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SÓMA - Misc (Rigveda), A Vedic Reader for Students 
A Vedic Reader for Students, by Arthur Anthony MacDonnell. Containing Thirty Hymns of the Rigveda in the original Samhita and Pada Texts, with Transliteration, Translation, Explanatory Notes, Introduction, Vocabulary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917).
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As the Soma sacrifice formed the centre of the ritual of the RV., the god Soma is one of the most prominent deities. With rather more than 120 hymns (all those in Maṇḍala ix, and about half a dozen in others) addressed to him, he comes next to Ágni (i. 1) in importance. The anthropomorphism of his character is less developed than that of Indra or Varuṇa because the plant and its juice are constantly present to the mind of the poet. Soma has terrible and sharp weapons, which he grasps in his hand; he wields a bow and a thousand-pointed shaft. He has a car which is heavenly, drawn by a team like Vāyu’s. He is also said to ride on the same car as Indra. He is the best of charioteers. In about half a dozen hymns he is associated with Indra, Agni, Pūṣan, and Rudra respectively as a dual divinity. He is sometimes attended by the Maruts, the close allies of Indra. He comes to the sacrifice and receives offerings on the sacred grass.
The Soma juice, which is intoxicating, is frequently termed mádhu or sweet draught, but oftenest called índu the bright drop. The colour of Soma is brown (babhrú), ruddy (aruṇá), or more usually tawny (hári). The whole of the ninth book consists of incantations chanted over the tangible Soma, while the stalks are being pounded by stones, the juice passes through a woollen strainer, and flows into wooden vats, in which it is offered to the gods on the litter of sacred grass (barhís). These processes are overlaid with confused and mystical imagery in endless variation. The pressing stones with which the shoot (aṃśú) is crushed are called ádri or grá̄van. The pressed juice as it passes through the filter of sheep’s wool is usually called pávamāna or punāná flowing clear. This purified (unmixed) Soma is sometimes called śuddhá pure, but much oftener śukrá or śúci bright; it is offered almost exclusively to Vāyu or Indra. The filtered Soma flows into jars (kaláśa) or vats (dróṇa), where it is mixed with water and also with milk, by which it is sweetened. The verb mṛj cleanse is used with reference to this addition of water and milk. Soma is spoken of as having three kinds of admixture (āśír): milk (gó), sour milk (dádhi), and barley (yáva). The admixture being alluded to as a garment or bright robe, Soma is described as ‘decked with beauty’. Soma is pressed three times a day: the Ṛbhus are invited to the evening pressing, Indra to the midday one, which is his exclusively, while the morning libation is his first drink. The three abodes (sadhástha) of Soma which are mentioned probably refer to three tubs used in the ritual.
Soma’s connexion with the waters, resulting from the admixture, is expressed in the most various ways. He is the drop that grows in the waters; he is the embryo of the waters or their child; they are his mothers or his sisters; he is lord and king of streams; he produces waters and causes heaven and earth to rain. The sound made by the trickling Soma is often alluded to, generally in hyperbolical language, with verbs meaning to roar or bellow, or even thunder. He is thus commonly called a bull among the waters, which figure as cows. Soma is moreover swift, being often compared with a steed, sometimes with a bird flying to the wood. Owing to his yellow colour Soma’s brilliance is the physical aspect most dwelt upon by the poets. He is then often likened to or associated with the sun.
The exhilarating power of Soma led to its being regarded as a divine drink bestowing immortal life. Hene it is called amṛ́ta draught of immortality. All the gods drink Soma; they drank it to gain immortality; it confers immortality not only on gods, but on men. It has, moreover, medicinal powers: Soma heals whatever is sick, making the blind to see and the lame to walk. Soma also stimulates the voice, and is called ‘lord of speech’. He awakens eager thought: he is a generator of hymns, a leader of poets, a seer among priests. Hence his wisdom is much dwelt upon; thus he is a wise seer, and he knows the races of the gods.
The intoxicating effect of Soma most emphasized by the poets is the stimulus it imparts to Indra in his conflict with hostile powers. That Soma invigorates Indra for the fight with Vṛtra is mentioned in innumerable passages. Through this association Indra’s warlike exploits and cosmic actions come to be attributed to Soma independently. He is a victor unconquered in fight, born for battle. As a warrior he wins all kinds of wealth for his worshippers.
Though Soma is several times regarded as dwelling or growing on the mountains (like Haoma in the Avesta), his true origin and abode are regarded as in heaven. Soma is the child of heaven, is the milk of heaven, and is purified in heaven. He is the lord of heaven; he occupies heaven, and his place is the highest heaven. Thence he was brought to earth. The myth embodying this belief is that of the eagle that brings Soma to Indra, and is most fully dealt with in the two hymns iv. 26 and 27. Being the most important of herbs, Soma is said to have been born as the lord (páti) of plants, which also have him as their king; he is a lord of the wood (vánaspáti), and has generated all plants. But quite apart from his connexion with herbs, Soma is, like other leading gods, called a king: he is a king of rivers; a king of the whole earth; a king or father of the gods; a king of gods and mortals. In a few of the latest hymns of the RV. Soma begins to be mystically identified with the moon; in the AV. Soma several times means the moon; and in the Brāhmaṇas this identification has already become a commonplace.
We know that the preparation and the offering of Soma (the Avestan Haoma) was already an important feature of Indo-Iranian worship. In both the RV. and the Avesta it is stated that the stalks were pressed, that the juice was yellow, and was mixed with milk; in both it grows on mountains, and its mythical home is in heaven, whence it comes down to earth; in both the Soma draught has become a mighty god and is called a king; in both there are many other identical mythological traits relating to Soma.
It is possible that the belief in an intoxicating divine beverage, the home of which was in heaven, goes back to the Indo-European period. It must then have been regarded as a kind of honey mead (Skt. mádhu, Gk. μέθυ, Anglo-Saxon medu).
The name of Soma (= Haoma) means pressed juice, being derived from the root su (= Av. hu) press.
viii. 48. Metre: Triṣṭubh; 5. Jagatī.
See Page Number 155, Hymn Number 1 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Wisely I have partaken of the sweet food that stirs good thoughts, best banisher of care, to which all gods and mortals, calling it honey, come together.
ábhakṣi: 1. s. Ā. s ao. of bhaj share; with partitive gen. (202 A e). sumedhá̄s: appositionally, as a wise man; svādhyàs: gen. of svādhí̄ (declined like rathí̄, p. 85, f. n. 4). yám: m. referring to the n. váyas, as if to sóma. abhí saṃcáranti: p. 469, B a.
See Page Number 155, Hymn Number 2 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
If thou hast entered within, thou shalt be Aditi, appeaser of divine wrath. Mayest thou, O Indu, enjoying the friendship of Indra, like an obedient mare the pole, advance us to wealth.
antáś: cp. note on vii. 86, 2 b. Soma is here addressed. prá̄gās: the Padapāṭha analysis of this as prá ágāḥ is evidently wrong, because in a principal sentence it must be prá agāḥ (p. 468, 20) or in a subordinate one pra-ágāḥ (p. 469, 20 B); here it is the latter, because of ca = if(p. 229, 3). Áditis: because Aditi releases from sin (e. g. anāgāstváṃ no Áditiḥ kṛṇotu may Aditi produce sinlessness for us, i. 162, 22); that is, may Soma purify us within. Índav: vocatives in o are always given as Pragṛhya in the Pada text (o íti) even though their Sandhi before vowels may be av or a in the Saṃhitā text; cp. note on ii. 33, 3 b. śráuṣṭī: this word occurs only here, and its meaning is uncertain; the most probable sense is obedient mare. rāyé: this analysis of the Padapāṭha makes the construction doubtful because an acc. is wanted as parallel to dhúram; nas may be supplied; then the sense would be: ‘as a willing mare advances the yoke (of a car), so mayst thou advance (us or the yoke of the sacrifice) for the attainment of wealth.’ ṛdhyās: root ao. op. of ṛdh thrive.
See Page Number 156, Hymn Number 3 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
We have drunk Soma; we have become immortal; we have gone to the light; we have found the gods. What can hostility now do to us, and what the malice of mortal man, O immortal one?
This stanza describes the mental exaltation produced by drinking Soma. Note the use of the aorist four times and its characteristic sense (p. 345, C.). ápāma: root ao. of pā drink. abhūma: root ao. of bhū become. áganma: root ao. of gám go. jyótis: acc. of the goal (197 A 1). ávidāma: a ao. of 2. vid find. kṛṇavat: 3. s. pr. sb. of kṛ do(p. 134). amṛta: Soma.
See Page Number 157, Hymn Number 4 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Do good to our heart when drunk, O Indu; kindly like a father, O Soma, to his son, thoughtful like a friend to his friend, O far-famed one, prolong our years that we may live, O Soma.
śáṃ hṛdé refreshing to the heart occurs several times; the emphasizing pcl. á̄ is here added to the dat. prá ṇaḥ: Sandhi, 65 c. jīváse: dat. inf. of jīv live. tārīs: iṣ ao. inj. from tṝ cross.
See Page Number 157, Hymn Number 5 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
These glorious, freedom-giving (drops), ye have knit me together in my joints like straps a car; let those drops protect me from breaking a leg and save me from disease.
imé: supply índavas from d. yaśásas: p. 59. uruṣyávas: cp. varivovíttarasya in 1 b. anāha: this seems to be an irregular pf. form from nah bind for nanāha; cp. góbhiḥ sáṃnaddho asi thou art bound together with straps (said of a car); another irregularity is the 2. pl. strong radical vowel (cp. 137, 2). visrásas: abl. inf. (of vi-sraṃs) with attracted object in the abl. carítrād: p. 337, 3 a. Note that Pāda c is a Triṣṭubh. yavayantu: cs. ipv. of yu separate. Change in c and d, as often, from 2. to 3. prs.
See Page Number 158, Hymn Number 6 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Like fire kindled by friction inflame me; illumine us; make us wealthier. For then, in thy intoxication, O Soma, I regard myself as rich. Enter (into us) for prosperity.
didīpas: red. ao. inj. of dīp shine. prá cakṣaya: cs. of cakṣ see(cp. 3 b). kṛṇuhí: cp. p. 134; accented as beginning a sentence. vásyasas: A. pl. of vásyāṃs (cpv. of vásu, 103, 2 a). áthā (metrically lengthened): then, when inflamed by Soma. revá̄n: predicatively with mánye (196 a), iva being sometimes added. prá carā (metrically lengthened): cp. 2 a, antáś ca prá̄gāḥ. puṣṭím ácha: give us actual prosperity also.
See Page Number 158, Hymn Number 7 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Of thee pressed with devoted mind we would partake as of paternal wealth. King Soma, prolong our years as the sun the days of spring.
bhakṣīmáhi: s ao. op. of bhaj share. pítryasya iva: because Soma is regarded as a father, cp. 4 b. Sóma rājan: being a single voc. (rājan is in apposition), Sóma alone is accented (p. 465, 18). prá ṇas: cp. 4 d. tārīs: cp. 4 d. áhāni: 91, 2.
See Page Number 158, Hymn Number 8 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
King Soma, be gracious to us for welfare; we are thy devotees: know that. There arise might and wrath, O Indu: abandon us not according to the desire of our foe.
mṛḷáyā: accented as beginning a sentence after an initial voc. (p. 467, 19 A c); final vowel metrically lengthened. svastí: shortened inst. s. (p. 80, f. n. 2) used adverbially like a dat.; this word though obviously = su + asti is not analysed in the Padapāṭha (cp. note on i. 1, 9). smasi: 1. pl. pr. of as be. tásya: with vid know about, 202 A c. viddhi: 2. s. ipv. of vid know. álarti: 3. s. pr. int. of ṛ go (174 a). aryás: gen. of arí foe(cp. p. 81, f. n. 1; 99, 3), dependent on anukāmám; cp. árātis in 3 c. dāḥ: 2. s. root ao. inj. of dā give.
See Page Number 160, Hymn Number 9 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Since thou art the protector of our body, O Soma, thou as surveyor of men hast settled in every limb. If we infringe thine ordinances, then be gracious to us as our good friend, O god, for higher welfare.
tanúas: gon. of tanú̄ body. gopá̄s: 97 A 2 (p. 79). gá̄tre-gātre: 189 C. ni-ṣasatthā: 2. s. pf. of sad; cerebralization of s (67 a); metrical lengthening of final a (p. 441, a). yád: p. 242, 3. praminá̄ma: sb. pr. of pra-mī. sá: p. 294, b. su-ṣakhá̄; on the cerebralization of s see 67 b; the accent is that of a Bv. (p. 455, c α); that of a Karmadhāraya (p. 455, d 1) is su-ṣákhā; the former is irregularly used in the latter sense. vásyas: the cpv. adj. is here used as an acc. adverb (p. 301, b).
See Page Number 160, Hymn Number 10 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
I would associate with the wholesome friend who having been drunk would not injure me, O lord of the bays. For (the enjoyment of) that Soma which has been deposited in us, I approach Indra to prolong our years.
ṛdūdáreṇa: not analysed in the Padapāṭha (cp. note on ii. 33, 5 c); cp. tváṃ nas tanvò gopá̄ḥ in 9 a. sákhyā: 99, 2. yó ná ríṣyet: cp. 4 a. haryaśva: a characteristic epithet of Indra, who as the great Soma drinker is here addressed. nyádhāyi: 3. s. ao. ps. of dhā put; this (like prá̄gās in 2 a) is irregularly analysed in the Padapāṭha as ní ádhāyi ínstead of ni-ádhāyi (p. 469, B). asmé: loc. (p. 104); Pragṛhya (26 c). emi: 1. s. pr. of i go to with acc. (197, A 1). pratíram: acc. inf. of tṝ cross(p. 336, 2 a) governing the acc. á̄yus (cp. 11 d). tásmai: for the sake of that = to obtain or enjoy that, final dat. (p. 314, B 2).
See Page Number 161, Hymn Number 11 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Those ailments have started off, diseases have sped away, the powers of darkness have been affrighted. Soma has mounted in us with might: we have gone to where men prolong their years.
asthur: 3. pl. root ao. of sthā. atrasan: the ipf. is here irregularly used beside the two aorists; cp. the uniform use of the ao. in 3. támiṣīcīs: this word, as occurring here only, is somewhat doubtful in sense; but it is probably a f. adj. formed from a stem in añc added to támis (in támis-rā darkness): cp. 93 a and 95. The meaning is that a draught of Soma drives away disease and the powers of darkness (cp. 3 b). ábhaiṣur: s ao. of bhī fear. á̄ aruhat: a ao. of ruh: cp. the English phrase, ‘go to the head’. áganma yátra: = ‘we have arrived at the point when’. d is identical with i. 113, 16 d; it refers to the renewal of life at dawn.
See Page Number 162, Hymn Number 12 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
The drop drunk in our hearts, O Fathers, that immortal has entered us mortals, to that Soma we would pay worship with oblation; we would abide in his mercy and good graces.
pitaras: the Fathers, often spoken of as Soma-loving (somyá), are called to witness (cp. 13 a). hṛtsú pītáḥ: cp. 2 a antáś ca prá̄gāḥ and 10 c yáḥ sómo niádhāyi asmé.
See Page Number 162, Hymn Number 13 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Thou, O Soma, uniting with the Fathers, hast extended thyself over Heaven and Earth. To thee as such, O Indu, we would pay worship with oblation: we would be lords of riches.
saṃ-vidānás: see x. 14, 4 b. ánu á̄ tatantha: = hast become famous in. d is identical with iv. 50, 6 d.
See Page Number 163, Hymn Number 14 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Ye protecting gods, speak for us. Let not sleep overpower us, nor idle talk. We always dear to Soma, rich in strong sons, would utter divine worship.
trá̄tāro devāḥ: accent, see note on 7 c. ádhi vocatā: 2. pl. ao. ipv. of vac speak; final vowel metrically lengthened; = take our part, defend us (nas, dat.). nidrá̄: probably for nidrá̄ḥ: see note on svadhā, x. 129, 5 d. īśata: 3. s. sb. Ā. (not inj., which correct, p. 372); with gen. nas (202, A a). nidrá̄ and jálpiḥ probably refer to the vows of waking and silence in the rite of initiation (dīkṣā) to the Soma sacrifice. c d are identical with ii. 12, 15 c d excepting that there ta Indra takes the place of Sómasya. priyá̄sas: with gen. (p. 322 C).
See Page Number 163, Hymn Number 15 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Thou art, O Soma, a giver of strength to us on all sides. Thou art a finder of light. Do thou, assurveyor of men, enter us. Do thou, O Indu, protect us behind and before with thine aids accordant.
ā viśā: final vowel metrically lengthened. Inda: for Indav (21 b); on the Padapāṭha, cp. note on 2 c. ūtíbhis to be taken with sajóṣās. utá vā: or = and.