By Swami Harshananda
Surāpāna literally means ‘consuming intoxicating drinks’.
Scriptures have always condemned surāpāna or madyapāna, consuming of intoxicating drinks as mahāpātaka as a grave sin. Surā is the intoxicating drink prepared out of flour. Other drinks like the ones prepared out of molasses or madhuka flowers were permitted to be taken by the kṣattriyas and vaiśyas. But, the brāhmaṇas were strictly forbidden from consuming all types of intoxicants. It is interesting to note that surā was one of the oblations made in the Sautrāmaṇi sacrifice.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore