I have seen many people who worship lord Shiva who prefer to be naked and they have ash (Bhabhuti) powdered all over their body. I am not sure what these people are known as but I have seen them in Kumbhmela on Television.

These people always drink Bhang and smokes Chillum. They say that lord Shiva too has these habits.

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Credits : www.pinterest.com

So, is it true that lord Shiva drinks Bhang and smokes Chillum? Is it mentioned in any scriptures?

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Credits: lh6.ggpht.com

  • 1
    It ain't beedi, it's marijuana (weed), same stuff from which bhaang is made of. Jul 22, 2014 at 7:02
  • 1
    @Creator: in which scriptures? does Shiva advice some men (as sadhus) to do the same? how often? Aug 25, 2014 at 10:17
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  • 1
    @Creator so there isn't any reference in scriptures to support smoking weed?
    – a20
    Oct 10, 2014 at 2:17
  • 1
    No. He does not.
    – user1195
    Dec 24, 2014 at 5:29

7 Answers 7


This is a misleading tradition with no reference found in scriptures (no wonder that none of the answers mention any scriptures). Sri Sri Ravi Shankar talks bout this:

Q. Gurudev, we sing devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. But back home, the people there consume Bhaang (a type of Indian narcotic incorrectly thought to please Lord Shiva) while they sing praises of Lord Shiva. How should one understand all this?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, if Lord Shiva consumed Bhaang, then he also consumed the poison that came from churning the cosmic ocean. So should we also drink poison first, and then see if we stay alive to drink Bhaang? Do not misunderstand all these things. Lord Shiva never consumed Bhaang. The essential point to understand is that the Shiva Tattva (the most fundamental all-pervading element in creation) resides in each and every one. An intoxicant like Bhaang too cannot do anything to Lord Shiva’s bliss, because he is above and beyond all such trivial influences. But chanting his name can have a positive influence on us and elevate us.

Excerpts from a Q&A: http://celebrating-silence-of-life.blogspot.in/2015/08/why-good-people-suffer.html


Those people are very well known as "Naga Bava" (Naked Saints). Lord Shiva lives in Shmashāna (a Hindu crematorium), Lord Shiva likes to have ash on his body. This is the reason this people also paste the ashes on their body.

Coming to the significance of Bhang & Beedi : Bhang is very well known drink which normally people drinks during a festival named Shivratri. For the people who do Dhyan, Bhang is very useful for them to concentrate.

But this doesn't mean that it is a normal drink like any other alcoholic drink. Bhang is very holy drink. It helps a person to bring Shiva in Dhyan mudra. These days people drinks it for enjoyment, which is wrong.

Beedi is not the correct word. Correct word is Chillum. Chillum does the same purpose like Bhang does.

  • So, lord Shiva don't drink actually bhaang or beedi?
    – Mr_Green
    Jul 22, 2014 at 4:09
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    Yes he does, but not like a chain smoker or drinker. Both these are not for enjoyment. Its for Dhyan purpose.
    – Kedarnath
    Jul 22, 2014 at 4:13
  • Kedarnath, thanks for your answer.. you might be right that lord Shiva has this habits for Dhyaan purpose but as I mentioned in my post that I am looking for answers from Scriptures. So, I will wait for other answers or please include scriputure sources to sound it more correct.. I hope you can understand my intention :)
    – Mr_Green
    Jul 22, 2014 at 4:17
  • [I've moved my previous comment below the OP post, as additional questions] In my opinion this increase is not at all good for the Hindu spirituality... It looks like (in some sense) the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, it's a disaster !!! Aug 25, 2014 at 12:08
  • 2
    You should cite some sources.
    – Pandya
    Mar 15, 2019 at 1:46

Shiva is the god of death. So, he accepts everything that is rejected of which are rotting things such as corpses, alcohol and such.

Even marijuana is something rejected by mankind. Coincidentally, everything that is rotting, creates intoxication which is a state of mind when one tends to death.

So, Shiva consuming alcohol and smoking are all allegorical aspects of him depicting him as the GOD OF DEATH.

But remember that it is based on probabilities,There are various misconceptions about that, but it does not mean that lord Shiva smoker or alcoholic, it only shows that the lord is in the state of intoxication(Cenotaph) and far away from society


According to Pranatoshini-Tantra,

svikritya vijayaam ratrau japen mantam ananyadhih. meaning :one should consume Vijaya (siddhi) and have concentration of mind.He should then do japa of mantra at night.(kanda 7, pari. 1).

So it is believed that consuming siddhi is a means of attaining concentration.I think Lord Shiva is seen consuming such things because of this reason.

  • What is Vijaya? Same as marijuana or different? Mar 14, 2019 at 19:59
  • @sv. Terminalia Chebula;Sesbania Aegyptiaca;Vitex Negundo;Rubia Munjista, Premna Spinosa.. Refrence : sanskrit dictionary
    – user17294
    Mar 15, 2019 at 4:40

I don't believe scriptures support that Shiva was a drug user. If someone else can show otherwise, I'll accept that.

I believe in a lot of ways modern "popular" Hinduism is corrupted from what it's supposed to be - with unnecessary rituals and superstitions overshadowing the true practices.

Concerning drugs, I believe these are "pop" Sadhus. I've never come across literature that depicts famous hermits and monks to have used drugs. Rather, they were more focussed on cleansing the mind of all forms of delusions (maya) and the body of all forms of desire (Kama). Drugs are definitely Kama.

Here are some excerpts from a talk Osho gave on drug use and meditation:

I am against drugs because they can become addictive and they can prevent your spiritual growth. You can start thinking that you have achieved what you were seeking, and your hands are empty. You are just dreaming.


it can give you a really positive ecstatic experience, although it will be hallucinatory. But if you don’t know the real, it looks almost the real. Even a man like Aldous Huxley, one of the most intelligent men of this generation, thought that through LSD he has achieved the same experience as Gautam Buddha, Kabir, Ramakrishna.

If you don’t know the real, naturally you cannot call it hallucinatory. It is so real. Huxley had no experience of meditation. He has really no right to say such a thing. You can say such a thing only when you have experienced both, that it is the same experience as Kabir.

Kabir never used any drug. His experience was purely of meditation. On what grounds Huxley can say it is the same experience? He does not know the experience of Kabir. I can understand that he has been through a tremendously beautiful experience, but that experience disappears as the effect of the LSD goes out of the system.

But Kabir’s experience remains twenty-four hours, day in, day out, his whole life. Once it happens, it is always there.

This is a simple criterion. But he was so much fascinated by the experience, and he corrupted almost a whole generation. They thought that if a man like Huxley says that LSD can give you samadhi, then what is the need of going into so much trouble for meditation with no guarantee whether you will be able to succeed or not?


he can compare that the first one {drug ecstacy} was just a dream, and this {meditation} is a reality, and the first one was just cheating myself through chemistry, ‘And the first one was not helping me in my spiritual growth. It was in fact preventing the growth, keeping me addicted and retarded’. The second one goes on growing, and now he starts gathering courage to explore more.

Full speech is here

What Osho said was drugs can give evidence of a spritual experience, and if used rightly can convince a newbie that the spritual experience exists and is worth pursuing. With pure meditation it can take decades before someone starts experiencing sprituality. However drugs are only simulation. They give you quick rewards. Depending on them for quick shortcut "ecstacies" can get you hooked on them and lead you to believe you are really having a spritual experience, and lead you to astray from actually pursuing meditative lifestyle, which would seem more and more harder and less rewarding.

  • How is Osho's speech/commentary relevant to OP's question? The question is about Shiva, not what Osho thinks of drugs. Mar 14, 2019 at 20:04

Some people have asked me why Lord Shiva drinks Bhang or smokes Ganja? Why do all the shaiv sadhus smoke Ganja all the time? Isn't it a drug? Do our Hindu religious leaders take drugs? Or worse, does one of our Trinity, Lord Shiva Himself, promote drugs? In this article, I'll answer these questions.

Now western scientists are discovering that Bhang is one of the most effective natural medicines available to man - This is something that Hindus scientists had already discovered at least 3000 years back!

Since western doctors are realizing the truth, today they use Bhang/Ganja/Cannabis/Marijuana for treating ancer, Aids/HIV, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), chronic pains and depression patients and they're discovering its new applications every day! But our own Ayurveda mentioned the medicinal properties of Bhang/Ganja so long ago! In fact, Marijuana is mentioned in Rig Veda, Atharva Veda, Ayurveda and many other ancient Hindu texts! Some of the uses of Bhang that ancient Hindu scientists discovered thousands of years ago are - Dyspepsia, Nervous disorders, Severe pain, Insomania, Dysentery, Gonorrhoea, Loss of appetite because of illness and even poisoning. It's AMAZING that our ancient Hindu doctors were able to learn so much that western scientists are still catching up!

Before closing, I'd like to mention one more thing - Alcohol has already been considered bad in Hindu society but Bhang isn't (at least not until Indian government started following western governments).

A Brief History of Bhang Bhang was first used as an intoxicant in India around 1000 BC and soon became an integral part of Hindu culture. In the ancient textArtharvaveda, Bhang is described as a beneficial herb that "releases anxiety". Bhang preparations were sacred to Gods, particularly Shiva. One of Shiva's epithets was "Lord of Bhang" as he is said to have discovered the transcendental properties of the mixture.

In imitation of Shiva, many sadhus use Bhang to boost meditation and achieve transcendental states. Besides, Bhang or cannabis is also believed to be popular amongst Sufis as an aid to spiritual ecstasy since a long time.

Bond with the Bhang Ancient as it is, bhang has become a inseparable part of Indian tradition. So much so that it has become symbolic for a lot of things. They might be, or rather they are, pure superstitious believes. But if one understands the inherent sentimental and emotional nature of Indians, one can very easily feel the emotional bond people have with bhang.

  • I want to add one more thing its gud or bad to use bhang all depends on a persons peceptive weather he want to use it to be in a more inner councious state or want to use just for enjoyment in a night club or in a rave party............
    – Nisar
    Aug 2, 2014 at 3:51
  • 5
    -1 cos zero sources. Just a bunch of "ra ra India!".
    – a20
    May 3, 2017 at 3:41

Lord Shiva drank Bhanga, but there is nothing mentioned about Chillam and alchohole.

True: Lord Shiva drank Bhanga only.

Story behind bhanga.

After killing some Asura, Parvati was returned in his parvati roop from Kali by many efforts of Shiva.

So after a long time Shiva and Parvati met, So Nandhi, Kartikeya and Ganesha decided to do something like celebration.

Ganesha organized "Bhoja" - Food Party

Kartikey did oemthing I do not remember

And Nandhi organized a bhanga party.

In this bhanga party Shiva drank Bhanga.

  • 3
    Is this story from TV serial, 'Devon Ke Dev Mahadev'. If so then don't be so sure. This TV serial used a lot of self written sequences which do not have any scriptual reference.
    – Aby
    Dec 22, 2014 at 9:48
  • please give me some time to verify this story with Shiva purana.. I am still finding to cite it... :)
    – prem30488
    Dec 22, 2014 at 12:19
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    @ParthTrivedi You can read the Shiva Purana using the links in my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/3830/36 Dec 25, 2014 at 7:15
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    There is no reference of it in the Shiva purana. Please do not take tv shows seriously. Btw is a serie not a serial.
    – Wikash_
    Mar 14, 2019 at 10:45

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