Most of the time when we talk about Lord Shiva, especially when teenagers talk about Lord Shiva, the deity and his relationship with weed or drugs often find a mention. And as far as our social-experience with the limited world we have seen goes, that specific trait of Shiva is the peak of knowledge that most people have about the Lord. Powerful, yet a drug addict.
As Maha Shivratri 2021 inches closer, in the course of time, you will find many people planning to smoke weed or enjoying bhaang to commemorate the day. And all this is in the name of wanting to get closer to Shiva. Wanting to get closer to spirituality. However, is there anything spiritual about smoking weed?
Jaggi Vasudev, known publicly as Sadhguru, is an Indian yogi and author who is believed to have garnered extensive knowledge about Shiva. And you would know this by fact if you have ever bumped into his videos.
Once, during one of his events, a person asked Sadhguru that “If he thinks marijuana and drugs can be a way of enlightenment because Shiva too was supposed to smoke?”And his answer to the question perfectly sums up the difference between a human being stoned and Shiva being stoned.
Hinduism’s belief in idol worship has inspired, for centuries, many creative heads to paint pictures of Lord Shiva. And many such pictures show the Lord smoking. Even if you ever read the fictional book by Amish Tripathi named The Immortals of Meluha, there too, he creates a perception of Shiva being a smoker. This usually is because of how humans experience smoking or even drinking i.e. through our mouth.
We humans consume things through the mouth and the same is for marijuana. We smoke it to enrich its capabilities to get us high or stoned. But Sadhguru explains that Shiva, though extensively stoned, wasn’t a cripple that he needed some substance like marijuana to get high.
Shiva doesn’t use a substance because he himself is a substance. Like marijuana has to be grown, similarly, Shiva has grown in himself an entirely different substance called “alertness,” which helps him get high without needing anything else. You will better understand this concept as you read further.
Like we said, Shiva is stoned by his alertness. The sense of alertness helps him develop within him (on demand) different kinds of feelings with getting high being one of them. Sadhguru explains that if a person does something that is super alert, there is a kind of intoxication (naasha) in it. You would better relate to the fact if you have heard people say things like, “is cheez ko karne ka apna hi maaza hai. Apna hi nasha hai.” It’s just that.
Think of it this way, people do all kinds of thrilling things in life, like skydiving, mountaineering and what not? And all these adventures ignite in them different kinds of intoxication. For example, when you are ready to dive off a plane, you are super alert. The alertness leads to brewing in you a specific feeling called fear. Here, you didn’t have to put anything from outside into your body to feel fear. It is your alertness about the sport that makes you feel fearful.
Similarly, Shiva doesn’t put an outside substance within him. It’s his alertness that helps him feel high, which is something very difficult for a human to achieve.
Now you shall ask yourself, can you sit at one place and be so alert that you start feeling high? If yes, then it’s very ok to be high, for you won’t be affecting your body using alien means. And if you can get high this way, you would eventually get closer to spirituality.
Here is one more concept to help one understand why Shiva smoking weed is different from a human smoking weed.
Even if Shiva smokes weed, and you get hold of some while trying to replicate the same, you also need to ask yourself can you do other things that Shiva is capable of doing?
There is a story around the same concept that Sadhguru narrates. He talks about the great Indian philosopher and theologian, Adi Shankaracharya, who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.
On one fine day, Adi Shankaracharya, on his foot, was voyaging across India (like he did throughout his life) to find inspiration for numerous literature that he had written during the 32 years of his life.
He, followed by his disciples, was crossing a village where they stopped at an alcohol shop. There, he saw people high on alcohol thinking that they are having the best time of their lives.
As the drunk people saw Shankara, they made some comments, which made Shankaracharya walk inside the bar and drink the whole potful of alcohol kept there. The disciples on seeing these were shocked as they thought if their Guru can drink, why can’t they?
Aware of what his disciples were thinking, Shankara began walking again. After some walking, Shankaracharya stopped at a blacksmith shop who was working with molt and iron. He picked up the molten and drank all of it in one go. This was, however, something, which his disciples didn’t want to drink.
The story simply explains that if you seek to copy Shiva, you should consider copying his other traits too. These traits involve his hard work, the sacrifices he had made, his leadership qualities and so on. If you are willing to copy that, only then you are worthy to compare yourself with Shiva when it comes to smoking weed.
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