„Amritam or amritam literally means that which is without death. It denotes the state of immortality as well a drink which is sweet in taste and makes one immortal. In concept, it is similar to the ambrosia of the Greeks. Hindu texts describe amritam as an elixir consumed by gods which made them immortal. According to legends four drops of the nectar fell upon earth at Ujjain, Prayag, Hardwar and Nasik and the four are pilgrim places.
Amritam is an antidote to death. He who drinks it becomes immortal. As a drink it is no more available because whatever drink that was churned out of the oceans by the gods and demons at the beginning of creation was consumed to the last drop. If any of it is still left, it will remain hidden until the end of creation because if the demons gain hold of it there will be chaos. However, even though amritam is not available in a drink form, one can still become immortal by attaining liberation or mukti.
The precursor to the idea of amritam may be the Soma juice of the Vedic times. The Soma juice is associated with the Soma sacrifices, dream state and the Moon. Presently we do not know how the Vedic people extracted the Soma juice. However, we have strong indications to believe that it was an intoxicant used in the rituals by the Vedic priests to enter into a state of reveries and communicate with gods and ancestors.
Death was the most common sight in the ancient world. The lifespan of people was very short. Many children died for one reason or the other before they reached adolescence. For the common people death was the most visible and frightening aspect of our existence. Therefore they longed for immortality, an escape from the death and the suffering it causes. Ideas such as amritam or the existence of immortal gods who could battle death gave them hope and solace.
Over a period of time the word amritam assumed many connotations. The state of immortality arising from amritam is called amritatvam. It is also used as a noun and adjective to describe the quality of sweetness and kindness. Amritabhavam is the pleasant state of mind of the highest gods. On the downside, it is also used to denote liquor (sura). According to the Puranas both were produced out of the ocean. One the gods obtained and the other was gifted to the demons.
Rains are often referred to as amrita-dhara or amrita-varsha as they renew life upon earth and help the seeds sprout and grow into plants. A kind heart is often referred to as amrita-hridayam and a hand that feeds the hungry and the destitute is called amrita-hastam. There are also some place names associated with it. There is a waterfall in Orissa near Manendragarh which is called amritadhara. Amritasar, where the golden temple is located, is a important pilgrim center of the Sikhs.“
„Bodhicitta: The Nectar of Immortality
In Sanskrit, the word amrita means “immortality.” In traditional Indian mythology, amrita is the nectar or “sweet dew” of the gods that grants immortal life.
Within Buddhism amrita appears in different contexts: it might be water or food that is blessed through the act of chanting, …The great Tibetan yogi, Milarepa called the precepts or samaya “the amrita (nectar) of abundant nourishment,” and there is the “Ocean of Amrita” a teaching by Padmasambhava, as well as a story about the Healing Buddha appearing before Padmasambhava to give him a cup of amrita that would prolong his life.
We can view both the idea of immortality and amrita as metaphors. The latter, the nectar, representing spiritual nourishment. Therefore, anything that helps sustain or nurture wayfarers is amrita, sweet dew.“