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REPORT OF THE INDIAN HEMP DRUGS COMMISSION, 1893-94.
NOTE BY MR. J. M. CAMPBELL, C.I.E., COLLECTOR OF LAND REVENUE AND CUSTOMS AND OPIUM,
BOMBAY, ON THE RELIGION OF HEMP.
To the Hindu the hemp plant is holy. A guardian lives in the bhang leaf. As the wife of Vishnu, the preserver, lives in the hysteria-curing tulsi, or Holy Basil, and as Shiva dwells in the dysentery-scaring bel, AEgle marmelos, so the properties of the bhang plant, its power to suppress the appetites, its virtue as a febrifuge, and its thought-bracing qualities show that the bhang leaf is the home of the great Yogi or brooding ascetic Mahadev.
So holy a plant should have special rearing. Shiva explains to his wife, Parvati, how,
in sowing hemp seed, you should keep repeating the spell 'Bhangi', 'Bhangi', apparently
that the sound of that guardian name may scare the evil tare-sowing influences. Again,
when the seedlings are planted the same holy name must be repeated, and also at the
watering which, for the space of a year, the young plants must daily receive. When the
flowers appear the flowers and leaves should be stripped from the plant and kept for a day
in warm water. Next day, with one hundred repetitions of the holy name Bhangi, the leaves
and flowers should be washed in a river and dried in an open shed. When they are dry some
of the leaves should be burnt with due repeating of the holy name as a jap or
muttered charm. Then, bearing in mind Vagdevata, or the goddess of speech, and offering a
prayer, the dried leaves should be laid in a pure and sanctified place. Bhang so prepared,
especially If prayers are said over it, will gratify the wishes and desires of its owner.
Taken in the early morning such bhang cleanses the user from sin, frees him from the
punishment of crores of sins, and entitles him to reap the fruits of a thousand
horse-sacrifices. Such sanctified bhang taken at day break or noon destroys
disease. Before the religious user of bhang stand the Ashtadevata or Eight Guardians with
clasped hands ready to obey him and perform his orders. The wish of him who with pure mind
pours bhang with due reverence over the Ling of Mahadev will be fulfilled.
Such holiness and such evil-scaring powers must give bhang a high place among lucky
objects. That a day may be fortunate the careful man should on waking look into liquid
bhang. So any nightmares or evil spirits that may have entered into him during the
ghost-haunted hours of night will flee from him at the sight of the bhang and free him
from their blinding influences during the day. So too when a journey has to be begun or a
fresh duty or business undertaken it is well to look at bhang. To meet some one carrying
bhang is a sure omen of success. To see in a dream the leaves, plant, or water of bhang is
lucky; it brings the goddess of wealth into the dreamer's power. To see his parents
worship the bhang-plant and pour bhang over Shiva's Ling will cure the dreamer of fever. A
longing for bhang foretells happiness: to see bhang drunk increases riches. No good thing
can come to the man who treads under foot the holy bhang leaf.
So evil-searing and therefore luck-bringing a plant must play an important part in the rites required to clear away evil influences. During the great spirit time of marriage in Bombay among almost all the higher classes of Gujarat Hindus, of the Jain as well as of the Brahmanic sects, the supplies sent by the family of the bride to the bridegroom's party during their seven days' sojourn includes a supply of bhang. The name of the father who neglects to send bhang is held in contempt. Again, after the wedding, when the bride-groom and his friends are entertained at the house of the bride, richly-spiced bhang is drunk by the guests. The Gujarat .Musalman bride before and after marriage drinks a preparation of bhang. Among the Pardeshi or North Indian Hindus of Bombay bhang is given not only at weddings, but the Pardeshi who fails to give his visitor bhang is despised by his caste as mean and miserly. Another great spirit time during which bhang plays an important part is the time of war. Before the outbreak of a war and during its progress the Ling of Mahadev should be bathed with bhang. Its power of driving panic influences from near the god has gained for bhang the name of Vijaya, the unbeaten. So a drink of bhang drives from the fighting Hindu the haunting spirits of fear and weariness. So the beleaguered Rajput, when nothing is left but to die, after loosing his hair that the bhang spirit may have free entrance, drinks the sacramental bhang and rushing on the enemy completes his juhar or self-sacrifice. It is this quality of panic-scaring that makes bhang, the Vijaya or Victorious, specially dear to Mahadev in his character of Tripur, .the slayer of the demon Tripurasur. As Shiva is fond of bel leaves, as Vishnu is fond of tulsi leaves, so is Tripuresvar fond of bhang leaves. He who wishes to obtain his desires must constantly offer bhang to Tripuresvar.
Bhang the cooler is a febrifuge. Bhang acts on the fever not directly or physically as an ordinary medicine, but indirectly or spiritually by soothing the angry influences to whom the heats of fever are due. According to one account in the Ayurveda, fever is possession by the hot angry breath of the great gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. According to another passage in the Ayurveda, Shankar or Shiva, enraged by a slight from his father-in-law Daksha, breathed from his nostrils the eight fevers that wither mankind. If the fever-stncken performs the Vijaya abhishek, or bhang-pouring on the Ling of Shankar, the god is pleased, his breath cools, and the portion of his breath in the body of the fever-stricken pleased to inflame. The Kashikhanda Purana tells how at Benares, a Brahman, sore-smitten with fever, dreamed that he had poured bhang over the self-sprung Ling and was well. On waking he went to the Ling, worshipped, poured bhang this cure brings to Benares sufferers from fever which no ordinary medicine can cure. The sufferers are laid in the temple pour bhang ever the Ling whose virtue has gained it the name Jvareshwar, the Fever-Lord. Bombay many people sick of fever vow on recovery to pour bhang over a Ling. Besides cure for fever bhang has many medicinal virtues. It cools the heated blood, soothes the over-wakeful to sleep, gives beauty, and secures length of days. It cures dysentery and sunstroke, clears phlegm, quickens digestion, sharpens appetite, makes the tonic of the lisper plain, freshens the intellect, and gives alertness to the body and gaiety to the mind. Such are the useful and needful ends for which in his goodness the Almighty made bhang. In this praise of the hemp the Makhzan or great Greek-Arab work on drugs joins... Ganja in excess uses abscess, even madness. In moderation bhang is the best of gifts. Bhang is a cordial, a bile absorber, an appetizer, a prolonger of life. Bhang quickens fancy, deepens thought, and Judgment. As on other guardian-assessed objects, the cow, the Vedas, or the leaf oaths are taken on the bhang leaf Even to a truthful witness an oath on of the be1 tree, dreaded. To one who forswears himself the bhang oath is death the bhang leaf. So holy a plant must play a leading part in temple rights. Shiva on fire with the poison churned from the ocean was cooled by bhang. At another time enraged with family worries the fields. The cool shade .of a plant soothed him. He crushed and of the leaves, and the bhang refreshed him. For these two benefits bhang is Shankarpri , the Mahadev. So the right user of bhang or of ganja, before beginning to drinker smoke, offers the drug to Mahadev saying, lena Shankar, lena Babulnath: be pleased to take Shankar, take it Babulnath. According to the Shiva Parann, from the dark fourteenth of Magh (January-February) to the light fourteenth of Asbadh (June-July), that is, during the three months of the hot weather, bhang should be daily poured over the Ling of Shiva every day, bhang should be poured at least during the first and last days of this period. According to the Meru Tantra on any Monday, especially on Shravan (July-August) Mondays, on all twelfths pradoshs, and on all dark fourteenths or shivratris still more on the Mahashivratri or Shiva's Great Night on dark fourteenth of Magh (January-February.), and at all eclipses of the sun or moon, persons wistful either for this world or for the world to come should offer bhang to Shiva and pour it over the Ling. Not every devotee of Shiva makes offerings of bhang. Such rites in Bombay are seldom performed except in the Bhuleswar and Babulnath temples and there only on special occasions. The bhang offered to Mahadev is without pepper or other spice. It is mixed with water, water and milk, or milk and sugar. It is poured over the Ling. According to some authorities the offerer should not touch the offered bhang. Temple ministrants Atits, Tapodhans, Bhojaks, Bhopis, Bharadis, Gutaras alone should drink it. If there are no ministrants the remains of the offering should be poured into a well or given to cows to drink. Other authorities encourage the offerer to the bhang, since by sipping the bhang reaches and soothes the Shiva-Shakti or Shiva-spirit in the sipper. On certain social occasions during failures of rain, during eclipses, and also in times of war libations of bhang are poured ever the Ling.
Vaishnavas as well as Shaivas make offerings of bhang. The form of Vishnu Or, the Guardian to whom bhang is a welcome offering is Baladev, Bainram, or Dauji, the elder brother Krishna. Baladev was fond of spirits, not of bhang. But Banins, Bhatias, and other high class Hindus, not being able to offer spirits instead of spirits the offering of bhang to Baladev, unlike the special offerings to Shiva, present bhang. In Bombay, without an offering of bhang no worship of Baladev is complete, offerings to Shiva is a common and everyday rite. Unlike the plain or milk and sugared bhang spilt over the Ling, Baladev's bhang is a richly-spiced liquid which all present, including the offerer, join in drinking. Such social and religious ions drinking of bhang is common in Bombay in the temple of Dauji in Kalyan' Kirparam lane near Bhuleshwar. As in the higher class worship of Baladev the liquor offering has been refined into an offering of bhang so it is in the worship of Devi, Shiva's early and terrible consort. On any Tuesday or Friday, the two week-days sacred to Devi, still more during the Navrata or Nine Nights in Ashwin or September-October, those whose caste rules forbid liquor make a pleasing spices bhang. And as in, the worship of Baladev all present, worshipper and ,ministrant alike, join in drinking. Shitaladevi, the Cooler, the dread goddess of small-pox, whose nature, like the nature of bhang, is cooling, takes pleasure in offerings of bhang. During epidemics of small-pox the burning and fever of the disease are soothed by pouring bhang over the image of Shitaladevi. So for the feverishness caused by the heats especially to the old no cure equals the drinking of bhang. Unlike spirits the tempter to flesh bhang the craver for milk is pleasing to the Hindu religion. Even according to the staitest school of the objectors to stimulants, while to a high caste Hindu the penalty for liquor-drinking is death, no penalty attaches to the use of bhang, and a single day's fast is enough to cleanse from the coarser spirit of ganja. Even among those who hold stimulants to be devil-possessed penalty and disfavor attach to the use of hemp drugs only when they are taken with no religious object and without observing the due religious rites.
At the other extreme of Hindu thought from the foes to stimulants, to the worshippers of the influences that, raising man out of himself and above mean individual worries, make him one with the divine force of nature, it is inevitable that temperaments should be found to whom the quickening spirit of bhang is the spirit of freedom and knowledge. In the ecstasy of bhang the spark of the Eternal in man turns into light the murkiness of matter or illusionand self is lost in the central soul-fire. The Hindu poet of Shiva, the Great Spirit that living in bhang passes into the drinker, sings of bhang as the clearer of ignorance, the giver of'knowledge. No gem or jewel can touch in value bhang taken truly and reverently. He who drinks bhang drinks Shiva. The soul in whom the spirit of bhang finds a home glides intothe ocean of Being freed from the weary round of matter-blinded self. To the meaner man, still under the glamour of matter or maya, bhang taken religiously is kindly thwarting the wiles of his foes and giving the drinker wealth and promptness of mind. In this devotion to bhang, with reverence, not with the worship, which is due to Allahalone, the North Indian Mussulman joins hymning the praises of bhang. To the follower of the later religion of Islam the holy spirit in bhang is not the spirit of the Almighty. Itthe spirit of the great prophet Khizr or Elijah. That bhang should be sacred to Khizr isnatural. Khizr is the patron saint of water. Still more Khizr means green, the revered colour of the cooling water of bhang. So the Urdu poet sings 'When I quaff fresh bhang I liken its colony to the fresh light down of thy youthful beard.' The prophet Khizr or the Green prophet cries ' May the drink be pleasing to thee.' Nasir, the great North Indian Urdupoet of the beginning of the present century, is loud in the praises of his beloved Sabzi, the Green one. 'Compared with bhang spirits are naught. Leave all things thou fool, drink bhang.' From its quickening the imagination Musalman poets honour bhang with the title Warak al Khiyall, Fancy's Leaf. And the Makhzan or great Arab-Greek drug book records many other fond names for the drug. Bhang is the Joy-giver, the Sky-flier, the Heavenly-guide, the Poor Man's Heaven, the Soother of Grief.
Much of the holiness of bhang is due to its virtue of clearing the head and stimulating the brain to thought. Among ascetics the sect known as Atits are specially devoted to hemp. No social or religious gathering of Atits is complete without the use of the hemp plant.
smoked in ganja or drunk in bhang. To its devotee bhang is no ordinary plant that
became , holy from its guardian and healing qualities. According to one account, when
nectar was produced from the churning of the ocean, something was wanted to purify the
nectar. The deity supplied the want of a nectar-cleanser by creating bhang. This bhang
Mahadev made from his own body, and so it is called angaj or body-born. According
to another accountsome nectar dropped to the ground and from the ground the bhang plant
sprang. It was because they used this child of nectar or of Mahadev in agreement with
religious forms that thee seers or Hishis became Siddha or one with the deity. He who,
despite the example of the Hishis, uses no bhang shall lose his happiness in this life and
in the life to come. In the end he shall be cast into hell. The mere sight of bhang,
cleanses from as much sin as a thousand horse-sacrifices or a thousand pilgrimages. He who
scandalizes the user of bhang shall suffer the torments of hell so long as the sun
endures. He who drinks bhang foolishly or for pleasure without religious rites is as
guilty as the sinner of lakhs of sins. He who drinks wisely and according to rule,
be he ever so low, even though his body is smeared with human ordure and urine, is Shiva.
No god or man is as good as the religious drinker of bhang. The students of the scriptures
at Benares are given bhang before they sit to study. At Benares, Ujjain, and other holy
places yogis, bairagis and sanyasis take deep draughts of bhang that they may Centre their
thoughts on the Eternal. To bring back to reason an unhinged mind the best and cleanest
bhang leaves should be boiled in milk and turned to clarified butter. Salamisri, saffron,
and sugar should be added and the whole eaten. Besides over the demon of Madness bhang is
Vijaya or victorious over the demons of hunger and thirst. By the help of bhang
ascetics pass days without food or drink. The supporting power of bhang has brought many a
Hindu family safe through. the miseries of famine. To forbid or even seriously to restrict
the use of so holy and gracious a herb as the hemp would cause widespread suffering and
annoyance and to the large bands of worshipped ascetics deep-seated anger. It would rob
the people of a solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious
protection saves them from the attacks of evil influences, and whose mighty power makes
the devotee of the Victorious, overcoming the demons of hunger and thirst, of panic fear,
of the glamour of Maya or matter, and of madness, able in rest to brood on the Eternal,
till the Eternal, possessing him body and soul, frees him from the having of self and
receives him into the ocean of Being. These beliefs the Musalman devotee shares to the
full. Like his Hindu brother the Musalman fakir reveres bhang as the lengthener of life,
the freer from the bonds of self. Bhang brings union with the Divine Spirit. 'We drank
bhang and the mystery I am He grew plain. So grand a result, so tiny a sin.''
NOTE BY BABU ABHILAS CHANDRA MUKERJI.
NOTE BY BABU ABHIILAS CHANDRA MUKERJI, SECOND INSPECTOR OF EXCISE, BENGAL, ON THE
ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF TRINATH WORSHIP IN EASTERN BENGAL,. '
Date of origin.--In 1867 Babu Annnda Chandra Kali or Kailai, of Dhamrai, a village in thana Sabhar of the Dacca district, first started the worship at the house of his father-in- law at Fattehpur in the Atia pargana of the Mymensingh district (sub-division Tangail). Antecedent: of the originator.--Dhamrai is an important village in the Dacca district for its car festival, which is annually held in honour of a local idol named Madhab Thakur, and which is witnessed by a large gathering of people. Ananda Chandra received education at the Dacca Normal School. After leaving school he served for some time as a pundit (schoolmaster), and then entered the Police Department, but was there only a short time. He is a Barendra Brahman and belongs to a respectable family. He learnt to smoke ganja when he was only a boy. His present age Is 60 years. He has the reputation of being a versifier. He smokes two pice worth of ganja every day.
He married at Fattehpur in the Mymensingh district. There he introduced Trinath worship 27 years ago. A panchali (poem) reciting the praises and exploits of Trinath was first published at Dacca in 1871 and the first edition (l,000 copies) was sold in a few months.
The circumstances under which the worship was first started.-Ananda Chandra Kali
was at the time living in the house of his father-in-law. He was thinking of introducing
the worship of a common god, who might be worshipped by all classes, rich and poor,
Brahman and Chandal, and by all creeds, Saktas, Baishnavas, and Shaivas, and the idea
occurred to him of having the present worship at which ordinary and inexpensive things,
such as ganja, oil, and betel-leaf, were alone to be used. ·
Trinath (from Sanskrit Tri, three, and Nath, lord) is represented to be Brahma, Bishnu and Shiva, the Hindu Trinity in one.
Being a ganja-smoker himself Ananda Kali may have also thought that by introducing the worship he would be able to save the ganja-smokers from disrepute, as then ganja could be consumed in the name of a god and under colour of doing a religious or pious act.
Religious aspect of the worship.--The following translation of the Introduction to the Trinath Mela Panchali gives some idea of the subject :
The universe consists of the earth, the heaven, and the nether world, and Trinath is
the lord of these three worlds.
"There was an incarnation of God in the form of Gour (Chaitanya), who delivered· the sinners by preaching the name of Hari, but the Lord was not satisfied with this, and became concerned for the created, and soon he became incarnate again. Brahma, Bishnu and Shiva, gods in three forms, manifested themselves in one form. The one God, the Lord of the. universe, seeing the miseries of mankind, came to their deliverance. Ananda (Ananda Chandra Kali, the originator)declares that the true and sincere worshippers of Trinath are sure to obtain salvation. Brahma, Bishnu, and Shiva met together and expressed their desire,
to come to this world in one form to receive worship. .
"He is a truly pious man who worships Trinath, and blessings are showered on the worshipper.
"The worship should be made in a form in which the rich and the poor may equally join and may perform it easily.
"Only three things, each worth one pice, are required for this puja (form of worship)..
The things which please all must be selected. The offering should consist of siddhi (ganja),. pan (betel-leaf), and oil, each worth one pice. .
"The votaries should assemble at night and worship with flowers. The ganja should
be washed in the manner in which people wash ganja for smoking. The worshipper must fill
three chillums with equal quantities of ganja, observing due awe and reverence.
When all, the worshippers are assembled the lamp should be lit with three wicks, and the
praises of Tri- should be sung. As long as the wicks burn, the god should be worshipped
and his praises chanted. The god should be reverentially bowed to at the close of the
puja. When the reading of the Panchali is finished, those that will not show
respect to the Prasad (the
offering which has been accepted by the god), i.e., chillum of ganja, shall be consigned to.
eternal hell, and the sincere worshippers shall go to heaven. ,
How the worship spread.--Anauda Kali commenced the puja with the aid of some ganja smokers in the village of Fattehpur. A large number of people consume ganja in the Dacca and Mymensingh districts, and the worship soon became popular. In fact it spread like wild-fire from one village to another among the ganja-smokers. Those that were not in the habit of consuming ganja also followed their example.
The following circumstances assisted the spread of the Worship :
I.--The puja is open to all classes from Brahmans to Chandals and to the rich and the
poor. Caste does not stand in its way, and it may be performed almost every day and in all
II.--The pup is a Manarik Puja (made in pursuance of a vow on the fulfillment of the object desired).. People have been led to believe that Trinath possesses the power of .healing the sick and fulfilling desires, and .that those who. neglect his worship meet with disgrace, while those who observe it attain success in life. There are several stories m the Panchali narrated in illustration of this statement. It is also popularly believed that in the house where Trinath is worshipped cold: fever and headache do not appear.
III.--This is a cheap form of worship. The puja can be performed by even the poorest, only three pies being required.
IV.--People of the lowest class can mix with those above them without distinction of caste or creed on the occasion of these pujas.
V.--Ganja eau be consumed by all in the name of a god, and the practice cannot be
looked down upon, because it is done under certain forms and religious ceremonies. It is
also popularly believed that those who mock the worshippers of Trinath shall be ruined and
shall be the victims of misfortune.
The worship prevails not only among the poor, but also among the well-to-do. The latter often entertain their friends after the puja.
Women do not take any active part in the worship, but they often listen to the reading. of the Panchali.
The worship is more or less general in the following districts :--(1) Dacca, (2) Mymensingh, (3) Faridpur, (4) Backergunge, (5) Noakhali, (6) Tippers, (7) Chittagong, (8) Bogra, (9) Sylhet, and (10) Pabna (SerajgaDj side). .,,
The worship is on the decline. It is almost dying out among the educated
]Jut among the masses it Still exists.
. I have ascertained the above facts from Dr. Chandra Sekhar Kali (brother of the
originator, Ananda Chandra Kali) and many other respectable persons, and also from
personal inquiries in the Daces, Chittagong and Rajshahi divisions.
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