By – Sathyakāmā Jabala
In folk tradition, Shiva is often associated with cannabis, Sadhus imitates him by smoking weed. Swami Dayanand Saraswati was also addicted to cannabis. Vedas lists Bhanga (Cannabis) among top five best herbs on the earth,
Atharva Veda 11.6.15 “Of five broad groups of herbs from which the damn is most powerful, we, speak Dnrbha, Bhanga-Hemp, barley and Saha. Let them save us from disease.” Tr. Acharya Vaidyanath Shastri (Arya Samaj)
The Sanskrit word mentioned in above verse is Bhanga/Bhaga which means hemp (cannabis).
Atharva Veda 2.4.5 “May this Jangida and Shana, the cannabis (probably as it is now known) save us from rheumatism. One of them, the Jangida is brought from the forest and another, the Shana is drawn out from various herbaceous saps.” Tr. Acharya Vaidyanath Shastri (Arya Samaj)
The Sanskrit word mentioned is Shana, which means Cannabis. In the Puranas, Cannabis is also known as Vijaya, following verse shows that Bhairava (form of Shiva) accepted it,
Brahmanda Purana Lalita Mahatmya 9.73 “Then the gem named Kaustubha came up. Janardhana took it. Thereafter, the great medicinal herb named Vijaya (Hemp), that caused intoxication through the smell of its leaves, was born. Bhairava accepted it.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Following verse is about using cannabis in oblation,
Agni Purana 95.32-38 “…The oblation should be separately performed with the substances, known as the Vijaya (cannabis sativa), and Lakshmana, Vala (small cardamoms), Gaduchi…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
This is the end of “Intoxicant consumption in Hinduism” series. For any suggestions, leave a comment.