Paying the Meditation Tithe: Soma for the Gods

Why does mantra meditation feel so great at first and later on destroy the people who practice it? Why do people keep doing it even though it hurts them? The allegory at the bottom is my attempted answer.

Energy, or life force, is what the gods and gurus siphon off when people “bow down” (through hymns, chants, mantras, or the physical act of bending before their pictures or persons). The act of bowing gives them psychic permission to have power over a person.

India’s scripture Rig Veda names the energy these entities seek “Soma.” According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it’s what the Greek myths meant by “ambrosia” and “nectar of the gods.” Soma is food for the gods. Maharishi said it is a half physical/half ethereal substance generated in the body in meditation. Advanced meditators learn how to direct more of their soma to the gods through chants and hymns.

“Flow, Soma, for Indra to drink,” goes one of the lines in the 9th Mandala of Rig Veda. This is the scripture advanced TMers are instructed to read immediately following every meditation. The line is repeated in various ways throughout the entire hymn. Indra is king of the gods, and our Soma , in their twisted thinking, “belongs” to them.

Here is my allegory, describing how Transcendental Meditation turns from a blessing to a curse as you advance in the teachings. In the story, “money” is meant to be taken more than just literally. I use it as a symbol of the life force, the Soma energy, that meditators must pay more of over time. It is the tithe that binds.

Suppose you want to go visit the ocean, only you know of no road that goes there. One day you find one. It’s owned by a man who tells you you’re free to use his road anytime you like. He seems like a real nice fellow. After you use his road a few times, though, you learn he’s been stealing a dollar from your pocket every time you pass by. You don’t mention this, as it seems a small price to pay for the use of the road. Or maybe you do mention it, and he tells you that’s his toll-road charge. He took it without saying for your own good, because if you knew you had to pay you might have backed out of your first excursion and never would have had that wonderful experience. Now that you’ve been there, he’s sure you won’t mind paying the dollar. This explanation seems a little off, but you buy it. After all, what really matters is the great time you’re having at the beach.

After a while, the man announces he’s raising the toll. Now it will cost you five dollars every time you pass. You go to the beach every weekend, and it’s great, but the price for using the toll-road keeps getting higher. It’s very expensive now, hundreds of dollars a week. You inquire again if there are other roads that will take you to the sea, free ones maybe, but the man and your friends who use the road tell you this route is the only one .

So you keep going there and paying. But after a while, the beach isn’t such fun anymore. You’ve taken a second job to support the toll-road, and by the time you get to the sea you have no energy left for anything but a nap. You only go into the water on rare occasions. While you’re sleeping on the beach, goons who work for the toll guy patrol the premises, picking the pockets of all the sleeping sunbathers. You hear rumors among the crowd that someone is robbing people, but you don’t believe it. True, you’re missing some money, but you’re sure you left it at home and only thought you had it with you.

The fact that this starts happening every weekend doesn’t disturb you. You’ve been so spacey and foggy-headed lately, that you can’t expect yourself to remember if you had your money when you got to the beach or not. All that matters is the sun and the sand feel so good. You’re so tired, and they are so soothing. You’ve forgotten about boating and swimming, picnicking and flying kites in the wind, all the things you used to enjoy in the early days when you would come to the oceanside, back when it was practically free. All that matters now is how good it feels to get to the beach and fall asleep. Yours cares dissolve away. You don’t think you could live without it.

One day you wake up from a beach nap to see a couple of people flying kites on the sand, in between all the snoring bodies. A couple more people are playing in the surf. You call out and ask them, where do they get so much energy? They yell back that they’ve found a free road that takes them to the beach and they don’t have to work to pay the toll-guy anymore, so they aren’t so tired. In fact, coming to the ocean energizes them now, the way it used to do back when the toll-road only cost a dollar or two.

You say, that’s impossible. Everyone knows this toll-road is the only route to the beach. No, say the others, the toll-guy lied to us. This free road has been there all along. It’s even older than the toll-road. In fact, it’s not even the only free road that will take you here. There are plenty of them. They just take a little work to find, and then you’re on your way.

You hear this, and you start to get mad. Who are these guys, coming in here telling you nonsense like that, and saying bad things about the toll-guy? If it weren’t for him and his generosity, letting you use the toll-road, your life would be empty. You never would have found the beach. You are eternally indebted to the toll-road guy for that.

You wonder why these kite-flyers and swimmers are lying, telling you all the money you’ve spent on the toll-road all these years was a waste. You simply can’t accept that. It would mean you’ve been a fool, and you won’t let anyone make you look like one. No, they must be lying. They’re just here to make trouble. You lay back down in the sand, tune out everything you just heard, and fall back into the welcome numbness of sleep.

Bronte Baxter

© Bronte Baxter 2008


  1. PenName said,

    April 29, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Okay — let me throw out a challenge.

    “Soma” being your life energy.

    What happens to your “Soma” when you “imaginate” or create via focused thought and visualization a “positive” outcome — as you have described in other parts of your blog?

    Do you think that perhaps it is this same energy which powers the manifestation of those results that you receive through such practice?

    So let’s say you used your soma to imaginate a more harmonious work environment with less quarreling among co-workers —- good and selfless goal, right? You think this is fine and good, but what if your liver needed that “soma” or life energy that day in order to repair itself of detoxify some bad stuff you ate last night, and now is running behind?

    Again — I approach this stuff very humbly, because who am I to feel I can and should manage my life energy better than my internal life energy knows how to on its own. Do I have to think or imaginate in order for my liver or kidneys to do the hundreds of miraculous things that they do every day? If I do go in and decide I will divert some of this energy to what I feel is a good goal — I just feel this may be hubris that will lead to a fall.

    Better to find the key to protect, strengthen and renew that energy so that there is always some at my body’s disposal. And only when I know I can do that, and truly understand — not guess or imagine or believe about what’s happening on higher dimensions, would I dare go play around there, even in the most positive way.

  2. April 30, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Our internal life energy expresses in a body that is limited. The body is confined by the limits of this frequency dimension. If you go to “imaginate” (create through focused intention) just using your everyday energy, the life force stored in your body, I imagine you could deplete your body, as you suggest. But there’s a more divine way to create through mind: by using the energy of the Source itself. This permeates the body but is not bound by it. It is, in fact, the force that can heal the body, and it is unlimited.

    Because it’s unlimited, if you “create reality” from there, you won’t deplete the body. You actually energize it. It’s thinking in a limited way to think we have to choose between a healthy liver and a good job. There is no scarcity in the Infinite. That’s the value of creating from there.

    For a further discussion of this, please see the comments at the bottom of the “Homegrown or Implanted?” blog entry.

    Bronte Baxter

  3. January 7, 2013 at 1:33 am

    […] Such bells were also used in group meditation by an assigned “timer” or “bell ringer” to announce time to change from the mental practice of TM (…aingnamah… aingnamah… aingnamah… aingnamah..), to next think the TM-Sidhi Program (…friendliness.. compassion… happiness.. strength of an elephant…), tingaling to switch to deemed-flying (…relationship of body and akasha, pause, lightness of cotton fiber… repeat…), tingaling again to lie down and rest while listening to an oral reading about soma flowing through and around Hindu gods, from a translation of the Rig Veda’s 9th mandala. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: