Soma in Vedic Mythology and Ritual (study)

by Anjana Chakraborty | 2017 | 51,491 words

This thesis is called: A study of the evolution of Soma in vedic mythology and ritual. It represents a thorough discussion on the characteristics of Vedic Gods, Soma and Vedic rituals. As the ritual plays a very important role in Rigveda it is only natural that Soma, the plant, the juice of which is so much used in the ritual is deified as one of ...

Chapter 1(c) - Association of Soma with other Gods

In the Rigveda the Soma hold the third position following Indra and Agni, from the point of view of the total number hymns dedicated to them. The Gods were originally mortal[1]. For immortality was bestowed on them by Savita[2] or by Agni. They are also said to have obtained it by drinking Soma, which is called the principle of immortality[3]. The benevolence of the Gods resembles that of human being recited while the Soma is pressed, the offering is cast in the fire and priests attend to the intricate details of the ritual. The beverage of the Gods is Soma. The abode of the Gods is variously described as heaven, the third heaven, or the highest step of Vishnu, where they live a joyous life exhilarated by Soma. Soma is an all powerful God. It is he who gives strength to Indra and enables him to conquer his enemy Vritra, the snake of darkness. He is further, like Vishnu, Indra and Varuna;the supporter of heaven and earth, and of gods and men. Therefore, Soma is closely associated with all other Gods.

Indra’s excessive love for the Soma drink is beyond controversy. He is the best drinker of Soma; full with Soma his belly swells like the ocean[4]. He proceeds towards the Soma libation with the same urge as the horse approaches the mare. The more Indra is in the rapture of Soma the more he showers wealth in the form of cows, etc. to his worshippers. Invigorated by Soma, Indra fights his enemies, kills them and devastates their cities. When Indra is entangled in long battles, his wife also offers the Soma drink to him in the house. Invigorated by Soma Indra exhibits his martial feats; in the battlefield he enjoys Soma the best. Stimulated by Soma he destroys ninetynine ramparts of Shambara[5]. The strongest of Indra’s enemies was Vritra. He became competent to kill him after being invigorated by Soma. Indra’s fried Agni (according to Sayana) cooked three hundred buffaloes and prepared three pools of Soma for him in order to render him strong enough to kill Vritra[6]. After consuming all this he killed Ahi and released the rivers[7]. The refrain, ‘somasya ta made indrash cakara[8] in the exhilaration of Soma Indra did all these, signifies the important part played by Soma in the Indra-myth.

Indra drank Soma just after his birth[9]. Indra drank the ambrosia (piyusa) which he had desired and which was hidden in the mountain; his mother gave Soma the infant as the first thing to drink in her parental home (according to Sayana, even before she gave him breast milk she gave him Soma[10] ); Soma was brought to him from heaven by the hawk (syena). ‘Indra found the Soma from heaven kept in a hidden place as the nestling of the birds is kept in vast endless rocks’. The bird in mental speed went across the city made of ayas reached heaven and brought Soma for the vajra holder.

Indra is somapah somapabnam[11] ‘the Soma drinker of Soma drinkers’. He is enriched by the Soma drink—somavriddha[12]. He is the best Soma drinker—somapatama[13] and he is the lord of Soma—somapati[14]. Indra is the only Deity to enjoy all the three oblations and the midday oblation was solely for him (madhyandinam savanam caru yat te)[15].

Soma has an intimately close connection with Agni because of the equality that is drawn between its inebriating qualities and the subtlety of flames respectively. Both Soma and Agni were major rituals described in the Rigveda, therefore, they were both distinctly connected in their roles regarding communication with the other vedic Deities. Agni in ancient Indian myth is seen as the ‘God of Fire’. And as fire is associated with earthly occurrences, so too is Agni linked with the terrestrial realm; where he is the most important Deity in the terrestrial hierarchy. But not only is he the most powerful Deity in the terrestrial realm, but is also one of the most powerful Vedic Gods in general. He is seen as the destroyer of darkness and the force that drive away the demons at night. He is consider the ‘messenger of the Gods’. He is the one who is responsible for the delivery of rituals to the Gods. But besides being just a courier, he is also portrayed as the devourer of the rituals. Agni is the fire of ritual and this is s mediator between men and the Gods and Soma is the hallucinogenic drink of the ritual.

Varuna is the most prominent of the celestial Deities. He is very closely associated with the Soma, in Soma’s incarnation as the drink of the Gods. Varuna is one of the most important of the Vedic Gods. Varuna is the keeper of the cosmic order, a force called rita. It is rita which keeps everything working as it should, and Varuna’s role as the one who governs rita makes him very important indeed.

Varuna sits on the strewn grass at the ritual[16], and like other Gods he and Mitra drink Soma[17]. Nor are spices peculiar to Varuna and Mitra, for they are also attributed to Agni, to Soma[18]. Varuna placed fire in the waters, the Sun in the sky, Soma on the rock[19]. He is connected with the waters as Soma with the mountain[20]. As a divine father he sheds rain-waters[21]. Varuna or the Adityas are sometimes called guardians of order (ritasya gopa), but this term is also applied to Agni and Soma.

Gandharva is moreover, in the Rigveda often associated with Soma. He guards the place of Soma and protects the races of the Gods[22]. Observing all the forms of Soma, he stands on the vault of heaven[23]. Together with Parjanya and the daughter of the Sun, the Gandharvas cherish Soma[24].

Through Gandharva’s mouth the Gods drink their draught[25]. The Mai.Sam[26] states that the Gandharvas kept Soma for the Gods, but having allowed it to be stolen, were as a punishment excluded from the Soma draught. Doubtless owing to this association with Soma, Gandharva is described as knowing plants[27]. It is probably as a jealous guardian of Soma that Gandharva in the Rigveda appears as a hostile being, who is pierced by Indra in the regions of air[28] or whom Indra is invoked to overcome. For in a later text Soma is besought to elude the Gandharva Vishvavasu in the form of an eagle[29]. Soma is further said to have dwelt among the Gandharvas or to have been stolen by the Gandharva Vishvavasu, but to have been bought from the Gandharvas, as they were fond of females, at the price of the Goddess Vac[30] . Moreover, the archer Krishanu, who shoots at the eagle that carries off the Soma[31], appears to be a Gandharva, being expressly said to be one in Tai. Ar.[32].

Gandharva is some times connected with the waters. Soma poured into water is called ‘the Gandharva of waters’[33]. The union of Gandharva with the water nymph is typical of marriage. He is, therefore, connected with the wedding ceremony and the unmarried maiden is said to belong to Gandharva as well as to Soma and Agni[34].

Maruts are also associated with Soma. In rituals the Maruts are offered with the usual Soma libation, sometimes independently, sometimes with Agni and other Gods and mostly with Indra. “May the Maruts who are of one mind come to the Soma offering like a flock of swans[35]. Soma is pressed between the two stones for the Maruts”. The Maruts are the regular enjoyers of the midday Soma libation[36] along with Indra and with other Gods as well.

Maruts are several times called singers in the Rigveda. They are the singers of heaven. They sing the praises while drinking the intoxicating Soma and they also know the previous heroic deeds of the hero[37]. In Rigveda, the poet praises the Maruts for the songs sung (by them) and generating the might in Indra (indriyam)[38]. Later in the same hymn they are said to have cleft open the (of Vala) while blowing the pipe and praised for having performed heroic deeds after consuming large quantities of Soma, made Somasya ranyani cakrire. The Maruts praised Indra and pressed Soma for him, when he killed Ahi Vritra. It seems that the Maruts were equipped with a group of poets well versed in the art of composing and singing the praises of warriors on the battle field in order to rouse their vehemence and fire con cess, functioning like the war cry.

God Vishnu is associated with Soma. During the Ᾱtithya-ishti of the Soma ritual which is dedicated to him[39], before the Upasad[40], during the Udavasaniya of the same. Of the Aikadashina animals one belongs to Vishnu and one to Indra-Vishnu. Elsewhere distinction is made between three types of Vishnu: Vishnu, Vishnu urukrama, Vishnu uruga and these are characterized by the offering of different animals[41]. Vishnu appears like a yajamana who presses the Soma for Indra. It is true that at several places in the Ninth Mandala of Rigveda he is mentioned beside the Gods, particularly next to Indra, as a partaker of the Soma draught[42]. On the fourth day of the Ashvamedha, the section intended for recitation begins with the words, somo vaisnavah. It is said in Shatapatha Brahmana: vishna urugayaisha te Somas tam rakshasva ma tva dabhann iti yajna vai Vishnus tad yajnayaivaitat paridadati[43].

Vishnu is introduced into Soma ritual only through Indra. When associated with Indra as a dual divinity, Vishnu shares Indra’s powers of drinking Soma. Owing to this friendship Indra drinks Soma beside Vishnu[44] and thereby increases his strength[45]. Indra drank the Soma pressed by Vishnu in three cups[46]. The little attention paid to the God is all the more striking since during the Soma ritual Vishnu is not at all mentioned in the verses, but he is drawn into association in this ritual, as in others[47] with various implements, particularly with the Havirdhana cart[48]. At the individual parts of the cart or of the hut, mantras are recited which contain Vishnu’s name[49]. Offerings are made on both the wheel tracks of the cart with verses addressed to Vishnu[50]. Agni and Vishnu are worshipped often outside the Diksha of the Soma ritual also. As early as in the Atharva Veda[51] they are spoken of as guarding ghritasya guhyasya nama. One who wishes to practise or avert witchcraft is advised to offer a purodasa for the two Gods[52].

Brihaspati or Bramhanaspati is also associated with God Soma. He, like Indra, is called the Soma drinker. His most important achievement is that he causes the Sun and the Moon to ascend alternately—a deed not done by any other God. The specific quality of Brihaspati of causing the Sun and the Moon to rise alternately has reference to his abstract and concrete functions. The motor centre of speech is the storehouse of spoken and seen words. They must rise to consciousness as thoughts before they are expressed in speech. The material areas of speech in the brain do not themselves originate words which are located there. It is through the agency of Soma that thoughts are brought to consciousness, in the Rigveda Soma is called the ‘awakener of thought’[53] ; he is said to stimulate voice, which he impels as the rower does his boat[54]. He is even called ‘Lord of speech’, vacaspati[56]. It seems, according to the Rigveda idea, that Soma has a definite connection with the conscious expression of speech. Soma as the cerebrospinal fluid must ascend to exert a certain amount of rhythmic pressure on the motor-speech centre to evolve speech. In fact, all the creative acts of Indra and Brihaspati are ascribed to Soma. He is the exciter of conscious movements.

The twin divine physicians, the Ashvins, hold an important position in the Vedic pantheon. In the Rigveda the Ashvins hold the fourth position following Indra, Agni and Soma, from the point of view of the total number of hymns dedicated to them. The Rigveda singers generously offer Soma libation to the Ashvins. For about fifty times they have been offered Soma in fifty one hymns dedicate to them. Along with other words of invocation in which they had been offered Soma libation five times they had been invoked with the prayer, pibatam somyam madhu[55], thrice with, somam pibatam Ashvina[57], twice with patam somam ritavridha[58], one with, pibatam somyam madhumantam Ashvina[59] and once with, pibatha inmadhunah somyasya[60]. A deliberation on the Ashvinas without referring to their close relation with madhu is simply impossible. Of the many epithets of the Ashvins that are found in the Rigveda a few are madhuvarna[61] ‘honey coloured’, madhupau[62] ‘drinkers of honey’, madhvi[63] ‘honeyed’.

The Ashvins had been deprived of the right to the Soma libation and that later they regained that right has been recorded for the first time in the Taittiriya Samhita[64] and then in later literature. In the Taittiriya Samhita we learn for the first time that the Ashvins had been denied the right to the Soma drink on the ground that they were doctors and that they had mixed much among men and have become impious; the Ashvins, however, established themselves to that much coveted right by dint of their own merit.

It is mentioned in Taittiriya Samhita:

yajnasya siro cchidyata te deva ashvinav abruvan bhisajau vai stah idam yajnasya sirah prati dhattam iti tav abrutam varam vrinavahai graha eva nav atrapi grihyatam iti tabhyam etam ashvinam agrihnan tato vai yajnasya sirah prattyadhattam yad ashvino grihate yajnasya niskrityai tau deva abruvan aputau va imaumanusyacarau bhisajav iti[65].

There exists a special relationship between Soma and Surya. The verses of Rigveda tell us of the meeting of Soma and the Goddess, the daughter of Surya[66]. What is most significant is the commingling of the voices of Soma, Surya and the priests. There is, moreover, a kind of linkage or relation between the God and the Goddess, which is coupled with a mode of progression. Soma begins a process by setting the word in motion. Surya who is endowed with the rava is like an incamation of Vak. It is known that Soma is also vacaspati. Besides, Soma is patir gavam. Vak and the milk of the cows can go very well together for some reason according to another verse of the hymn, although Vak is not mentioned by name[67].

Various individual Gods are said to have produced the Sun. Indra-Soma brought up Surya with light[68]. Soma placed light in the Sun[69], generated Surya[70] , caused him to shine[71] or raised him in heaven[72].

Rudra, Lord of Yoga, who restores the wholeness of the absolute. Rudra heals the ills of mortals with the remedies that he himself created in the waters into which he plunged when Brahma had asked him to create mortals. Rather than creating mortals, fallible by nature and prone to disease, he chose to do tapas and create the herbs and plants that would be their medicine. Rudra is associated only with Soma in a quite indifferent hymn. VI.74, of the Rigveda and in some wish fulfilment rituals performed for attaining progeny, for warding off diseases etc[73]. In the case of the caru for a sick person, the Hotri is led blindfolded into the forest and then the bandages are removed a caru for Brahmavarcas, for which the milk of a white cow with a white calf is used, is offered behind an enclosure.

Rudra holds the arrow in one hand and a plant or a water vessel in the other. He holds the destructive and the vitalizing fire that pulsates in water and plants and heals. It was Soma himself, Soma who is God, plant and elixir of life, who revealed to a Rigveda poet the healing power of the waters[74] and the plants. Soma, the elixir of life, the drink of immortality, was pressed from a plant. Soma the God arose from the drink and inspired the poet-seers. From far away, the plant was brought to man by a falcon[75]. Krishanu, the archer, by an infinitesimal fraction of time had failed to pierce with his arrow the falcon who had raped the Soma and who, with the Soma plant clutched in his claw, precipitated himself toward the world of man. Krishanu could not prevent the immortal God from coming within the reach of those who would witness his presence on earth by their songs, which he inspired. Nor could be prevent the balm of Soma from healing mortal ills. The elixir of life inspires the seers, heals the sick, and assuages the ills of life. Soma and Rudra are healers. Rudra heals with the remedies that he has created for the ills that he has inflicted on man. These medicine heal the ills of mortals whose coming into existence Rudra failed to prevent.

Soma and Rudra are invoked together in one and the same hymn of the Rigveda[76]. They are dual divinities, co-operative powers. No other God is ever associated with or takes part on equal terms in Rudra’s being domain. ‘Soma is the bestower of seed; Agni is the begether of affspring’[77]. In as much as Rudra is Agni, they co-operate in the very field that Rudra, the wild hunter, meant to be nonexistent. Whereas life has come into existence, Rudra and Soma conjointly heal the ills of the body and free it from guilt. Sickness is only a consequence of sin. Soma, the elixir of immortality, is the hidden essence of Tvashtri. Tvashtri is a name of the Father. He does not create per generation but per artem. Soma, the elixir of immortality, is stored in a wondrous container, the Moon[78]. The Moon vessel goes on changing its shape cyclically, within its own limits. The changes measure time, from the shape of the crescent to the full disc that dwindles, disappears, and shows again as crescent, repeating the same sequence of shapes time after time. The Moon is a mystic container, a vessel from which the Gods and the dead, the ancestors, drink Soma, the ever-refilling water of life, of immortality[79]. On his head Shiva carries the crescent Moon, symbol of the renewal of vegetative life, of recurrent time and the abode of the dead. Thus the Moon is the lord of plants, luminous vessel of Soma and one with Soma, who himself from ancient times is their king. Rudra heals the wounds he inflicts. When he frees the body of man from sickness, it is guilt from which he liberates him. Sickness is seen as a consequence of sin, Rudra-Soma, the healers of the ills of the body; also free the mind from the concerns of the body[80]. Soma, the drink of immortality transports the seer into the regions of the Gods, where he seer into the regions of the Gods, where he sees them face to face. Rudra, the thousand eyed God, puts into the right hand to the seer an herb that makes him see everything—the three heavens, the three earths and all existences down to the sorcerers and the ghouls[81].

The Gandharva Krishanu aimed his arrow from on high so as to prevent the Soma, which had been raped by the falcons from being brought down to man on earth. Rudra let fly his arrow against the Father, who was engaged in the procreative act. Rudra avenged the infringement of pre-existential wholeness, but didnot prevent the seed of the Father from falling down to earth. Soma and semen had the same fate and destination. The semen of the Father was to bring about the life of man on earth and its continuity. Soma was to raise man to a level of inspiration so high that from it the fated descent of Soma and that of the semen of Father Heaven could be intuited. From the high peaks of vision would appear a panorama of many paths of ascent, by rituals to be performed and by inner realizations expressed in hymns and other works of art. Krishanu by his failure was instrumental in letting Soma and inspiration come to man; Rudra, in a time caused reverse effect of his intention, brought the life itself of mankind to this earth, and with it he brought time. At the first dawn of the world he rose, the fiery archer.

The Apah or waters are associated with God Soma. The waters of the sea are compassed between heaven and earth. They are waters which have an aerial as well as terrestrial course. They flow in the wake of the Soma juice which is collected in vats as waters of the sea[82]. The streams of Saraswati and Sindhu have also the same course and may be identified with the Soma juice. The stream of Saraswati is said to be pure, flowing from the mountains; she fills the terrestrial regions and wide atmospheric space and occupies three abodes[83]. She is invoked to descend from the sky to the ritual[84]. The occupation of the three abodes by Saraswati cannot be taken to mean that her course runs through heaven, air and earth. The three abodes are the three vats from which Saraswati, identified with the Soma juice, is said to flow after purification. The dwelling of Soma with Vivasvat who is in close association with Indra, suggests that the seat of Vivasvat must be nearer Indra. This is the highest atmospheric region where it joins the vault of heaven. Another stream, personified as Sindhu, has the same abode. Soma and Sindhu must therefore be identical. Soma, Sindhu and Saraswati have a common above the atmosphere and not in heaven. It seems that Vedic bards of different periods personified a single stream with three different names. The waters of the sea are reinforced by the waters of the rivers which are seven in number. The stream Saraswati is said to have seven tributaries, who are sisters[85]. The tributaries of Sindhu are said to flow forward triply seven and seven[86]. Soma, too, has seven rives as sisters who nursed Soma when an infant[87].

Soma is associated with Parjanya. Parjanya is described as a selfdependent sovereign who rules over the world in which all beings and the three heavens are established together with the triply flowing waters. He is the bull the impregnates everything, and in him is the soul that moves and stands in the Rigveda world. The three reservoirs that pour their treasures around Parjanya are the three vats through which the Soma juice flows when purified. One peculiarity of this Deity is his lack of initiative for he is goaded to activity by the Maruts, Vritra, Varuna and Soma to shed rain[88], his most prominent characteristic.

He is, therefore, said to dispose of his body according to his own wish. Mitra and Varuna i.e. the cerebro-spinal fluid surrounding the whole of the nervous system, and Soma, as the cerebro-spinal fluid within it, behave like Maruts and force Parjanya to discharge rain in the form of efferent impulses. Their activity is orderly and incessnt. The magic of Varuna’s power is said to rest in heaven (the brain). He makes the inverted cask (the outer convex surface of the brain) pour waters in heaven, earth, air and moistens the ground. Soma, too, as it flows along the three reservoirs, behaves like stormy winds and drops of Soma, as they speed along from heaven and air towards the earth[89], excite Parjanya to discharge his contents, for he is said to produce waters and cause heaven and earth to rain[90]. The Vedic rishis have thus assigned a very important function to the cerebro-spinal fluid circulating within and around the central nervous system as an excitant of reflex activity. The variations of pressure between them perhaps have something to do with exiciting the reflex activity. Varuna, the cerebro-spinal fluid outside the central nervous system, by exerting pressure on the cortical layer of the brain can only excite voluntary activity, as rain which may spread along the whole length of the nervous system and cause movement to occur. Soma, the cerebro-spinal fluid within the nervous system, exerts a constant rhythmic pressure on the masses of grey matter that line the cavity of the nervous system and they, as Parjanya, are stimulated to nourish and poduce vegetation in the form of independent nerve-units of the autonomic nervous system which keeps up that incessant activity of the vital organs necessary for the activity and life of the body.

Soma is also associated with Yama. Soma is pressed for Yama, ghee is offered to him[91] and he is besought to come to the ritual and place himself on the seat[92]. Yama is invoked to lead his worshippers to the Gods and to prolong life[93].

Along with Varuna, the Ashvina, Yama and Pushan, king Soma is also prayed to far deliverance from death and to save the worshipper from the south—the quater of Yama[94]. In the other world he who cooks the vistarin brahmaudana (rice for the Brahmin priest at a ritual) lives with Yama delighting himself in the company of the Apsaras (nymphs) who are connected with Soma[95]. The Mai.Sam calls Soma the God of the Fathers, thus indirectly identifying him with Yama; Candramas (i.e. Soma, the Moon) is called the eye of the Fathers[96]. The Tai. Br. says very clearly that Yama resides in the heart of the Moon, thus establishing his lunar bearings[105]. The Shat.Br. frequently calls the Fathers Soma vantah or states the reverse, i.e. calls Soma Pitrimat[97]. This confirms Yama’s relationship with Soma, for Yama is the God of Fathers, par excellence. Soma is used as an image of the chain of births and it seems possible that passages affirming faith in rebirth on the analogy of the Moon, which waxes and wanes periodically, give the underlying link through which the Moon became an image of transmigration of the soul, a path of the Fathers (Ritriyana) and an associate of Yama who supervises the soul’s course after death. The Tai.Br. equates the mythical hero in the Moon with Yama[98]. At the offering of Pindapitri yajna to the Fathers Soma is invoked as Kavyavahana, bearer of the libation, usually an epithet of Agni. Soma is always invoked in connection with the rituals for the ancestors. When we called Yama a lunar God, his connection with Soma becomes fundamental and where ever we have transmigration or metempsychosis in any form the Moon is behind the concept and thus becomes inseparably connected with the God of the next world and with the progress of the soul after death. In a Sraddha ceremony one should say, ‘to Soma with the Fathers’. The leunar eclipse is supposed to produce uncleanness and a person must cleanse himself properly; it is significant that prayers are addressed to Yama for this purification.

Tvashtri is closely associated with Soma. Tvashtri is especially a guardian of Soma, which is called ‘the mead of Tvashtri’[99] . It is in his house that Indra drinks Soma and presumately steals it, even slaying his father in order to obtain it. The omniform Tvashtri has a son named Vishvarupa (the Omniform), who is a guardian of cows. The hostility of Indra is directed against the son in order to win these cows, just as against the father in order to gain possession of the Soma. Even Tvashtri himself is said to tremble with fear at the wrath of Indra[100] and is represented as inferior to Indra, in as much as not even he was able to perform a feat done by Indra. The Tai.Sam.[101] tells a story of how Tvashtri, whose son had been slain by Indra, refused to allow the latter to assist at his Soma ritual, by Indra came and drank off the Soma by force.

Terrestrial Soma is compared to the milk of Aditi[102] and milk only can be meant by the daughter of Aditi who yields to Soma as he flows to the vat[103]. There may be a similar allusion when priests with their ten fingers are said to purify Soma on the lap of Aditi[104].

Tutelary Deities are once indentified with Soma, being addressed as Indu. In anther verse[106] he is called a firm pillar, a cuirass of Soma-pressers and seems to be identified with Indra.

The only Deities with whom Pushan is invoked conjointly in the dual are Soma[107] and Indra[108], whose brother he is once called[109].

Soma is in the Ninth Mandala of Rigveda brought into intimate relation to Vivasvat. Soma dwells with Vivasvat[110] and is cleansed by the daughters (fingers) of Vivasvat[111]. The prayers of Vivasvat urge the tawny to flow. The seven sisters (waters) urge the wise Soma on the course of Vivasvat[112]. The streams of Soma flow through the sieve having obtained (the blessing) of Vivasvat and producing the blessing (bhagan) of dawn[113].

Trita mentioned or associated ten times with Soma either as the beverage or the Deity. Trita is mentioned alone as having rent Vritra by the power of the Soma draught[114]. In the Ninth Mandala of Rigveda, doubtless owing to its peculiar character, Trita appears in the special capacity of a preparer of Soma, features alluded to only once in the rest of the Rigveda[115] Soma is purified by Trita[116]. Trita’s maidens (the fingers) urge the tawny drop with stones for Indra to drink[117]. Soma occupies the secret place near the two pressing stones of Trita[118] and is besought to bring wealth in a stream on the ridges (prishtheshu) or Trita[119]. Soma caused the Sun along with the sisters to shine on the summit (sanu) of Trita[120]. They press out the stalk, the bull that dwells on the mountains, who, like a buffalo, is purified on the summit; hymns accompany him as he roars; Trita cherishes (him who is like) Varuna in the ocean[121]. When Soma pours the mead, he calls up the name of Trita[122].

When drunk by Indra, Soma caused the Sun to rise in heaven[123]. So this cosmic action comes to be attributed to Soma independently. He caused to Sun to shine[124], caused the light of the sky to shine[125] and produced the Sun in the waters[126].

Soma is occasionally called a treasure[127] or the wealth of the Gods[128]. Soma can also afford protection from foes. He drives away goblins and like some other Deities but more frequently receive the epithet of globin-slayer (rakshohan). Soma is the only God who is called a slayer of the wicked[129].

Footnotes and references:


A.V. 2.5.19


Rigveda 4.54.2


Shatapatha Brahmana. 9.5. 18


Rigveda 1.8.7


Rigveda 6.47.2


Rigveda 5. 29.8


Rigveda 2. 19.2


Rigveda 2.15.2


Rigveda 3.32.9-10


Rigveda 3. 48.2;


Rigveda 1. 30.11


Rigveda 6. 19.5


Rigveda 8. 12.1


Rigveda 1. 76. 3; Rigveda 8. 21.3


Rigveda 3.32.1


Rigveda 1. 26.4


Rigveda 4. 41.3


Rigveda 9. 73.7


Rigveda 5. 85.2


Atharva Veda 3. 3.3


Atharva Veda 4, 15.12


Rigveda 9. 83.4


Rigveda 9. 85.12


Rigveda 9. 113.3


Atharva Veda 7. 73.3


Maitrayani Samhita. 3.8.10


Atharva Veda 4. 4.1


Rigveda 8. 66.5


Taittiriya Samhita. 1, 2, 9.1


Aitareya Brahmana. 1, 27;

Taittiriya Samhita. 6, 1, 6.5;

Maitrayani Samhita. 3, 7.3


Rigveda 4. 27.3


Taittiriya Aranyaka. 1. 9.3


Rigveda 9. 86.36


Rigveda 10. 85.40


Rigveda 2. 34.5


Rigveda 1. 23.7; Rigveda 1. 88.3; Rigveda 7.59.6; Rigveda 8.94.3


Rigveda 1.166.7


Rigveda 1.85.2


Apastamba Shrauta Sutra. 10.30.1;

Taittiriya Samhita. 1.2.10


Apastamba Shrauta Sutra. 11.3.12


Taittiriya Samhita. 5.6.16


Rigveda 9.33.2; Rigveda 9.34.2; Rigveda 9.63.3; Rigveda 9.65.20; Rigveda 9.90.5; Rigveda 9.100.6


Shatapatha Brahmana.


Rigveda 8.3.8; Rigveda 8.12.16


Rigveda 10.113.2


Rigveda 2.22.1; Rigveda 6.17 [.11?]


Taittiriya Samhita. 1.7.7


Apastamba Shrauta Sutra. 11.7.3;

Taittiriya Samhita.


Apastamba Shrauta Sutra. 11.8.1


Apastamba Shrauta Sutra. 11.6.13


Atharva Veda 7.29.1


Taittiriya Samhita.


Rigveda 6.47.3


Rigveda 9.95.2


Rigveda 7.74.2 ; Rigveda 8.5.11; Rigveda 8.8.1; Rigveda 8.10.8; Rigveda 8.35.22


Rigveda 8.10.8


Rigveda 8.10.8


Rigveda 1.47.3


Rigveda 8.87.4


Rigveda 4.44.4


Rigveda 8.26.6


Rigveda 1.180.2


Rigveda 7.67.4


Taittiriya Samhita.


Taittiriya Samhita.


Rigveda 9.72.3


Rigveda 9.72.6


Rigveda 6.72.2


Rigveda 6.44.23; Rigveda 9.97.41


Rigveda 9.96.5


Rigveda 9.63.7


Rigveda 9.107.7


Taittiriya Samhita.;

Maitrayani Samhita 2.1.4


Rigveda 10.9.6


Rigveda 4.26.6


Rigveda 6.74.


Taittiriya Samhita.


Rigveda 1.117.22


Shatapatha Brahmana.;

Chandogya Upanishad. 5.104.


Atharva Veda 7.42.1-2


Atharva Veda 4.20.1-9


Rigveda 10.115.3


Rigveda 6.61.11-12


Rigveda 5.43.11


Rigveda 6.61.10


Rigveda 10.75.1


Rigveda 9.86.36


Rigveda 1.38.9; Rigveda 5.63.3; Rigveda 9.2.9


Rigveda 9.63.27


Rigveda 9.96.3


Rigveda 10.14.13-14


Rigveda 10.14.4


Rigveda 10.14.14


Atharva Veda 14.20.1


Atharva Veda 4.34.3


Maitrayani Samhita. 1.10.17; 4.2.1


Shatapatha Brahmana.


Taittiriya Brahmana. 1.2.8


Rigveda 1.117.22


Rigveda 1.80.14


Taittiriya Samhita.


Rigveda 9.96.15


Rigveda 9.69.3


Rigveda 9.26.1; Rigveda 9.71.5


Rigveda 8.17.14


Rigveda 8.17.14


Rigveda 2.40


Rigveda 6.57


Rigveda 6.55.5


Rigveda 9.26.4


Rigveda 9.14.5


Rigveda 9.66.8


Rigveda 9.10.5


Rigveda 1.187.1


Rigveda 2.11.20


Rigveda 9.34.4


Rigveda 9.32.2; Rigveda 9.38.2


Rigveda 9.102.2


Rigveda 9.102.3


Rigveda 9.37.4


Rigveda 9.95.4


Rigveda 9.86.20


Rigveda 9.86.22


Rigveda 9.28.5


Rigveda 9.85.9


Rigveda 9.42.1


Rigveda 9.48.3


Shatapatha Brahmana.


Rigveda 9.28.6

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