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Hymns to Soma
by Jody Nagel

texts taken from the Rig Veda, from a translation by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty,
selected and adapted by George Wolfe.
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I. Soma and the Eagle
(from the 4th mandala, 26th hymn)
The bird shall be supreme above all birds, the swift-flying eagle above all eagles, since by his own driving power that needs no chariot wheels, with his powerful wings he brought to man the oblation loved by the gods. Fluttering as he brought it down, the bird swift as thought shot forth on the wide path; swiftly the eagle came with the honey of Soma, and one great fame. Stretching out in flight, holding the stem, the eagle brought the exhilarating and intoxicating drink from the distance. Accompanied by the gods, the bird clutched the Soma tightly after he took it from the highest heaven.

II. Soma and the Sage
(from the 8th mandala, 79th hymn)
This restless Soma - you try to grab him but he breaks away and overpowers everything. He is a sage and a seer inspired by poetry. He covers the naked and heals all who are sick. The blind man sees; the lame man steps forth. Let those who seek find what they seek: let them receive the treasure given by the generous and stop those possessed by greed. Let him find what was lost before. Let him push forward the man of truth. Let him stretch out the life-span that has not yet crossed its span. Be kind and merciful to us, Soma; be good to our heart, without confusing our powers in your whirlwind.

III. We Have Drunk the Soma
(from the 8th mandala, 48th hymn)
I have tasted the sweet drink of life, knowing that it inspires good thoughts and joyous expansiveness to the extreme, that all the gods and mortals seek it together, calling it honey. When you penetrate inside, you will know no limits, and you will avert the wrath of the gods... We have drunk the Soma; we have become immortal; we have gone to the light; we have found the gods. What can hatred and the malice of a mortal do to us now, O immortal one? Weakness and diseases have gone; the forces of darkness have fled in terror. Soma has climbed up in us, expanding endlessly.

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