Wine in vedic litteratur

History of wine

In Vedism but also in Ayurveda, Sura (wine) has been worshiped by gods and honored by priests. In vedic rites, wine is used for the success of the sacrifice (the sautramani sacrifice_. It is an excellent solace to the gods who call it nectar and to the forefathers who call it ‘svadha’. Wine is the splendid brilliance of the Asvin twin gods. It is the power of Sarasvati, the prowess of Indra. In the vedic litteratur, wine is know as Soma, a sacred drink that only Gods and some can digest.

The Proper Set up for Drinking Wine (from Charaka Samhita) :

« The drinker should have previously processed his body (with external as well as internal procedures) and should be pure.
He should be perfumed, wearing clean apparel scented strongly according to the season.
He should be wearing various attractive garlands, gems and ornaments.
He should have worshiped the gods and brahmanas and have touched good auspicious things.
Then he should sit or recline comfortably on a bed or seat which is well covered with a bed sheet and which has a pillow, flowers and filled with fragrance of incense.
Then he should drink wine from vessels of gold, silver, precious stones or other clean and well-made vessels.
He should be attended by favorite ladies who are proud of their beauty and youthfulness.
After having worshiped the gods, chanted the blessing hymns and pouring the wine mixed with water in the ground meant for other needy beings. »

Charaka Samhita, Volume II, Edited by Gabriel Van Loon

Wine is called enjoyable ‘sura’ (wine) by the gods, demons, gandharvas, yaksas, raksasas and human beings. It is why wine must be used very carefully by humans.