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Cannabis in Hinduism vs. Shaivism: Exploring Spiritual and Cultural Perspectives


Hindu Cannabis Ceremony 3/1/24

From ancient rituals to modern debates, the role of cannabis in religious and spiritual practices of the Indian subcontinent is as rich and intricate as the tapestries of the faiths that incorporate it. Time-honored traditions in Hinduism and Shaivism, in particular, have both embraced and, at times, shunned the use of cannabis, giving rise to a profound discourse on its place in cultural and spiritual life. In this exploration, we venture into the spiritual and historical landscapes where the plant has taken root, seeking to understand its role in promoting enlightenment and igniting controversies.



Cannabis in Hinduism: Ritualistic Use and Symbolism

Cannabis, known as 'bhang' in the Hindu tradition, holds a revered place in religious ceremonies and festivals. It is an integral part of the Maha Shivaratri celebrations, where devotees prepare and consume bhang as a sacrament to Lord Shiva. Beyond this grand festival, bhang is also utilized in various pujas (worship rituals) as an offering to the gods.


The plant is seen as an earthly manifestation of the divine and is expressed through a complex web of symbolism. In some scriptures, cannabis is referred to as the favorite herb of Lord Shiva, also known as the 'Lord of Bhang.' This association has led to the widespread belief that cannabis can provide a direct communion with the deity and, by extension, the cosmic energy he embodies.


Historical Context and Scriptures

The Vedas, ancient Hindu texts, are believed to contain references to cannabis, although it is widely contested due to the cryptic nature of the plant's mention. Texts such as the Atharva Veda suggest the use of a plant called 'Soma', often equated with cannabis, in sacred rituals which aimed to unite the participants with deities and realize the ultimate truth of existence.


However, the most apparent allusions to cannabis come from post-Vedic literature, particularly the 'Bhagavad Gita' and 'Puranas.' In these texts, bhang is described as a boon from Heaven and a key to unlocking the expansive nature of one's spiritual path.



Cannabis in Shaivism Connection to Lord Shiva and Naga Sadhus

Shaivism, a Hindu sect, reveres Shiva as the supreme deity and the primary guru. The prominent use of cannabis in Shaivite practice stems from the story of the churning of the ocean, known as the 'Samudra Manthan'. According to legend, the gods and demons extracted the 'nectar of immortality' or 'amrita' in their quest for eternal life. When Lord Shiva consumed the poison that emerged first, it is said that he quelled its effects by ingesting bhang, thus embodying the herb's dual nature as both a potential harm and a path to transcendence.


During the Maha Shivaratri festival and in the daily lives of some Shaivite ascetics known as 'Naga Sadhus', cannabis is imbibed as a tool for meditation and to foster a state of detachment from the material world, which are pivotal in their ascetic practices.


Practices and Rituals

The use of cannabis in the sacred text 'Shiva Parana' also alludes to its ritualistic consumption by Shiva's followers for enlightenment and to overcome worldly attachments. In Shaivite practices, this consumption is not about indulgence but about harnessing the herb's potential to aid in pursuing spiritual goals centered on the dissolution of the ego and union with the divine.



Photography by: Kens Imagery


A Ceremonial Journey: Integrating Ancient Rituals into Modern Practice

In exploring ancient traditions, we participated in a ceremony that embodied Hinduism and Shaivism's approach to cannabis. The ritual use of bhang marked the beginning of our journey, establishing a sacred space for our intentions and prayers. Crafted by Nydia GanjaClergy, it was likened to Cacao, offering a grounding and warm sensation. We then chanted the mala mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya,' a potent ode to Lord Shiva, seeking his blessings for liberation and grace. This was followed by Kundalini Har practice, stirring the dormant spiritual energy within and guiding it through the chakras to attain heightened awareness.


During the ceremony, we shared cannabis smoke, fostering communal reflection on our gained insights. This sharing deepened our collective experience, mirroring the communal nature of ancient rituals.


This contemporary adaptation of age-old practices aimed to pay homage to their origins and delve into the profound impact of incorporating these rituals into modern spiritual endeavors. Through this voyage, we directly witnessed the transformative potential of cannabis when approached with intention, respect, and reverence, resonating with the sacred bond humanity has shared with this plant for centuries.


Participants departed feeling harmonized and blissful, an effect lasting well beyond 36 hours. All offerings were meticulously dosed, using only premium sacraments from High Prophecy throughout the gathering.


In Conclusion, We Hold Gratitude for...

We are deeply thankful for all the attendees who joined us to experience, learn, and find inspiration. Special gratitude goes to our partners: High How Can We Help You? for their exceptional accessories and educational alignment, Maria Lapin from CannaConsultYou? LLC for the custom organic CBD-infused edibles, High Prophecy for their consistently high-quality sacraments, and Lisa J Hilary for the unique tea blends. We also have our phenomenal photographer Kendalyn from KensImagery to thank for her presence and keen eye. Our heartfelt appreciation extends to the dedicated assistants who supported us during the event and to the remarkable women, unnamed due to stigma, who played pivotal roles. To each of you, your contributions are invaluable, and we are truly grateful for your efforts in our growth and collaboration.


 

Nydia’s knowledge of sacred Cannabis medicine and commitment to helping clients recommit themselves and be accountable for their growth makes her one of a kind in her consultation services.


Let us light the path for others to follow by investing in thoughtful conversations on proper education before partaking or consuming – which is only offered through professionals like Nydia. If you want to learn even more, schedule a consultation today.


You will develop a more profound respect for yourself and sacred plant medicines and receive advice tailored directly to you. Education is key so go forth knowing we have the powerful gift of knowledge. Now is the time to use it.


Check out Nydia's Conscious Consumption Workbook to begin developing a synergistic relationship with the Cannabis plant, or schedule a Discovery call HERE today.

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This was such an amazing ceremony. I am looking forward to what the rest of the year has to offer.

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