Originally published in ‘Laughing Man’ magazine, November 1984
True Soma is Not a Plant, True Soma is not External to the Body-Mind
True Soma is Native to the Body-Mind
Adi Da Samraj: Just as today certain rejuvenating herbs are fairly commonly known, herbs were also used in the ancient cultures in conjunction with symbols and archetypes and religious observances. Modern researchers are trying to discover what the ancient herbs might have been. One of the famous herbs, or “Edible Deities,” of ancient times was called “soma.” There are a number of plants and mushrooms that have tentatively been identified as this soma. But the true soma is not anything external to the body-mind, not a plant or a mushroom or an elixir or one’s own urine. The true soma is like the true practice—it is native to the body-mind. It is a substance secreted in the brain core by the glandular centers associated with the pituitary gland when the body is in a purified, harmonious condition, and its energies are rightly polarized.
This nectar pervades the entire body and enlivens it, but it also tends to pass out of the body through grosser activities that eliminate the Life-Force. Among the activities of the usual body-mind that tend to eliminate the Life-Force are emotional reactivity, eating, overeating, and degenerative habits of all kinds, including conventional sexuality.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika and other similar yogic texts speak of the soma as “the nectar of the moon.” By pressing the tongue up through the roof of the palate and closing off the passage in the head above the sinuses and above the mouth, and entering into meditation, the yogis prevent the nectar of the moon from burning up in the “sun,” which is the lower body or digestive region, the digestive fire of the navel.
“Bindu” is another word for the soma or the nectar of the brain core and, by extension, the male essence or semen. When the yogic texts admonish the practitioner to prevent the bindu from leaving the body, they are cautioning the yogi that through sexual activity and degenerative activities of all kinds the nectar may be lost with the semen. Ultimately, in the subtleties of yoga, the soma can be lost just by living; thus, the yogi practices meditative techniques that enable him to retain the Life-Force and higher chemistry. The yogis believe that it is in this suspended contemplative condition, wherein the soma of the brain is retained by the body, that extraordinary rejuvenation takes place.
Our Way of life understands and acknowledges this ancient esoteric view of health and rejuvenation. But we do not engage in the self-possessed yogas, keeping the tongue in the roof of the mouth and so forth, so that “I” can live. We are engaged in a sacrificial relationship to the Divine Life, in which “I” is transcended and ultimately dissolved in perfect absorption in God. This Way involves natural responsibilities that have the same ultimate effect as the self-conscious manipulations of the body-mind detailed in the texts of hatha yoga. Therefore, our process of “sexual communion”2 is not a process of strategically abandoning the functions of our experience, but of turning them into Love-Communion with the All-Pervading Life. Our dietary practice is a natural and pleasurable practice that prevents the body from degenerating, toxifying, becoming obstructed, wasting its higher chemistry. Through a natural relationship with the All-Pervading Life and natural, ordinary responsibilities for diet and meditation and all the other practices of ordinary life, the rejuvenating chemistry, the “nectar of the moon,” the secretion of the glandular system, particularly from the brain but also from other areas of the body, is rightly distributed to the entire body, thus maintaining us in a natural state of health and longevity.
These disciplines, however, are not the point of view of our practice. Our point of view is right relationship and sacrifice to the All-Pervading Life Itself. Adhering to this point of view, we also enjoy essentially good health and should live a long life. Although there are many factors that may contribute to the brevity or length of a life, at least in terms of our capacity we will be fit for a long life if we live according to the natural disciplines. Breathing the All- Pervading Life, prayerful Communion with the All-Pervading Life, and a diet that is self-purifying, enlivening, and balanced, therefore tending to create harmonious conditions—these along with all the other devotional, personal, and moral practices, higher psycho-physical practices, and radical spiritual disciplines enliven, rejuvenate, and sustain the body-mind and allow it to enter into right relationship with the ultimate Translation3 into the All-Pervading Life that is its Nature and Condition and Destiny.
Health and longevity are secondary effects. They are not pursued for their own sake in the Way of life that we practice. Anything pursued for its own sake is a form of selfmeditation, self-possession, self-protection, a hedge about Narcissus. But from the point of view of the Divine Life, rather than self, we assume disciplines that secondarily keep us alive and enlivened, even physically blissful. We are healthy not only because we take the right dietary substances into the body, including rejuvenating herbs and the like, but primarily because we are enlivened by direct Communion with the All- Pervading Life, and that direct Communion, associated with right psycho-physical disciplines, enables the body to secrete chemical substances as well as distribute bio-energetic force to every area of the body, from head to toe, toe to crown. This alchemy, native to the body itself, rejuvenates us, keeps us in good health, keeps us capable of growing, and keeps every area, every aspect, every dimension of the body-mind alive.
The practice of diet and health of members of The Johannine Daist Communion, which is essentially direct Communion with the All-Pervading Life associated with practical responsibilities, is rejuvenative in the highest sense. It keeps the individual totally associated in every part with the All-Pervading Current of Life. The practice Enlightens the body-mind. It is the process that leads toward Transcendence and Translation of every aspect of the body-mind. In the process of Translation, the independent self that is felt to be interior to the world is transcended, and what is Realized is the absolute Transcendental Personality of which even the World is a modification. S
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is an ancient treatise on hatha yoga, which in its classical form included not only physical poses but a whole range of devotional, moral, personal, and higher psycho-physical disciplines of yogic awakening and transformation. See the translation of this Sanskrit scripture by Hans-Ulrich Rieker, The Yoga of Light (Middletown. Calif.: The Dawn Horse Press, 1974).
“Sexual communion” is the technical term used by Master Da Free John to describe the natural practice of human emotional and sexual intimacy between lovers wherein body, mind, self-sense, the loved one, and the sexual experience itself are surrendered in direct Communion with the All-Pervading Divine.
“Translation,” together with “Transfiguration” and “Transformation,” is a technical term that describes the unfolding process of God-Realization in the seventh stage of life. Transfiguration is the pervasion of body and mind by Transcendental Radiance or Light. Bodily and mental Transformation involves the arising of supernormal signs or abilities, such as healing power, longevity, and psychic capabilities. Divine Translation is the ultimate evidence of God-Realization, wherein the limited psycho-physical body, mind, and world are no longer noticed—not because the consciousness has withdrawn from all such phenomena, but because it has entered into such profound absorptive Realization of the Divine Condition that all phenomena are, as Master Da Confesses, “Outshined” by that Light.