Have You Ever Wondered Why Lord Shiva Is Associated with Weed? 

It all began during Samudra Manthan! 

Have You Ever Wondered Why Lord Shiva Is Associated with Weed? 
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Bam Bholenath, Bam Bholenath, har har Mahadev! 

Whenever we recall Mahadev aka Lord Shiva, the first picture in our heads is of Lord Shiva wearing a ragged animal skin, holding a Chillam and smoking pot.

We all know that cannabis has been used for millennia now. But the way Hindus respect and admire the plant, no group does. According to Hindu stories, cannabis is something divine as it is a Prasad from deity Lord Shiva. But have you ever wondered, where did this all come from? Why is Lord Shiva associated with cannabis?

Well, before talking about the association of Lord Shiva with Marijuana, let's see what the Vedic scriptures say about the cannabis.

Marijuana is among the five most sacred plants.

Marijuana is among the five most sacred plants.

Did you know that according to the fourth book of the Vedas, Atharva Veda, Cannabis is considered to be one of the five kingdoms of herb that relieve anxiety? Thus, being a sacred plant, it is used as a religious and spiritual element.

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It was during the Samudra Manthan when Lord Shiva first encountered Cannabis.

It was during the Samudra Manthan when Lord Shiva first encountered Cannabis.
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According to the legend of Samudra Manthan, some devas and rakshas shook the ocean to obtain Amrita. Due to the churning, a lethal poison names Halahala was released which was so powerful that it could destroy all the creation. 

To protect the creation, Lord Shiva consumed the poison and then...

To protect the creation, Lord Shiva consumed the poison and then...
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To protect the universe, Lord Shiva consumed the poison. This situation gave him the title of Neelkanth. Later, to cool Lord Shiva down, he was offered Bhang.

There is another legend that states how Lord Shiva began consuming cannabis.

There is another legend that states how Lord Shiva began consuming cannabis.
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According to the sources, once while Shiva was wandering in the field after a resentful debate with his family, he fell asleep under a leafy plant. After waking up, Lord Shiva felt hungry and so consumed the leaves of the cannabis plant. After consuming it, he realised that it is a refreshment. He then made it his favourite food and became the Lord of Bhang.   

Three types of Prasad made from Cannabis.

Three types of Prasad made from Cannabis.
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In India, cannabis aka Bhang usually is brewed into a drink. It is made from Marijuana leaves and flowers.  

Then comes Ganja, which is dried flower, stems and leaves of the cannabis plant. 

And finally comes Charas, which is prepared from the apex of a full blooming Cannabis flower.

Lord Shiva is described to consume cannabis as food.

Lord Shiva is described to consume cannabis as food.
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In the majority of the artwork describing Lord Shiva, he is often depicted smoking Ganja out of his chillum. Half-shut eyes indulged deep in meditation is said to be a noticeable effect of weed.  

Consuming weed is now considered as a part of the culture.

Consuming weed is now considered as a part of the culture.
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For its strong history with Lord Shiva, every year in February, Hindus from India and Nepal gather in Kathmandu for consuming marijuana. This is done on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, in which thousands of Hindus gather near the temple Pashupatinath, echoing the name of Lord Shiva. 

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