Soma has to be differentiated from SurA (physically intoxiating alcohol ) made from grapes or grains). Soma is a CONCEPTUAL beverage of Gods , which is described as Truth (Sathyam), Auspiciousness( Sri:) , light /radiance (Jyothi:) . SurA in contrast is untruth (anrutham), misery (Paapmaa) and darkness ( tama:). SomA leads to Jn~Anam (enlightenment ) and Anandham ( bliss):
"sathyam vai SrI: JyOthi: SOma: anrutha paapmA tama: SuraithE " --Satapatha BrahmaNam: VI.1.3.10
SomA is not produced by crushing and filtering a Creeper with the name of SomA. The creeeper is also a conceptual creeper , the juice of which is presented in a RITUALISTIC manner in Soma Yaagams .
The Soma PavamAna sections (Rg &Saama Vedams) deals exclusively with the conceptual effusion , filtration and purification of the Soma rasam from the mythical Soma creeper.
GeethAchAryan states in GitA that He is SomA among medicinal herbs . By that He means that all the medicinal herbs owe their curative powers to the POWER OF SomA present in them. All the medicinal herbs on this earth are recognized as the gift of SomA , which is not cultivable by Humans.
SomA is offered to Indra in Soma Yaagam , since it is considered as his favorite drink. At a metaphysical level , IndrA is the Atman and the SomA is the spiritual love and affection that flows from the Supreme Lord to fill the inner conscience of the man with Jn~Anam and Aanandham.
There are Seven Paaka Yaj~nams , Seven Havir Yaj~nams and Seven SOMA YAJ~NAMS. Here , " Soma rasam (juice)" is squeezed and offered unto the fire for different DevathAs , whose antharyAni is Sriman NaarAyaNan. These seven Soma Yaj~nams are: AgnishtOmam , AthyagnishtOmam,Ukthyam , ShOdasee , VaajabhEyam , AthirAthram and AbdhOryAmam .
Some of them take many days to complete with the help of four Ritvikhs ( HothA , adhvaryu , UdhgAthru and BrahmmA ).HothA is for recitation of Rg Veda manthrams , UdhgAthru is for the singing of Saama Vedam ; Adhvaryau priests are for performing Homams. BrahmA class of priests are for supervision so that every thing is done according to saasthrAs.
Soma Yaagams are the loftiest of the Yaj~nams.