The Soma Code, Part II: Soma's Birth, Purification, and Transmutation into Indra

  • Philip T. Nicholson (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


In this paper, the second in a three-part series on interpretation of metaphors for luminous visions in the Rig Veda (RV), we sort the metaphors used to describe the visions of Soma and Indra into sets based on certain abstract features (shape, movement, color, and temporal order), then show that these metaphor-sets closely match the characteristics of the meditation-induced phosphenes described in Part I. Our analysis of suggests (1) that a vision which looks like a terrestial dawn appears before the vision of Soma, analogous to the gradual brightening and bluing of the visual field that occurs in the paroxysmal phosphene sequence; (2) that the vision of newborn Soma - the 'woolen filter' in which the Soma juice is purified - has a distinctive bulbous shape and moves by itself, characteristics analogous to those of the translucent white bulbous image in the paroxysmal phosphene sequence; (3) that the vision of three 'purified' Soma streams rising and spreading is analogous to the phosphene rays which evolve in three discrete stages; and, finally, (4) that the visions of Indra, which are variously described in the RV as lightning-like flashes, as a continous flood of light waves, as 'milk with curds' or as 'light with a thousand studs,' can all be matched with the phosphene effects that appear when paroxysmal activity reaches its maximal stages or with residual sequelae that appear after the paroxysm. In this analysis, the precision of the match between the transformations of Soma and the analogous phosphenes is particularly noteworthy. A table at the end of this paper summarizes the full extent of the parallels linking metaphors for luminous visions in the RV and paroxysmal, meditation-induced phosphenes.