Misconception # 01-Violence against animals & meet eating

A) Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.”
Fact
: The mantra states that in winter, the rays of sun get weakened and then get strong again in spring. The word used for sun-rays in ‘Go’ which also means cow and hence the mantra can also be translated by making ‘cow’ and not ‘sun-rays’ as the subject. The word used for ‘weakened’ is ‘Hanyate’ which can also mean killing. But if that be so, why would the mantra go further and state in next line (which is deliberately not translated) that in spring, they start regaining their original form. How can a cow killed in winter regain its health in spring? This amply proves how ignorant and biased communists malign Vedas.

B) Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.” (translation by Avatar Gill and group)

Fact: The mantra states that brilliant scholars enlighten the world in the manner that wood enhances the fire of Yajna. We fail to understand from where did Avtar Gill and his friends discover Indra, cow, calf, horse and buffalo in this mantra! Also, there is a word “Gavyam”, which are five in numbers according to Aayurved-cow’s milk, curd, butter, Mutra and Apashisht. Where does the flesh come into the picture? Mantra clearly says that the king should be well built through Saatvik bhojan like Ghrit, so that he can defend his country and kill the monsters.

C)  Manusmriti contains violence against animals
Fact:- Unfortunately, most of the vedic texts in the last 1000 years have been adulterated. Though much work has been done in cleansing these texts in the last 100 years, still the adulterated ones remain in circulation. These adulterated texts are great source of misconceptions. Purana and Bhaagvat (not bhagvad geeta) is perhaps the most adulterated (we doubt even its basic writing as many portions of it are Avedic), which is beyond repair. Any reference to such cannot be taken as proof of Vedic Granth containing barbarism.
Example, you would come accross some reference from adulterated Manusmriti, containing Violence against animals like:-

Manusmriti (Chapter 5 / Verse 30) says, “It is not sinful to eat meat of eatable animals, for Brahma has created both the eaters and the eatables.”Manusmriti (5 / 35) states: When a man who is properly engaged in a ritual does not eat meat, after his death he will become a sacrificial animal during twenty-one rebirths.

These are additional shlokas are either from adulterated Manu Smriti or misinterpreted by twisting of words. We recommend them to read Manu Smriti by Dr Surendra Kumar which is available from http://vedicbooks.com

D) Ramayan contains Violence in Ashwamedha
Fact:- The Ramayan we get today is a much interpolated text. Many verses have been added later on and that can be checked with a close scrutiny. The Uttar Ramayan, which contains the reference to Ashwamedha, can be proved to be a later addition by even a layman. No mantra in Vedas refer to any form of animal sacrifice. All those mantras which are alleged to have animal sacrifice, can be easily proved to mean something else, if we look at context and root meanings of the words, as used in ancient texts of grammar and vocabulary. Many of these come from misinterpretation from translations of Sayana and Mahidhar who were born in around 15th century. These translations were then publicized by western indologists. But if you look at ancient translations, and references in other books like Shatpath, Nirukta, Nighantu etc, one can easily understand the truth. Infact, Ashwamedha means efforts to make nation better and has nothing to do with horse.
E) Some Hindu Philosophers have told that Hinduism permit meat eating 
Fact:- Many people quote those, who may be good though one subject (like Yoga) but may not have credible understanding of the Vedas. These quotations are widely used to prove that Vedas prescribe barbaric things like Violence against animals and women, etc but the users of these quotations are unable to provide real proofs (directly from the Vedas and Vedic Granth). Also, we are not sure that these people have really made such comments or not:-
• Swami Vivekanand said: “You will be surprised to know that according to ancient Hindu rites and rituals, a man cannot be a good Hindu who does not eat beef”. (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekanand, vol.3, p. 536).
• Mukandilal writes in his book ‘Cow Slaughter – Horns of a Dilemma’, page 18: “In ancient India, cow-slaughter was considered auspicious on the occasions of some ceremonies. Bride and groom used to sit on the hide of a red ox in front of the ‘Vedi’ (alter).”
• A scholar of scriptures Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane says, “Bajsancyi Samhita sanctifies beef-eating because of its purity”. (Dharmashastra Vichar Marathi, page 180)
• Adi Shankaracharya’ commentary on Brihdaranyakopanishad 6/4/18 says : ‘Odan’ (rice) mixed with meat is called ‘Mansodan’. On being asked whose meat it should be, he answers ‘Uksha’. ‘Uksha’ is used for an ox, which is capable to produce semen.
• The book ‘The History and Culture of the Indian People’, published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Bombay and edited by renowned historian R.C.Majumdar (Vol.2, page 578) says: “this is said in the Mahabharat that King Rantidev used to kill two thousand other animals in addition to two thousand cows daily in order to give their meat in charity”.
Some translators have fallen prey to wrong interpretation of the language. A typical example of foul play by some hell-bent on justifying their obsession with beef in ancient texts, is to translate Mansa as ‘meat’. In reality, ‘Mansa’ is a generic word used to denote pulp. Meat is called ‘Mansa’ because it is pulpy. So mere presence of ‘Mansa’ does not mean it refers to meat.
Now, lets see, how a pure mind would read the following lines from Shatpath Brahmin (3/1/2/21) by Maharishi Yagyavalkya:-  “I eat Mansa because it is very soft and delicious.” Infact, reading the whole passage containing this verse, one would know that the passage is factually opposing meat eating.
Similar injustice can be found, after reading with a pure mind and correct reference, on the following misconceptions:-
Apastamb Grihsutram (1/3/10) says, “The cow should be slaughtered on the arrival of a guest, on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ of ancestors and on the occasion of a marriage.”
Vashistha Dharmasutra (11/34) writes, “If a Brahmin refuses to eat the meat offered to him on the occasion of ‘Shraddha’ or worship, he goes to hell.”

F) Ashwa Medha, Gomedha Yajna and Naramedha Yajna are example of violence

Fact:- One of the biggest accusation of cattle and cow slaughter comes in the context of the Yajnas that derived their names from different cattle like the Ashwamedh Yajna, the Gomedha Yajna and the Nar-medh Yajna. Even by the wildest stretch of the imagination the word Medha would not mean slaughter in this context.

It’s interesting to note what Yajurveda says about a horse
——————————————————–
Imam ma himsirekashafam pashum kanikradam vaajinam vaajineshu
Yajurveda 13.48.
Do not slaughter this one hoofed animal that neighs and who goes with a speed faster than most of the animals.
———————————————————-

Aswamedha does not mean horse sacrifice at Yajna. Instead the Yajurveda clearly mentions that a horse ought not to be slaughtered. In Shathapatha, Ashwa is a word for the nation or empire. The word medha does not mean slaughter. It denotes an act done in accordance to the intellect Alternatively it could mean consolidation, as evident from the root meaning of medha i.e. medhru san-ga-me

Raashtram vaa ashwamedhah
Annam hi gau
Agnirvaa ashwah
Aajyam medhah
(Shatpath 13.1.6.3)

Swami Dayananda Saraswati wrote in his Light of Truth:A Yajna dedicated to the glory, wellbeing and prosperity of the Rashtra the nation or empire is known as the Ashwamedh yajna. “To keep the food pure or to keep the senses under control, or to make the food pure or to make a good use of the rays of Sun or keep the earth free from impurities[clean] is called Gomedha Yajna”. “The word Gau also means the Earth and the yajna dedicated to keep the Earth the environment clean is called Gomedha Yajna”. “The cremation of the body of a dead person in accordance with the principles laid down in the Vedas is called Naramedha Yajna”.

G) Honey and Milk are animal products, so why not meat?

Another type of misconception has aroused because of change in the technique of doing things. For example, it is common to see violence on Cows (injection, etc) whilst extracting milk. This experience read with Vedas saying that “Milk is good” will create confusion in the minds of the ignorant. Vedas not only suggests on extracting the milk from Cow, but also suggests to do so with love and care. Another example would be honey. Extracting honey is like snatching away bees’ food. But that’s not the intent. Honey can be extracted without harming the bees [For large scale production, honey is collected in a smart way. There are wooden boxes of certain height and bees collect their honey inside it. As soon as level of honey reaches the height of box, it starts flowing down through the outer wall of box and is collected. So only extra honey, which was not essential for bees is collected and thus it can be consumed.]

Meat on the other hand cannot be obtained by love and care from living animals. Moreover, according to the ayurveda, human body is suitable for only vegetarian food.


Misconception # 02-Vedas contain Polytheism

Fact: Vedas contain worship of one and only one Paramatma

Brief Analysis:
Logics given by believers of this myth are as follows:

Logic 1: Vedas contain names of many Gods and Goddesses
Refutation: (a). Paramatma is omnipotent and limited human mind cannot comprehend all attributes of Paramatma at same time. So vedas contain prayers to same one Paramatma. Different mantras however focus on different attributes of Paramatma and hence use different adjectives for Paramatma.

(b). Even Vedas claim that there is only one Ishwar and not more than that.

Logic 2:
Vedic suktas have names of Devatas associated with them. These are the various Gods and Goddesses.
Refutation: The name of Devata associated with Vedic mantras refer to the subject of that particular sukta. That has nothing to do with various Gods and Goddesses in conventional sense. There are 33 devatas referred in Vedic texts, but this is also clearly elucidated that these refer to inanimate objects and not worth being worshipped. Vedas clearly proclaim that Paramatma is One and He alone is to be worshipped.

The whole confusion comes because ignorants assume Devata to be synonym of Paramatma. Devata means something or someone that gives, enlighten or illuminates. So in many contexts, Paramatma is also Devata. But so is soul/ Atman and all other animate and inanimate objects which satisfies this meaning of Devata. Thus parents, teacher, scholars, spouse are also devatas. Devatas deserve respect because they give us selfless benefits.

But Devata is not the goal of Worship, only Paramatma is, and Vedas are extremely clear on this.


Misconception # 03 Vedas can be interpreted by western scholars better because they are more scientific

Fact: To be eligible to interpret Vedas, one has to qualify certain minimum basic requirements

Brief Analysis:

Vedas are for every human being. But to be able to decipher meanings of vedic mantras in scholarly manner, several requirements are must:
a. Understanding of roots of vedic words, grammar and usages
b. A scientific and rational temper of mind
c. And most importantly, being a yogi.

Just as you do not get admitted to IIT or IIM without passing the entrance test, one cannot be eligible to comment on Vedas unless he or she is a yogi.

In other words, one cannot be taken seriously on vedic matters if he or she is say a drunkard, meat-eater, prone to anger, egoist, frustrated, hedonist, etc etc. Simply put he or she has to be a yogi to be a rishi (one who can understand the true meaning of vedas).

Thus Vedas is not a text which every Tom, Dick or Harry can start commenting upon merely by studying some basic conventional sanskrit grammar and reading few sanskrit books. The mantras of vedas are to be unlocked through process of deep meditation and contemplation. More one progresses on yogic path, more clearly is he or she able to understand Vedas. But for a non-yogi with stone mind, only stones can be obtained from Vedas.

Most western scholars, based upon their PhDs from universities based on and equipped for non-vedic studies start assuming that they have a preferential superiority over analysing Vedas. They simply ignore the eligibility conditions for entering into vedic arena.

This is not a blanket statement against all foreigners, but simply on basis of works of most prominent western indologists. This is also not to say that these problems are not infecting those native of India. In fact the problem is much more severe because of their inferiority complex coupled with prejudiced mindsets – likes of Romila Thapar, DN Jha etc are ready examples.

A simple example showing poor translations done by the Westerners:-

Rig Veda says “Krunvanto Vishwam Aryam”. ( 9.63.5). I did a simple exercise. I checked translation of this by Griffith and Wilson:
“Performing every noble work, active, augmenting Indra’s strength,
Driving away the godless ones.” (Griffith’s translation)
http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv09063.htm

“Augmenting Indra,urging the waters,making all our acts prsperous,destroying witholders of oblatins” (Wilson)

Now the phrase is not even typical Vedic Sanskrit. It is a very simple phrase to translate.But to Griffith the words “Krunvanto” and “Vishwam” do not exist. To Wilson, all three words do not exist in the verse. The cardinal mimansa rule of interpreation is “Yatha Vachanam Tatha vachanikam” (Read it as it is without adding anything or subtracting anything).Messrs.Wilson and Griffith discard this rule. Probably, the motive is to paint the word “Aryan” as racist. Translating the words as “Ennoble the whole world” would mean they cannot attribute racist connotations to the word.

Thus all those who claim to have superior claim on Vedas because of their so-called scientific studies need to be analysed more in detail. People who turn out to be non-yogis (as per Paatanjal Yoga Sutra) have to rejected outrightly.



MISCONCPETION # 04 : VEDAS CONTAIN “NIYOGA” WHICH MEANS EXCHANGING WIVES (MANY MUSLIMS USE THIS MISCONCEPTION TO DEROGATE VEDAS)

NIYOG IS VEDIC NOT NOCTURNAL

By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

PRAJANAN or Procreation is an inborn instinct of a living being. Humans, animals, fish, fowl and Vanaspati or Vegetation leave behind numerous living beings of their kind before they depart for good.

Right at the beginning of the Creation, Ishwar had given the Vedas to the Rishis for the guidance of human beings to lead a life of righteousness. Along with the Gyan of Life and desire to have children was the knowledge of providing stability of social order. Human beings stabilized process of procreation by formalizing the social institution of Vivah or marriage to bring in order and discipline  through sublimation of sex. The Vedic injunction against sex for pleasure by allowing copulation between lawfully wedded husband and wife at an appropriate time only to beget children continues to hold in check humans running amuck for wild sex.

Many a time varied reasons like death and disease cause separation between the husband and wife at a young age when they are childless, so what is the way out to enable the separated man or woman to fulfill the religious duty of leaving behind a son or a daughter so that the human race not only survives but prospers. Well the answer is NIYOG.

NIYOG  NUANCES

When a widow wishes to have children after the demise of her husband, she lets the social order know of her desire and selection of a male member for copulation as per Vedic Vidhan to beget a child, it is termed as Niyog. In the case of Niyog “ the widowed woman remains in the house of the deceased husband…..children born of Niyog are not called children of the begetter, nor belong to his family, nor has he any claim over the children.” This excerpt is taken from the Satyarth Prakash chapter four written by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in Hindi and translated into English by Pt Ganga Prasad Upadhyay.

In this context it is important to make clear the claim of the child born of Niyog on the property of the man who begot him or her. A child begotten in Niyog will continue the lineage of the deceased husband of the widow and get a share in the property of the deceased husband of the widow concerned and live in her marital home. Thus one may say that a child begotten in Niyog has no legal share in the property of the man whose sperm fertilized the egg of his mother to bring him into this world. Similarly, the begetter of the baby in Niyog will never ever lay a claim of any kind at birth or thereafter. In the eye of law, no relationship moral, spiritual or financial will exist between the begetter and the baby.

IS NIYOG A SIN

A doubting Thomas may raise a doubt about the legal validity of Niyog by pointing out the erroneous thought and labeling Noyog as adultery. Let it be understood that Niyog is not a sin nor an adulterous act. Niyog is willful and consensual act of sex between  a man and a woman with the sole intent of begetting a baby and it is done within the knowledge of the social order that the two belong to. It is not a hush-hush affair done for fun at night under the cover of darkness. The common point between a lawful marriage and a Niyog is  : Both are made known to the social order that the man and the woman belong to. Well, a question may arise: what happens if the first attempt to impregnate a woman fails? Well, there is no embargo on making a second or a third attempt. One should remember that the declared desired intention of the man and the woman concerned is to have a baby and everyone in the neighbourhood knows about it. So, Niyog is not a sin or a crime because it is not done under the cover of darkness or in secrecy. On the other hand, adultery is a nocturnal affair where sex is performed for fun away from the prying eyes of the social or moral police, what to say of the State Police.

It would be a good idea to quote from the Satyarth Prakash  what Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati wrote in reply to a question about procedure to be followed in Niyog :

“ Just as marriage is performed by proclamation, so is NIYOG. As marriage requires sanction of the society and consent of the couple, so does Niyog. When a man and a woman want to perform Niyog, they ought to declare before men and women of their families that they want to enter into Niyog relation for the sake of issues, that they will sever their connection when the purpose of Niyog is fulfilled, that they should be counted as sinners and be penalized by the society and the State if they do otherwise, that they will meet for intercourseonly once a month and will abstain from intercourse for a year after the conception.

( The translation from Hindi into English is done by Pt Ganga Prasad Upadhyay, an eminent Vedic scholar and preacher par excellence)

The Rishivar, a great religious and social reformer, was determined to apprise people of Bharat and later of the world the correct concept of Vedic Dharma and encourage both the Vedic Dharmis and others to follow what the Vedas laid down. That is the only way our human race may show an improvement.The observant Swami knew what way the sinners were going and reforming them was his duty, he thought. He advocated Niyog with the same fervor as the age-old institution of marriage – the Vedic Vivah. He equated the two procedures as the way to procreate. Sexual intercourse was the only way to procreate and one should not have a sense of shame or Lajja in advocating propagation of Niyog.

In the fourth chapter of the Satyarth Prakash dwelling on Niyog, Rishivar wrote and I quote him in original Hindi :

“ Niyam se Vivah hone se ( stree-Purush ka sambhog – bracketed words are mine) vyabhichar nahi kahata, to niyampoorvak NIYOG hone se vyabhichar nahi kahavega………Ved shastrokt Niyog mein vyabhichar, paap, lajja na manana chahiye”

A free rendering into English would run thus: If a man and a woman are married as per the laid down procedure( their cohabitation would not be called promiscuity), likewise Niyog done as per procedure would not be termed promiscuity.      Niyog performed as per Vedic and Shastriya procedure would not be termed promiscuity entailing sin and shame.

It can be safely said that the Seer of the Arya Samaj knew that the sexual instinct of human beings led them astray. The Hindu widows were at the receiving end and quite oppressed socially. Their social and economic condition would improve if they were socially permitted to beget children and have a hope in the future. Therefore, Maharishi Dayanand strongly advocated through his writings and speeches the reintroduction of Niyog in our socio-religious order.

FUTURE OF NIYOG

As of now the social acceptance of Niyog in the Hindu social order is rather dismal. The forward looking socio-religious organization like the Arya Samaj, founded by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in 1875 in Mumbai did not spearhead the movement. In 1877 with the establishment of the Arya Samaj in Lahore, the Punjab became its citadel. However, it was rather unfortunate that the Arya stalwarfs including Pradhans of the Arya Samaj Anarkali, Lahore like Lala Saindas, Mahatma Hansraj and others were rather lukewarm to the concept of Niyog. It was socially unacceptable in the open parlance but practiced clandestinely without flying the flag of Niyog.

Like the Garbhadhan Sanskar, the Niyog too could not gain popularity as men and women devoted to the Ten Principles of the Arya Samaj were rather diffident in declaring that on a particular day or night they would be sharing the bed with the avowed aim of begetting a child. What if the effort failed and conception did not take place? The couple might become the laughing stock of the persons known and unknown. Thus performing a Havan for Garbhadhan or with the declared intention of Niyog requires a lot of social courage that they lacked. Therefore, both these SANSKARS REMAINED A THEORETICAL EXERCISE CONFINED TO THE PAGES OF THE SANSKAR VIDHI AND THE SATYARTH PRAKASH.


MISCONCPETION # 05 Vedas do not contain history

Vedas are Apowrusheya (unauthored) and Nitya (eternal). They are applicable to all times and do not contain or refer to any history of mankind.

The Supreme Knowledge called Vedas are like water flowing in a river . They are ever since creation of mankind on the earth and have remained intact even after many “pralay(s)”. They at the beginning of the human kind were revealed to the most worthy people Agni , Vaayu , Angiraa and Aaditya rishii.

There is not a single reference of history or geography after the evolution of the human kind in the Vedas. And to say that Vedas contain history because of words like Pururuva, Ram, Tutvasu is like saying Bhagvad Puran and poems of Soordas are stories of BJP because it contains mention of Lal Krishna, Murli Manohar, Swaraj, Arun, Atal, etc.
Vedas do not contain any reference of any other book, scripture or person. However, other books, scriptures, etc do contain the reference of Vedas.
Due to the flawless sciencetific methodology used in the literature of the Vedas (please see http://satyavidya.org/must-read/unchangeable-vedas), even the slightest of adulteration of the Vedas can be detected by the intelligent mind. So even after lacs of years of evolution, Vedas are the only texts which are unchanged and unadulterated.
Vedas contains reference to the cycles of creation and destruction. However, reference to cyclical definite event does not constitute history. This verse would be applicable in future creations as well, and has been applicable always.
Vedas talk of fundamental laws and principles. Things that remain the same. Human actions are subject to human will for which ishwar has granted us freedom. Vedas will not foretell that. It can at best say that if you do x,y,z then a,b or c will happen. Vedas are books of science and hence do not deal with things that can change based on human will.

For example Vedas will not predict that Kaliyug will be full of problems. Ishwar has given us will and capability to change the present reality and declining trend. If indeed this were impossible, why would Vedas call for Purusharth to change society and self for better?  But Vedas will predict that the only way to win over Mrityu is by knowing ishwar the way He is. There is no other way.
If we try to know Him, different kind of human event will happen. If we refuse to do so, a different kind will happen. Collective of this over many people becomes a human historical event.

Its a big misconception that Vedas were written or even compiled by Maharshi Vyaasa ji. However, Some believe that Vedavyasa made Vedas into written form for this age of Kali where memory is short, though there is no evidence to such belief.


MISCONCPETION # 06 Soma Ras

This is a rebuttal on the most frivolous claim that Vedas talk about alcoholism or intoxication by use of some narcotic called Soma. As mentioned in a previous article, the growing popularity of Vedas in recent months seems to be the catalyst for a sudden surge in this allegation.

We received a challenge few days ago to explain our stand on this issue. We would get straight to work, explore the truth and address some of the allegations.

Allegation:

All leading scholars have asserted that Vedas speak of merits of consuming Soma or intoxicants. All Vedic Rishis were addicts of Soma.

Agniveer:
The above statement is not at all an allegation. On contrary its a fact. And its a fact that makes us admire Vedas so much. Its a fact that has compelled renowned intellectuals of the world to admire Vedas in awe. Its a fact that drives us to put our best efforts to spread the culture of Soma consumption across the world.

What needs to be understood is that this intoxication of Soma is no ordinary intoxication. It is that intoxication which inspires noble souls to relentlessly pursue the vision of universal well-being and even face harshest of miseries with a peaceful smile.

Multiple meanings of Soma

Soma has multiple meanings. However the core essence is that Soma refers to something that produces happiness, peace, relaxation and enthusiasm. Probably that is why in later era, its usage as synonym of alcohol or intoxicant got popular. After all, a hungry dog sees only meat in every body! Same goes for perverted beings.

Let us now review some alternate meanings of Soma:

– Soma refers to Moon because moonlight provides peace. That is why Mo(o)nday is Somvaar. Now is Moon a wine-shop that it is so called (assuming that Soma means alcohol or narcotic)?

– A peaceful and amicable person is called Saumya. Now if Soma means an intoxicant, then why people across different parts of India name their children Saumya? One is invited to read any dictionary to know what Saumya (सौम्य) means. Refer dictionaries of Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Bengali, Malayalam etc and you would find scores of words derived from Soma that mean friendliness.

– The famous temple of Gujarat (that was plundered by a butcher called Mahmud Ghazni) is called Somnath. If Soma means intoxicant, then perhaps the temple should have allowed it! But as referred earlier, it means a gentle lord or lord of the moon.

– Soma also refers to certain medicines that promote longevity and act as relaxant. For example, Giloya which is very useful in heart diseases and provides a cooling effect on body.

Primary meaning of Soma in Vedas

In Vedas however, in most places, Soma refers to God or Ishwar focusing on those qualities of Ishwar that provides us with peace, bliss, satisfaction and global vision. In few places esp in Atharvaveda, it has come to mean certain medicines. But nowhere can it be termed to mean a mundane intoxicant.

Thus, Rigveda 1.91.22 states that:

“O Soma, You alone create the medicines that heal us. You alone create the water that quenches our thirst. You alone create all moving objects, sense organs and living beings and also give us this life. You have provided expanse to this universe and you alone enlighten the world to eradicate darkness.”

Now only a fool would claim that Soma refers to any intoxicant or alcohol when Soma is said to be creator of universe, stars, life, objects etc. Very clearly Soma refers to the Supreme Lord – the Ishwar or God.

And hence, Soma intoxication implies entrenching oneself completely in devotion to that Supreme Lord. To see Him everywhere and guide oneself solely by His inspiration is Soma intoxication. To follow only the inner voice that communicates with us every moment and rejecting all worldly and sensory pressures is Soma intoxication. To rise completely above the old habits, past tendencies and false ego is  Soma intoxication. To surrender totally to Him is Soma intoxication.

A rough analogy would be with Superconductivity. Once a material is taken below a certain threshold temperature, suddenly resistance becomes zero. Similarly when we have practiced following our inner voice sufficiently, suddenly the world seems to different – so enlightening, so refreshing, so blissful and so blessed by Him everywhere. This stage of heightened association with Ishwar is the stage of Soma intoixcation that Vedas describe in detail.

And yes, it is only when Rishis have reached this stage that they get Vedic inspirations and are able to comprehend meaning of Vedic mantras. It is then that the Rishis ‘see’ the Vedic mantras through the eyes of intellect. In fact, one is called Rishi only after she or he has reached this enlightening stage of Soma intoxication.

Ayurveda very clearly defines what an intoxicant is:

Sharngadhar 4.21: A substance that destroys intellect is called an intoxicant.

To understand Soma better and see why it cannot refer to any material/mundane chemical even closely related to alcohol, intoxication or narcotics, let us review a few more mantras on Soma.

Rigveda 9.24.7:

Soma is not only pure in itself but also purifies everything else. Some is extremely sweet and promotes noble qualities. It destroys sinful tendencies.

Even a dumb person that understand that Soma refers to something intellectual and spiritual and not something as disgusting as alcohol or narcotics

Rigveda 9.37.36:

O Soma, purify us from everywhere. Enter us with excitement and strengthen our speech. Inculcate a sharp intellect within us.

Thus while alcohol or narcotics is taking to dumb the mind, Rishis yearn for Soma because it sharpens the mind and gears them into noble actions.

Rigveda 9.108.3:

O Soma, You purify everything. You are the best source of enlightenment. You lead us towards immortality.

Should we say more!

Atharvaveda 14.1.3:

Ordinary people consider that as Soma which is used as medicine. But the enlightened ones seek the Soma of intellect which materialistic minds cannot even comprehend!

If we review the Pavamana Parva of Samaveda Purvarchika, we can get a wider glimpse of the Vedic Soma.

It is described as something that brings enthusiasm, tolerance and valor.

1.2: O Soma, purify me.

1.3: O Soma, you are source of vitality and bliss.

1.4: O Soma, your intoxication is worth imbibing.

6.5: O Soma, you give birth to our intellect.

6.8: Use Soma to produce intellect.

9.2: Soma provides us with intelligence.

7.12: Intelligence seeks Soma.

9.6: Soma enhances intellect.

Thus while Soma produces intoxication, this intoxication actually strengthens our intellect and reduces dumbness.

2.5 of Pavamana Parva describes Soma as Chetan or living. Thus Soma is not something inert. It is a living force that enhances intellect. It is the Supreme Lord!

How can thus a sensible person relate it with a mundane narcotic?

This Parva of Samaveda provides some more adjectives of Soma:

3.2: One who sees everything actively (Vicharshani)

5.9: Extremely intelligent (Vipra)

5.9: Best of the scholars (Angirastamah)

9.1: Expert (Vichakshanah)

8.4: Knows self (Swarvidah)

2.10: Sees everything clearly (Kavi)

3.6: Knows his duties perfectly (Kratuvit)

11.1: An intoxication that inspires us to perform duties perfectly (Kratuvittamo Madah)

8.4: One who knows the path clearly (Gatuvittamah)

1.7: Adept (Daksha)

1.8: Source of adeptness (Dakshasadhana)

4.2: Adeptness that provides happiness (Daksham Mayobhuvam)

5.11: Provides strength (Vajasatam)

6.7: Protector of world (Bhuvanasya Gopaa)
If this be not enough, the Parva also states Soma to be:

5.1: One seated on the home of immortality

6.3: One who inspires noble minds towards fundamental truth (Rita)

6.2: Speaks to us (Inner voice)
2.3: Destroys hatred

4.12: Inspires towards friendship and solidarity

4.14: Destroys meanness and violence

10.11: Destroys corrupt mindset

8.4: Devoid of sins

6.6: Provides whatever is worth obtaining

6.1: Greatest donor

7.4: Carrier of life force

4.3: Desired by non-violent minds

This is merely a small sampler from the copious references from Vedas that very clearly establish Soma as the pure blissful Ishwar and its intoxication as complete surrender to the Supreme Lord.

Vedas and intoxication

Almost every other mantra of Vedas yearn for enhancement of intellect/ health and repulsion towards all those tendencies and articles that destroy these. Be it the Gayatri Mantra or the Mrityunjaya, all exemplify this.

To conclude the discussions, let us provide a few references from Vedas that condemn intoxication.

Rigveda 10.5.6:

One becomes sinful if he or she crosses even one of the 7 restraints. Yaskacharya defines these 7 sins in his Nirukta as: Theft, Adultery, Murder of a noble person, Abortion, Dishonesty, Repeating misdeeds and consumption of alcohol.

Rigveda 8.2.12:

Those who consume intoxicants lose their intellect, talk rubbish, get naked and fight with each other.

Rigveda 7.86.6:

An action performed as per the inner voice does not lead to sins. Dumb arrogance against inner voice, however, is source of frustration and miseries in same manner as intoxication and gambling destroy us. Ishwar inspires those with noble elevated thoughts towards progress and propels down those who decide to think lowly. Lowly acts performed even in dreams cause decline.

Atharvaveda 6.70.1:

Weak minds are attracted towards meat, alcohol, sensuality and womanizing. But O non-violent mind, you focus your mind towards the world in same manner as a mother cares for her child.

In summary, intoxication is considered as recipe for weakness, failure and destruction!

Allegation:

Even Vivekananda has asserted that Vedas justified alcoholism. How do explain: “The old gods were found to be incongruous — these boisterous, fighting, drinking, beef-eating gods of the ancients — whose delight was in the smell of burning flesh and libations of strong liquor. Sometimes Indra drank so much that he fell upon the ground and talked unintelligibly. These gods could no longer be tolerated.” This is taken from http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_2/jnana-yoga/maya_and_the_evolution_of_the_conception_of_god.htm

Agniveer:

If this is indeed written by Swami Vivekananda, it only shows that he had not studied Vedas properly and his thoughts on Vedas were influenced by western indologists. It also shows that every human being, howsomuch great may have imperfections. So one should not accept anyone blindly and instead apply her own analytical faculty to discover the truth.

While we respect Swami Vivekananda as a charismatic personality, powerful orator and impressive writer on neo-Vedanta, he is not an authority for us in matters of Vedas. It seems that Swami Vivekananda due to his lack of study of Vedas coupled with bias towards meat made this statement, if at all he stated so.

We have provided with specific references from Vedas that beef and alcohol have no place in Vedic dharma. Instead of quoting personal views of Swami Vivekananda or any person for that matter, one should quote from Vedas to refute the stand that has been taken by us as well as all sages from inception of Vedas till date.

By the way, another interesting point to think about is that if indeed Vedas recommend beef and alcohol, why have been the traditional Vedic Brahmins farthest from these vices for ages? Just food (not beef or alcohol!) for thought.

Allegation:

Vedic scholars like Radhakrishnan and K M Munshi – founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan – have also stated that Vedic rishis used to drink alcohol and eat beef.

Agniveer:

We are not sure about Dr Radhakrishnan, but we agree that K M Munshi held such views that he expressed in his novel Lopamudra. We would only say that many works of K M Munshi have been derogatory to our ancient heritage and role models as well as are completely baseless. Several of his novels are full of vulgarity. His series on Krishna was extremely offensive. Same goes for Lopamudra. He was a political person and it is unfortunate that he treaded into an area that he shouldn’t have unless he had the right competence. The works of Bharati Vidya Bhawan in this area have been most damaging and misleading. Please refer “Vedon ka Yatarth Swaroop” by Pt Dharmadeva which comprehensively addresses false allegations of Vedic Age, Lopamudra and other derogatory texts. You can obtain it from www.vedicbooks.com

But regardless of views of personalities howsomuch famous or influential – Dr Radhakrishnan, KM Munshi, Swami Vivekananda or whosoever – we would seek specific and logical references from Vedas instead of empty quotes.

Allegation:

If Soma means a medicinal plant that no one knows, then all the verses of Vedas that talk of Soma become useless today.

Agniveer:

We have already shown earlier that Soma means bliss-providing Ishwar. But even if Soma means a medicine that no one knows today, that does not make Vedas irrelevant. That only imply that humanity should strive to explore such useful medicines. A book like modern Quran that demands blind acceptance without having even the time to understand it (there is only one life as per modern scholars of Quran!) has huge number of verses that are supposed to be Gaib or incomprehensible for humans. Then what is the problem with having a vast number of verses in Vedas that are not understood by dumb minds today? After all Vedas provide you with a long cycle of rebirths to finish your homework! It also does not demand that one should complete the course of Vedas or even believe in Vedas to achieve some Heaven and escape some permanent Hell.

Allegation:

If Vedas do not talk of alcohol or intoxication, why do we have words like Soma, Mada, Madhu in Vedas that relate to intoxication.

Agniveer:

This is most stupid argument.

1. Vedas offered the first words that depicted root essence. Based on that later vocabularies were built. For example, Soma means bliss giving. Intelligent people used it to depict friendly people etc. But for people on path of decline, even alcohol is apparently bliss giving. Same for other words.

2. Don’t we have similar examples in other languages? Gay means a happy person. But what it means today is known to all of us. Interestingly older dictionaries would not even have homosexual as a meaning for gay. Meat not only means flesh but also substance of a point. In fact almost all words have multiple meanings. Only dumb people would try to distort meaning of a sentence through wrong usage.

In conclusion, the only reasons why one would see alcohol in Vedas are either they have not studied Vedas or have an antipathy towards Vedas.

For rest of us, Vedas only encourage for enhancement of intellect and knowledge. And thus condemn anything that diminishes these.

The Soma Ras of Vedas is the divine devotion of the Supreme that elevates us from all miseries, all frustrations, all doubts, all sins and galvanizes us towards virtuous actions with unimaginable enthusiasm and ultimate bliss.

May we all work together to spread pursuit of this Soma in entire universe and pray for immortality of all.

The call of Soma is for the brave. The call of Soma is for the Yajna (noble selfless actions). The call of Soma is for those warriors who have glorified themselves through constant struggle and relentless efforts. O Soma seekers, destroy the dogs of lust and greed and listen to the most beautiful melody of Soma. (Rigveda 9.101.13)