Soma and Agni

Soma and Agni

Fire by Shan Sheehan
Fire by Shan Sheehan

Agni is the cosmic fire described in the ancient Rig Veda. It is the first word of the first verse, the force that causes the world to come into being, the outward stroke.

Agni has also been associated with the light of consciousness and the sense of sight. It is the digestive fire. It is sometimes represented by the sun and with the masculine.

Soma or nectar is the softener and refiner, it is the ocean of the Divine Mother’s milk that draws us within, the inward stroke. The moon is sometimes called soma, and it’s affiliated with the feminine.

We are immersed in that ocean of soma in its raw form. Our physiology is designed to refine soma into a form that laws of nature can use. With a practice that enlivens consciousness, transcendence is the trigger for refining soma. Once refined, it becomes available to the laws of nature, enhancing their quality of life and skills. This amplifies their ability to support us. Soma also cultures sattva. Sattva refines the senses, allowing the God Consciousness stage and the refined stages to unfold.

The key as always is balance. Too much agni and it burns. Too much soma and it dissolves (although the latter is rare).

The Yoga Vasishtha says balanced agni and soma in our physiology leads to balanced breath (prana or life force), integrated enlightenment, and special abilities.

The Rig Veda, first and core of the Vedas, explores both. Its 9th Mandala (book, of 10) is sometimes called the soma mandala as it talks extensively on this topic.

I’ve since come to see the power of Shakti as what drives Agni. As soma is from Mother’s ocean, we can see both come from the Divine Mother.

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    1. Hi Stephen
      The most obvious is when we notice a sweet taste in the back of the throat, typically after coming out of samadhi in meditation. It may also come with a wave of happiness.
      Less obvious is the gradual development of refined perception, environmental support, etc.

      1. Jim

        Hi David, I always chuckle when you mention the sweet taste of soma. When I was in my late 20’s working for the TM Movement and earning my TM-Sidhis, we were doing some arduous construction and ag work in rural Missouri, living in an unheated garage.
        Long story short, I remember telling the fellow leading our morning group practice that even though my mouth tasted sour at the beginning of ‘programme’, (we didn’t have a sink, just a cold water shower) there was always a sweet taste afterwards. He said, ‘something good is happening’. 🙂

        1. Hi Jeff
          This is further along in the process when its being distributed. There are quite a few ways it can be experienced. Most people I’ve discussed this with experience certain aspects of the process. By comparing notes, you fill in the gaps. 🙂
          It’s only that the taste experience is one of the most overt.
          Once Self is lively within, many things can cause soma flow. Beautiful music, strong presence, and even just putting the attention on it.
          Once Self Realization (CC) is established, if the physiology has been prepared enough, it essentially becomes ongoing. We become a soma machine.
          Then perception refined continuously and new vistas continue to open up.

  1. Jeff

    Actually, it is the Gods with the use of divine beauty that draws us inward. Divine beauty is like a tractor beam from Star Wars that is used to capture our attention. The Gods then feed on the soma, which sustains them, because without it, they are chased around by demons. It is a great relationship as the Gods then support our actions

    1. Hi Jeff
      Yes, there are many things to draw us home. Bliss, beauty, peace, wisdom, etc.
      It can be said that soma is what gives the gods their divine beauty.
      But yes, when we produce soma, we support those who support us and we attract other higher beings who can supplement them. This can make a huge difference in how effective our actions are and how easily we fulfill desires.

      1. Jeff

        But the primary vehicle for transcendence is charm, which I experience as concentrated divine beauty. I experience charm as the course and pure divine beauty as the source.

        I experience the Goddess of Immortality as the finest quality of divine beauty and the mind stops when it reaches the source as their nothing more attractive to experience. In my mind this why she is immortality.

    1. Some use ojas somewhat interchangeably with soma but they’re different. Soma preexists but is refined by the body through transcendence (after awakening it becomes more ongoing). It descends down through the brain (“flow soma through the filter”), through a subtle gland in the back of the throat where we swallow it into the digestion. From there is is distributed around the body.
      Ojas is the finest product of digestion (the 8th stage) where food is broken down into progressively more refined substances that feed different body systems (from Ayurveda). These are all distributed similarly. This process is more sensitive to right diet for our body type. Cooked food helps digestion.
      I’d say soma helps the body refine more to produce ojas and ojas helps soma similarly. They certainly have a relationship.
      Ojas is also a little more obvious, like giving our skin a healthy glow. It’s gold coloured (generally). The texts say the body dies without ojas and that it resides in the heart but pervades the body.
      Interestingly, the qualities of ojas are very like the qualities of balanced Kapha dosha. That gives tips for supporting it. 🙂

    1. Yes, it sounds like it. In this case, the trigger was kundalini Shakti rising. This is something that happens once or for a little bit and then stabilizes. It’s not a way to culture it.
      Also note that he had to swallow several times as his attention on it itself was triggering soma flow. 🙂

    2. Michael Jaksch


      I have to jump in here to get things straight as different things are muddled together here.
      I have trained in closed daoist alchemy schools.

      The soma David is talking about is (At least for me) a very fine “etheric” substance. It feeds the devas and refines the nervous system and with that subtle perception.

      What Damo Mitchell is talking about is not soma like David describes.

      There can actually be several different substances that come down from the head. We could call them all soma but they have very different effects on our system. (Some refine perception, other refine the physical form itself, some heal, etc)

      In Damos example nothing is coming down at all….but the mouth fills with a sweet tasting saliva (the mouth gets very full with it) as a reaction to letting an alchemically transformed energy flow through the mco (mco is usually talked in daoist inner work and the Tamil Siddhas also have it).

      This special saliva is swallowed in a special way and is there to replenish the jing (basic body energy). This refilles lost jing, de-eages and greatly increases stamina and healing potential of the body.

      Hope that helps. 🙂

      1. Hi Michael
        Ah fascinating. Yes, a fine pre-physical substance.
        My tradition doesn’t talk about such variations, likely because they don’t use techniques that would culture them.
        I’ve certainly experienced what he describes though. Various things can trigger it and I assumed it was soma. Although considering, I can see how the experience varies. I know of various substances like hormones that start in the head but this is certainly not in my expertise. 🙂

      2. AB

        Thanks Michael, this reminds me, a while back I read about another practice where the tongue is used to stimulate the base of the brain and nerves in the cavity that also creates a liquid and also creates similar and other effects.

  2. Bernie

    Hi David,

    In your comment: “ It descends down through the brain (“flow soma through the filter”)” – didn’t realize that phrase from the 9th mandala meant our body was the filter.
    It makes me smile because it reminds me of the early days of the “TM-Sidhi programme” when it was “required” to read the 9th Mandala of the Rig Veda after meditation. One minute into the reading whether I read it or someone else did, my brain gets liquified, as if lubricated by sweet oil. It gave a sweet, delicious, nourishing, blissful feeling initially in the brain area, and then spreads to the body, and then thru my perception.. And I didn’t understand what I was reading or hearing at all, all the verses of the 9th mandala.
    Phrases like “…with dried plants are arrows made…with glistening stones…” and “…flow Indu for Indra…”, etc. etc.. Beautiful phrases and poetry not meant to be understood, but generated soma.. I still wonder what those phrases mean.

    1. Hi Bernie
      Yes, we are the filter. I explore this in a bit more detail here:
      And yes, the reading itself was triggering it. As in comments above, putting the attention on it can trigger the process.
      I have found that I now understand some of that stuff better now. It does come from the vision of someone in a very different culture and time. But it’s the same reality we all share behind it.
      In a sense, the words don’t matter at all. Unlike a typical novel, there is a great deal behind the words. Attention on the words is just a way to bring attention to the presence there. Just like attention on the mantra is just to bring the attention within.
      Some teachers give talks and comment that the words don’t matter. They don’t speak to the mind but are simply a vehicle for the Self to express and enliven the attention of the listeners. Others largely skip words and sit in presence. But then the mind doesn’t have something to hold its attention. (laughs)

  3. Jean

    My experience is that putting the tongue on the roof of the mouth helps the flow of the soma.
    It feels like a cool breeze from the top of the head and showers the whole body with an exquisite tingling feeling like when you hear music you love.

    1. Hi Jean
      Interesting. Nice description of soma. I’ve heard of such techniques but have never done them myself.
      I’d caution any idea that tongue position creates soma flow. It’s possible it enhances it or enhances the experience of it energetically but the flow itself is created by connecting to the source of it via samadhi, presence, and related.
      Thanks for sharing.

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