Whenever I think of Mahadev Shiva, I imagine him as an eternal power, an in-charge who takes care of people on earth and a problem solver when a conflict arises between gods.
Shiva is considered as one of the supreme forms of gods who can save nearly everything from falling apart. Being regarded as a ‘destroyer’ symbolizes his massive power, he is one of the three in ‘Trimurti’. I see him as a yogi who lives a simple life in mount Kailash very well known as Kailash Parvat. He is called by several names like Neelkanth, Gangadhar, Aghod, Gauri Nath, Rudra, and thousands more. He dislikes greed, arrogance, and hypocrisy. He is an undemanding God that anybody around this globe can please him just by chanting his name with a pure heart and can make Shiva answer his/her prayers. He is the complex amalgamation of all the qualities:
. He is ascetic as well as a family person.
. Beautiful but terrifying as well.
. He is the dancer (Natraj) but can be absolutely still.
. God worships him, but demons & negative energies are also devoted to him.
. He lives in a green forest but meditates in burial ground & burning bodies.
According to legends, it was Goddess Parvati who first recommended bhang (a narcotic drink made with the leaves of the female cannabis plant) to Lord Shiva after he sucked up the poison that came up along with the nectar, as gods churned the primordial ocean (the amrit manthan of our myths). The poison turned Shiva’s throat blue, earning him the name Neelkanth, and the pain killer turned the god into a cross-generational poster boy for the narcotic. His image today is the reigning motif of the Goa trance scene.
In Hinduism, bhang is associated with Lord Shiva, a popular deity who is often regarded as the religion’s supreme god. Some passages in ancient Hindu scriptures describe a plant with spiritual properties that Shiva discovered and brought down from the heavens for humans to consume. Shiva is often depicted with a chillum, or smoking pipe.
It’s also known for selling bhang—cannabis leaves that are crushed, mixed into drinks and sweets, and often served during Hindu holidays like Holi, the celebration of color and spring. During the festival, which falls on Mar. 17 this year, crowds gather in Indian cities to throw colored powder and water on friends and strangers, leaving the streets tie-dyed and the air hazy with ribbons of rainbow dust. In a country where possessing and selling cannabis is generally prohibited, and where levels of cannabis use are low relative to other countries, it’s one day of the year when consuming marijuana is socially acceptable.
Some people mislead Lord Shiva by picturizing him as smoking pot and consuming a Bhang (cannabis). I entirely agree by people associating Shiva with a Bhang, but the question is why he is related to it??? Cannabis is one of the most sacred plants, and it is written in the fourth Veda that it relieves anxiety. Thus, being a sacred plant, it is used as a spiritual and religious plant.
On the occasion of Maha Shivratri, which marks the day Lord Shiva saved the universe from darkness and married Goddess Parvati, cannabis takes the mandate spotlight as devotees flock at Pashupati, one of Nepal’s holiest Hindu temples, in the capital city of Kathmandu– people believe that it brings them closer to Lord Shiva.
When India signed a UN drug treaty in 1961, the terms gave the country 25 years to rein in cannabis use while mandating crackdowns on harder drugs like opium in the meantime. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi prohibited marijuana in 1985, though officials made an exception for bhang—“as it is not made from cannabis resin or from flowering tops.” Indian state governments now regulate the production and distribution of the substance, authorizing certain vendors, most famously the Bhang Shop in Jaisalmer, to sell their products on a small scale. But it isn’t difficult to find unauthorized bhang vendors in many cities and villages, especially around Holi and Maha Shivaratri, a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva.
If you are a true Lord Shiva disciple, and want him to show you the right path, then admire & follow his positivism as well. Then you will see, he will do immeasurably more than what you had wanted or imagined. And no matter how hard the time gets, always look up to him with pure intentions, and he will do the rest. Lastly, I would request you to be a ‘Shivaholic’ not an ‘Alcoholic’.