Soma has been thought to be the “fountain of youth” and is generally attributed to a mysterious plant that promises immortality to all who drinks it. The Sanskrit word “soma” translates to mean “bliss” but is also the name of the Moon deity in Vedic tradition. In the ancient Vedic texts, it has been described as a plant from which a drink is brewed and imbibed by the gods or holy men. Soma has long been a symbol for immortality and longevity, both in ancient cultures and in modern mythology.
However, the Vedic philosophy behind Soma encompasses far more than a magical plant that promises immortality. Many Vedic and Ayurvedic scholars have studied the true meaning of the symbolic Soma, along with how Soma can be naturally produced in our human bodies.
Soma is a the nectar of life, an inner bliss that can be obtain through many means, both external and internal. The philosophy of Soma is far reaching and would require many years of studying this extremely subtle essence, both in physical and spiritual form.
In Ayurveda, we are taught that our Agni (digestive fire) is the central means to which we gain proper digestion, transmutation of Prana (life force), and health. Little is said about Soma by comparison, because of it’s subtle energy that requires a complex understanding of not only its nature, but how it complements the Agni within our existence, to maintain true manifestation of health and longevity.
Renowned Ayurvedic and Yoga teacher, David Frawley examines Soma in his book, “Soma in Yoga and Ayurveda,” with profound interpretations. From his perspective, he summarizes:
“Soma at the most basic level is whatever allows us to feel good in life, starting at an outer level of what we can ‘outer Somas’. Yet the outer Somas that we seek are not always good, healthy or without side effects. There is an entire range of inner Somas that include all aspects of creativity and spirituality…which grant us peace and contentment, connecting us to our inner bliss and immortality. The way of Yoga and meditation is to learn to extract the inner Soma directly, apart from any external stimuli, through the light of awareness hidden in our own hearts.”
It is not enough to gain health and balance without asking ourselves, “What is the point?” As David Frawley so insightful points out, the quest for longer life is to seek true immortality, which is the immortality of our spirit, so that we could have more time in this body to do the work of our Dharma, our life’s purpose or why we’re here in this existence.
It is with inner Soma that we can not only nourish our bodies, but also nourish our spirit, so that we may fulfill our true purpose and our highest living.