Why is marijuana sacred among some Hindus such as Naga Sadhu?

Shiva plays a role in this but does marijuana aid in obtaining moksha or does it have any spiritual benefits?

  • 6
    Drugs don't have any spiritual benefits. Pot was never sacred. It is used as a crutch to achieve "mano nasana stithi" which is the step to moksha. Since it is not easy to attain this state through tapas, some people resort to external aids such as drugs. Shiva does not have a role in perpetrating the use/abuse of drugs.
    – user1195
    Dec 22, 2014 at 2:07
  • 1
    @moonstar2001, indeed I agree. I also think it depends on the prcticioner, for instance what do you think would happen perchance if a spiritualy enlightened one just so happened to smoke marijuana? one could say that his experience would differ from one who is not spiritualy enlightened, would you disagree?
    – eliyah
    Dec 23, 2014 at 2:36
  • 5
    A spiritually enlightened person's experience is never the benchmark.Story goes-Sankaracharya, while traveling thru a village,got thirsty.He saw a pot full of country liquor and quenched his thirst with it.Retinue saw this and thought they too were allowed to consume liquor since Guruji had it.Guruji sensed this and in the next village stopped at a blacksmith's, picked up burning,molten metal & drank it. Retinue immediately realized their folly and learned their lesson. So smoke pot if you are of Sankaracharya's stature. The rest of us, we follow rules not exceptions.
    – user1195
    Dec 23, 2014 at 5:11
  • 1
    @moonstar2001, I agree ,wisely spoken
    – eliyah
    Dec 23, 2014 at 22:06

4 Answers 4


Marijuana or any other drug is not considered sacred by Hindus. There might be some exceptions where people justify it. The usual argument these people give in favour of drugs is a misleading argument that Shiva consumed Bhaang. Hence, it is okay for them to do so too. This argument has no base in it:

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


Before I answer this question I must make it absolutely clear that there are no references to lord Shiva smoking weed in any Hindu scriptures and even though I once came across a particular version of Shiv Puran which claimed lord Shiva consumed cannabis (the text was from an unknown publication) but even that unauthentic copy said lord Shiva once ate the leaves by chewing there's no mention of lord Shiva smoking weed. However I must also state that Marijuana does hold an important position in scriptures.


The Atharva Veda is the scripture to first mention the Marijuana plant and slightly describe its benefits. The Atharva Veda Book 11 Hymn 6 verse 15 which states that Marijuana is one of the five best sources of Soma. However, one thing must be made cleared before we progress further into the article is that Soma does not mean alcohol contrary to popular propaganda but rather means the essence and source of medicine that causes bliss, purifies and enlightenment and often as the very source of enlightenment as per multiple veidic scriptures to quote a few are the Rig Veda Book 1 Hymn 91 verse 22; Book 9 Hymn 24 verse 7, Hymn 37 verse 36 and Hymn 108 verse 3. Now having understood what's Soma and what's its link with Marijuana, one thing is cleared that Marijuana can used as an enhancer by spiritual people and warriors. The Sanskrit term used for Marijuana is Bhanga which comes from the root word Bhajyate which means to cause a break. Marijuana is called so because it causes a break between stress and our spiritual self as will be clear from the next points.


Marijuana has a long history of use in Ayurveda and is classified as a Upavisha which means its semi-toxic and must be used only after proper refinement. The Bhavaprakasha which is a book on Ayurveda mentions the various names used to refer Marijuana and the benifits of it in verse 205 stating that Marijuana is known by the names like Ganja, Vijaya, Jaya and Matulani (not to be confused with the Sanskrit word for aunt, the word here means hemp) and describes its medical properties such as increasing libido, sense of taste, hunger, sleep, digestion, thinking and speaking capacity and also reducing excessive mucus secretion however the fact that it can cause intoxication is also mentioned. This makes it an excellent remedy for multiple diseases and disorders and it has indeed been used in multiple Ayurvedic medicines to cure various diseases and as stated in the earlier point, Soma is a master medicine that can cure most of diseases either alone or when mixed with other substances.


As stated earlier, Marijuana is a source of Soma medicine and hence it necessarily must be purified and consumed according to the process laid down by the scriptures. Though, there are various works of Ayurveda that deals with the subject, all of them have taken the Vedas as their primary sources and simply stated it in simpler language in their work. Since I always try to cite primary sources provided they are available, in this case also I would do the same. The Satapatha Bramhan Khanda 1 Section 6 Bramhana 4 verses and Rig Veda Book 9 Hymns 1-9 states the process of preparation, purification and use of Soma stating that the herbs used must be collected at night, tied in a cloth and first held under flowing water then boiled in water, then the juice passed through seives and finally when the juice is golden in color, the juice must be boiled by mixing with pure milk obtained from cows and then consumed in the form of liquid. One thing must also be noted that all the various medicines in which Marijuana is used, this same process of filtration with the only exception being the juice is mixed with other compounds first and often available in various forms such as tablets and also as liquid, however all Ayurveda experts prescrib even those preparations to be consumed using boiled milk. Another important thing to note is that throughout the Vedas, the food and water which is good for the various cattle has also been described stating the herbs, trees and other food of cattle that grows in pure environment without any pollution and is fresh when consumed by the cattle is extremely necessary, some references to this being the Rig Veda Book 5 Hymn 83 verse 8 and the Rig Veda Book 6 Hymn 28 verses 7-8 which emphasize on special treatment and care taken to ensure that the food consumed by cattle and especially cow is pure and healthy.


Marijuana is not a taboo as considered in the present era, however, despite being a very important medical plant and extremely significant in Sanatan Dharma, there is a specific way to harvest and consume it which can not be violated. Also, as stated earlier, all the Ayurvedic scriptures which deals with Marijuana states it to be a semi-toxic substance and even an intoxicant which clearly implies that if it is consumed using any wrong methods, it will cause more harm than good. What defines an intoxicant as per Ayurveda which is the subject we are dealing with here is the Sharngadhar Chapter 4 verse 21 and the Charaka Samhita Chapter 24 verse 40 which states that the substance which destroys intellect is an intoxicant and that being said its clear that one who aims to use Marijuana as an enhancer would not want to get intoxicated on it. Hence we should refrain from using it unless we do so in the right way and under the right circumstances.



Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms (IV. 1.) says: "The Siddhis (powers) are attained by birth, chemical means, power of words, mortification, or concentration."

Ganja (and some other drugs) can open up - temporarily - some chakras in some people. But when you do, it is only temporary and results in a fall just as dramatic. The best way to open these chakras and control it is through meditation and concentration - not through drugs.

When opened temporarily, a person can sometimes access certain powers temporarily. Accessing these Siddhis, however, is a diversion from Self-Realization and can easily put you back farther.

Nagas will smoke it for several reasons, one for the reason above, another as it can put off the feeling of hunger when you are starving, and third, they are just not that sincere as sadhus and enjoy being drugged.

  • 1
    SwamiVishwananda - Why quote Patanjali as approving drug use when clearly you state that it is not useful in the long run? Is the explanation also to be attributed to Patanjali?
    – user1195
    Dec 23, 2014 at 13:01
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    @moonstar2001 Patanjali is not approving drug use. He is only laying out the different means that Siddhis can be attained, just as a doctor would tell you of the good and bad effects of some new therapy. If you read all his aphorisms then you will know that the attainment of Siddhis - by any means - only diverts a soul away from the attainment of God. Dec 24, 2014 at 13:24
  • Please add reference for last paragraph
    – The Destroyer
    Oct 10, 2021 at 5:38

Yes. Marijuana is mentioned in the Vedas:

पञ्च राज्यानि वीरुधां सोमश्रेष्ठानि ब्रूमः। दर्भो भङ्गो यवः सह ते नो मुञ्चन्त्व् अंहसः॥ (Atharva Veda 11.8.15)

Hindi meaning

“Patra, kand, phalphul aur mulatmak panch rajyoun se yukta aushdhiyon main Somlata sarvasherstha hai. Darbha, Bhang, Jau aur Dhan ye sabhi humse stut hokar hamare dushkarmo ko katne main samarth hon.

It means marijuana will destroy our bad karma

  • It's now legal in some western nations, does it mean everyone consuming it there will all be free of bad karma ??
    – Just_Do_It
    Sep 30, 2021 at 20:53
  • @Just_Do_It some of their bad karma will be destroyed... but most of it will remain since they have a LOT of it
    – R. Kaushik
    Sep 30, 2021 at 20:55

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