Dr. Aitchison has lately stated that Soma must be the Ephedra pachyclade, which in the Harirud valley is said to bear the name of hum, huma, and Yahma. This supposition is confirmed by Dr. Joseph Barumüller, a botanist long resident in Kerman, who identifies the Soma plant with some kind of Ephedra, probably Ephedra distachya, but who remarks that different varieties of Ephepra are to be found from Siberia to the Iberian peninsula, so that one must give up the hope of determining the original home of the Aryas by means of the habitat of the Soma plant, (Quarterly Review, No. 384, Octr. 1894, p. 455).
The Soma plant possessed intoxicating properties and the Vedic Aryans recognised it as a quickener of the intellect. ‘Soma, like the sea, has poured forth songs, and hymns, and thoughts.’ * *
‘The beverage (i.e., Soma juice) is divine; it purifies, it inspires joy, it is a water of life;......it gives health and immortality.’
“We’ve quaffed the Soma bright,
And are immortal grown;
We’ve entered into light,
And all the gods have known.
What mortal now can harm,
Or foeman vex us more?
Through thee, beyond alarm,
Immortal god, we soar.”
Address to Soma.
“Thou Soma, fond of praise, the lord of plants, art life to us.”
“Be unto us, Soma the bestower of wealth, the remover of disease, Exulting Soma! increase with all twining plants.”
“I invoke the divine waters, in which our cattle drink:
Ambrosia is in the waters; in the waters are medicinal herbs.”
Soma is supposed to preside over medicinal herbs, and therefore the Rishi Medhatithi continues his hymn, as:—
“Soma has declared to me, ‘all medicaments as well as Agni, the benefactor of the Universe, are in the waters;’ the waters contain all healing herbs.
“Waters bring to perfection all disease,—dispelling medicaments for (the good of) my body, that I may long behold the sun.
“Waters take away whatever sin has been (found) in me, whether I have (knowingly) done wrong or have pronounced imprecations (against holy men) or (have spoken) untruth.
“I have this day entered into the waters: we have mingled with their essence.” (Wilson’s translation of the Rig. Veda. Vol. I. p. 57).
“Thou, Soma, fond of praise, the lord of plants, art life to us.”
“Be unto us, Soma, the bestower of wealth, the remover of disease, Exulting Soma! increase with all twining plants.” (Ibid p: 23 4).