Soma (Moon)

Also known as Chandra, Soma (Moon) is identified with amrita (nectar). He is represented as a copper-coloured man, trailing a red pennant behind his three-wheeled chariot, which is drawn either by an antelope or by ten white horses. He normally has two hands, one carrying a mace and the other in a protective mode. His lineage says that he was the son of Dharma or of Varuna, lord of the oceans, from which the moon rises.

According to a legend, Surya nourishes the moon with the water from the ocean when Soma is exhausted by the many beings who feed upon his substance. For, during half the month, thirty-six thousand divinities feed on Soma and thus assure their immortality. This account neatly combines the two aspects of Soma: as the nectar from which the gods derive their strength and as the moon which waxes and wanes. The legend of the banishment of Soma by Brahma to the outer atmosphere can be interpreted as yet another myth explaining how intoxicants came to be banned.

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