God of Cannabis: How Lord Shiva Inspires Cannabis Culture in India and Beyond
Cannabis has a long and complex history in many cultures around the world. One of the most fascinating examples of cannabis and religion is the relationship between Lord Shiva, one of the three major gods in Hinduism, and the sacred plant.
Who Is Lord Shiva?
Lord Shiva is known as the god of destruction and transformation, as well as the patron of yoga, meditation, and the arts. He is part of the Hindu trinity, along with Brahma, the god of creation, and Vishnu, the god of preservation. Shiva is often depicted with long, knotted hair or a top knot bun, a third eye on his forehead, a snake around his neck, a trident in his hand, and a crescent moon on his head. He is also associated with the sacred river Ganges, which flows from his hair.
Shiva is revered by millions of Hindus who worship him in various forms and festivals. One of the most popular festivals dedicated to Shiva is Maha Shivaratri, or “The Great Night of Shiva”, which falls on the 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (February or March). On this night, devotees fast, chant, pray, and offer flowers, fruits, milk, and cannabis to Shiva.
Why Does Shiva Love Cannabis?
Lord Shiva is one of the most revered deities in Hinduism, and he is known for his many attributes and aspects. One of them is his association with cannabis, which he is often depicted as smoking from a chillum, a clay pipe. There are many stories that explain why Lord Shiva smokes weed, and what its significance of it is.
Lord Shiva chillum story:
One of the most popular stories is related to the Samudra Manthan, or the churning of the ocean, which was done by the gods and the demons to obtain the nectar of immortality. During this process, a deadly poison called Halahal emerged from the ocean, which threatened to destroy all life. Lord Shiva, out of compassion, swallowed the poison to save the world, but it caused his throat to turn blue and burn intensely. To soothe the pain, he was offered bhang (leaves and seeds of cannabis). Much of the medicinal tradition about grass comes from stories where Lord Shiva uses the plant to treat an ailment. Traditionally Bhang has been associated with Shiva and his worship, which is why he is often called the “Lord of Bhang”.
Another story is that Shiva retired to the mountains after the death of his wife Sati. He was grief-stricken and isolated himself from the world. He sat in meditation for a long time, oblivious to his surroundings. The gods became worried about him and sent Parvati, the reincarnation of Sati, to lure him out of his trance. Parvati disguised herself as a tribal woman and offered him some food. Lord Shiva accepted it and found it delicious. He asked her what it was, and she revealed that it was cannabis. He was surprised and pleased by its effects and opened his eyes to see Parvati’s true form, falling in love with her and later marrying her.
A third story is that Lord Shiva smokes weed to control his anger and maintain his balance. He is known as the destroyer of ignorance and evil, but also as the destroyer of worlds when he performs his cosmic dance of Tandava at the end of each cycle of creation. His anger can be provoked by the wickedness and injustice in the world, and he can unleash his wrath upon anyone who offends him or his devotees. To calm himself down and keep his emotions in check, he smokes cannabis from his chillum, which helps him relax and meditate.
These stories show that Lord Shiva smokes weed for various reasons: to heal himself, to enjoy himself, and to regulate himself. They also show that cannabis is a sacred plant in Hinduism and that it has medicinal, recreational, and spiritual benefits. However, they also warn that cannabis should be used with moderation and respect, and not as an escape or an addiction. Only Lord Shiva can handle its full power, and he is the only one who can smoke it without any harm.
How Do People Use Cannabis to Honor Shiva?
Cannabis is considered a prasad, or a blessed offering, to Shiva. Many Hindus believe that consuming cannabis can help them communicate with Shiva, attain spiritual insights, and cleanse their sins. Some also believe that cannabis can cure various ailments, enhance creativity, and promote social harmony.
There are different ways that people use cannabis to honor Shiva. One of them is smoking it in a chillum, a conical clay pipe that is often shared among sadhus (holy men) and devotees. Another way is drinking bhang, a traditional beverage made from cannabis leaves, milk, sugar, spices, and nuts. Bhang is especially popular during Holi, the festival of colors when people drink it to celebrate joy and love.
Cannabis is also used in rituals and ceremonies dedicated to Shiva. For example, some people smear cannabis paste on Shiva’s lingam (a symbol of his energy) or offer cannabis leaves and flowers to his idols or images. Some also chant mantras or sing songs that praise Shiva and his association with cannabis.
What Is the Status of Cannabis in India Today?
Cannabis has been a part of Indian culture for thousands of years, but its legal status has changed over time. In 1985, India passed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), which banned the production, possession, sale, and consumption of cannabis resin (hashish) and flowers (ganja), but allowed the use of cannabis leaves (bhang). This law was influenced by international pressure from countries like the United States that wanted to curb drug trafficking.
However, the enforcement of this law has been uneven and inconsistent across India. In some states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Bihar, cannabis cultivation is tolerated or even encouraged for religious, medicinal, or industrial purposes. In other states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, cannabis consumption is common and accepted during festivals like Holi and Maha Shivaratri. In some states like Kerala, Karnataka, and Delhi, cannabis possession can lead to harsh penalties or imprisonment.
How Lord Shiva Inspires Cannabis Culture
Lord Shiva is one of the most revered and complex deities in Hinduism. He is often depicted with long, knotted hair or a top knot bun, smoking marijuana, or drinking bhang, a fermented cannabis-infused beverage. According to legend, Shiva after a heated argument with his family fell asleep under a cannabis plant and then woke up feeling cool and peaceful. He discovered the rejuvenating properties of cannabis and adopted it as his favorite food. He also shared it with his followers, who became known as sadhus or holy men.
Cannabis has been used in India for thousands of years, both for medicinal and spiritual purposes. It is mentioned in ancient texts such as the Vedas and the Atharva Veda, where it is called Vijaya, meaning victory. It is also associated with soma, a mysterious plant that was consumed by the gods and priests in ritual ceremonies. Some scholars believe that soma was actually cannabis or a mixture of cannabis and other psychoactive plants.
Cannabis is considered a sacred plant in Hinduism, as it is believed to be a gift from Lord Shiva to humanity. It is used to honor him on special occasions, such as Shivaratri, the night of Shiva, when devotees fast, prays, chant, and consume cannabis to attain his blessings. Cannabis is also used to enhance meditation, yoga, and other spiritual practices, as it is said to open the third eye, the seat of intuition and wisdom. Cannabis can also help to overcome ego, attachment, and ignorance, which are the sources of suffering in Hindu philosophy.
However, cannabis use in Hinduism is not without restrictions or responsibilities. It is not meant to be abused or used for recreational purposes. It is only permitted for those who have renounced worldly pleasures and dedicated their lives to spiritual pursuits. It is also expected that those who use cannabis do so with respect, gratitude, and moderation. Cannabis is not a shortcut to enlightenment, but a tool to aid the seeker on their path.
Cannabis culture today owes a lot to Lord Shiva and his followers, who have preserved and propagated the ancient knowledge and traditions of this sacred plant. Many cannabis enthusiasts admire and emulate Shiva’s lifestyle and values, such as simplicity, detachment, creativity, and compassion. Some even regard him as the patron saint of cannabis and invoke his name before lighting up. Whether one believes in Shiva or not, there is no doubt that he is a powerful symbol and inspiration for cannabis lovers around the world.
Shiva is one of the most revered and complex deities in Hinduism. He is known as the destroyer, the ascetic, the lord of animals, the patron of yoga and meditation, and the master of dance. He is also associated with various substances that alter consciousness, such as cannabis, bhang, and soma.
The question of whether Shiva drinks alcohol or not has been debated by scholars and devotees for centuries. There is no definitive answer, as different sources present different views on this topic. However, some general trends can be observed.
In the earliest Hindu scriptures, known as the Vedas, Shiva is not mentioned by name, but he is identified with Rudra, a fierce and powerful god who controls storms, diseases, and death. Rudra is also associated with soma, a mysterious plant that was used to prepare a sacred drink that induced ecstasy and visions. Soma was considered to be the elixir of life and the source of divine inspiration. However, soma was not an alcoholic drink, but rather a psychoactive substance that stimulated the mind and spirit.
In the later Hindu scriptures, known as the Puranas, Shiva is depicted as a more benevolent and compassionate god who protects his devotees from evil and grants them boons. He is also portrayed as a lover of Parvati, his consort, and a father of Ganesha and Kartikeya, his sons. In these texts, Shiva is not described as consuming soma or any other intoxicating drink. Instead, he is shown as drinking the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean of milk, an event that threatened to destroy the world. Shiva swallowed the poison to save creation, but Parvati held his throat to prevent it from reaching his stomach. This turned his throat blue, earning him the name Neelakantha (the blue-throated one).
In some post-Puranic texts, such as the Tantras and the Agamas, Shiva is depicted as a more radical and unconventional god who transcends all moral and social norms. He is also seen as a teacher of esoteric doctrines and practices that aim to liberate the soul from ignorance and bondage. In these texts, Shiva not only consumes intoxicating drinks but also smokes marijuana and eats meat. He does so to demonstrate his detachment from worldly pleasures and his mastery over his senses. He also does so to challenge the conventional notions of purity and pollution that govern Hindu society. He teaches his followers that nothing is inherently good or evil, but rather depends on one’s intention and awareness.
Therefore, it can be said that Shiva’s relationship with alcohol varies according to different sources and contexts. Some texts suggest that he drinks alcohol to express his freedom and power, while others imply that he abstains from it to show his wisdom and grace. Ultimately, Shiva’s drinking or not drinking alcohol is not a matter of morality or piety, but rather a reflection of his multifaceted and mysterious nature.
This is a question that has been debated by scholars and devotees of Hinduism for centuries. There is no definitive answer to this question, as different sources and traditions may have different views on the diet and lifestyle of Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism.
Some sources suggest that Shiva is a vegetarian, as he is often associated with asceticism, meditation, yoga, and non-violence. He is also said to be fond of milk, butter, and fruits, which are offered to him in rituals and worship. Some of his epithets, such as Pashupati (lord of animals) and Rudra (the fierce one), imply that he is compassionate and protective of all living beings and that he does not harm or consume them.
Other sources suggest that Shiva is a meat eater, as he is often depicted as a hunter, a warrior, and a destroyer. He is also said to be fond of intoxicants, such as bhang (cannabis) and soma (a ritual drink), which are offered to him in rituals and worship. Some of his epithets, such as Bhairava (the terrible one) and Kala (the lord of time and death), imply that he is fierce and destructive of all living beings and that he does not shy away from consuming them.
Ultimately, the question of whether Shiva eats meat or not may depend on one’s personal interpretation and understanding of Shiva’s nature and role in Hinduism. Some may see him as a benevolent and peaceful god who abstains from meat, while others may see him as a powerful and violent god who enjoys meat. Some may see him as both, or neither, or something beyond these categories. Shiva is a complex and multifaceted deity who transcends human limitations and expectations.
Lord Shiva is believed to consume bhang for various reasons according to Hindu mythology. Some of them are:
- Helps him to stay in a state of bliss and concentration during his meditation.
- Was offered to him to cool down his throat after he swallowed the deadly poison Halahal during the churning of the ocean.
- Is a gift from him to mankind as a natural medicine and a way to connect with the divine.
- Is related to his consort Parvati and his companion Ganga, who both reside on his head.
Bhang is thus a sacred drink that is associated with Shiva worship and is consumed by his devotees at festivals like Maha Shivratri.
Bhang Shiva is a term used in Hinduism to refer to the bow of Lord Shiva, one of the main deities in the Hindu pantheon. The bow is said to be made of a single piece of horn and decorated with gold and jewels. It is also known as Pinaka, Ajagava or Vijaya. According to Hindu mythology, Siva banam was used by Shiva to destroy the three cities of the Asuras, the evil beings who opposed the gods. The bow is also associated with Shiva’s consort Parvati, who once broke it while trying to string it. Siva banam is considered to be a symbol of Shiva’s power and authority.