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                                  NOTE BY MR. J. M. CAMPBELL, C.I.E.                             251

the Vijayā 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 ceases 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 and recovered. The fame of this cure brings to Benares suffer-
ers from fever which no ordinary medicine can cure. The sufferers are laid in the temple and
pour bhang over the Ling whose virtue has gained it the name Jvareshwar, the Fever-Lord.
In Bombay many people sick of fever vow on recovery to pour bhang over a Ling. Besides
as a 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 tongue 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
causes abscess, even madness. In moderation bhang is the best of gifts. Bhang is a cordial,
a bile absorber, an appetiser, a prolonger of life. Bhang quickens fancy, deepens thought, and
braces judgment.

As on other guardian-possessed objects, the cow, the Vedas, or the leaf of the bel tree,
oaths are taken on the bhang leaf. Even to a truthful witness an oath on the bhang leaf is
dreaded. To one who foreswears himself the bhang oath is death.

So holy a plant must play a leading part in temple rites. Shiva on fire with the poison
churned from the ocean was cooled by bhang. At another time enraged with family worries
the god withdrew to the fields. The cool shade of a plant soothed him. He crushed and ate
of the leaves, and the bhang refreshed him. For these two benefits bhang is Shankarpriya, the
beloved of Mahadev. So the right user of bhang or of ganja, before beginning to drink or to
smoke, offers the drug to Mahadev saying, lena Shankar, lena Babulnath: be pleased to take
it Shankar, take it Babulnath. According to the Shiva Purana, from the dark fourteenth of
Magh (January-February) to the light fourteenth of Ashadh (June-July), that is, during the
three months of the hot weather, bhang should be daily poured over the Ling of Shiva. If
not 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 or pradoshs, and on all dark fourteenths or shivratris, still more on
the Mahashivratri or Shiva's Great Night on the dark fourteenth of Magh (January-Feb-
ruary), 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, Guravas
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 sip
the bhang, since by sipping the bhang reaches and soothes the Shiva-Shakti or Shiva-spirit
in the sipper. On certain special occasions during failures of rain, during eclipses, and also in
times of war libations of bhang are poured over 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, Balaram, or Dauji, the elder brother
of Krishna. Baladev was fond of spirits, not of bhang. But Banias, Bhatias, and other high
class Hindus, not being able to offer spirits, instead of spirits present bhang. In Bombay
the offering of bhang to Baladev, unlike the special offerings to Shiva, is a common and every-
day rite. Without an offering of bhang no worship of Baladev is complete. 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 drinking
of bhang is common in Bombay in the temple of Dauji in Kalyan Kirparam lane near Bhu-
leshwar. 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 Navratra or
Nine Nights in Ashwin or September-October, those whose caste rules forbid liquor make a
pleasing spiced bhang. And as in the worship of Baladev all present, worshipper and minis-
trant 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 straitest 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 disfavour attach to the use of hemp drugs only when they are taken with no reli-
gious object and without observing the due religious rites.

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