The Shiva – Parvati cannabis myth

Shiva is the oldest known godhead figure in the world. Devotees of Shiva sometimes meditate by drinking a milk and cannabis mixture prepared by priests (Bhang). Sadhus and other devotees endlessly walk around India searching for the spiritual oneness with Shiva. These Sadhus also smoke ‘Charas’ and ‘ganja’ from chillums.

It is widely accepted amongst Hindus that Shiva takes Bhang. What’s disputed is the consumption of it by ordinary mortals. Most Hindus do not know their ancestors used to take cannabis whenever they saw fit. Consumption of Bhang wasn’t always reserved for the Gods and holy days. In fact, not so long ago it was considered an insult to refuse Bhang. I believe this change occurred no earlier than 1900, after the Indian Hemp Commission’s report was released in the late 1800s.

Bhang is also considered a sister of the Mother Ganges (a holy river and a Goddess in India). There are many songs which start off: “Gang Bhang Dono Bhen Hai, Rehti Shivji Ki Sang. Charan Karne KI Gang Hai, Bhajan Karne Ki Bhang.” Roughly translated this means the Ganges and Bhang (cannabis) are sisters and both live in Shiva’s head. The water from the Ganges is poured over a Shivalingam (a form of Shiva in the guise of a phallus shaped black stone) at a Temple and Bhang is consumed by the devotee so they can mediate, be better able to sing hymns, achieve a blissful state and be like Shiva.
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