In the worship the drink prepared from the haoma (Indian soma) plant had a prominent place.
Haviryajnas (meat-offerings), consisting of oblations (ishti) of milk, butter, cereals or flesh, and somayagas or oblations of the juice of the soma plant.
In the case of some of these legends - as those of Sunah-Sepha, and the fetching of Soma from heaven - we can even see how they have grown out of germs contained in some of the Vedic hymns.
Of a far more complicated nature than these offerings are the Soma-sacrifices, which, besides the simpler ceremonies of this class, such as the Agnishtoma or "Praise of Agni," also include great state functions, such as the Rajasuya or consecration of a king, and the Asvamedha or horse-sacrifice, which, in addition to the sacrificial rites, have a considerable amount of extraneous, often highly interesting, ceremonial connected with them, which makes them seem to partake largely of the nature of public festivals.
The building of this altar is spread over a whole year, during which period the sacrificer has to carry about the sacrificial fire in an earthen pan for at least some time each day, until it is finally deposited on the completed altar to serve as the offering-fire for the Soma oblations.
The altar itself is constructed in the form of a bird, because Soma was supposed to have been brought down from heaven by the metre Gayatri which had assumed the form of an eagle.
Whilst the Soma-sacrifice has been thus developed by the Brahmanas in an extraordinary degree, its essential identity with the Avestan Haoma-cult shows that its origin goes back at all events to the Indo-Iranian period.
Similarly the sacrificer, as the human representative of the Lord of Creatures, is identified with Soma (as the supreme oblation), with Time, and finally with Death: by the sacrificer thus becoming Death himself, the fell god ceases to have power over him and he is assured of everlasting life.
In the most developed forms, such as the offering of soma, they assumed a great importance; (r) the sacrificer had to pass from the world of man into a world of the gods; consequently he was separated from the common herd of mankind and purified; he underwent ceremonies emblematic of rebirth and was then subject to numberless taboos imposed for the purpose of maintaining his ceremonial purity.
(6) Then followed the rites of desacralization, including burning of certain of the instruments, lustration of the post, destruction of the butter, &c. Finally the priest, the sacrificer and his wife performed a lustration, found in an exaggerated form in the "bath" which concluded the soma sacrifice, and the ceremonies were at an end.
(12) The Mausolea of Alexander (Soma) and the Ptolemies in one ring-fence, near the point of intersection of the two main streets.
The Brucheum and Jewish quarters were desolate in the 5th century, and the central monuments, the Soma and Museum, fallen to ruin.
On solemn occasions the inspiring drink soma (haoma) ministered to the enjoyment of the devout.
A, Ventral view of prosoma and of anterior region of opistho soma with the appendages cut off near the base; a and b, B, Dorsal view.
(Original.) soma agrees in form and number of somites with the abdomen of a Hexapod, and the tracheal stigmata present certain agreements in the two cases.
Thus he is director of the sun's horses; he is guardian of soma, the sacred liquor, and therefore is regarded as the heavenly physician, soma being a panacea.
90.5, of Soma) that it "cheers the heart of gods" (in the speech of the vine, Judg.
It corresponds to the soma plant (Asclepias acida) of the ancient Aryans of India.
Denoted a necklace of twenty-seven pearls; 1 and the fundamental equality of the parts was figured in an ancient legend, by the compulsion laid upon King Soma (the Moon) to share his time impartially between all his wives, the twenty-seven daughters of Prajapati.
The Rig-Veda contains only one allusion to them, where it is said that " Soma is placed in the lap of the nakshatras "; and this is in a part including later interpolations.
Soma is the Indian Bacchus, and one of the most important of the Vedic gods.
The preparation of the soma juice was a very sacred ceremony, and the worship of the god is very old, soma being identifiable with the Avestan homa, prepared and celebrated in the Indo-Iranian period.
The plant's true home is heaven, and soma is drunk by gods as well as men, and it is under its influence that Indra is related to have created the universe and fixed the earth and sky in their place.
In post-Vedic literature soma is a regular name for the moon, which is regarded as being drunk up by the gods and so waning, till it is filled up again by the sun.
In both the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta soma is the king of plants; in both it is a medicine which gives health, long life and removes death.
In both the celestial is distinguished from the terrestial soma, and the liquor from the god.
The first soma is supposed to have been stolen from its guardian demon by an eagle, this soma-bringing eagle of Indra being comparable with the nectar-bringing eagle of Zeus, and with the eagle which, as a metamorphosis of Odin, carried off the mead.
That these particular albinoes are carrying in the soma the pattern determinants simultaneously with the absence of some of the factors for pigmentation.
In India from the soma frenzy in the Vedas, through the mystic reveries of the Upanishads, and the hypnotic trances of the ancient Yoga, allied beliefs and practices had never lost their importance and their charm.
Unlike the modern Hindus, the Aryans of the Veda ate beef, used a fermented liquor or beer made from the soma plant, and offered the same strong meat and drink to their gods.
The most northerly of the rivers that flow to the Aegean is the Caicus (Bakir Chai), which runs past Soma, and near Pergamum, to the Gulf of Chanderli.
The Gandharvas figure already in the Veda, either as a single divinity, or as a class of genii, conceived of as the body-guard of Soma and as connected with the moon.
Amongst the many thousands of Lingas, twelve are usually regarded as of especial sanctity, one of which, that of Somnath in Gujarat, where Siva is worshipped as" the lord of Soma,"was, however, shattered by Mahmud of Ghazni; whilst another, representing Siva as Visvesvara, or" Lord of the Universe,"is the chief object of adoration at Benares, the great centre of Siva-worship. The Saivas of southern India, on the other hand, single out as peculiarly sacred five of their temples which are supposed to enshrine as many characteristic aspects (linga) of the god in the form of the five elements, the most holy of these being the shrine of Chidambaram (i.e."
The sacred energy is also discerned in the ritual implements, in the stones for squeezing the soma-juice, and the sacrificial post to which animals were bound; nay, it was even recognized in fabricated products like the plough (the " tearer " or " divider "), the 1 F.
Divine persons, objects or powers, connected with ritual, are not here considered, such as the Brahman priests who claimed to be manushyadevah (human-gods), or the sacred soma-juice which grew by strange analogies into a mysterious element, linking together heaven and earth.
After Indra, Agni and Soma, they are the most prominent divinities in the Rig-Veda, and have more than fifty entire hymns addressed to them.
On one occasion Indra got at the soma by assuming the shape of a quail.
I) Indra is said to " have been guilty of that most hideous crime, the killing of a Brahmana."'2 Once, though uninvited, Indra drank some soma that had been prepared for another being.
The soma disagreed with Indra; part of it which was not drunk up became Vrittra the serpent, Indra's ' Hibbert Lectures, p. 230.
Space does not permit us to recount the equally puerile and barbarous legends of Vishnu, Agni, the loves of Vivasvat in the form of a horse, the adventures of Soma, nor the Vedic amours (paralleled in several savage mythologies) of Pururavas and Urvasi.2 Divine Myths of Greece.
When he stole Suttung's mead (which answers somewhat to nectar and the Indian soma), he flew away in the shape of an eagle.'
The prevalence of animals, or of godanimals, in myths of the stealing of water, soma and fire, is very remarkable.
Among the Aryans of India, Soma is stolen by birds, as water is among the Thlinkeets, and mead in the Edda.