Intoxicant Consumption in Hinduism


Written by Sulaiman Razvi

Hinduism is perhaps the only religion in the world which has a deity of liquor called Varuni and a god like Shiva associated with Bhang (cannabis). Intoxicant consumption is not unknown in Hindu society. In fact, intoxicants like Bhang and liquor have become ceremonial beverages during Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali. Bhang (hemp/cannabis) in the form of drink is widely consumed by Hindus during the festival Holi. Even Sadhus spend their lives smoking weed to please their lord Shiva though it is in violation of NDPS act. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar wrote in his book Riddles in Hinduism, “The ancient Aryans were also a race of drunkards. Wine formed a most essential part of their religion. The Vedic Gods drank wine. The divine wine was called Soma. Since the Gods of the Aryans drank wine the Aryans had no scruples in the matter of drinking. Indeed to drink it was a part of an Aryan’s religious duty…Who were denied Soma drank Sura which was ordinary, unconsecrated wine sold in the market. Not only the male Aryans were addicted to drinking but the females also indulged in drinking. The Kaushitaki Grihya Sutra I.11-12 advises that four or eight women who are not widowed after having been regaled with wine and food should be called to dance for four times on the night previous to the wedding ceremony.”

Consumption of liquor is clearly prohibited in Hindu scriptures and it is considered a great sin (Mahapataka) but some texts allow it under certain conditions, moreover, there are plenty of examples of Gods, Rishis and even Goddesses enjoying liquor. Some text even suggests the use of liquor for offering a libation to Hindu deities. There are approximately 11 types of liquors mentioned in Hindu scriptures such as Sura which is made from grains and was perhaps the most popular drink back then, Maireya which is Rum and made from treacle or molasses, Paista which is made from rice, Madhvika made from flowers, Madhuka made from honey, Panasa taken from jack fruit, Draksa made from grapes, Khajura sambhava made from date fruits, Nalikeraja prepared from coconut palm, Gaudi prepared from molasses, Arista which is a fermented liquor made from soapberry. Wine is praised in various ways in Hinduism, As per Agni Purana 84.1-2 dreaming about ‘wine in the night preceding the day of the ceremony, should be held as the most auspicious ones’, As per Srimad Bhagavatam 5.1.32-33 there are seven islands on Earth which are separated by seven oceans and the oceans are of salt water, sugarcane juice, wine, clarified butter, milk, curds and pure water.

Kumraila Bhatta a 8th century Hindu reformer observes, “Among the people of modern days we find the Brahmana women of the countries of Ahicchatra and Mathura to be addicted to drinking.” (Tantra-vartika, I.III.4). He condemned this practice in the case of Brahmins only, but not of Ksatriya and Vaisya men and women, if the liquor was distilled from fruits or flowers (Madhvi) and molasses (Gaudi) and not from grains (Sura). Madhavacharya in his Sankara Dig Vijaya Canto 15, verses 1-23 wrote that Adi Shankaracharya along with King Sudhanva traveled to Karnataka where they happened to confront Kapalikas a Shaivite sect who were engaged in drinking liquor in their worship like the Saktas. Then they had a debate on the issue. Which shows that Sadhus consumed liquor in 8th century also. Consumption of liquor by Kapalin (Shaivite sect of Hinduism) is much older than this, It is mentioned in Skanda Purana I.i.1.33-34 that Kapalins were engaged in drinking liquor. Liquor or cannabis consumption is not a taboo in the Shaivite sect because of that they are censured by Vaishnavite Hindus. Srimad Bhagavatam a Vaishnavite Purana censures Kapalins in the following way,

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.2.28-29 “One who takes a vow to satisfy Lord Śiva or who follows such principles will certainly become an atheist and be diverted from transcendental scriptural injunctions. Those who vow to worship Lord Śiva are so foolish that they imitate him by keeping long hair on their heads. When initiated into worship of Lord Śiva, they prefer to live on wine, flesh and other such things.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada

Swami Prabhupada wrote: “It is sometimes seen that devotees of Lord Śiva imitate the characteristics of Lord Śiva. For example, Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison, so some of the followers of Lord Śiva imitate him and try to take intoxicants like gāñjā (marijuana). Here the curse is that if someone follows such principles he must become an infidel and turn against the principles of Vedic regulation. It is said that such devotees of Lord Śiva will be sac-chāstra-paripanthinaḥ, which means “opposed to the conclusion of śāstra, or scripture.’…” Swami Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam 4.2.28


Definition of Sura & Asura

Devas in Hinduism are also called Sura and their enemies i.e. Demons are called Asuras, In later texts like Itihaas and Purana the definition of Sura and Asura given is that the Devas were imbibers of wine hence they were called Sura (literal meaning is liquor) and the demons did not accept liquor hence they were called A-Sura. As per stories mentioned in Hindu texts, Varuni (liquor) was born during the second churning of the ocean (Samundra Manthan) by Devas and Danavas. The Devas accepted her while the Danavas rejected her.

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 9.66-69 “When the ocean of Milk was once again churned by the Devas and Danavas, goddess Varuni with tremulous eyes on account of inebriety, rose up even as the Siddhas in the firmament began to think ‘What is this’? She smilingly stood in front of the Asuras. The Daityas did not accept her. Therefore they become Asuras. They were given the appellation Asura in the sense ‘Those who do not have Sura (liquor)‘. Thereupon, she stood in front of Devas. On the direction given by paramesthin (Brahma) Deva joyously accepted her. In view of the fact that they accepted Sura, they became glorified by the appellation Sura.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Ramayana of Valmiki, Bala Kanda 1, Sarga 45, verses 36-37 “Oh, Rama, the sons of Diti, namely asuraa-s, have not espoused that daughter of Rain-god, but oh, brave Rama, the sons of Aditi on their part, namely sura-s, have espoused that impeccable Vaaruni. Thereby the sons of Diti are called a suraa-s, and the sons of Aditi are called suraa-s, and gods are delighted and rejoiced on espousing Vaaruni.” Tr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao

Mahabharata mentions the vow of Asura which was to abstain from drinking alcohol,

Mahabharata Vana Parva 3, Section 255″…And I shall observe the Asura vow…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Kisari Mohan Ganguli writes, “The vow of the Asuras was (according to the Burdwan Pundits) never to drink wine…”

Varuni is the liquor deity of Hinduism, some texts calls her the wife of Varuna and some considers her the daughter of Varuna. Wine was born after churning of the ocean as per Hindu texts,

Mahabharata Udyoga Parva 5, Section 102 “…The gods, uniting with the Asuras, and making the Mandara mountain their pole, churned the waters of the ocean and obtained the wine called Varuni…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Mahabharata Udyoga Parva 5, Section 98 “…Behold now, O companion of the Lord of the celestials, that abode, made entirely of gold, and full of the wine called Varuni. Indeed, having obtained that wine, the gods acquired their god-heads…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli


Consumption of Alcohol by Gods and Goddesses

Rama & Sita

Rama the Maryada Purshottom (ideal man) is said to have made his wife Sita drink wine and then enjoyed the dance of women,

Ramayana of Valmiki, Uttarakhanda 7, Sarga 42, Verses 18-23 “Like unto Purandara with Sachi he took Sita by the hand, made her sit and drink the wine distilled in the province of Mira. And in no time the servants brought for him well-cooked meat and various fruits. Being inebriate the beautiful Apsaras, well-skilled in the art of singing and dancing, began to dance before Rama in the company of Kinnaris. The virtuous souled Rama, the foremost of those who know how to please, satisfied those beautiful damsels adorned with various ornaments.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt

This verse appears in the 52nd Sarga of M.N. Dutt’s translation but actually, it is supposed to be in the 42nd Sarga. Following is another English translation by Hindu scholar Hari Prasad Shastri,

Valmiki Ramayana, Uttarakhanda 7, Sarga 42, Verses 18-23 “Taking Sita by the hand, Kakutstha gave her delicious wine made of distilled honey to drink, as formerly Puandara had offered to Sachi. Thereafter pure viands and fruits of every kind were brought by servants, whilst lovely Apsaras, skilled in the arts of singing and dancing, began to perform in the Prince’s presence and troops of Nymphs and Uragas, surrounded by the Kinneris intoxicated with wine, danced before Kakutstha, and the virtuous Rama, the most captivating of warriors, delighted those ravishing and charming women.” Tr. Hari Prasad Shastri

Following is the Hindi translation with Sanskrit text by Chaturvedi Dwaraka Prasad Sharma,

The Sanskrit word mentioned here is Madhu Maireya which is a type of liquor made from honey, Panini defines the word Madhu Maireya as,

Ashtadhyaya Panini, Book VI, Ch 11, verse 70 “…Thus ग्रुंडमेरेय: ‘the wine maireya prepared from treacle or molasses’. मधुमैरेय:maireya prepared from honey‘. Why do we say when denoting ‘an ingredient?’ Observe परममैरेय: Why do we say ‘before मेरेय?’ Observe पुष्पासव: Every sort of spirituous liquor except सुरा is called मेरेय.” Tr. Srisa Chandra Vasu

The above passage also makes the definition of the word Sura (सुरा) clear. Swami Vivekananda wrote,

“…Instances are found in the Râmâyana and the Mahâbhârata of the drinking of wine and the taking of meat by Rama and Krishna, whom they worship as God. Sita Devi vows meat, rice, and a thousand jars of wine to the river-goddess, Gangâ!”

When Hanuman met Sita in the Ashok Vatika, he informed Sita about the condition of Rama, he told Sita that Rama has given up consumption of liquor and meat due to the grief of being separated from her,

Ramayana of Valmiki, Sundara Khanda 5, Sarga 36, verse 41 “Rama is not eating meat, nor indulging even in spirituous liquor. Everyday, in the evening, he is eating the food existing in the forest, well arranged for him.” Tr. K.M.K. Murthy

We know that Rama was a meat-eater, when he was about to go to Vanvaas (exile into the forest) he lamented that he would have to live in the forest without meat. So this verse indicates that Rama also consumed liquor. A verse from Ayodhya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana states that Sita vowed to offer hundred cups of wine to the goddess if her wish is fulfilled,

Ramayana of Valmiki, Ayodhya Kanda 2, Sarga 55, verses 19-20 “Having come near the middle of the Kalindi, Sita prayed unto her, saying, ‘Hail to thee, O goddess! I cross thee. If my husband can successfully perform his vow. I will worship thee with a thousand cows and a hundred vessels of wine.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt


The ardent Bhakt of Rama is also said to have taken intoxicants,

Mahabharata Vana Parva 3, Section 145, Verse 86 “…The powerful Hanuman, however, opening his eyes partially looked at him (Bhima) with disregard, with eyes reddened with intoxication…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli


In the Mahabharata, Sanjay describes Krishna and Arjuna in the company of Draupadi and Satyabhama (wife of Krishna and an incarnation of Bhudevi), exhilarated by Bassia wine,

Mahabharata, Udyog Parva 5, Section 59, verses 2-5 “Sanjaya said, ‘Listen, O king, as I tell thee the state in which I found Krishna and Dhananjaya. I will also, O Bharata, tell thee what those heroes said; O king, with looks bent down and hands joined together, and with senses well restrained, I entered the inner apartments for conferring with those gods among men. Neither Abhimanyu nor the Twins can repair to that place where are the two Krishnas and Draupadi and lady Satyabhama. There I beheld those chastisers of foes, exhilarated with Bassia wine, their bodies adorned with garlands of flowers.” Tr. Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Renowned Hindu scholar Kumarila Bhatta explained this verse of Mahabharata and justified it by saying that by drinking wine Krishna and Arjuna didn’t transgress the law. Kumarila Bhatta wrote that Sura (prepared from grain) is prohibited whereas Krishna and Arjuna drank Madhu which is not prohibited and that Kshatriyas and Vaishyas can have Madhu and Sidhi (types of liquors made from honey and molasses),

Tantra Vartika, Adhyaya 1, Pada III, Adhi 4(a) “Then remains the case of Krshna and Arjuna being drunk with wine, and having married the daughters of their respective maternal uncles, both being instances of direct transgressions of the law. But it is only the wine distilled from grains, which is called ‘Sura’, that is prohibited for the three higher castes; says the Smrti: ‘Sura is the impure essence of the grains and it is evil that is spoken of as impure; hence the Brahmana, the Kshatriya and the Vaicya should never drink Sura.’ As for the particular wines ‘Madhu’ (wine distilled from certain fruits, as grapes and the like), and the ‘Sidhu’ (that distilled from molasses), these are not prohibited for the Kshatriya and the Vaicya, as ‘all intoxicating drinks’ have been prohibited for the Brahmana alone. Though there is a passage that declares ‘all the three kinds of wine, the Gaudi (that distilled from molasses) Paishthi (that distilled from grains) and Madhu (distilled from fruits), being the same, they should not be drunk by the Brahmavadis,’ yet here the word ‘Brahmavadi’ should be taken as denoted the Brahmanas only, as the word literally means ‘one who is capable of teaching Brahma,’ or ‘whose duty it is to teach Brahma’, or ‘whose excellence lies in such teaching’, and as the root ‘Vada’ is synonymous with ‘Bru’ such duties are distinctly restricted to the Brahmana alone, by such texts as ‘from among the three higher castes, the Brahmana alone should teach’…Hence we take the passage ‘All the three kinds of wine, etc,’ to mean that just as the one, Sura distilled from grains, is not drinkable by the three higher castes, so are all the three undrinkable by the Brahmana otherwise, if the simple prohibition of wine in general were meant, then the words ‘Yathava, etc.,’ and ‘Brahmavadibhih’ would be totally redundant. The mention of ‘the three castes’ we shall supply from out of another verse. For this reason, the fact of Krshna and Arjuna both Kshatriyas being intoxicated with ‘Madhu’ (grape wine) is in no way a transgression of the law. And, as a matter of fact, we have Vedic texts that distinctly show (1) that the prohibition of wine is for others (i.e, Brahmanas), and also (2) that is distinctly permissible (in the case of others)…hence the Brahmana should not drink the wine; lest he be attached to evil’, and (2) ‘The Kshatriya should say to the Brahmana ‘the drinking of wine does no harm to him who knows this’, and this latter is with the reference to the ‘Madhu’ and the ‘Sidhu’ (and not the ‘Sura’ which is in no case allowed to anyone else but the Cudra)…” Tr. Ganganath Jha

As far as my opinion is concerned, Even Sura is not prohibited for Brahmins as Vedas the eternal law for Hindus gives instructions on the consumption of Sura for Brahmins and Kshatriyas. Padma Purana states that Krishna used to drink wine in the company of his wives who also enjoyed wine,

Padma Purana V.89.53-59a “Then the two, O brahmana, being tired due to many pastimes proper for the times in the groves endowed with vernal breezes on all sides, resort, with their attendants, to the root of a tree, and sitting on a divine seat, drink liquor, O best sage. Then the two, intoxicated due to the liquor, with their eyes closed due to sleep, holding each other’s hands, being under the influence of Cupid’s arrows, and desiring to sport, enter, with their words and mind stumbling on the path. There they sport like a female elephant and (the male elephant) the lord of the herd. All the friends also, intoxicated by wine, and with their eyes troubled by sleep (i.e. drowsy) sleep all around in the charming bowers. Again and again incited by his beloved, Krsna, the lord, would go near all, with a separate body (for each) and simultaneously. Having satisfied all of them as a lord of elephants satisfies the female elephants, he would, along with his beloved and with them, go to the lake to sport.” Tr. N.A. Deshpande

A story mentioned in Skanda and Samba Purana goes like this, Narada Muni visited Krishna, and all the Yadu boys received him with their heads bowed down in respect but Samba the son of Krishna didn’t greet him properly, So Narada thought of teaching him a lesson. So he told Krishna that his 16100 wives were sexually attracted to Samba. Krishna doesn’t believe him. Then Narada visits him again after a gap of a few days, there he sees that Krishna along with his wives were engaged in drinking liquor. Narada takes this as an opportunity to teach Samba a lesson so he tells Samba that his father i.e. Krishna is calling him. Samba goes there and sits next to his father Krishna. Intoxicated wives of Krishna becomes sexually aroused seeing the handsome boy and their private parts becomes moistened so much that even their underwear becomes drenched due to arousal. Then suddenly Narada Muni enters the place and all the wives of Krishna gets up to pay respect to Narada Muni and then all their dresses slip from their bodies including their wet underwear. Krishna then curses his wives. So it shows that Krishna used to quaff liquor along with his wives, story mentioned in Skanda Purana is too long, I have tried my best to shorten it while the Samba Purana is a summarized version by Wendy Doniger. The Skanda Purana verse also states that Samba used to enjoy liquor and had illicit relationships with women,

Samba Purana 3.6-55 “One day Narada came to Dvaraka to see Krsna. All the Yadu boys received him with respect, but Samba, proud of his young beauty and deluded by the fated, inevitable force of the curse, disregarded Narada. To teach Samba a lesson, Narada told Krsna that all of Krsna’s sixteen thousand wives were in love with Samba. Samba was summoned, and the women, whose minds were blurred by wine, showed inmistakable signs of passion when Samba appeared…”

Skanda Purana Book VII, Section I, Chapter 101, verses 1-38 “At this very juncture (came) venerable sage Narada…In the court of his wandering at will, he always used to come to Dvaravati to pay a visit to Vasudeva. As he came on quickly all the Yadava youths beginning with Pradyumna remained with their heads (politely) bent down…but Samba due to the inevitability of the curse, slighted the noble souled Narada as usual. Being very proud of his youth and handsome features he was forever indulgent in sexual dalliance and liquor. On seeing him impolite and rude, Narada thought thus: Today I shall try to curb this impolite one…After thinking thus, he spoke to Vasudeva: O most excellent one among Devas, here there are sixteen thousand women. O my Lord, their emotional fondness for Samba is much…On hearing these words from Narada, Kesava began to think. What has thus been mentioned by Narada may have some truth in it…Narada went away as he came. A few days thereafter, he returned to Dvaraka. On that day the Lord was engaged in drinking liquor after enjoying aquatic sports along with all the members of his Antahpura (inner apartment)…Staying there the Lord drank the liquor of great auspicious flavour. In the meantime, fully aware that the women were inebriated due to liquor, Narada spoke to Samba: ‘O princely youth, do come and stand here. The Lord calls you. It is not proper on my part to stay on there.’ Urged by Narada…Samba entered quickly and bowed down to his father. He took the seat pointed out by Visnu with natural feeling. In the meantime those women there who were deficient in self control became highly agitated as soon as they saw Samba. As they were staying within the Antahpura so long, they had not seen him before. The liquor had its own effect in making them forget everything. Further they were naturally devoid of self control. Hence their loins became moistened. On seeing an excellent man, the excellent organ of generation of women becomes moistened and dump even if they are observing celibacy or are Yoginis…After sending Samba in, Narada also came hurriedly closely on the heels of Samba. On seeing the sage coming with pleasant manners, all those women suddenly got up; they were tipsy. Even as Vasudeva was watching, when they got up suddenly their valuable garments got torn and fell down into the pots (of liquor). The clothes clinging to their loins (underwear) also fell separately. On seeing it Hari became angry, he cursed those women: O women, since your minds strayed elsewhere unmindful of me, you will not get into the regions occupied by your husband at the close of your life. Slipping down from the world of your husband as well as from the path of heaven, you will have no refuge and will fall into the clutches of robbers. As a result of this defect and curse, those women, at the time of Krsna’s heavenward departure, were abducted by robbers belonging to Pancanada even as Arjuna was looking on.” Tr. Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare

Mahabharata Virata Parva 4, Section 72, Verses 19-28 “And Krishna gave unto each of the illustrious sons of Pandu numerous female slaves, and gems and robes. And then the nuptial festival set in between the families of the Matsya king and the Pandavas. And then conchs and cymbals and horns and drums and other musical instruments appointed by the Pandavas, began to play in the palace of Virata. And deer of various kinds and clean animals by hundreds were slain. And wines of various kinds and intoxicating juices of trees were profusely collected.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Krishna in the following verse is mentioned as Rama,

Skanda Purana VII.I.202.10-11 “Rama with the plough as his weapon, went to the city of Dvaravati teeming with delighted and contented people. There he indulged in a drunken bout with the persons (ladies) of his Antahpura. After imbibing wine, he seized a mace with his hand and went to the splendid garden of Raivatodyana accompanied by Revati and others. Moving in the midst of groups of women, he went along with faltering steps like an inebriated person…” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Skanda Purana VII.I.202.31-32 “The Brahmanas assembled there, were well-versed in the Puranas and were glad to listen to the stories and conducts of the primordial celestial sages. On seeing Rama with eyes reddened due to drinking wine they thought, ‘He is thoroughly drunk’, and hurriedly got up and began to honour and adore Halayudha excepting Suta who continued to sit.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Suta kills the Brahmins so Krishna feels the guilt of drinking wine, vows to abstain from wine drinking and also orders corporal punishment to those guilty of drinking wine therefrom. But was the law ever implemented? Because his beloved brother Balrama was addicted to wine and Krishna’s son Samba and grandson Pradumnya is also said to have relished wine.



Krishna’s brother Balarama was addicted to drinking liquor, several texts mentions this habit of Balarama,

Brahma Purana 90.5-7 “Roaming about that spot Balarama inhaled the intensive odour of wine. After smelling it he experienced the delight that he previously used to have in wine. O sages, thereafter, Balarama saw a current of liquor suddenly falling form Kadamba. He derived great joy therefrom. He drank it joyously in the company of cowherds and cowherdesses…” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Harivamsa Purana, Visnu Parva 2.41.5-13 “Then the valiant, auspicious Sankarsana (Balarama), appearing like an elephant roamed on the peak of the mountain, without Krishna. He went under the shade of the kadamba (Nauclea Cadamba) tree, fully blossomed, enjoying the breeze with a faint smell, comfortably. While he was enjoying the breeze there, the smell of (vinous) spirituous liquor entered his nose. Immediately he was affected by the desire to have Varuni, (spirituous liquor). His face appeared dim like the face of an intoxicated person in the afternoon. Then the lord immediately remembered the ancient incident of partaking Amrita (nectar). Then, searching for spirituous liquor, he saw that tree. The water from the rain clouds, showered on the fully blossomed, beautiful tree became the spirituous liquor in the hollows of the tree. After drinking that liquor again and again with desire, his body was swaying with intoxication. The eyes on the face of the intoxicated Balarama, with the colour of the moon in winter, started moving and rolling. Born in the hollows of kadamba, that liquor named KdambarI (kadamba liquor) is Varuni in the body form, the nectar liquor of the deva-s.” Tr. A. Purushothaman and A. Harindranath

Vishnu Purana 5.251-11 “Varuńa, in order to provide for his recreation, said to his wife Váruńí (the goddess of wine), “Thou, Madirá, art ever acceptable to the powerful Ananta; go therefore, auspicious and kind goddess, and promote his enjoyments.” Obeying these commands, Váruní went and established herself in the hollow of a Kadamba tree in the woods of Vrindávana. Baladeva, roaming about, came there, and smelling the pleasant fragrance of liquor, resumed his ancient passion for strong drink. The holder of the ploughshare observing the vinous drops distilling from the Kadamba tree, was much delighted, and gathered and quaffed them along with the herdsmen and the Gopís, whilst those who were skilful with voice and lute celebrated him in their songs. Being inebriated with the wine…Tr. H.H. Wilson

Brahma Purana 100.11-14 “…Once Balarama, the highly blessed Revati and other excellent ladies were seated in the Raivata garden and engaged in drinking wine…” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.67.9-15 “There he saw Śrī Balarāma, the Lord of the Yadus, adorned with a garland of lotuses and appearing most attractive in every limb. He was singing amidst a crowd of young women, and since He had drunk vāruṇī liquor, His eyes rolled as if He were intoxicated. His body shone brilliantly as He behaved like an elephant in rut…Angered, Lord Balarāma, the best of fighters, hurled a rock at him, but the cunning ape dodged the rock and grabbed the Lord’s pot of liquor. Further infuriating Lord Balarāma by laughing and by ridiculing Him, wicked Dvivida then broke the pot and offended the Lord even more by pulling at the girls’ clothing. Thus the powerful ape, puffed up with false pride, continued to insult Śrī Balarāma.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada

Harivamsa Purana 2.46.21-23 “Meanshile, Gopas, knowledgeable about the place and time, presented the liquor, Varuni to Balarama, the learned soul. At that time, Balarama drank (the liquor) surrounded by the acquaintances. Balarama, who had gone to the interior of the forest drank the stimulating liquor.” Tr. A. Purushothaman and A. Harindranath

Brahma Purana 84.34-45 “There in the waters of Yamuna he saw Balarama with a thousand hoods…His ear-rings were fine. He was inebriate and was stationed on the borrom bed of the river water. In his lap he saw Krsna. He was dark in complexion like the cloud…” Tr. Baord of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Mahabharata Vana Parva 3, Section 18, Verse 18 “What will the elder brother of Kesava, the mighty-armed Baladeva, clad in blue and inebriate with wine, say, when he returneth…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli


Krishan’s grandson Pradumyna

Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita 2, Yuddha Khanda section 5, Ch 52, verses 50-53 “Then taking leave of her friend, and knowing him to be the grandson of Ksna, Citralekha got ready to go to Dvaraka with the velocity of the mind…Then in the park of the harem the son of Pradyumna was seen by her playing with women and drinking wine. He was dark complexioned but beautiful in every limb, smiling in the prime of youth.” Tr. J.L. Shastri


Shiva & Parvati

In Vayu Purana Shiva is addressed as an imbiber of wine,

Vayu Purana, Section I, Ch 30, verse 265 “You are a holder of the rod (of chastisement), the wielder of a staff, adorned with staff, and tonsured head. You are imbiber of poison, drinker of nectar, drinker of wine, drinker of milk and Soma juice. [268] O Siva, neither Brahma nor Visnu nor the ancient sages can understand your greatness precisely.” Tr. G.P. Bhatt, edited by G.V. Tagare

Brahmanda Purana mentions Bhairava (a form of Shiva) as having pink eyes due to intoxicant consumption,

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 35.45-46 “Martanda Bhairava is present there, O sage, in twelve different forms. He is accompanied by Saktis of fiery refulgence numbering crores. He is Mahaprakasarupa (having the form of great radiance). His eyes are pink due to inebriation…” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Mahakala a form of Shiva is described as being fond of meat and wine,

Shiva Purana, Vayaviyasamhita 6, Section II, Ch 31, verses 62-64 “Mahakala of great arms is like another Mahadeva unto those who seek refuge in him…He is fond of honey, meat and wine…” Tr. J.L. Shastri

Kausiki daughter of Parvati (also considered her form) is also described as being fond of wine,

Shiva Purana, Vayaviya Samhita 6, Section II, Ch 31, verses 89-90 “Kausiki is the daughter of Parvati. She rides on a lion. She is the great Maya, the slumber of Visnu. She is the suppressor of the demon Mahisa. She destroyed Sumbha and Nisumbha. She is fond of wine and meat…” Tr. J.L. Shastri



A verse from Devi Bhagavatam states that Indra after being intoxicated with wine began to copulate with Apsara Rambha,

Srimad Devi Bhagavatam 9.40.13-25 ”Nârâyana said :– In ancient days, Indra the Lord of the three worlds, intoxicated with wine and becoming lustful and shameless, began to enjoy Rambhâ in a lonely grove. After having enjoyed her, he became attracted to her; his mind being wholly drawn to her, he remained there in that forest, his mind becoming very passionate.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda

It is mentioned in Puranas that Indra with the help of Rambha made Vritra drink and then slew him deceitfully,

Padma Purana II.25.11-20 “[Vrtra said] O you beautiful lady, I have sought your shelter. Protect me form the (disturbance caused by) sexual desire. O you of large eyes, resort to me, who am, O dear one, distressed by sexual desire. Rambha said: There is no doubt that today I shall submit myself to you; O hero, you should do whatever I tell you to do…Having thus established a relation with her, the very powerful best demon enjoyed in that very meritorious forest. The great demon was very much stupefied by her singing, dancing, charming smile and sexual intercourse (with her). She said to that noble and best demon: ‘(Please) drink wine; (please) drink madhu-madhavi (a kind of intoxicating drink)… But that respectable lady Rambha lovingly gave wine to him against his will. Due to civility for her he drink wine at that time. When he was extremely stupefied by the wine, and lost his senses, just then Indra struck him with his thunderbolt. Then that killer of Vrtra (i.e. Indra) was tainted with such sins as killing a brahmana.” Tr. N.A. Deshpande



Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 33.64-66 “To the north of it (i.e. in the west) in between the two gateways, Varuna stays permanently resorting to the Varuna world. He is excited and inebriated by tasting spirituous liquor…” Tr. G.V. Tagare


Durga & Her Forms

Hindu goddess Durga drank wine cups after cups before killing Mahishasura,

Srimad Devi Bhagavatam 5.18.54-70 “Vyâsa said :— O King! Saying thus, the Devî, wrathful and eager to kill Mahisâsura, took up the golden cup filled with wine and drank again and again. When the Devî finished Her drink of the sweet grape juice, She pursued him with trident in Her hands, to the great joy of gladdening all the Devas.” Tr. Swami Vijnananda

Srimad Devi Bhagavatam 5.9.41-48 “…Vyâsa said :— No sooner the messengers heard these words of Mahisa, than they at once went to the Devî and saw that Her body and the several parts thereof were all very beautiful; She had eighteen hands, She was decorated completely with various ornaments all over Her body, all the auspicious signs were being seen in Her body and that She was holding excellent divine weapons. That auspicious Goddess beautiful, was holding in Her hands, the cup and drinking wine again and again. Beholding Her this form, they were afraid and fled at once to the Mahisa and informed him the cause of that sound…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda

In Garuda Purana, Goddess Camundi a form of Durga is addresses as fond of wine and flesh,
Garuda Purana I.38.7 “…O deity fond of blood, flesh and wine…” Tr. J.L. Shastri

Skanda Purana V.iii.186.6-15 “…After Mahadeva had gone, O king, the younger brother of Aruna propitiated Camunda embellished with skulls, the goddess who being the resident deity of cremation ground, was accompanied by many goblins. She was a Yogini, perfect in the practice of Yogic exercise. She was fond of suet, flesh and wine…” Tr. G.V. Tagare


Kali & Her Forms

In the Mahabharata Kali is described as one fond of wine,

Mahabharata Virata Parva 4, Section 6, Verse 18 “…Thy eternal abode is on Vindhya–that foremost of mountains. O Kali, O Kali, thou art the great Kali, ever fond of wine and meat and animal sacrifice….” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Shiva Purana states that Kali drank wine before fighting Danavas,

Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita 2, Yuddha Khanda section 5, Ch 38, verses 1-3 “Going to the battle ground, the goddess Kali roared like a lion. On hearing that the Danavas fainted. She laughed boisterously again and again boding ill to the Asuras. She drank the distilled grapewine and danced on the battle ground. The manifestations of Durga viz Ugradamstra (one with fierce fangs) Ugradanda (one with fierce baton) and Kotavi (the naked) danced on the battle ground and drank wine.” Tr. J.L. Shastri

Chandika is a combined form of Kali, Saraswati and Lakshmi,

Shiva Purana, Uma Samhita 5, Ch 46, verses 53-56 “He then agitated three worlds including the mobile and immobile beings. Then, Candika of great honour and exploit became infuriated. She drank the beverage again and again. With eyes rolling she laughed aloud…With her face reddened as a result of the inebriation after drinking wine, and with her senses excited, she spoke in a tone as majestic as the rumbling of the clouds.” Tr. J.L. Shastri

Bhadrakali is another form of Kali,

Devi Bhagavatam 9.22.1-75 “Bhadrakâlî shouted aloud inauspicious peals after peals of laughter. Then She drank Madhu and danced in the battlefield. Ugra Damstrâ, Ugrachandâ, Kotavî, the Yoginîs, Dâkinîs, and the Devas all drank Madhu (wine).” Tr. Swami Vijnananda


Other Goddesses and Shaktis

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 32.23 “Madhusri and Madhavasri these two deities are the wives of that shining lord (Vasanta). Both of them are inebriated through spirituous liquor extracted from flowers…” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Wine was often consumed by goddesses like Kali, her forms and Shaktis before a battle. There was a battle between Saktis and Danavas, the battle seems to have come to a standstill for some time while Saktis were drinking wine.

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 28.71-89 “The oceans of liquors showered torrents of liquors of various kinds, such as Gaudi (spirit distilled from molasses), Paisti (spirit distilled from meal), Madhvi (liquor made from honey, the excellent Kadambari (spirit distilled from Kadamba flowers (Nauclea Cadamba,) Haintali (spriti from the palm of the variety, Hintala (elatepaludosa) Langaleya (spirit from the palm of the variety Langala (Mithonia superba) many varieties of palm-made spirits, divine liquors were made from the Kalpa tree. Liquors coming from various countries, liquors with good taste, fragrance, liquors with pleasant odour, liquors rendered sweet smelling by means of Bakula flowers (Mimusops Elengi), liquors sparkling with foams and bubbles, liquors with all types of tastes such a Katuka (pungent), Kasaya (astringent), Madhura (sweet), Tikta (bitter), Isadamla (slightly sour), Katvamla (pungent and sour), Madhuramla (sweet and sour), liquors with diverse colours, liquors of slimy nature, Chedinis (? those that pierce and tear); liquors dispelling the pain of wounds of weapons, liquors that bring about union in a broken bone, cool liquors that dispel vertigo and giddiness while fighting. Liquors light and lukewarm and different varieties of liquors that dispel distress and bestow victory. The Madirarnava (ocean of liquor) showered different kinds of liquor in torrent. Each one of the Yoginis (i.e. Saktis) joyously drank the torrent of liquor as big as the trunk of Airavata elephant uninterruptedly for the period of one full Yama. (3 hours). Saktis went on drinking liquor joyously with their eyes closed. Their faces were supine and moving to and fro with lolling tongues. After propitiating them by means of torrents of liquors of various kinds in this manner, the ocean of liquor assumed a divine form and came there. He approached Dandanatha and after bowing to her spoke these words…One seeing Saktis thus pointed out by the ocean of liquor, Dandini was extremly satisfied and she said to him…Due to my favour henceforth, in the age of Dvapara you will be extremely worthy of being used by Yajlikas (priests who perform sacrifices) in their sacrifices like the drinking of Soma. All the deities will drink you after you have been sanctified by means of Mantras in the course of sacrifice. After drinking you, purified by the Mantras, let the people attain Siddhi (spiritual achievement), Rddhi (prosperity), strength, heavenly bliss and salvation. All these great people will drink you viz: Mahesvari, Mahadeva, Baladeva, Bhargava, Dattatreya, Vidhi and Visnu.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 28.90-93 “…After gratifying the ocean of liquor by granting boons thus Dandini urged Mantrini for fighting once again and asked her to hasten it. Again the fight between Saktis and Danavas was resumed. The loud and boisterous laughter of joy pierced the eight cardinal points and mountains. Intoxicated due to the fresh wine and with the eyes rendered red, Saktis fell upon the troops of Daityas in a body and sportively.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 35.28 “By frequently drinking the water therein viz.: wine, the Saktis stationed on its banks become mad with inebriation and play about. They become excessively red (in their faces) due to intoxication.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 19.49b-52 “Then, three deities were stationed on the second step of the leading chariot Cakraratha. They were seated on three (different) seats. They were endowed with eight arms in which they held bows, arrows, a drinking bowl. a citron (fruit) and dagger as well as shields, serpentine noose and a bell of loud sound, They were intoxicated due to liquor…” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 20.6-8 “Three deities viz.: Jrmbhinl, Mohini and Stambhini had occupied the second step at the same centre of that chariot. It resembled a full blown pomegranate flower. The deities who were competent to suppress Danavas, held the pestle, plough and liquor pot studdent with many precious stones and jewels…” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 20.25-26 “On the other side of the same step in a divine temple were stationed two deities well-known as Krodhini and Stambhini. They fanned with two Camaras (Chowries) as the bangles round their tender creeper like hands moved to and fro. They were excessively proud after drinking liquor and the blood of soldiers in the army of demons…” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Asava (liquor) was given to Devahuti daughter of Swayambhuva Manu and wife of Kardama Muni,

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.23.28 “The girls, being very respectful to Devahūti, brought her forth, and after bathing her with valuable oils and ointments, they gave her fine, new, spotless cloth to cover her body. They then decorated her with very excellent and valuable jewels, which shone brightly. Next they offered her food containing all good qualities, and a sweet inebriating drink called āsavam.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada

Swami Prabhupada insists that Asava is not liquor but an Ayurvedic drink made from herbs, but then he translates the same word Asava as beer in Srimad Bhagavatam 4.18.16.

Matangi is one of the Mahavidyas, ten Tantric goddesses and a ferocious aspect of Devi, the Hindu Divine Mother. She is considered to be the Tantric form of Sarasvati,

Skanda Purana III.ii.18.146-7 “They should perform four circumambulations. The couple should cover themselves with a silken cloth and go ahead. After sprinkling water over Matangi the excellent Madhvika (honey that intoxicates) should be taken. The intelligent devotee should worship Matangi with vacal and instrumental music.” Tr. G.V. Tagare




The Markandeya Purana tells us that once when the gods were defeated by the demons in a battle, they approached Brihaspati for help. Brihaspati sent them to Muni Dattatreya the son of Rishi Atri. When the gods approached Dattatreya, they found him drinking wine in the company of Lakshmi with whom he also had sex. The gods prayed to him for help, but he pointed out his own faults, drinking, attachment, affection and sexual enjoyment of women. But then the gods told him that he is sinless and he is not stained by these acts,

Markandeya Purana 18.23-32 “Thus exhorted the gods then went to Dattatreya’s hermitage, and they beheld the high-souled Muni, attended by Lakshmi, hymned by Gandharvas and engrossed in quaffing spirituous liquor…Daddatreya addressed the prostrate gods, ‘What desire ye of me, that ye do me this obeisance…I am drinking strong drink, I have remnants of food in my mouth, nor I subdued my senses. How is it, O gods, ye seek for victory over your enemies even from me?’ The gods spoke. Thou art sinless, O lord of the world; no stain hast thou, into whose heart, purified by the ablution of learning, has entered the light of knowledge. True is this, o gods! all learning have I, who am impartial in view: but by reason of association with this woman I am now impure after eating. For commerce with women when continually pursued tends to depravity. Thus addressed, the gods then spoke again. This woman, O sinless brahman! is the mother of the world; she is not depraved…”

Lakshmi was present there and then he tells the gods that he had copulation with this woman (i.e. Lakshmi), Padma Purana tells us that Dattatreya had sex with Lakshmi though it doesn’t mention Lakshmi but the above verse attests to this statement,

Padma Purana II.103.110-113 “Atri’s son Dattatreya, the high-souled brahmana, the great sage, with his eyes red due to (having drunk) spirituous liquor, was sporting with a woman. The virtuous one, intoxicated by wine, having seated a young, auspicious woman, best of all women, on his lap, sang, danced and heavily drank liquor…” Tr. N.A. Deshpande

Another verse shows that Dattatreya asked a king to bring him some meat and wine and the king presented the same,

Padma Purana II.103.124-8 “When a long time of many days passed, Dattatreya, in an intoxicated condition, said to the best king: ‘Do as I tell you. Give me wine in a cup; and the meal of flesh that is got cooked.’ Hearing those words of him, that Ayu, the lord of the earth, being eager, speedily got wine in a cup, and quickly cut off well-cooked flesh with his hand, and, O best one, the best king, gave these to Dattatreya. That best sage became happy in mind…” Tr. N.A. Deshpande



According to Puranas, Kashyapa was a drunkard, he was addicted to wine and thus he was given the name Kashya (wine) + Hasya (laughter),

Brahmanda Purana “When Daksa was over-bearing in his speech in regard to his daughters, the holy lord became angry. Then he drank Kasya. Liquor is called by the name Kasya. The word Kasi should be understood to have the sense of Hasya (Humour, wit). The speech and mind are mentioned by the word Kasya. Liquor is remembered by Brahmanas by means of the word Kasya. The sage is called Kasyapa due to his drinking liquor.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Vayu Purana, Section II, Ch 4, verse 114-5 “Kasyapa was the knower of the sun (?) Hence he was on a par with Brahma. In every Manvantara, he is born through a part of Brahma. The subjects were angered by Daksa, it is said (?) for the sake of (his) daughters. Then he drank wine. The word ‘Kasya’ means wine. Hascekasa should be known as Brahma’s Kasya. Kasya is remembered by Brahmanas as wine. Because he drank Kasya (wiine) he is called Kasyapa.” Tr. G.P. Bhatt, edited by G.V. Tagare



Vasistha’s cow Kamdhenu provided him Maireya (Rum) a type of wine made from molasses,

Ramayana of Valmiki, Bala Kanda 1, Sarga 53 “Thus addressed by Vasistha, that bestower of all that was desired, Savala, O destroyer of thy foes, brought forth everything that was desired by everyone. And she produced sugarcanes, and honey, and fried rice, and excellent Maireya, and costly drinks, and various viands, and heaps of warm rice resembling hills, and other kinds of edibles, and soups, and Dadhikulyas, together with silver plates by thousands filled with meats of diverse tastes.” Tr. M.N. Dutt



Rishi Bharadwaja is said to have provided wine as well as 7-8 women to each soldier of Prince Bharat’s army after invoking Vishwakarma,

Ramayana of Valmiki, Ayodhya Kanda 2, Sarga 91, verses 10-15 “Thereafter Bharata, having been commanded by that great sage to bring the army there, allowed the army’s arrival to the hermitage…I wish to offer hospitality to the guest I summon vishvakarma who is also the divine carpenter. Let arrangements be made in that connection for me…Let some rivers flow with Maireya (a kind of wine made from date palms etc) some others flow with highly refined spirituous liquor and some others flow with cool water with a taste of sugarcane. [52-54] O, wine-bibbers! Drink the wine, however much you desire! O troops stricken with hunger! Let milk thickened with rice and the meats which are very much fresh, be eaten (as you will). Seven or eight young women bathed every single man on the beautiful river-banks, after massaging their body with oil. [84] The soldiers, intoxicated with spirituous liquor, were likewise excited with joy. Likewise, the men were drenched in charming aloes and sandal paste. Various kinds of excellent and charming garlands were there, crushed and garlands were there, crushed and scattered at distances, likewise.” Tr. K.M.K. Murthy



Srimad Bhagavatam 6.9.1 “Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Viśvarūpa, who was engaged as the priest of the demigods, had three heads. He used one to drink the beverage soma-rasa, another to drink wine and the third to eat food. O King Parīkṣit, thus I have heard from authorities.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada


Consumption by Kings

Liquor drinking seems to have been part of the life of nobles in the Vedic and Puranik period, there are some references to the consumption of liquor by kings,

Mahabharata Asramavasika Parva 15, Section 1 “…Pandu’s son, collected costly robes and garlands of diverse kinds and duly offered them to Dhritarashtra. Maireya wines, fish of various kinds, and sherbets and honey, and many delightful kinds of food prepared by modifications (of diverse articles), were caused to be made for the old king as in his days of prosperity….” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Consumption by Indra, Agni, Saraswati and Ashwins and offering them liquors in sacrifices as per Vedas

युवं सुराममश्विना नमुचावासुरे सचा |
विपिपानाशुभस पती इन्द्रं कर्मस्वावतम ||

पुत्रमिव पितरावश्विनोभेन्द्रावथुः काव्यैर्दंसनाभिः |
यत सुरामं वयपिबः शचीभिः सरस्वतीत्वा मघवन्नभिष्णक ||

yuvaṃ surāmamaśvinā namucāvāsure sacā |
vipipānāśubhas patī indraṃ karmasvāvatam ||

putramiva pitarāvaśvinobhendrāvathuḥ kāvyairdaṃsanābhiḥ |
yat surāmaṃ vyapibaḥ śacībhiḥ sarasvatītvā maghavannabhiṣṇak ||

Rig Veda 10.131.4-5 “Ye, Aśvins, Lords of Splendour, drank full draughts of grateful Soma juice, And aided Indra in his work with Namuci of Asura birth. As parents aid a son, both Aśvins, Indra, aided thee with their wondrous Powers and wisdom. When thou, with might hadst drunk the draught that gladdens, Sarasvatī, O Maghavan, refreshed thee.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Griffith has translated the word Sura as draught here. These verses are also repeated in Yajur Veda 20.76-78 where Griffith has mentioned the word Sura in his translation and I have further explained it in this article in the Sautramani sacrifice category. These verses are elaborated in Baudhayana Srauta Sutra,

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.35 “…The Maitravruna recites as the puronuvakya the verse, ‘O Asvins the guardians of the auspicious, do you two partaking of the Sura-soma in association with the demon Namuci help Indra in his deeds.’ Having crossed the alter and having caused to announce, he says (to the Maitravaruna), ‘Do you impel (the Hotr to recite the yajya for the Sura-soma set forth for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra.’ The Maitravaruna pronounces the call, ‘Let the Hotr recite the yajya for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra. These Sura-soma (o gods) set forth for you-powerful, exhilerating, prepared out of the mixture…May the Avins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra the Vrtra-killer enjoy them; may they drink the sweet wine, become exhilarated and enjoy. O Hotr, do you recite the yajya. The Hotr recites the yajya, ‘O Asvins, do you favour us with your deed like the parents their son. O Indra, when thou didst consume the Sura-soma in order to achieve good deeds and to possess powers, Sarasvati healed thee…” Tr. Chintaman Ganesh Kashikar

As you can read, the Sanskrit word mentioned here is Sura which means liquor, following is the snapshot from Vaman Shivaram Apte’s Sanskrit-English lexicon,

C:\Users\Hassan Razvi\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Capture.jpg

[The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary, p.1132, by Vaman Shivaram Apte, Published by Shiralkar, Poona, 1890]

Sautramani and Rajasuya Sacrifices

Wine and Soma are used in the Sautramani sacrifice. Yajur Veda chapters 19 and 21 deal with offering and consumption of Sura (liquor) and Soma mixture in sacrifices like Sautramani, Rajasuya and offerings to departed manes. Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 7, Brahmana 3, Verses 1-22 describes the Sautramani ritual. It is stated in the same chapter in verse 4 that Sautramani is to be performed to get rid of enemies. Yajur Veda describes the Sautramani sacrifice which is further elaborated in the Srauta Sutra and Brahmana. Indra, Ashwins, Saraswati, and Agni were the first to perform this sacrifice, Veda states that they quaffed Sura-Soma mixture. And that’s how this sacrifice started, Sura-Soma mixture is offered to deities as well as to one’s ancestors and it is to be consumed by the Brahmin priests as well.

Preparation of Sura (liquor) in the Sautramani sacrifice

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XXVI.22 “The Sura to be prepared for the Sautramani contains the grains as one fourth part or one fifth part, sprouting grass and young blades: The sprouting grass is of barley and young blades are of paddy. Beans are intended for fermentation. Now this filtering basket is wooden or of split bamboo or earthen; it has however a leather spread over it. This (sacrificer) is one who has pressed Soma and who has also filtered wine. The pressing leads him to the yonder world; the filtering of wine grants him welfare here.” Tr. C.G. Kashikar

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 8, Brahmana 2, verses 8-11 “The malted rice, indeed, is of the form of the morning-pressing, for the morning-pressing is this (terrestrial) world, and the latter relates to the Asvins, and Âsvina milk he pours (into the Surâ-liquor) the first night: he thus provides him (the Sacrificer 1) with the morning-pressing–with its own world, with its own deity, with its own form. And the malted barley is of the form of the midday-pressing, for the midday-pressing is the air, and the latter relates to Sarasvatî and the Sârasvata milk he pours (into the Surâ) the second night: he thus provides him with the midday-pressing–with its own world, with its own deity, with its own form. And the fried rice is of the form of the evening-pressing, for the evening-pressing is the sky, and the latter relates to Indra, and Aindra milk he pours (into the Surâ) the third night: he thus provides him with the evening-pressing–with its own world, with its own deity, with its own form. The milk of one (cow) he pours (into the Surâ) the first night, the milk of two the second night, and the milk of three the third night: he thus provides him with the pressings, in accordance with their forms, and in accordance with their deities.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Also read Mahidhara’s commentary on Yajur Veda 19.1 mentioned below.

Details on the offering of Sautramani Sacrifice

I will be mentioning some verses from Yajur Veda chapter 19 and I will also add elaborations of those verses from Satapatha Brahmana, Baudhayana Srauta Sutra and Sankhayana Srauta Sutra. I will underline those sentences of Brahmana and Srauta Sutra which are taken from the Vedas.

Yajur Veda 19.1 “Sweet with the sweet, I sprinkle thee with Soma, strong with the strong, the nectar with the nectar, the honey-sweet with what is sweet as honey, Soma art thou. Get dressed for the Asvins. Get dressed for Sarasvati. Get dressed for Indra and the Good Deliverer.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith
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Above Hindi translation is by Swami Karpatri Maharaj. This verse elaborated in Satapatha Brahmana as,

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhyaya 7, Brahmana 3, Verses 5-6 “With (Vâg. S. XIX, 1), ‘Thee, the sweet (liquor I mix) with the sweet (Soma),’ he compounds (the ingredients for the preparation of) the Surâ-liquor, and makes it palatable;–‘the strong with the strong,’ he thereby bestows energy on him (the Sacrificer);–‘the immortal with the immortal,’ he thereby bestows life on him ‘the honeyed with the honeyed,’ he thereby bestows flavour to it (the liquor);–‘I mix with the Soma,’ he thereby makes it (the Surâ-liquor) a form of Soma. ‘Thou art Soma: get thee matured for the Asvins! get thee matured for Sarasvatî! get thee matured for Indra Sutrâman!‘ for these were the deities who first prepared that sacrifice, and with their help he now prepares it; and, moreover, he thereby provides these deities with their share. He distils it with a view to (its being like) the Soma-pressing. For three nights it remains standing, for the Soma remains standing for three nights after it has been bought: he thus makes it a form of Soma.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Mahidhara a commentator on Veda writes on Yajur Veda 19.1 about the preparation of the Sura,

“Having purchased (a) malted rice (sashpa), malted barley (tokma), and fried rice (lâgâh), and (b) various vegetable substances (called with the generic name of nagnahu) serving as spices and ferments, such as the bark of Vatica robusta, three myrobalans (nutmeg, areca-nut, and cloves), ginger, hog-weed, &c., he takes them into the fire-house, and pounds the two lots separately. He then prepares two gruels or mashes of rice and millet respectively, adding more water than is ordinarily used, puts them on the fire till they boil over, and catches the overflowing water in two separate vessels. He then acids thereto one-third part of the (still separate) pounded malted rice and barley and fried rice (or one-sixth part into each vessel), and likewise one-half of the spice (or one-fourth part into each vessel): this mixture, called mâsara (serving both as malt and as flavouring matter), is allowed to dry and is then pounded. One-half of the remaining pounded malted rice and barley and fried rice, as well as the whole of the remaining spices, is then, in equal parts, added to the two mashes, which are thereupon poured into a large vessel, after which the pounded ‘mâsara’ is mixed with the compound whilst the above formula is pronounced; and the pot is deposited in a hole dug in the south-western corner of the fire-shed (sâlâ), where it remains standing for three days (and nights), during which the milk of one, two, and three cows respectively, and the remaining quantities of malted and fried grain are gradually added to it.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Asking the Soma to get dressed is probably talking about fermentation as stated in the Baudhaya Srauta Sutra which is an elaboration of Yajur Veda 19.1,

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.32 “…He piles the cooked rice around the wooden filter. Having covered it, he touches it with the formula, ‘Thou art Soma; do thou be fermented for the Asvins, fermented for Sarasvati, fermented for Sutraman Indra.’ The Sura mixed up together is retained for three consecutive (nights). ‘The Soma, after having been purchased, stays on for three nights.’ So says the Brahmana. When it dawns after three nights, an animal-sacrifice of three or four animals is performed. The alter prescribed for the Sautramani is measured for the sacrificer on the preceeding day. Having strewn it around, he carries the Stambayajus.” Tr. Chintaman Ganesh Kashikar

The Black Yajur Veda gives mythical reason behind keeping Soma for three days/nights which shall be discussed later in this article.

Yajur Veda 19.4-5 “By means of this eternal sieve may Sûrya’s Daughter purify The Soma that flows forth from thee. Soma with Wine, pressed; filtered for the banquet, cleanses priest, noble, brilliancy and vigour.” Tr. Ralph. T.H. Griffith

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Above Hindi translation is by Swami Karpatri Maharaj and following Hindi translation of verse 5 is by Arya Samaji scholar Shripad Damodar Satvalekar,

Satapatha Brahmana elaborates these verses as,

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhyaya 7, Brahmana 3, Verse 12 “With (Vag. S. XIX, 4), ‘She purifieth thy liquor.’ purifies (the Sura) in the case of one wishing for prosperity:- ‘thy Soma, she, the daughter of Surya:’ the daughter of Surya (the sun) assuredly is Faith, and by faith that (liquor) becomes Soma-juice, and by faith he makes it to be Soma-juice; ‘with the perpetual tail,’ for with a tail-whisk that (liquor) is purified. With (Vâg. S. XIX, 5), ‘The Brahman and Kshatra he purifieth,’ he purifies the milk: he thus produces the Kshatra from out of the Brahman, for from out of the priesthood the nobility is produced;–‘the fiery spirit and energy;’ fiery spirit and energy, vital power, he thus bestows on him;–‘with the Surâ the Soma,’ for with the Surâ-liquor is Soma;–‘the juice, is distilled,’ for from the distilled the juice is obtained;–‘for joy,’ to joy (intoxication), indeed, the Soma juice contributes, and to joy also does the Surâ-liquor: he thus secures both the joy of the Soma, and the joy of the Surâ;–‘with the pure juice, O god, satiate the deities!’ that is, ‘with the pure juice satisfy thou the deities;’–‘with sap bestow thou food on the Sacrificer,’ sap and food he thereby bestows on the Sacrificer. The cups of milk are taken first, then the cups of Surâ-liquor: he thereby makes the peasantry obedient to the nobility.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Baudhayana Saruta Sutra elaborates it as,

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.34 ” While the Adhvaryu is engaged in his duties, the Pratiprashatr filers the wine by means of the woollen filter with its fringe towards the north, with the verse, ‘May the daughter of Surya filter O Indra for thee the mixture of wine regarded as Soma with the evernew woollen filter.’ If the sacrificer is purged of Soma (he shall filter it) with the verse, ‘The swift wine, cleansed by the filter, the associate friend of Indra has passed downwards…” Tr. C.G. Kashikar

Yajur Veda 19.7 “For each of you is made a God-appointed place: so grant to me a portion in the highest sphere. Surâ the strong art thou. This here is Soma. Entering thine own place do me no mischief.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

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Following Hindi translation is by Arya Samaji scholar Shripad Damodar Satvalekar,

This is elaborated in the Satapatha Brahman,

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhyaya 7, Brahmana 3, Verse 14-15 “With (Vâg. S. XIX, 7), ‘Separately, indeed, a seat, acceptable to the gods, hath been prepared for you two,’ he fills the (three) cups of Surâ-liquor; for separate, indeed, are the Soma-juice and the Surâ-liquor; and ‘acceptable to the gods’ he says, because these two are indeed acceptable to the gods; and ‘separately a seat hath been prepared’ he says, because there are two altar-grounds;–‘do not ye mingle in the highest heaven!’ he thereby keeps him (the Sacrificer) from evil;–‘the potent Surâ-liquor thou art,’ he thereby makes Surâ to be Surâ;–‘and this is Soma,’ he thereby makes Soma to be Soma;–‘entering thine own seat, injure me not!’ he thereby turns it (the Surâ-liquor) away to its own seat for his own safety. With a single (verse) he fills them: singly and solely on the Sacrificer he thus bestows fame, for the Surâ-liquor is fame. Verily, the cups of milk are the nobility (chieftaincy), and the cups of Surâ-liquor are the peasantry (clan): thus, were he to draw (the cups) without interlinking them, he would detach the peasantry from the nobility, and the nobility from the peasantry, and would cause confusion between the higher and lower, and a failure of the sacrifice. He draws them so as to be interlinked and thereby combines the peasantry with the nobility, and the nobility with the peasantry, for the prevention of confusion between the higher and lower, and for the success of the sacrifice.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Satapatha Brahmana 12:7:3:8 “There are both milk and Surâ-liquor; for milk is Soma, and the Surâ-liquor food: through the milk he secures the Soma-drink, and through the Surâ-liquor food. And milk is the nobility (chieftaincy), and Surâ-liquor the peasantry (clan); the milk he purifies after purifying the Surâ-liquor: he thus produces the nobility from out of the peasantry, for the nobility is produced from out of the peasantry.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Yajur Veda 19.7 is also elaborated in Aitareya Brahmana which explains the Rajasuya sacrifice. In the consecration ceremony (Rajasuya?) of king mentioned in Aitareya Brahmana, the king is required to drink Sura (liquor) along with Soma which is given by the Brahmin priest,

Aitareya Brahmana, Book 8, Chapter 2, Para 8 “…The spirituous liquor represents the Kshattra, and further, the juice in the food; thus both the Kshattra and the juice in the food, are placed in him…Now he gives into his hand a goblet of spirituous liquor, under the recital of the verse, svadishthaya madishthaya, (9.1.1) i.e. ‘Purify, O Soma! with thy sweetest most exhilarating drops (the sacrificer), thou who art squeezed for Indra, to be drunk by him.’ After having put the spirituous liquor into his hand, the priest repeats a propitiatory mantra (which runs thus): ‘To either of you (spirituous liquor and Soma!) a separate residence has been prepared, and allotted by the gods. Do not mix with one another in the highest heaven; liquor! thou art powerful; Soma! thou art a king. Do not harm him (the king)! may either go to his own place.’ (Here is said), that the drinking of the Soma and that of liquor, exclude one another (they are not to be mixed). After having drunk itThus he finally places the liquor in his friend (gives him a share in it).” Tr. Martin Haug

Chapter 20 of Aitareya Brahmana deals with the pouring of various liquids over the king’s head by the priest and also deals with the drinking of liquor. By means of Mantra the liquor was transformed into real Soma which is then drunk by the king,

Aitareya Brahmana, Book 8, chapter 4, Para 20 “…Then the priest gives into his hands a goblet filled with spirituous liquor, repeating the mantra, svadishthaya. He then should drink the remainder (after previous libations to the gods)…The Soma beverage which is (in a mystical way) contained in the spirituous liquor, is thus drunk by the king, who is inaugurated by means of Indra’s inauguration ceremony (the ceremony just described)…The drinking of spirituous liquor, or Soma, or the enjoyment of some other exquisite food, affects the body of the Kshattriya who is inaugurated by means of Indra’s great inauguration ceremony…” Tr. Martin Haug

Yajur Veda 19.7 is also elaborated in Baudhayana Srauta Sutra,

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.36 “(He recites) the verse) ‘Do you offer heartfelt sweet praise to Agni the drinker of wine, receiving Soma on the surface, the creator of all and whom horses, oxen, bulls, barren cows, sheeps released (by the sacrificer) are offered,’ and makes the offering at the second Vasat-uttering. He pours down the remnants of the cup for the Asvins into that for Sarasvati; the remnants of the cup for Sarasvati into that for Indra. A brahmana consumes it with the two verses: ‘(O Sura and Soma) god has erected separate resorts for you; do not be mixed up in the high above. Thou art powerful Sura; this is Soma. Entering into thy own abode, do not injure me. Whatever has remained here out of the juicy pressed drink, which Indra rank for his powers…He fills in the cups with the sediment of the Sura; he fixes the feath of the eagle into the cup of Butea frondosa….He takes the sura with the excessive substance and pours it inot the sieve of a hundred pores with the formula, ‘O Pitrs with Soma as the first, be gratified.’ When the liquid passes through the sieve, all offer prayers with eight verses…” Tr. Chintaman Ganesh Kashikar

Above passage from Baudhayana is also an elaboration of following Yajur Veda verses,

Yajur Veda 20.76-78 “Ye Asvins and Sarasvati, joint drinkers of the Sura draught, In Namuchi of Asura birth, gave aid to Indra in his deeds. As parents aid a son, both Asvins aided thee, Indra, with their wondrous powers and wisdom. When thou with might hadst drunk the draught that gladdens, Sarasvati, O Bounteous Lord, refereshed thee. He in whom horses, bulls, oxen, and barren cows, and rams, when duly set apart, are offered up, To Agni, Soma-sprinkled, drinker of sweet juice, Disposer, with thy heart bring forth a pleasant hymn.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Griffith has translated the word “Sura” as “Draught” and “Sweet juice” here. Part of the above passage where Ashwins are said to have helped Indra to kill Namuchi is also mentioned in Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.35 and Yajur Veda 20.59 which I have quoted in this article and let me again quote a few sentences of Baudhayana for your ease,

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.35 “…Getting up taking the two cups, the Adhvaryu says ‘Do you recite the puronuvakya for the Sura-soma taken for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra. ‘The Maitravruna recites as the puronuvakya the verse, ‘O Asvins the guardians of the auspicious, do you two partaking of the Sura-soma in association with the demon Namuci help Indra in his deeds.’ Having crossed the alter and having caused to announce, he says (to the Maitravaruna), ‘Do you impel (the Hotr to recite the yajya for the Sura-soma set forth for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra.’ The Maitravaruna pronounces the call, ‘Let the Hotr recite the yajya for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra. These Sura-soma (o gods) set forth for you-powerful, exhilerating, prepared out of the mixture…May the Avins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra the Vrtra-killed enjoy them; may they drink the sweet wine, become exhilarated and enjoy. O Hotr, do you recite the yajya. The Hotr recites the yajya, ‘O Asvins, do you favour us with your deed like the parents their son. O Indra, when thou didst consume the Sura-soma in order to achieve good deeds and to possess powers, Satasvati healed thee…” Tr. Chintaman Ganesh Kashikar

Sankhayana elaborates it as,

Sankhayana Srauta Sutra XV.15.1-14 “Now the sautramani. (The victims at this occasion are) a red he goat for the Asvins, a ewe for Sarasvati, a bull for Indra the protecting (sutraman) After encircling with the firebrand has been performed on these, they proceed with the surasoma. Over the flowing (sura) they mutter…Or the verses addressed to the Fathers. The inviting (verse for the libation of the sura is) ‘Ye both, O Asvins, the cheering)’ The formula of prompting is Let the hotr worship the Asvins, Sarasvati, Indra the protecting…The mantra to accompany the partaking of the sura is ‘The (Soma), which the Asvins took from the asura Namuci which Sarasvati pressed out to obtain strength, this king Soma the bright, sweet drop, I here partake of.’ If he starts from the moaning that a brahmana must be engaged for a reward to drink the (remainings of the) sura, the beverage (the rest of the sura) is poured out for him.” Tr. W. Caland

Yajur Veda 19.32 “The rite with sacred grass, wine, store of heroes, the mighty ones speed on with adorations. May we, sweet-singing sacrificers, setting Soma mid Gods in heaven, give joy to Indra.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith
yv 19

Satapatha Brahmana elaborates on this verse as,

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 8, Brahmana 1, verse 2 “He (the Adhvaryu) offers (of the three cups of milk) with (Vâg. S. XIX, 32), ‘By their devotions the buffalos quicken the sacrifice,’–the buffalos, doubtless, are the officiating priests, and devotion is sacrifice: through the priests he causes the sacrifice to prosper, and through the sacrifice the sacrificer;–‘the barhis-seated one, supplied with Surâ and goodly heroes,’ supplied with Surâ, indeed, is this barhis-seated sacrifice, to wit, the Sautrâmanî: by means of the barhis (the sacred grass on the Vedi), and the sacrifice, he causes him to prosper;–‘they who bestow Soma,’–they thus bestow the Soma-drink upon him;–‘with the deities in heaven,’–they thus place him with the deities in heaven;–‘may we enjoy ourselves,’–the Soma-juice, indeed, conduces to joy, and so does the Surâ-liquor: both the joy of Soma and the joy of Surâ he thus secures;–‘worshipping Indra with good hymns of praise!’–for the hymn of praise is food for the gods, and the sacrifice also is food: by sacrifice, by food, he thus makes him successful. Having sacrificed, they drink (of the milk), and thereby increase what is prosperous with him.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Yajur Veda 19.33 “All essence of thine own in plants collected, all strength of Soma when poured out with Surâ—Therewith impel with joy the sacrifice, Sarasvatî, the Asvins, Indra, Agni.” Tr. Ralph T.H Griffith
yv 19.33 Swami Karpatri

Satapatha Brahmana elaborates it as,

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 8, Brahmana 1, Verse 12 “He (the Pratiprasthâtri) offers (libations from the cups of Surâ-liquor), with (Vâg. S. XIX, 33), ‘What essence there is of thine, gathered from the plants,’ for this Surâ-liquor, indeed, is the essence of both the waters and the plants: by the essence of both the waters and the plants he thus causes him to prosper;–‘the strength of the Soma-juice together with the Surâ-liquor,’–he thereby secures what strength there is in the Soma-juice and in the Surâ-liquor;–‘by that exhilarating drink quicken thou the Sacrificer,’–that is, ‘by that exhilarating drink gladden thou the Sacrificer;’–‘Sarasvatî, the Asvins, Indra, and Agni,’–by deities he (the priest) thus causes the sacrifice to prosper, and by deities and sacrifice the Sacrificer. Having made the offering, they drink (the liquor), and thereby cause to prosper what is unprosperous with him.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Veda also mentions offering liquor to departed manes. The sacrificer is not supposed to drink liquor as it is meant only for offering in this case,

Yajur Veda 19.36 “To Fathers who claim Svadha be Svadha and homage! To Grandfathers who claim Svadha be Svadha and homage! To Great-grandfathers who claim Svadha be Svadha and homage! The Fathers have eaten. The Fathers have rejoiced. The Fathers have been satisfied. Fathers, be ye purified.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

It is elaborated in the Satapatha Brahmana,

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 8, Brahmana 1, verses 6-8 “…this Soma-drink falls to the share of the fathers and grandfathers of whoever drinks (the liquor) on this occasion. Having shifted three coals of the southern fire to outside the enclosing-stones 1, he may there offer (of the liquor) with these (three) utterances (Vâg. S. XIX, 36):– ‘To the Svadhâ-loving Fathers be Svadhâ, adoration!’ he thereby places the Fathers with the Svadhâ in the world of the Fathers.–‘To the Svadhâ-loving grandfathers he Svadhâ, adoration!’ he thereby places the grandfathers with the Svadhâ in the world of the grandfathers.–‘To the Svadhâ-loving great-grandfathers be Svadhâ, adoration!’ he thereby places the great-grandfathers with the Svadhâ in the world of the great-grandfathers. Having fetched water, he pours it (into the cups) with, ‘The Fathers have drunk:’ he thereby bestows food on them;–‘the Fathers have enjoyed themselves:’ he thereby causes them to enjoy themselves;–‘the Fathers have become satisfied:’ he thereby satisfies them;–‘may the Fathers cleanse themselves!’ he thereby purifies all of them from the first downwards, for the Sautrâmanî is a means of purification.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

The following verse is about offering various animals to Vedic deities, it is also about offering liquor and asking them to drink it,

Yajur Veda 21.29-31 “Let the Hotar sacrifice with fuel to Agni in the place of libation, to the Asvins, Indra, Sarasvatî. A grey-coloured he-goat with wheat, jujube-fruit and sprouts of rice becomes a sweet salutary remedy, splendour, might, milk, Soma. Let them enjoy sweet butter with foaming liquor. Hotar, present offerings of butter. Let the Hotar, Tanunapat, worship Sarasvati. A sheep, a ram, a salutary remedy on the honey-sweet path, bearing to the Asvins and Indra heroic strength, with jujebe-fruit, Indra-grains, sprouts of rice, becomes a salutary remedy, milk, Soma. Let them enjoy Sweet butter with foaming liquor. Hotar, present offerings of butter…Let the Hotar, magnified with oblations, offering sacrifice, worship Sarasvati and Indra, increasing them with strength, with a bull and a cow. Strength and medicine to the Asvins and Indra are meath with jujube-fruit, Masara with parched grain, milk, Soma. Let them enjoy sweet butter with foaming liquor…” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

It is elaborated in Sankhayana as,

Sankhayana Srauta Sutra XIV.13.1-9 “At this rite two animals a grey he goat to the Asvins a ewe to Sarasvati, are immolated in addition to the savana victim. To Indra Sutraman a barren cow of the same kind is immolated in addition to the usual one. The reason why these victims are thus tied (and slaughtered) is the wish not to depart from the sautramani. After the Savana cakes of the morning (service) they put the fuel to the fire outside and go on with the (i.e. pour out the libation of) surasoma…Now, in that for Indra Sutraman a barren cow is immolated in addition to the usual one, (the reason thereof is) along with Indra Sutraman the sautramani is completed.” Tr. W. Caland

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra elaborates these verses as,

Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.35 “He carried those (cups) towards the east or north along the rear of the handles of the ladles. He takes the wine together with excessive substance and moves towards the southern fire…he formally dedicates the animals a gray coloured (goat) to the Asvins, a male sheep to Sarasvati and a bull to Indra. He dedicates a goat to Brhaspati as the fourth animal if the sacrificer has purged Soma. After having offered their omenta as prescribed, the Adhvaryu takes up the cups for the Asvins and Sarasvati; the Pratiprasthatr takes the one for Indra. Getting up taking the two cups, the Adhvaryu says ‘Do you recite the puronuvakya for the Sura-soma taken for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra. ‘The Maitravruna recites as the puronuvakya the verse, ‘O Asvins the guardians of the auspicious, do you two partaking of the Sura-soma in association with the demon Namuci help Indra in his deeds.’ Having crossed the alter and having caused to announce, he says (to the Maitravaruna), ‘Do you impel (the Hotr to recite the yajya for the Sura-soma set forth for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra.’ The Maitravaruna pronounces the call, ‘Let the Hotr recite the yajya for the Asvins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra. These Sura-soma (o gods) set forth for you-powerful, exhilerating, prepared out of the mixture…May the Avins, Sarasvati and Sutraman Indra the Vrtra-killer enjoy them; may they drink the sweet wine, become exhilarated and enjoy. O Hotr, do you recite the yajya. The Hotr recites the yajya, ‘O Asvins, do you favour us with your deed like the parents their son. O Indra, when thou didst consume the Sura-soma in order to achieve good deeds and to possess powers, Sarasvati healed thee…” Tr. Chintaman Ganesh Kashikar

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 8, Brahmana 2, verse 15 “All (the praishas) contain (the word) ‘payas’ (milk), for in the form of milk Soma is (here) pressed; they all contain (the word) ‘Soma,’ for the sake of (conformity with) the Soma-pressing; they all contain (the word) ‘parisrut’ (spirituous liquor), for in the form of spirituous liquor Soma is (here) pressed; they all contain (the word) ‘ghrita’ (ghee), for this–to wit, ghee–doubtless is manifestly a form of the sacrifice: he thus makes it to be manifestly a form of the sacrifice; they all contain (the word) ‘madhu’ (honey), for this–to wit, honey–is manifestly a form of Soma: he thus makes it to be manifestly a form of Soma.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Yajur Veda verse mentions the word Parisrut which is a semi-fermented liquor according to the translator Julius Eggeling while Griffith translates it as foaming liquor. Both the sacrificer and priests have to drink Parisrut liquor offered to gods,

Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 8, Brahmana 2, verse 21 “This Sautrâmanî, then, is manifestly a Soma-sacrifice; and were the Sacrificer alone to drink (the liquor), it would be either an ishti-offering, or an animal sacrifice; but, for the sake of conformity of the liquor) to the Soma, all the priests drink thereof, for all the priests drink of the Soma-juice.” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Following Yajur Veda verses states that Agni, Sarasvati and Indra had drunk the Sura-Soma mixture,

Yajur Veda 21.59-60 “To-day this Sacrificer cooking viands, cooking sacrificial rice-cakes, binding a goat for the Asvins, a ram for Sarasvatî, a hull for Indra, pressing Surâ and Soma juices for the Asvins, Sarasvatî, and Indra the Good Deliverer, has chosen Agni as Hotar. To-day the divine Vanaspatî has done good service to the Asvins with a goat, to Sarasvatî with a ram, to Indra with a bull. They have eaten these from the marrow onwards, they have accepted the cooked viands, they have waxed strong with the rice-cakes. The Agnis, Sarasvatî, and Indra have drunk the Surâ and Soma draughts.” Tr. Ralph. T.H. Griffith

The following is the Hindi translation by Dr. Ganga Sahay Sharma,

This is in continuation from verse 1, so supplementary texts mentioned for Yajur Veda 21.29-31 can be read for understanding above Yajur Veda 21.59-60 verses.

Also check the meaning of Sura given by Panini in his Ashtadhyayi and Hindu reformer Kumarila Bhatta in his Tantra Vartika.


Julius Eggeling writes in the footnotes of Satapatha Brahmana, “According to Sayana, the difference between sura and parisrut would seem to be that the former beverage is prepared from mature shoots (of rice, &c.), and the latter from such as are not quite ripe.” It is stated that Parisrut is neither Soma nor Sura. Parisrut seems to have been a semi-fermented liquor. Also see Yajur Veda 21.29 which is mentioned in the category Sautramani sacrifice and is further elaborated in Brahmana and Srauta Sutra. Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhayaya 8, Brahmana 2, verse 15 also mentions drinking Soma and Parisrut in Sautramani ritual.

Yajur Veda 20.59-65 The Asvins brought from Namuchi pressed Soma bright with foaming juice. Sarasvatî with sacred grass brought that to Indra for his drink. The Asvins, and the Three, apart, Sarasvatî, Idâ, Bhâratî, As drink to gladden Indra, poured strong Soma with the foaming juice. Praising with foaming liquor at due times, Indra, Vanaspatî, Sarasvatî as cow gave forth sweet beverage with the Asvins Twain.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Read Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.35 and Sankhayana Srauta Sutra XV.15.1-14 mentioned above which elaborates Yajur Veda 20.59-65. Griffith has translated the word Parisrut as foaming juice as well as foaming liquor.

Yajur Veda 19.95 “Splendour of victims, powerful oblation, honey and meath with milk and foaming liquor, Healing Sarasvatî effused, and Asvins; from pressed and unpressed Soma, deathless Indu.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Yajur Veda 2.34 “Bearers of vigour and immortal fatness, milk and sweet beverage and foaming liquor, ye are a freshening draught. Delight my Fathers.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Julius Eggeling in his translation of Satapatha Brahmana mentions Katyayana Samhita in the footnotes which elaborates the above Yajur Veda verse as,

Kâtyâyana Samhita IV, I, 15 “Having made (them) wash themselves as before, and having loosened (visramsya) the tuck, he makes obeisance with ‘adoration to your vigour, O fathers!’ &c. (Vâg. S. II, 32 a-f)… He pours [the water, left in the pitcher, on the cakes] with ‘Ye (O waters) are a refreshing draught, ye, that bring sap, immortal ghee and milk and foaming mead: gladden my fathers!’ (Vâg. S. II, 34.) 20, [The Adhvaryu] having laid (the cakes on the dish) the sacrificer smells at them. 21, The firebrand and the once-cut stalks of grass (he throws) into the fire. 22, The wife, if desirous of a son, eats the middle cake with, ‘Bestow offspring on me, O fathers, a boy crowned with lotuses; that there may he a man here!’ (Vâg. S. II, 33.)…” Tr. Julius Eggeling

Yajur Veda 19.79 “Seeing the foaming liquor’s sap, Prajapati with the bright drank out the bright, the milk, the Soma juice, the Soma juice, BY Law, etc.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Atharva Veda 3.12.7 “Hither to this (house) hath come the tender child, hither the calf along with (the other) domestic animals; hither the vessel (full) of liquor, together with bowls of sour milk!” Tr. Maurice Bloomfield

Griffith has translated the word Parisrut as foaming drink in this verse and in the footnotes, he provides an explanation,

“Foaming drink: parisutas; a beverage prepared from herbs, a sort of beer.”


Wine in Heaven

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Atharva Veda 4.34.6 Full lakes of butter with their banks of honey, flowing with wine, and milk and curds and water Abundant with their overflow of sweetness, these streams shall reach thee in the world of Svarga, whole lakes with lotus blossom shall approach thee.

Chandogya Upanishad, Prapathak 8, Khanda 5, Mantra 3 “..Ara and Nya are two lakes in the world of Brahman, in the third heaven from hence; and there is the lake Airam madiya…”

Commenting on this, Adi Shankaracharya wrote, “There is also the lake Airam madiyaAira‘ is guel, ‘ira” being grain and that which is full of this gruel, and serves to intoxicate or exhilarate those that partake of it.”

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 33.43-46 “Those people of earthly world who had attained mastery over Lalita’s Mantra attain the chamber of sapphire on giving up their bodies and stay there. They enjoy divine objects in the company of their womenfolk. They drink sweet wine and dance with great devotion.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Linga Purana, Section I.48.9-14 “In the eastern side of this mountain is Amaravati (the city of Indra). It is full of mansions of different kinds. It is thronged by different groups of Devas. It is surrounded by clusters of jewels. It has many ornamental gateways of different shapes bedecked in gold and jewels. The arches at the gateways are rendered wonderful with gold, with jewels set in. Thousands of women throng the roadways. They are clever in conversation and elocution. They are bedecked in all ornaments. They stoop down due to the weight of their heavy breasts and their eyes roll to and fro due to intoxication…The Apsaras (water nymphs) move about all round…” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri


Wine as Medicine

Wine was also used as medicine,

Agni Purana 279.30-34 “…A similar diet should be observed by a patient suffering from piles, and washings of whey should be substituted for his ordinary drink. The patient should take decoction of Musta every day…while Mandas containing mild wines may be given as drink… Fried paddy, powdered barley, honey, meat roasted on a stick, bringel, gourd, Shikhi, and wine are anti-phlegmatic in their effect, and are good medicines for an attack of simple cold…” Tr. M.N. Dutt

Charaka Samhita, Chikitsa Sthaanam 8/163 “A person of magnanimous heart who eats meat along with a wine named as ‘Maadhveek’, is quickly relieved of tuberculosis.

Charaka Samhita, Chikitsa Sathaanam 8/165 “While consuming the above mentioned kinds of meat, one may have a dose of whichever wine is appropriate such as ‘Prasanna’, ‘Vaarooni’, ‘seedhu’, ‘arisht’, ‘aasava’ and ‘madhu’.”


Offering Alcohol to Gods, Goddesses & Ancestors & also using it in Sacrifices

Brahma Purana 72.52 “Lord Hari said to her: Worshipped by means of wine, meat and other presents and various items of foodstuffs you will become delighted and fulfil all desires of men.” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Satapatha Brahmana 4:2:1:27. He offers with,’This is the first consecration, assuring all boons: he is the first, Varuna, Mitra, Agni;–he is the first, Brihaspati, the wise: to that Indra offer ye the liquor, Hail!’

Satapatha Brahmana 5:5:4:20-21 Now on the day before, he mixes the spirituous liquor (while muttering, Vâg. S. X, 30, ‘Get done for the Asvins! get done for Sarasvatî! get done for Indra, the good protector!’ When that liquor is (done) he proceeds with that (offering). They take up two fires; on the northern altar 2 (they lay down) the northern (fire), and on a raised (mound) the southern one, thinking, ‘Lest we should offer together the Soma-libations, and the Surâ (liquor) -libations:’ therefore they take up two fires, and on the northern altar (they lay down) the northern (fire), and on a raised (mound) the southern one. And when he proceeds with the omenta, then he proceeds with that spirituous liquor.

Narada Purana III.90.28 “The devotee with the previously mentioned form should worship the deities of the above mentioned forms. He should worship them in the proper sequence with the offering of wine, fish and meat duly consecrated.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Agni Purana 156.15-31 “…O Rama, twelve oblations should be offered to the god Soma (Moon-god), Vanhi (the god of fire), and Yama (the god of death), and the lighted lamps on the cakes of obsequies should be separately put out as before. The vessels should be filled in with wine, meat and curd, and if there be any Adhimasa in the year, a separate vesselful of oblation should be decked out for that…” Tr. M.N. Dutt

Narada Purana III.87.31 “For the achievement of siddhis one should offer her at night spirituous liquor, etc. The application is to be kept seccret, yet it is being mentioned. It yields all siddhis.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Vishnu Purana 5.1.82-86 “They who address thee morning and afternoon with reverence and praise, and call thee Áryá, Durgá, Vedagarbhá, Ambiká, Bhadrá, Bhadrakálí, Kshemí, or Kshemankarí, shall receive from my bounty whatever they desire. Propitiated with offerings of wine and flesh and various viands, thou shalt bestow upon mankind all their prayers…” Tr. H.H. Wilson

Skanda Purana has Arghya Mantra in praise of Durga which reads as,

Skanda Purana VII.I.83.48- “O goddess Durga, O destroyer of intracctable distresses, O goddess destroying all evil ends (disasters), save me in all difficult situations. O Durga, I have sought refuge in you…After keeping awake that night, when the day has dawned, at the rise of Aruna, buffaloes and sheep should be beheaded in front. The animals may number a hundred, half of it (fifty) or half of half (twenty-five) as the devotee pleases. With potful of Sura and Asava (liquor) the great goddess should be propitiated. The meat thereof should be given to Kapalikas as well as to servants and maid servants. In the afternoon of the navami day…” Tr. G.V. Tagare


Hindu Scriptures on Liquor Drinking

Narada Purana not only allows one to drink liquor after offering it to gods but it also gives details on the preparation of three types of liquors,

Narada Purana III.90.11-22 “This Vidya is exhilarating as the intoxicating liquor. It is the means of crossing over distress. I shall now tell you the precise preparation of it. The liquor they classify into three types: Gaudi, Paisti and Madhvi. Put jaggery in hot water and stir it well. The pollen powder of the flower dhataki (grislea tomentosa) shall be put into it and the whole solution is kept in a glass jar. It is stored under ground but at dawn and at dusk the solution is stirred well with the hands. After a month is over when the sediments go to the bottom, it is filtered. This can be used for worship. This is called Gaudi because it is prepared from Guda. Similarly, that which is got by adding honey is called Madhvi. O dear one, listen to the Paisti variety. Rice should be boiled slowly and cooked in two and a half times more water (than the rice). It should be left over for three days. Then the powdered sprout of the embylic Myrobalan is put into it. Keep this in an airy place for a day where there is not much of wind. Water is then poured into it and stirred well. This is then filtered. It is then called Paistika Madhu. Artificial liquor is prepared in two ways extracting from trees or squeezing from fruits. Listen to the mode of its preparation. By its taste the mind gets repose. Bunches of grapes, or date fruits or the flowers of Bassia latifolia are put into water and boiled to half the original quantity. To this add a small quantity of distilled spirit and keep it undisturbed for two days. After filtering the same it becomes tasty and auspicious, worthy of being offered for worship. I causes full repose of the mind. As to the second variety it is prepared from the coconut, Hintala or palm trees. The milk that exudes from the stalk of the fruit must be taken fresh from the tree. It is tasty. Take the water out of the coconut fruit. Put a little camphor therein. The juice of Arecanut half the quantity of the former. Mix both and keep it in the sunlight. This immediately becomes liquor which the gods are very fond of.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Another verse from Narada Purana permits one to drink a certain amount of liquor after offering it to deities,

Narada Purana III.90.23-28 “Or the devotee shall offer for the arghya to the goddess the liquor which has been mentioned here. It must be offered immediately which will be fruitful. The aspirant while remaining in trance should drink it always restricting his diet. Never should a siddha drink it unless it has been first offered to the goddess. It should be drunk until the mind is wholly absorbed in the Goddess. If he drinks more than that he shall become a sinner immediately. He who drinks wine with wilful desire without serving it to the god becomes a sinner. He should be punished by the king for he is the worshipper of avidya …The devotee with the previously-mentioned form should worship the deities of the above-mentioned forms. He should worship them in the proper sequence with the offering if wine, fish and meat duly consecrated.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Baudhayana Dharma Shastra permits the drinking of Rum only for South Indian Hindus,

Baudhayana Dharma Shastra, Prasna 1, Adhyaya 1, Kandika 1, verses 1-4 “There is a dispute regarding five (practices) both in the south and in the north…Now (the customs peculiar) to the north are, to deal in wool, to drink rum, to sell animals that have teeth in the upper and in the lower jaws, to follow the trade of arms, to go to sea. He who follows (these practices) in any other country than where they prevail, commits sin.”

Indra questions Brihaspati about Asava (a type of liquor) and Brihaspati explains to him in detail and also about which type of liquor is permissible for Kshatriya, Vaishya after offering it to deities,

Brahmanda Purana, Lalita-Mahatmya 7.63-76 “Indra said: ‘What is the nature of Asava? (Liquor). What is its defect? What is its merit? What type of cooked food is defective? Mention this in detail to me.’ Brihaspati said: The different types of intoxicating beverages are as follows: Paiffika (made from flour or rice), Talaja (from the date palm), Kaira (cocounut palm-juice), Madhuka (made from honey or Madhuka flowers), Gudasambhava (prepared from molasses). In regard to sinful nature the later ones mentioned above are half as dreadful as the earlier ones. Asava can be used as a beverage by the three castes beginning with the Ksatriyas. Excepting a Brahmana lady, all women can drink liquors beginning with the third one i.e. Kaira (coconut palm juice, and prepared from honey and molasses). A widow, a virgin and a woman in her monthly period shall avoid drinking liquor. If a woman drinks liquor out of covetousness and not in the company of her husband, she is called Unmadini (a mad woman). One should avoid her like a Candala woman. The ratio of drinking liquors in the case of four castes beginning with the Brahmanas shall be ten to eight or six to four. In the case of women it shall be half of the above. If they drink in the company of their husbands it shall be one-fourth of the above. After drinking liquor out of delusion, a Brahmana should perform Krcchracandrayana expiation. Or he shall repeat Gayatri Mantra or Jatavedasa Mantra ten thousand times. If a man repeats Ambikahrdaya Mantra he shall become pure. A Ksatriya among the three castes shall be purified by repeating those Mantras half the number of times. In the case of women the number of repetitions shall be one-fourth or they can get the same done through Brahmanas. One should repeat the Mantras a thousand times under water and become purified thereby. Laksmi, Sarasvati, Gauri, Candika, Tripura, Ambika, Vaisnavi, Bhairavi, Kali and Mahendri are the mothers. There are other Sakti goddesses. In worshipping them the liquor prepared from honey is approved of. A Brahmana who has mastered the Vedangas shall perform worship without wine …The base fellow who drinks liquor without worshipping Para Sakti shall stay in hell called Raurava for a period calculated at the rate of a year for every drop so consumed.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Brahmins were not always barred from quaffing wine, in the Vedic period Kshatriyas and even Brahmins enjoyed wine especially after mixing it with Soma,

Yajur Veda 19.5 Soma with Wine, pressed; filtered for the banquet, cleanses priest, noble, brilliancy and vigour. God, with the Bright give Deities enjoyment: give food with flavour to the Sacrificer.

Following is the Sanskrit text with Hindi translation by Swami Karpatri Maharaj,

In the consecration ceremony (Rajasuya?) of the king mentioned in Aitareya Brahmana, the king is required to drink Sura (liquor) along with Soma which is given by the Brahmin priest,

Aitareya Brahmana, Book 8 , Chapter 2, Para 8 “…The spirituous liquor represents the Kshattra, and further, the juice in the food; thus both the Kshattra and the juice in the food, are placed in him…Now he gives into his hand a goblet of spirituous liquor, under the recital of the verse, svadishthaya madishthaya, (9.1.1) i.e. ‘Purify, O Soma! with thy sweetest most exhilarating drops (the sacrificer), thou who art squeezed for Indra, to be drunk by him.’ After having put the spirituous liquor into his hand, the priest repeats a propitiatory mantra (which runs thus): ‘To either of you (spirituous liquor and Soma!) a separate residence has been prepared, and allotted by the gods. Do not mix with one another in the highest heaven; liquor! thou art powerful; Soma! thou art a king. Do not harm him (the king)! may either go to his own place.’ (Here is said), that the drinking of the Soma and that of liquor, exclude one another (they are not to be mixed). After having drunk it…Thus he finally places the liquor in his friend (gives him a share in it).” Tr. Martin Haug

Underlined sentences of the above passage are an elaboration of the following Yajur Veda verse,

Yajur Veda 19.7 For each of you is made a God-appointed place: so grant to me a portion in the highest sphere. Surâ the strong art thou. This here is Soma. Entering thine own place do me no mischief.

Following is the Sanskrit text along with the Hindi translation of Swami Karpatri Maharaj

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Now, those who cry “fake translation” has no way to escape, Aitareya Brahmana attests Yajur Veda verse. Chapter 20 of Aitareya Brahmana deals with the pouring of various liquids over the king’s head by the priest and also deals with drinking liquor. By means of Mantra the liquor was transformed into real Soma which is then drunk by the king,

Aitareya Brahmana, Book 8, chapter 4, Para 20 “…Then the priest gives into his hands a goblet filled with spirituous liquor, repeating the mantra, svadishthaya. He then should drink the remainder (after previous libations to the gods)…The Soma beverage which is (in a mystical way) contained in the spirituous liquor, is thus drunk by the king, who is inaugurated by means of Indra’s inauguration ceremony (the ceremony just described)…The drinking of spirituous liquor, or Soma, or the enjoyment of some other exquisite food, affects the body of the Kshattriya who is inaugurated by means of Indra’s great inauguration ceremony…” Tr. Martin Haug

Vishnu Smriti prohibits all forms of wine for a Brahmin but permits certain types of liquor for Kshatriya and Vaishya,

Vishnu Smriti 22.82-84 Distilled from sugar, or from the blossoms of the Madhûka. (Mâdhvi wine], or from flour: these three kinds of spirituous liquor have to be discerned; as one, so are all: none of them must be tasted by the twice-born. Again, distilled from the blossoms of the Madhûka tree (Madhûka wine), from molasses, from the fruits of the Tanka (or Kapittha tree), of the jujube tree, of the Khargûra tree, or of the breadfruit tree, from wine-grapes, from Madhûka blossoms (Mâdhvîka wine), Maireya, and the sap of the cocoanut tree: These ten intoxicating drinks are unclean for a Brâhmana; but a Kshatriya and a Vaisya commit no wrong in touching (or drinking) them.

Manu Smriti 5.56 There is no sin in eating meat, in (drinking) spirituous liquor, and in carnal intercourse, for that is the natural way of created beings, but abstention brings great rewards

Acharya Medhatithi writes on this verse that drinking wine is permissible for Kshatriyas. Arthashastra of Kautilya (Chanakya) allows the sale, purchase and drinking of liquor, it brings liquor manufacturers and shops under state regulation, an entire chapter is dedicated to it,

Kautilya’s Arthashastra, Book 2, chapter 25 “BY employing such men as are acquainted with the manufacture of liquor and ferments (kinva), the Superintendent of Liquor shall carry on liquor-traffic not only in forts and country parts, but also in camps. In accordance with the requirements of demand and supply (krayavikrayavasena) he may either centralize or decentralize the sale of liquor. A fine of 600 panas shall be imposed on all offenders other than those who are manufacturers, purchasers, or sellers in liquor-traffic. Liquor shall not be taken out of villages, nor shall liquor shops be close to each other. Lest workmen spoil the work in hand, and Aryas violate their decency and virtuous character, and lest firebrands commit indiscreet acts, liquor shall be sold to persons of well known character in such small quantities as one-fourth or half-a-kudumba, one kudumba, half-a-prastha, or one prastha. Those who are well known and of pure character may take liquor out of shop. Or all may be compelled to drink liquor within the shops and not allowed to stir out at once in view of detecting articles such as sealed deposits, unsealed deposits, commodities given for repair, stolen articles, and the like which the customer’s may have acquired by foul means. When they are found to possess gold and other articles not their own, the superintendent shall contrive to cause them to be arrested outside the shop. Likewise those who are too extravagant or spend beyond their income shall be arrested. No fresh liquor other than bad liquor shall be sold below its price. Bad liquor may be sold elsewhere or given to slaves or workmen in lieu of wages; or it may form the drink of beasts for draught or the subsistence of hogs. Liquor shops shall contain many rooms provided with beds and seats kept apart. The drinking room shall contain scents, garlands of flowers, water, and other comfortable things suitable to the varying seasons. Spies stationed in the shops shall ascertain whether the expenditure incurred by customers in the shop is ordinary or extraordinary and also whether there are any strangers. They shall also ascertain the value of the dress, ornaments, and gold of the customers lying there under intoxication. When customers under intoxication lose any of their things, the merchants of the shop shall not only make good the loss, but also pay an equivalent fine. Merchants seated in half-closed rooms shall observe the appearance of local and foreign customers who, in real or false guise of Aryas lie down in intoxication along with their beautiful mistresses. Of various kinds of liquor such as medaka, prasanna, ásava, arista, maireya, and madhu:– Medaka is manufactured with one drona of water, half, an ádaka of rice, and three prastha of kinva (ferment). Twelve ádhakas of flour (pishta), five prasthas of kinva (ferment), with the addition of spices (játisambhára) together with the bark and fruits of putraká (a species of tree) constitute prasanná. One-hundred palas of kapittha (Feronia Elephantum) 500 palas of phánita (sugar), and one prastha of honey (madhu) form ásava. With an increase of one-quarter of the above ingredients, a superior kind of ásava is manufactured; and when the same ingredients are lessened to the extent of one-quarter each, it becomes of an inferior quality. The preparation of various kinds of arishta for various diseases are to be learnt from physicians. A sour gruel or decoction of the bark of meshasringi (a kind of poison) mixed with jaggery (guda) and with the powder of long pepper and black pepper or with the powder of triphala (1 Terminalia Chebula, 2 Terminalia Bellerica, and 3 Phyllanthus Emblica) forms Maireya. To all kinds of liquor mixed with jaggery, the powder of triphala is always added. The juice of grapes is termed madhu. Its own native place (svadesa) is the commentary on such of its various forms as kápisáyana and hárahúraka. One drona of either boiled or unboiled paste of másha (Phraseolus Radiatus), three parts more of rice, and one karsha of morata (Alangium Hexapetalum) and the like form kinva (ferment). In the manufacture of medaka and prasanna, five karshas of the powder of (each of páthá (Clypea Hermandifolio), lodhra (Symplocos Racemosa), tejovati (Piper Chaba), eláváluka (Solanum Melongena) honey, the juice of grapes (madhurasa), priyangu (panic seeds), dáruharidra (a species of turmeric) black pepper and long pepper are added as sambhára, requisite spices. The decoction of madhúka (Bassia Latifolia) mixed with granulated sugar (katasarkará), when added to prasanna, gives it a pleasing colour. The requisite quantity of spices to be added to ásava is one karshá of the powder of each of chocha (bark of cinnamon), chitraka (Plumbago Zeylanica), vilanga, and gajapippalí (Scindapsus Officinalis), and two karshas of the powder of each of kramuka (betel nut), madhúka (Bassia Latifolia), mustá (Cyprus Rotundus), and lodhra (Symlocos Racemosa). The addition of one-tenth of the above ingredients (i.e., chocha, kramuka, etc.), is (termed) bíjabandha. The same ingredients as are added to prasanná are also added to white liquor (svetasurá). The liquor that is manufactured from mango fruits (sahakárasurá) may contain a greater proportion of mango essence (rasottara), or of spices (bíjottara). It is called mahásura when it contains sambhára (spices as described above). When a handful (antarnakho mushtih, i.e., so much as can be held in the hand, the fingers being so bent that the nails cannot be seen) of the powder of granulated sugar dissolved in the decoction of moratá (Alangium Hexapetalum), palása (Butea Frondosa), dattúra (Dattura Fastuosa), karanja (Robinia Mitis), meshasringa (a kind of poison) and the bark of milky trees (kshiravriksha) mixed with one-half of the paste formed by combining the powders of lodhra (Symplocos Racemosa), chitraka (Plumbago Zeylanica), vilanga, páthá (clypea Hermandifolia), mustá (cyprus Rotundus), kaláya (leguminous seeds), dáruharidra (Amonum Xanthorrhizon), indívara (blue lotus), satapushpa (Anethum Sowa), apámárga (Achyranthes Aspera) saptaparna (Echites Scholaris), and nimba (Nimba Melia) is added to (even) a kumbha of liquor payable by the king, it renders it very pleasant. Five palas of phánita (sugar) are added to the above in order to increase its flavour. On special occasions (krityeshu), people (kutumbinah, i.e., families) shall be allowed to manufacture white liquor (svetasura), arishta for use in diseases, and other kinds of liquor. On the occasions of festivals, fairs (samája), and pilgrimage, right of manufacture of liquor for four days (chaturahassaurikah) shall be allowed. The Superintendent shall collect the daily fines (daivasikamatyayam, i.e., license fees) from those who on these occasions are permitted to manufacture liquor. Women and children shall collect ‘sura,’ and ‘kinva,’ ‘ferment.’ Those who deal with liquor other than that of the king shall pay five percent as toll. With regard to sura, medaka, arishta, wine, phalámla (acid drinks prepared from fruits), and ámlasídhu (spirit distilled from molasses):– Having ascertained the day’s sale of the above kinds of liquor, the difference of royal and public measures (mánavyáji), and the excessive amount of sale proceeds realised thereby, the Superintendent shall fix the amount of compensation (vaidharana) due to the king (from local or foreign merchants for entailing loss on the king’s liquor traffic) and shall always adopt the best course.” Tr. R. Shamasastry

The following verses are favorable to the use of wine,

Atharva Veda 10.6.5 To this we give apportioned food, clarified butter, wine, and meath. May it provide each boon for us as doth a father for his sons…

The following is the Hindi translation by Dr. Ganga Sahay Sharma,

Atharva Veda 15.9.1-3 He went away to the people. Meeting and Assembly and Army and Wine followed him. He who hath this knowledge becomes the dear home of Meeting, Assembly, Army, and Wine.

Atharva Veda 14.1.35-36 Whatever lustre is in dice, whatever lustre is in wine, Whatever lustre is in cows, Asvins, endue this dame therewith. With all the sheen that balmeth wine, or thigh of female paramour, With all the sheen that balmeth dice, even with this adorn the dame.

Atharva Veda 6.69.1 Mine be the glory in the hill, in vales, in cattle, and in gold, Mine be the sweetness that is found in nectar and in flowing wine!

The following is the Hindi translation by Dr. Ganga Sahay Sharma,

Atharva Veda 9.1.18 May all the sweetness that is found in hills and mountains, steeds and kine, And wine that floweth from the cup,—may all that sweetness be in me.

Yajur Veda 19.16 The Sacrificer’s seat is the throne’s symbol, the jar containing Surâ of the Altar. The mid-space is the northern Altar’s symbol: the cloth for filtering is the physician.

The following is the Hindi translation by Swami Karpatri Maharaj,
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Following is the Hindi translation of Yajur Veda 9.4 by Swami Karpatri Maharaj,

Rig Veda mentions a miracle by Ashwins who drew a hundred jars of wine from the hoof of their horse,

Rig Veda 1.116.7 O heroes, ye gave wisdom to Kakshivan who sprang from Parjra’s line, who sang your praises. Ye poured forth from the hoof of your strong charger a hundred jars of wine as from a strainer.

Following is the Sanskrit text with Hindi translation by Pandit Ram Govind Trivedi,
rv 1.116.7

Satapatha Brahmana 12:7:3:88. There are both milk and Surâ-liquor; for milk is Soma, and the Surâ-liquor food: through the milk he secures the Soma-drink, and through the Surâ-liquor food. And milk is the nobility (chieftaincy), and Surâ-liquor the peasantry (clan); the milk he purifies after purifying the Surâ-liquor: he thus produces the nobility from out of the peasantry, for the nobility is produced from out of the peasantry.

Satapatha Brahmana also mentions Parishrut (spelt Parisrut) a type of liquor different from Sura,

Satapatha Brahmana 12:9:1:11. Verily, from this sacrifice the man is born and whatever food a man consumes in this world, that (food), in return, consumes him in yonder world. Now this sacrifice is performed by means of spirituous liquor, and spirituous liquor (parisrut is not to be consumed by a Brâhmana: he thus is born from that which is not (to be) consumed, and the food does not, in return, consume him in yonder world. Therefore this (sacrifice), the Sautrâmanî, is a Brâhmana’s sacrifice.

Satapatha Brahmana 5:1:2:14 …and the Parisrut-liquor is neither Soma nor Sura: this is why he buys the Parisrut for a piece of lead from a long haired man.

Satapatha Brahmana “…Let him therefore rather throw them into the fermented liquor (Parisrut)…let him therefore throw it rather into the spirituous liquor.



Soma plant finds frequent mention in the Vedas. It was of great importance in the Vedic religion. Soma plant is said to have stems and leaves and used to grow in the mountains, Soma plant as a whole, as well as Soma Ras (juice), are also called Andhas. Soma the mythical plant is extinct. Let’s not discuss its botanical features since this article deals with only intoxication in Hinduism. Soma drink was prepared from the leaves of Soma plant by pressing them between stones. It was mixed with water, milk, curd and a few other edible things probably to lessen its intoxicating effect. As per Nirukta 11.2 the word Soma is derived from the root “Su” which means “To Press.” As per Nirukta 1.11 the word Sura (liquor prepared from grains) is also derived from the root “Su” which means “To press.” Both the words Sura and Soma are derived from the same root. Before we begin let’s have a look at what prominent Hindu scholars said about Soma,


Swami Vikvekananda the founder of Ramakrishna Mission wrote,

“And they had a popular plant called Soma. What plant it was nobody knows now; it has entirely disappeared, but from the books we gather that, when crushed, it produced a sort of milky juice, and that was fermented; and it can also be gathered that this fermented Soma juice was intoxicating. This also they offered to Indra and the other gods, and they also drank it themselves. Sometimes they drank a little too much, and so did the gods. Indra on occasions got drunk. There are passages to show that Indra at one time drank so much of this Soma juice that he talked irrelevant words.” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 1/Lectures And Discourses/Vedic Religious Ideals

Sri Aurobindo the founder of Sir Aurobindo Ashram wrote,

“Soma is the Lord of the wine of delight, the wine of immortality. Like Agni he is found in the plants, the growths of earth, and in the waters. The Soma-wine used in the external sacrifice is the symbol of this wine of delight. It is pressed out by the pressing-stone (adri, gravan) which has a close symbolic connection with the thunderbolt, the formed electric force of Indra also called adri…” The Secret of the Veda, p.354, by Sri Aurobindo, Published by SriAurobindoAshram Publication Dept, 2003

Swami Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON is of the same view that Soma was an intoxicating drink, however, he is also of the view that SomRas was not an ordinary intoxicating liquor, it was a special intoxicating liquor made for the gods. He wrote,

“…The demigods are accustomed to drinking the soma-rasa beverage, and therefore the drinking of wine and intoxication are not unknown to them…” Swami Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.15.34

Dr. B.R Ambedkar the first Law Minister of India wrote,

“Drinking was another evil which was rampant among the Aryans. Liquors were of two sorts Soma and Sura. Soma was a sacrificial wine. The drinking of the Soma was in the beginning permitted only to Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Subsequently it was permitted only to Brahmins and Kshatriyas. The Vaishyas were excluded from it and the Shudras were never permitted to taste it. Its manufacture was a secret known only to the Brahmins. Sura was open to all and was drunk by all. The Brahmins also drank Sura. Shukracharya the priest to the Asuras drank so heavily that in his drunken state he gave the life giving Mantra known to him only and with which he used to revive the Asuras killed by the Devas—to Katch the son of Brahaspati who was the priest of the Devas. The Mahabharat mentions an occasion when both Krishna and Arjuna were dead drunk. That shows that the best among the Aryan Society were not only not free from the drink habit but that they drank heavily. The most shameful part of it was that even the Aryan women were addicted to drink. For instance Sudeshna the wife of King Virat tells her maid Sairandhri to go to Kichaka’s palace and bring Sura as she was dying to have a drink. It is not to be supposed that only queens indulged in drinking. The habit of drinking was common among women of all classes and even Brahmin women were not free from it. That liquor and dancing was indulged in by the Aryan women is clear from the Kausitaki Grihya Sutra I. 11-12, which says; “Four or eight women who are not widowed, after having been regaled with wine and food are to dance for four times on the night previous to the wedding ceremony.” men, not to speak of women of the lower Varnas, as late as the seventh and eighth centuries- A.D. in the Central region of Aryavarta, is clear from Kumarila Bhatta’s Tantra- Vartika I (iii). 4, which states, “Among the people of modern days we find the Brahmin women of the countries of Ahicchatra and Mathura to be addicted to drinking”. Kumarila condemned the practice in the case of Brahmins only, but not of Kshatriyas and Vaishyas men and women, if the liquor was distilled from fruits or flowers (Madhavi), and Molasses (Gaudi) and not from grains (Sura).” Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, Vol 3, page 154-5



As you may know, Aryan’s Vedic religion shares many similarities with the Zoroastrians. One of them is Soma plant. Soma in Zoroastrianism is known as Haoma. In the Zoroastrian text Yasna, Haoma (Soma) is considered a mildly intoxicant drink with no harm.

Yasna 10.8 “All other toxicants go hand in hand with Rapine of the bloody spear, but H(a)oma’s stirring power goes hand in hand with friendship. [Light is the drunkenness of H(a)oma (Pâzand).] Who as a tender son caresses H(a)oma, forth to the bodies of such persons H(a)oma comes to heal.” Tr. L.H. Mills

In the Puranas and Mahabharat, there’s a story of King of Gaya performing a sacrifice in which Indra drank Soma Ras so much that he became intoxicated, I am mentioning all those verses here,

Srimad Bhagavatam 5.15.12 “In Mahārāja Gaya’s sacrifices, there was a great supply of the intoxicant known as soma. King Indra used to come and become intoxicated by drinking large quantities of soma-rasa. Also, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu [the yajña-puruṣa] also came and personally accepted all the sacrifices offered unto Him with pure and firm devotion in the sacrificial arena.” Tr. Swami Prabhupada

Vishnu Purana 4.1.14-18 “There was never beheld on earth a sacrifice equal to the sacrifice of Marutta: all the implements and utensils were made of gold. Indra was intoxicated with the libations of Soma juice, and the Brahmans were enraptured with the magnificent donations they received.” Tr. H.H. Wilson

Mahabharata 12.29.35 “While the king of Anga performed his sacrifice by the hill called Vishnupada, Indra became intoxicated with the Soma he drank, and the Brahmanas with the presents they received.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Mahabharata 1.121.9 “…while he was performing a sacrifice the gods with Indra and the great Rishis came to him, and Indra was so intoxicated with the Soma juice he drank and the Brahmanas with the large presents they received…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Mahabharata 3.88.6-7 “…We have heard respecting the sacrificing king Nriga that which really took place while he was performing a sacrifice in the excellent tirtha called Varaha on the Payoshni. In that sacrifice Indra became intoxicated with quaffing the Soma, and the Brahmanas, with the gifts they received…” Tr. K.M. Ganguli

Markandeya Purana 129.15-16 “Equal to Marutta never lived a sacrificer on the face of the earth at whose sacrifice his dwelling house was cast and also golden palaces as largesse, Indra was made intoxicated with Soma and twice-born brahmanas with gifts…” Tr. F. Eden Pargiter

Following verses from Veda calls Soma as Mada (intoxicating), I am using Hindi translation by Pandit Ram Govind Trivedi,

ते तवा मदा इन्द्र मादयन्तु शुष्मिणं तुविराधसं जरित्रे |
एको देवत्रा दयसे हि मर्तानस्मिञ्छूर सवने मादयस्व ||

te tvā madā indra mādayantu śuṣmiṇaṃ tuvirādhasaṃ jaritre |
eko devatrā dayase hi martānasmiñchūra savane mādayasva ||

Rig Veda 7.23.5 “May these inebriating draughts exhilarate thee, Indra: bestow upon the praiser (a son vigorous and wealthy): for thou alone amongst the gods are compassionate to mortals: be exhilarated here at this sacrifice.” Tr. H.H. Wilson

C:\Users\Hassan Razvi\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\rv 7.23.5.jpg

ते तवा मदा बर्हदिन्द्र सवधाव इमे पीता उक्षयन्त दयुमन्तम |
महामनूनं तवसं विभूतिं मत्सरासो जर्ह्र्षन्त परसाहम ||

te tvā madā bṛhadindra svadhāva ime pītā ukṣayanta dyumantam |
mahāmanūnaṃ tavasaṃ vibhūtiṃ matsarāso jarhṛṣanta prasāham ||

Rig Veda 6.17.4 “Abounding in food, Indra, let these exhilarating draughts copiously bedew thee, the resplendent: let the inebriating juices delight thee who art mighty, deficient in no (excellence), powerful, manifold, the overcomer of foes.” Tr. H.H. Wilson

rv 6

वर्धान यं विश्वे मरुतः सजोषाः पचच्छतं महिषानिन्द्र तुभ्यम |
पूषा विष्णुस्त्रीणि सरांसि धावन वर्त्रहणं मदिरमंशुमस्मै ||

vardhān yaṃ viśve marutaḥ sajoṣāḥ pacacchataṃ mahiṣānindra tubhyam |
pūṣā viṣṇustrīṇi sarāṃsi dhāvan vṛtrahaṇaṃ madiramaṃśumasmai ||

Rig Veda 6.17.11 “For thee, Indra, whom all the Maruts, alike pleased, exalt, may Pushan and Vishnu dress for thee a hundred buffaloes, and to him may the three streams flow with the inebriating, foe-destroying Soma.” Tr. H.H. Wilson

rv 6

इन्द्राविष्णू हविषा वाव्र्धानाग्राद्वाना नमसा रातहव्या |
घर्तासुती दरविणं धत्तमस्मे समुद्रः सथः कलशः सोमधानः ||

इन्द्राविष्णू पिबतं मध्वो अस्य सोमस्य दस्रा जठरं पर्णेथाम |
आ वामन्धांसि मदिराण्यग्मन्नुप बरह्माणि शर्णुतं हवं मे ||

indrāviṣṇū haviṣā vāvṛdhānāghrādvānā namasā rātahavyā |
ghṛtāsutī draviṇaṃ dhattamasme samudraḥ sthaḥ kalaśaḥ somadhānaḥ ||

indrāviṣṇū pibataṃ madhvo asya somasya dasrā jaṭharaṃ pṛṇethām |
ā vāmandhāṃsi madirāṇyaghmannupa brahmāṇi śṛṇutaṃ havaṃ me ||

Rig Veda 6.69.6-7 “Indra and Vishnu, feeders upon clarified butter, drinkers of the fermented Soma, thriving upon oblations, accepting them offered with reverence…Indra and Vishnu, agreeable of aspect, drink of this sweet Soma; fill with it your bellies: may the inebriating beverage reach you: hear my prayers, my invocation.” Tr. H.H. Wilson

C:\Users\Hassan Razvi\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\rv 6.69.6-7.jpg

As you can see, words like Madira (मदिरा) and Mada (मद) have been used in these verses, Madira and Mada both denotes intoxication. Even those fluent in Hindi language can define these words. The word Mada (intoxication) is mentioned in connection with Soma stating that Soma is Mada (intoxicating) in numerous verses such as Rig Veda 1.85.10; 9.107.14; 1.104.9; 2.19.1; 9.12.3; 6.43.1-4; 2.14.1; 9.6.6; Rig Veda 1.84.4 which is also mentioned in Sankhayana Srauta Sutra 12.26.7; Rig Veda Mandala 2, Hymn 15 boasts deeds of Indra done in Intoxication (Mada) of Soma which is translated as rapture by Griffith; Rig Veda 8.14.7 which is elaborated in Aitareya Brahmana 6.7.

V.S Apte defines the word Mada as,

Mada Sanskrit English VS Apte
[The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary, by Vaman Shivram Apte, page 836, Published by Shiralkar & Co., 1890]

Arya Samaji scholar Svami Satya Prakash Sarasvati in his translation of Rig Veda defines it as,

Madah, intoxication; pleasure.
[Rgveda Samhita, Volume III, page 881, by Svami Satya Prakash Sarasvati & Satyakam Vidyalankar, Published by Veda Pratishthana]

Ralph T.H. Griffith has translated it as rapture, gladdening, wild joy, etc., and the reason he gave for this is as follows. Ralph T.H Griffith commenting on Rig Veda 1.51.2 quotes Max Mueller on the word Mada (pronounced Mad),

“Rushing in rapture: when exhilarated by draughts of Soma. ‘Here again,’ says Professor Max Muller, ‘The difficulty of rending Vedic though in English, or any other modern language, becomes apparent, for we have no poetical word to express a high state of mental excitement produced by drinking the intoxicating juice of the Soma or other plants, which has not something opprobrious mixed up with it, while in ancient times that state of excitement was celebrated as a blessing of the gods, as not unworthy of the gods themselves, nay, as a state in which both the warrior and the poet would perform their highest achievements. The German Rausch is the nearest approach to the Sanskrit mada.’

In this version, mada has generally been rendered by rapture, delight, transport, or wild joy.”

Griffith has mentioned Soma as liquor in the following verses like

Rig Veda 2.14.1 “MINISTERS, bring the Soma juice for Indra, pour forth the gladdening liquor with the beakers. To drink of this the Hero longeth ever; offer it to the Bull, for this he willeth.” Tr. Ralph T.H Griffith

Rig Veda 3.48.1 “SOON as the young Bull sprang into existence he longed to taste the pressed-out Soma’s liquor. Drink thou thy fill, according to thy longing, first, of the goodly mixture blent with Soma.”

Rig Veda 4.34.5 “Out of what substance was that chalice fashioned which ye made fourfold by your art and wisdom? Now for the gladdening draught press out the liquor, and drink, O Ṛbhus, of die meath of Soma.”

Rig Veda 4.44.4 “Borne on your golden car, ye omnipresent! come to this sacrifice of ours, Nāsatyas.

Drink of the pleasant liquor of the Soma give riches to the people who adore you.”

Griffith translated Rig Veda 9.32.1 as,

पर सोमासो मदच्युतः शरवसे नो मघोनः |
सुता विदथे अक्रमुः ||

pra somāso madacyutaḥ śravase no maghonaḥ |
sutā vidathe akramuḥ ||

Rig Veda 9.32.1 “The rapture-shedding Soma-drops, effused in our assembly, have Flowed forth to glorify our prince.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

This is elaborated in Panchavimsha Brahmana as,

Pancavimsa Brahmana XI.5.1 “(The verse beginning:) ‘Forth (has) the intoxicating madacyut) Soma’ is the gayatri; intoxicating (having mada) (and) rich in sap is the afternoon service; he, thereby, puts intoxication (and) sap (in it)…” Tr. W. Caland



As far as my knowledge is concerned, Soma by itself was mildly intoxicating and was made fully intoxicating through the fermentation process. Veda and Brahmana indicate that Soma was fermented and Swami Vivekananda also mentions that Soma was fermented and that fermented juice was intoxicating. Veda, Brahmana and Srauta Sutra state that Soma was mixed with barley [Rig Veda 9.68.4; Atharva Veda 20.24.7], it was kept for three days probably for the fermentation to complete.

Rig Veda 1.187.9 “What Soma, we enjoy from thee in milky food or barley-brew, Vātāpi, grow thou fat thereby.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Rig Veda 9.17.3 “Soma, with swelling waves, exhilarating, inebriating, flows to the straining-cloth, destroying the Rakshasas, and devoted to the gods.” Tr. H.H. Wilson

Following verses mentions about a day or 3 days old Soma,

Rig Veda 1.45.10 “Bring with joint invocations thou, O Agni, the celestial host: Here stands the Soma, bounteous gods: drink this expressed ere yesterday.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

Rig Veda 3.58.7 “O Asvins, very mighty ones, with Vayu and with his steeds, one-minded, ever-youthful, Nasatyas, joying in the third day’s Soma, drink it, not hostile, very bounteous givers.” Tr. Ralph T.H. Griffith

There’s one more verse from Yajur Veda which talks about the fermentation of Soma, I have mentioned this in the Sautramani sacrifice, you can read Yajur Veda 19.1, Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.32 and Satapatha Brahmana, Kanda 12, Adhyaya 7, Brahmana 3, Verses 5-6 mentioned above. William Scott Shelley has explained fermentation of Soma in the following way,

“In the preparation of the Soma beverage, the Soma stalks were boiled [Satapatha Brahmana XII.7.3.6], and remained standing for three nights [Baudhayana Srauta Sutra XVII.32]. The Taiitriya Samhita contains the mythological justification for keeping Soma for three nights: “When the Soma was being borne away, the Gandharva Vicvavasu stole it. It was for three nights stolen; therefore after purchase the Soma is kept for three nights [Taittriya Samhita VI.1.6.4]. Referring to Sura, an alcoholic beverage produced from fermented grain, the Satapatha Brahmana states: “He distils (i.e., boils) it with a view to )its being alike) the Soma-pressing. For three nights it remains standing, for the Soma remains standing for three nights after it has been brought [Satapatha Brahmana XII.7.3.6].” The Atharva Veda also makes reference to “him that takes pains, and cooks and presses the soma [Atharva Veda XI.1.30].” According to the Vedic literature, the Soma liquor was fermented. The directions in the Soma rite include the word Parisrut, “spirituous liquor [Satapatha Brahmana XII.8.2.15],” and this is also indicated in the Rgveda by the term Vatapi, “fermenting” of the Soma liquor [Rgveda I.187.10]: “What, Soma, we enjoy from thee in milky food or barley-brew, Vatapi, grow thou fat thereby [Rgveda I.187.10].”

Following the fermenting of the liquor, the Soma stalks were removed from the vessel and crushed between two stones on a cowhide [Rgveda IX.65.25, IX.79.4, X.94.9], or with a mortar and pestle [Rgveda I.28.1-6, IX.46.3]. The Rgveda tells of Soma libations “fifteenfold strong [Rgveda X.27.2], and with the addition of water [Rgveda IX.75.9, IX.107.2], which diluted the mixture and caused crushed Soma stalks to swell [Rgveda VIII.9.19, IX.64.8, IX.107.12], the Soma juice was poured over the stalks upon the cowhide, and filtered through a strainer made of cloth or wool [Rgveda VIII.2.2, IX.12.4, IX.13.1]. The Soma stalks were brown (babhru), ruddy (aruna), or tawny (hari) color [Rg Veda VIII.9.19], and Soma juice was also brown [Rgveda IX.33.2, IX.63.4, 6], ruddy [Rgveda IX.45.3], or tawny [Rgveda IX.3.9, IX.98.7]. This beverage is described in the Rgveda as “good to taste and full of sweetness, verily it is strong and rich in flavour.” Indicating that the fermenting of the liquor preceeded the pressing, Soma was often drunk unmmixed [Rgveda I.135.3, V.2.3, VII.90.2, IX.72.4], or it was mixed with milk [Rgveda I.23.1, VIII.2.3, VIII.90.10, IX.11.2, 5, IX.64.28, IX.72.1, IX.101.12, IX.107.2], butter [Rgveda X.29.6], curd [I.5.5, V.51.7, VII.32.4, IX.11.6, IX.101.12], or barley [Rgveda I.187.9, III.35.3, 7, III.52.1, IX.68.4].”
Soma and the Indo-European Priesthood: Cereal Cultivation and the Origins of Religion, Chapter 4, page 105-6, by William Scott Shelley, Published by Algora Publishing, 01-Dec-2018



In folk tradition, Shiva is often associated with cannabis, Sadhus imitates him by smoking weed. Swami Dayanand Saraswati was also addicted to cannabis. Vedas lists Bhanga (Cannabis) among the top five best herbs on the earth,

Atharva Veda 11.6.15 “Of five broad groups of herbs from which the damn is most powerful, we, speak Dnrbha, Bhanga-Hemp, barley and Saha. Let them save us from disease.” Tr. Acharya Vaidyanath Shastri (Arya Samaj)

The Sanskrit word mentioned in above verse is Bhanga/Bhaga which means hemp (cannabis).

Atharva Veda 2.4.5 “May this Jangida and Shana, the cannabis (probably as it is now known) save us from rheumatism. One of them, the Jangida is brought from the forest and another, the Shana is drawn out from various herbaceous saps.” Tr. Acharya Vaidyanath Shastri (Arya Samaj)

The Sanskrit word mentioned is Shana, which means Cannabis. In the Puranas, Cannabis is also known as Vijaya, following verse shows that Bhairava (form of Shiva) accepted it,

Brahmanda Purana Lalita Mahatmya 9.73 “Then the gem named Kaustubha came up. Janardhana took it. Thereafter, the great medicinal herb named Vijaya (Hemp), that caused intoxication through the smell of its leaves, was born. Bhairava accepted it.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

The following verse is about using cannabis in oblation,

Agni Purana 95.32-38 “…The oblation should be separately performed with the substances, known as the Vijaya (cannabis sativa), and Lakshmana, Vala (small cardamoms), Gaduchi…” Tr. M.N. Dutt

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