For centuries, Marijuana, in some form or the other, has been consumed in India. As per the Vedic scriptures, Marijuana (cannabis) is considered to be one of the five most sacred plants. It is also deemed to be a rich source of happiness, liberation, and compassion.
According to the Atharva Veda – The fourth book of the Vedas, ‘Cannabis’ is one of the ‘five kingdoms of herbs, which relieves anxiety’. Marijuana has medicinal properties and is taken from the Cannabis plant. Since time immemorial, it has been used in religious & spiritual rites.
There’s no denial in the fact that Lord Shiva was highly connected to weed. Let us find out the reason behind Lord Shiva’s consumption of Cannabis, Ganja, or Weed. There are two versions of stories attached to it.
First Version – Samudra Manthan
The other version of the Shiva and Bhang story is related to Samudra Manthan. During Samudra Manthan, the devas (Gods) and rakshas (Demons) churned the ocean together to obtain Amrita (nectar of immortality). However, one of the byproducts of this churning was the Vish (poison) named Halahala, known to be the most lethal poison in the Universe, the fumes of which were capable of killing both gods and demons. In order to protect everyone, Lord Shiva drank this venomous poison. He was later offered bhang to feel fresh.
Some legends even claim that Lord Shiva moved to Kailash Mountain via the Gosaikunda Lake area, post the Samudra Manthan episode. Shiva’s head was covered with “Bilva Patra”. So you see everything was being done to cool Shiva off.
Marijuana is supposed to be a coolant. It lowers the body’s metabolism and that brings the overall body temperature down. The same is the case with Marijuana (Bhang) and Datura. Bhang and Datura are closely associated with Shiva as well.
This is certainly the reason why Lord Shiva is not just associated with bhang but is truly known as the all-embracing Lord of Bhang or Ganja
Another version – Hungry Shiva
According to legend, once upon a time, Shiva had a heated argument with his family. He wandered off into a field, where he slept under a cannabis plant. When he woke up, he felt hungry and so consumed some of the cannabis. After consumption, Shiva felt an instant source of rejuvenation and refreshment. This, therefore, made him adapt to cannabis as his favorite extravagance.
If Shiva can get stoned, why can’t I?
In one of the events of Jaggi Vasudeva (Sadhguru), an attendee asked the same question ‘If Shiva can get stoned, why can’t I?’.
As humans, we consume things orally, including marijuana, which we smoke to enhance its effects and experience a state of intoxication. However, according to Sadhguru, Lord Shiva, despite being associated with states of heightened awareness, does not require external substances like marijuana to attain a heightened state.
Shiva does not rely on external substances because he himself embodies a substance. Just as marijuana is cultivated, Shiva has cultivated within himself a unique substance known as “alertness,” which allows him to experience heightened states without the need for external influences. As you delve further into this concept, you will gain a better understanding.
In Shiva’s case, his state of intoxication or being “stoned” is a result of his profound alertness. This heightened state of awareness enables him to experience various emotions, including a sense of euphoria. Sadhguru explains that when a person engages in an activity with great attentiveness, there is a certain intoxication or “Naasha” associated with it. This is similar to when people say things like, “There is a unique pleasure and intoxication in doing this activity.”
Consider it this way: individuals partake in various thrilling activities such as skydiving or mountaineering, which generate different forms of intoxication within them. For instance, when you are about to dive out of a plane, you are extremely alert, and this heightened awareness gives rise to a specific feeling, such as fear. In this scenario, you do not need to consume anything externally to experience fear; it is your heightened alertness about the activity that generates the feeling.
Now, you may question whether you can sit in one place and be so alert that you start feeling a sense of euphoria. If this is possible, then attaining such a state naturally through heightened awareness is acceptable, as it does not involve the use of external substances. By achieving this heightened state, you can gradually approach spirituality.
There is a huge difference between Lord Shiva getting stoned and a human being getting stoned. We partake in Marijuana to reach the next level of consciousness or more over another type of mind’s state but Lord Shiva is already on a superior level. Even without the consumption of any substance, he is at a high or on a higher consciousness level.