Mercury Day Poetry: Pass the Soma, Please!
Honestly, we were expecting more buzz around Steve’s soma post. So today’s Mercury Day poetry comes once again from the Rig Veda, but with AV instruction. This is from Michael Wood’s The Story of India, mentioned elsewhere on this blog (it’s excellent, if you haven’t seen it). In this segment, a very British Michael Wood finds and drinks actual soma in the raw, surrounded in the souk by mostly bemused merchants. He mentions in passing that it’s still used in central Asia, which I thought was funny, because I get mine from Irvine, California.
In The Rig Veda, soma is drunk by the Gods and men alike, and is also the God Soma. How’s that for Unity? What does soma do, you ask? In today’s poem, the God or man who is drinking the soma is pumping himself up: The more he drinks, the more hyperbolic his praise for himself, which may give you a sense of why yogis might find it appealing. He drinks his soma, starts his prayer, and the sky’s no limit. Oh, and it has some fantastic similes. (Wendy Doniger is our translator.)
Rgveda 10.119: The Soma Drinker Praises Himself
- This, yes, this is my thought: I will win a cow and a horse. Have I not drunk Soma?
- Like impetuous winds, the drinks have lifted me up. Have I not drunk Soma?
- The drinks have lifted me up, like swift horses bolting with a chariot. Have I not drunk Soma?
- The prayer has come to me as a lowing cow comes to her beloved son. Have I not drunk Soma?
- I turn the prayer around in my heart, as a wheelwritght turns the chariot seat. Have I not drunk Soma?
- The five tribes are no more to me than a mote in the eye. Have I not drunk Soma?
- The two world halves cannot be set against a single wing of mine. Have I not drunk Soma?
- In my vastness, I surpassed the sky and this vast earth. Have I not drunk Soma?
- Yes! I will place the earth here, or perhaps there. Have I not drunk Soma?
- I will thrash the earth soundly, here, or perhaps there. Have I not drunk Soma?
- One of my wings is in the sky; I have trailed the other below. Have I not drunk Soma?
- I am huge, huge! Flying to the cloud. Have I not drunk Soma?
- I am going—a well-stocked house, carrying the oblation to the gods. Have I not drunk Soma?
Posted by Bobbie