"Soma (Sanskrit: सोम sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a Vedic ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent greater Indian and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities. In the [Persian] Avesta, Haoma has the entire Yašt 20 and Yasna 9-11 dedicated to it.
"It is described as being prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. In both Hindu and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity.
"There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the identity of the original plant. Soma is associated with the warrior-god Indra and appears to have been drunk before battle. For these reasons, there are stimulant (amphetamine-like) plants as well as entheogenic plants among the candidates that have been suggested. [However,] there is no consensus on the question..."
Indra, god of war
THE ASSASSIN LOTUS presents a possible theory of the soma plant's identity, and asserts that it played a central role in the origins of Hinduism and Buddhism. The insights soma offered into human consciousness may have been what triggered the ancient warriors' turning inward, eventually leading to the meditation and yoga practices still widely used today. Soma's hidden history would seem to suggest that warriors and mystics share a talent for transcendence, that courage in battle and peace of mind may share the same deep source.