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Is Soma-Rasa intoxicant ?

Posted by on December 22, 2012

Someone was asking a question, apparently he had seen some television program in US about the Soma creeper, which says that it is not available in India and is seen in South Africa, and the important point is it is an intoxicant. Now, let us take this for inquiry. We can understand the shruti saying very peculiar specification of a cow for buying this creeper, it should be red colour eyed, one year old ‘pingankshi ekaahanya somam krinati’ etc. Probably, this is because it is (soma) an imported item?. Forget about it, since that is not the topic of interest for us here; we are not going into it. Now, let us take the point of it being an intoxicant. There are many contradictory points to negate this idiotic idea. Can it be an intoxicant? The shruti says, one should not drink intoxicant ‘suraam na pibet’. Now, can we take this like the killing of the cattle ‘pashuvada’ in the sacrifice?. That is, the shruti says don’t trouble any living creature ‘na himsyad sarvaa bhutaani’ and it itself asks us to do the cattle sacrifice ‘pashum aalabet’, sparrow sacrifice ‘kapinjalaan yajet’ etc. The logicians will explain this as the torturing ‘himsa’ karmas performed inside of the sacrifice is acceptable, and will not produce any demerit ‘papa’. In the same way, the intoxicant ‘suraa’ taken outside of sacrifice produces sin and not the one taken in the sacrifice. No, because the soma juice is not an intoxicant. a. First the soma creeper is crushed and the juice is extracted. This juice is used in the fire sacrifice and only the left over is taken, and that too only a small portion. b. When even If it accepted that the soma left over will be enough to get drunk (which is not the case, we can only lick a drop), you will not be spending a fortune to get the others drunk ?. How so ? the shruti says the the master/performer ‘yajamaana’ who spends for the sacrifice will have to take the soma in the last after the pundits who perform takes ‘yajamaana panchamaa bhakshyaa’ etc. are proof for this. c. If said, since this is desire propelled ‘ragata prapta’, therefore it cannot be negated by scripture; it is doing its best by controlling the intake. So, seeing the expenditure the fellow will curtail his desire. Then it will be a joke, if the person wants to get drunk he will not listen to any one, leave alone the scriptures which are just meaningless words for him. And, he will only be spending the money in buying a drink. We will come to the desire propelled food habits, like eating non-veg ‘mamsa’, by the Brahmins, in a later post. d. And he will be growing the creeper in abundance, remember demand -> supply.

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