2Enakshi Ganguly = ""Ancient as it is, bhang has become a inseparable part of Indian tradition. So much so that it has become symbolic for a lot of things. They might be, or rather they are, pure superstitious believes. But if one understands the inherent sentimental and emotional nature of Indians, one can very easily feel the emotional bond people have with bhang. Associated with Lord Shiva, hemp plant is regarded holy by the Hindus. There is even a belief that to meet someone carrying bhang is an omen of success. And, if longing for hemp plant foretells happiness, to see it in dreams ensures prosperity for a person in future. Also, walking underfoot a holy bhang leaf spells doom for a person.People also strongly believe in the medicinal properties of the hemp plant. If taken in proper quantity bhang cures fever, dysentery and sunstroke. It helps to clear phlegm, quicken digestion, sharpen appetite, cure speak imperfection and lispering. Besides, it freshens the intellect and gives alertness to the body and gaiety to the mind.What is bhang?Cannabis Rank: Genus Genus of three closely related species, often hybridized.Cannabis is dioecious, i.e. individual plants are either male or female. The female plant is the more potent, especially when unpollinated (hence sinsemilla = without seed). The plant has an ancient relationship with humankind, and has long been cultivated as a source of medicine (the buds), fiber (the stalks), and food (the seeds). It has been found in neolithic Chinese archaeological sites, and is mentioned in the earliest Chinese pharmacopoeias. In India it is associated with Shiva and has played an important role in religious life as a sacred inebriant. Botanical Suffix: Linnaeus Habitat: Native to Central Asia, now found worldwide. Isolated Chemicals: THC Concentration varies greatly by strain. "Source: http://www.holifestival.org/tradition-of-bhang.html"
3Enakshi Ganguly = ""Why Shiva smokes Marijuana isn’t clearly answered. The answer lies in “Samudra Manthan” - Churning of the Cosmic Ocean. The Dev (gods) and Rakshashas (demons) got together for the colossal task of churning the cosmic ocean. Mount Mandara, was used as the pole to stir the waters. And Vishnu’s Koorma Avatar(Tortoise) balanced the mountain on its back thereby preventing it from sinking in the depths of the unfathomable ocean. The great serpent Vasuki was used as the churning rope. As the ocean was churned lot of goodies came out of it which the Devs and Rakshashas distributed amongst themselves. But from the depths of the ocean also came out the “Kalkoot” visha(poison). When the poison was taken out, it started heating up the cosmos considerably. Such was its heat that people started running in dread, animals started dying and plants started withering. The “Visha” had no taker hence Shiva came to everyone’s rescue and he drank the Visha. But, he did not swallow it. He kept the poison in his throat. Since then, Shiva's throat became blue, and he came to be known as Neelkantha or the blue-throated one.Now this caused immense heat and Shiva started getting restless. A restless Shiva is not a good omen. Hence the gods undertook the task of cooling Shiva off. According to one of the legends Chandra Dev (Moon god) made Shiva’s hair his abode to cool him. Some legends even claim that Shiva moved to Kailash (which has subzero temperatures all year round) post the Samudra Manthan episode. Shiva’s head was covered with “Bilva Patra”. So you see everything was being done to cool Shiva off Now coming back to the question – Marijuana is supposed to be a coolant. It lowers down the body’s metabolism and that brings the overall body temperature down. Same is the case with Cannabis (Bhang) and Datura. Bhang and Datura are closely associated with Shiva as well."Source: http://www.quora.com/Why-Shiva-was-always-high-on-marijuana-being-a-god"