Friday, 2 January 2015

Aadi Shiva and Bhang

Aadi Shiva and Bhang

Cannabis (Bhang) has been associated with Hindus since time immortal. According to Vedas, in Satyuga, about 4 billion years back, Aadi Shiva described Cannabis (Bhang) as a sacred plant. It is one of the five sacred plants, which are the home of Guardians of life. It is regarded as a holy plant in India. 

Ayurveda has found many medical usages of this plant.

In the famous story of Churning of Sea by GODS and Devils (Dev & Asuras) and Halahala Vish (Doom Poison) which appeared due to the churning of ocean by Devas and Asuras (GODS and DEVILS), this plant played an important role. As the poison appeared, the life from the universe started vanishing. 

Shiva drinking poison that appeared due to the churning of ocean 

To save the universe, Aadi Shiva drank the poison. The poison was so strong that even Aadi Shiva became restless. His body heated up and he found no peace anywhere. Then he was treated with cannabis for a period of one month. He completely recovered from the deadly poison, with the treatment of cannabis, and that day is still celebrated as Shivaratri.
Parvati providing cannabis (Bhang) to Shiva

 He was treated for thirty days, and for those thirty days, GODS and Devils danced, and played music so Aadi Shiva may not feel lonely and troubled. The festival is still celebrated in Mandi (Himachal Pradesh India) for 30 days.  People dance (in turns) and fire is lit continuously, day and night, and they sleep in turns.

Shiva preparing bhang 

Cannabis is widely accepted in Hinduism since ages. Sadhus consume it for various religious ceremonies. Cannabis is a part of Tantra, undisputed part of Shaivaite Sadhus, consumed in various festivals. Not only sadhus, but even other people use in different usages.

 In Uttrakhand (India), the people use the seeds of cannabis (Crushed to powder) in various vegetables to make gravy.  Various other recipes are formed with these seeds.

In villages (India) people use it to relieve from pain of scorpion bites, as healer for mussel ache and muscle strain.

  Even it is used for bone fracture medicine. Cannabis is commonly used to get rid of some phobias and mantel illness.

Villagers in India live with cannabis and are used for much purpose.  Cannabis is a plant that even a child knows about its usages. It is so much in Indian culture that commonly people say - : "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 (Shiva form resembling the total Universe) 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.
The Rig Veda describes using Bhang (Cannabis) drink to overcome heat. The drink made from cannabis leaves, milk, Almonds, rose water, honey and various other herbs and items. The drink is energy giving and fresh.

The oldest intoxicant known to man (as in Rig Veda) is SOMA (the GODS Drink) also contained Cannabis (Bhang) with other herbs.

Ancient vaids preparing medicines from cannabis 

Athrva Veda describes the usages of Cannabis (Bhang) in Great Hindustan (Nepal, Present India, China, part of Central Asia) 

Hinduism - Wise drinking of bhang (Cannabis), according to religious rites, is believed to cleanse sins, unite one with Shiva and avoid the miseries of hell in the future life.

 It is also believed to have medicinal benefits. In contrast, foolish drinking of bhang without rites is considered a sin.
. Cannabis and some other psychoactive plants are specifically prescribed in the Mahākāla Tantra for medicinal purposes. However, Tantra is an esoteric teaching of Hinduism and Buddhism not generally accepted by most other forms of these religions.
According to Alfred Dunhill (1924), Africans have had a long tradition of smoking hemp in gourd pipes, asserting that by 1884 the King of the Baluka tribe of the Congo had established a "riamba" or hemp-smoking cult in place of fetish-worship. Enormous gourd pipes were used. 
Cannabis was used in Africa to restore appetite and relieve pain of hemorrhoids. It was also used as an antiseptic.

In a number of countries, it was used to treat tetanus, hydrophobia, delirium tremens, infantile convulsions, neuralgia and other nervous disorders, cholera, menorrhagia, rheumatism, hay fever, asthma, skin diseases, and protracted labor during childbirth.

Each tribesman was required to participate in the cult of Riamba and show his devotion by smoking as frequently as possible. They attributed universal magical powers to hemp, which was thought to combat all kinds of evil and they took it when they went to war and when they traveled. There were initiation rites for new members who usually took place before a war or long journey.
The sinologist and historian Joseph Needham concluded "the hallucinogenic properties of hemp were common knowledge in Chinese medical and Taoist circles for two millennia or more", and other scholars associated 

Chinese wu (shamans) with the entheogenic use of cannabis in Central Asian shamanism.
The oldest texts of Traditional Chinese Medicine listed herbal uses for cannabis and noted some psychodynamic effects. The (ca. 100 CE) Chinese pharmacopeia Shennong Ben Cao Jing (Shennong's Classic of Materia Medica) described the use of mafen 麻蕡 "cannabis fruit/seeds":

Ayurveda and Cannabis

Hindi Name
Charas , Bhang
English Name
Indian Hemp , Marijuna
Persian Name
Sanskrit Synonyms
Ganja, Ganjayika , Jaya , Vijaya , Indrasana , Bhangika , Matulani, Madani.
The plant grows in Sub – Himalayan tracts, in Iran – Iraq, also cultivated in many parts. 

Rasa (Taste)
Tikkha (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities)
Laghu (Small) , Teekshna (Sharp, Corrosive, Burning, Pungent),
Vyavayi (Easily and swiftly spreads to every part of body)
Ushna (Hot potency)
Vat & Kapha nashaka
Used to balance dosha of body (Defects by air and mucous)
Ayurveda has found that Bhang (Cannabis) can be used medically for –

Absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS
Casus weight loss, useful in obesity
Kshudha Vardhini
Improves Digestion Strength
Improves taste, relieves anorexia
Causes Intoxication
Is digestive, relieves Ama Dosha
Induces Sleep
Increases Body temperature
Increases Libido
Vak Vardhini
Speech or urge to speak
Increases pitta Dosha
The leaves paste applied externally gives relief in pain and increases warmth
Paste of leaves is also useful in worm infested wounds and in atopic dermatitis. 
It is applied over pile mass to shrink it and to relieve itching and pain.
Used in treating chronic fever, frequent urinating problems, and some sexual disorder such as premature ejaculation.
Also useful in treating Glaucoma, convulsions, Epilepsy, Schizophrenia.  
Most common use is to relieve pain.

Apart for this the plant finds its usage in
1.     Its tough fiber has numerous textile usages. The seed is used as caged bird feed.
2.    The seed is also used in making gravy (Uttranchal in India, local people use it widely in many recipes). The seed is a rich source of protein, energy and long chain fatty acids.
3.    The oil from seed is used to make paints, varnishes and soap.
4.    Seeds are comparable to sunflower seeds. Can be used for food and milk, tea, for baking like sesame seeds.  

Myths associated with Bhang
It can produce an exhilarating intoxication, with hallucinations, and is widely used in Eastern countries as an intoxicant, hence its names 'leaf of delusion,' 'increaser of pleasure,' 'cementer of friendship,' etc. It is regarded as dangerous to sleep in a field of hemp owing to the aroma of the plants. The famous heretical sect of Mohammedans, who, by murderous attacks upon the Crusaders, struck their hearts with terror, derived their name Hashashin from the drug, and from that our word assassin in derived.

Ignorant westerners put the plant into the category of illegal substances or illegal drug. Our think tanks that do not have their own thinking, made it illegal in India too. It resulted that many Hindus, who blindly follow America’s word started preaching it bad for Human race. Even they put their effort to eradicate the plant from the face of Earth, destroying every sign of this useful plant.

The plant which has been the part of our culture, our belief, remained with our folks since ages, used in medicine, used by households in various recipes, used in many religious ceremonies suddenly became dangerous and we had to ban the plant just because some west philosophers think so ….Not only ban, but it became so dangerous that we had the need to destroy it from the face of earth. Just think! 
Come join hands and preach that “Shiva Buti” Plant of Shiva is full of benefits to Human. It is a sacred plant and needs to be preserved.
………… Adesh Adesh Alakh niranjan ……