were pressed between stones[ adri-]by the priests, then sprinkled with water, and purified in a strainer[ pavitra-]; whence the acid juice trinkled into jars[ kalaśa-]or larger vessels[ droṇa-]; after which it was mixed with clarified butter, flour etc., made to ferment, and then offered in libations to the gods [in this respect corresponding with the ritual of the Iranian Avesta] or was drunk by the Brahmans, by both of whom its exhilarating effect was supposed to be prized; it was collected by moonlight on certain mountains [in ,the mountain mūja-vat- is mentioned]; it is sometimes described as having been brought from the sky by a falcon[ śyena-]and guarded by the gandharva-s; it is personified as one of the most important of Vedic gods, to whose praise all the 114 hymns of the 9th book of the besides 6 in other books and the whole are dedicated; in post-Vedic mythology and even in a few of the latest hymns of the [although not in the whole of the 9th book] as well as sometimes in the and in the , soma- is identified with the moon [as the receptacle of the other beverage of the gods called amṛta-, or as the lord of plants see indu-, oṣadhi-pati-]and with the god of the moon, as well as with viṣṇu-, śiva-, yama-, and kubera-; he is called rājan-,and appears among the 8 vasu-s and the 8 loka-pāla-s[ ] , and is the reputed author of ,of a law-book etc.; see below) etc.