Some days ago, I was on a ride with a friend of mine and the talk led us to discuss Lord Shiva. I was a little stunned when this young kid said that Shiva was the “buzz lord” – relating to marijuana and psychedelics. Of course he had a point but that was all Shiva was to him and I was pretty sure that his age mates reasoned like he did. What stunned me more was that even when I tried to reason it out with him that Lord Shiva was more than that, he held on to the opinion of the “buzz lord”.
If there is an Indian trinity, Lord Shiva is said to be the third person in the trinity. He plays the role of the destroyer and annihilator of evil, but to most people, Shiva is more than that too. To most people, he plays the two roles of Brahma and Vishnu and he is considered as the Supreme Being – boundless and all powerful. This branch of worship is called Shaivism and in the nation of India, there have been (seen and unseen) clashes between the worshippers of the Supreme Shiva and the Supreme Vishnu. Brahma is still worshipped but he is mostly disregarded.
Why is Lord Shiva the buzz lord? Why is he tied to the herb? Well, his worshippers have a day dedicated to him and on this day, it is legal to smoke marijuana across India (its not like the kids don’t smoke it on other days but there is a nationwide permission on “Shivaratri”). The Lord is considered as the bringer of illumination and knowledge, his matted hair representing the sacred Ganges and his calm lotus position is a representation of the calm mystic. All of this attachment to wisdom further plays a role in connecting Lord Shiva to marijuana.
“The herb” as it is popularly called by the Rastafarians is said to bring calmness of mind, wisdom and enlightenment, this group prefers smoking the herb to taking alcohol and they often quote this: “Herb is for the healing of the nation and alcohol is for the destruction”. This healing of the mind is tied to Lord Shiva as his worshippers usually chant “OM NAMAH SHIVAYA” which in the exoteric form means “I bow to Shiva” but in the esoteric form is connected to the healing of the chakras and the killing of one’s ego.
The herb is said to bring enlightenment and Lord Shiva being the Supreme Being is tied to the plant. He is the Lord of that “plant of wisdom”. If a comparative mythologist was reading this, he would connect the plant to the Garden of Eden and Shiva would the serpent that deceived Eve. There is more to the story of Eden that we have been let on. But that is a talk for another day. The herb has been said to help people on their spiritual path and opened up new worlds of consciousness to them, this is a fact that many have argued for and against, but one thing I have learnt from many teachers and sages is that you can actually get to the point of enlightenment without using the herb and other psychedelics. And if our excuse for using is that it helps with our depression, there are lots of methods and practices that can be used to rid that sickness. Have you tried meditating and praying? Group therapy? A walk in nature? Talking to an elderly person about it?
In conclusion, if we were to be frank about the use of marijuana, we would positively tie it to beneficial purposes, but humans are addicts and marijuana is become one of the many objects of people’s addiction. Is the excuse that Lord Shiva is the “buzz lord” going to keep you constantly intoxicated and useless to your world? Pardon me if you’re a sadhu, you’re so excused to follow the path of a monk, but if that’s not your path to follow stop using Lord Shiva’s plant as an excuse to be unproductive; it is so “uncool”. Truthfully, I think the benefits of marijuana outweighs the dangers of paranoia, schizophrenia, laziness that most people talk about but for how long would we use it to hide our flaws? How long would Lord Shiva be called the buzz lord and not recognized as the destroyer of ego and master of the universe?