Mahashivratri fires marijuana debate in Guwahati. It is an integral part of our culture...


Mahashivratri fires marijuana debate in Guwahati

Gaurav Das, TNN Feb 20, 2012, 11.02PM IST
Sridhar Mishra head priest|

GUWAHATI: Devotees of Lord Shiva call it the 'food of the Gods' while rationalists say it is just another excuse for people to get high. Whatever the reason, consumption of banned narcotic substances on Mahashivratri is rampant, and even accepted, among all age groups. This is one day when clay chillums filled with crushed marijuana and dhatura seeds can be seen among flowers and fruits offered to Lord Shiva

Mahashivratri was celebrated across the state on Monday and there several worshippers looking for spiritual ecstasy queued up outside the famous Surkeshawar temple in Guwahati to pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva.

"I have been waiting here since early morning and I have been fasting as well. I have come here to pay my respects, and as you can see my plate is full of with His favourite bilva, bhang and datura," said Hari Deka, a devotee. On being asked if he would smoke a chillum, he said: "Of course I will smoke and my wife back home is preparing the traditional ghotta as Shivratri is incomplete without these."

Countless temples and street shrines across the city were decorated with flowers and devotees were busy preparing traditional vegetarian delicacies spiked with bhang. "We have managed to get ten liters of milk and several packets of dry sweets to enhance the flavour," said Shankar Singh, a shopkeeper who also manages a street shrine dedicated to the Lord Shiva at A T Road.

However, not everybody is celebrated the day with banned substances, and some even say that there can be no excuse to justify the use of banned drugs. "Even I worship Lord Shiva, but that doesn't mean that I will get high to pay my respect. Addicts use this day as just another excuse to get high," said Tapashi Das Khatanair, a housewife and a mother. "It is a bad influence that we are spreading among young people," she added.

Sridhar Mishra, head priest of a Shiva temple in Uzanbazaar in the city, disagrees: "Mahadev consumes all our sins so that we can be free from the repercussions of our bad deeds and bad karma doesn't follow us in our next life.

He, the Destroyer, is different from our other deities - bhang and datura are his favourite foods. It is an integral part of our culture, so why hide it away from it or even create a charade," he said.

"Whatever the world says regarding the bad influence of bhang is quite contradictory, and we should stick to our roots instead of following whatever is being said."


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