Soma

Soma

Soma (Sanskrit: sóma) or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a Vedic ritual drink[1] of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Greater Indian and Greater Iranian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities. In the Avesta, Haoma has the entire Yasht 20 andYasna 9-11 dedicated to it.

It is described as being prepared by extracting juice from a certain plant, the identity of which is now unknown and debated among scholars. In both Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity.

There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the identity of the original plant. There is no consensus on the question, although some Western experts outside the Vedic and Avestan religious traditions now seem to favour a species of Ephedra.