Soma Bana,a drink used by ancient Indians during Rituals is an intoxicating drink.
Attempts have been made to differentiate between SomaBana and Sura Bana,by saying while Soma Bana is not intoxicating,while the Sura Bana is intoxicating.
This,to me ,seems an attempt to portray that ancient Indians did not use intoxicants .
This is not correct.
In the Vedas, the same word (soma) is used for the drink, the plant, and its deity. Drinking soma produces immortality (Amrita, Rigveda 8.48.3). Indra and Agni are portrayed as consuming soma in copious quantities. The consumption of soma by human beings is well attested in Vedic ritual.
The Rigveda (8.48.3) says:
- a ápāma sómam amŕtā abhūmâganma jyótir ávidāma devân
- c kíṃ nūnám asmân kṛṇavad árātiḥ kím u dhūrtír amṛta mártyasya
Ralph T.H. Griffith translates this as:
- We have drunk soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered.
- Now what may foeman’s malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, mortal man’s deception?
Swami Dayanand Saraswati translates it as:
- Som (good fruit containing food not any intoxicating drink) apama (we drink you)
- amŕtā abhūmâ (you are elixir of life) jyótir âganma (achieve physical strength or light of god)
- ávidāma devân (achieve control over senses);
- kíṃ nūnám asmân kṛṇavad árātiḥ (in this situation, what our internal enemy can do to me)
- kím u dhūrtír amṛta mártyasya (god, what even violent people can do to me)’
- Be that as it may,evidence has been forthcoming there was such a drink and it was used by Zorastrians and Hindus in Rituals.
Soma (Sanskrit: soma) or haoma (Avestan), which is a corruption of the sanskrit word soma, was a Vedic ritual drink of importance among the early Indians. It is mentioned in the Rigveda, particularly in the Soma Mandala. In the Avestan literature, haoma has the entire Yasht 20 and Yasna 9-11 dedicated to it.’
Scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences have found archeological evidence that Soma Bana was used indeed by both ancient Indians and Persians.
And they have deduced that the Som Drink was prepared from Mushrooms.
One of the most mysterious drinks in the history of tipple is Soma – a drink of ritual importance to the ancient Indians. Drinking Soma was supposed to confer immortality, with the two leading gods Indra and Agni portrayed as consuming it in copious quantities.
The consumption of Soma by ordinary humans is attested in Vedic ritual. The Rig Veda, which was composed more than 5000 year ago, says: “We drank soma, we became immortal, we came to the light, we found gods.” The Iranians call it Hoama in the sacred Avesta…
Although the descendants of the ancient Hindus and Zoroastrians continue to perform their age-old rituals, the identity of the plant from which Soma was extracted or fermented was lost.
Non-psychoactive substitutes came to be used in place of the elusive Soma. Over the past 200 years, a number of candidates have been put forward, including cannabis, rhubarb, ginseng, opium and wild chicory….
Russian archaeologists may have solved the puzzle. In 2009, while digging at a deep burial chamber in the forests of Mongolia, a Russian-Mongolian expedition from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS) discovered embroidered woollen textiles dating back two millennia.
Russia and India.u
Although the archaeologists’ work is not yet complete, the first fragments restored have revealed some stunning facts. The fragments of the textile found were parts of a carpet composed of several cloths of dark-red woollen fabric.
It had made quite a journey – the cloth was spun in Syria or Palestine, embroidered in north-western India and ended up in Mongolia. The discovery is nothing less than miraculous because of its improbability.
Natalia V. Polosmak, Chief Researcher, SB RAS, writes: “Finding it 2000 years later is a pure chance; its amazingly good condition is almost a miracle. How it made its way to the grave of a person it was not meant for will long, if not forever, remain a mystery.”
The embroidery depicts an ancient Zoroastrian ceremony centred around a mushroom. In the middle of the composition, to the left of the altar is the king or priest, who is dressed in a smart, long embroidered kaftan gaping open at the bottom. He is focused on the mushroom in his hands.
Polosmak says the “divine mushroom” resembles the well-known psychoactive species psilocybe cubensis. “The weight of evidence suggests that soma, the ancient ritual drink, has been prepared from the mushrooms of family strophariaceae which contains the unique nervous system stimulator psilocybin.”
All researchers agree that ancient Indians and Iranians used for cult purposes a drink containing a psychoactive substance. The debate is about the identity of the drink and how it affected the consciousness of those who consumed it.’
Though there are other plants from which the Soma Drink is believed to have been extracted,the Mushroom seems to be the best candidate.
References and citations.
Featured image credir.aumstar.com