Marijuana in AtharvaVeda, Ayurveda and more...


Be it Sushruta Samhita, Bhava Prakasha, or even atharva veda, ancient sanskrit texts mention the use, and misuse, of marijuana or cannabis.

पञ्च राज्यानि वीरुधां
सोमश्रेष्ठानि ब्रूमः।
दर्भो भङ्गो यवः
सह ते नो मुञ्चन्तुअंहसः॥.

the meaning of these lines from atharva veda is, there are five types of plants that are the best source of sOma. May these plants relieve us from our troubles. One of these five, is Marijuana also known
as bhaṅgā in Sanskrit.

The meaning of the word, bhang, comes from the root word, bhajyate meaning breaking or splitting. marijuana, is called bhangA, because it creates a break, or a split, between your mental burden, and your own self.

This break is what causes the lightness and euphoria. While it lasts, this euphoria can be an extremely liberating experience, and is the main reason behind marijuana being so strongly associated with free thinking and libertarian movements.

This freedom from the burden of one's own mind, is also the reason behind unbridled and brilliant mental capabilities during a high. When the societal structures get too rigid, and demanding, it is natural for the mind to desire a break. While recreational and medical use of marijuana might not seem too harmful, it's capacity to create a break, could also eventually lead to a break down.

bhangA, has a long history of use in Ayurveda. It is classified as upa visha or a mildly toxic substance and has been used in healing preparations after proper processing, or shuddhi. The toxicity of marijuana is elaborated upon by many of the Rasa Shastras.

One of them, called Ananda Kanda has a whole chapter dedicated to bhangA, its toxicity, the procedures for cultivation, preparation, and consumption. In this chapter, the Ananda Kanda describes 9 successive stages of marijuana toxicity. This text also prescribes various antidotes
to counter the toxic and narcotic effects of excessive use of marijuana.

Let us now look at the exact sanskrit lines regarding marijuna, from some of the Ayurvedic textbooks.

verse 205 of bhavaprakasha,

bhangA kaphaharI tiktA grAhiNI pAchanI laghuH
tIkshNoshNA pittalA mOha mandavAg vahni vardhinI

this verse describes the various medicinal properties of marijuana. It calls, marijuana by names like ganjA, mAtulAnI, vijayA, and jayA. It is called a kAmadA, meaning, it increases libido, ruchyA, meaning it increases the sensation of taste, vAk vahni vardhini, meaning it causes
increased speech, and heightens the fire in the body. This applies to various faculties like digestion, sexual desire, and thought process, all of which are seen as various manifestations of agni, or fire. It is also called nidrakara, meaning, it induces sleep, madakrut, meaning it causes intoxcation, pAchanI, meaning it causes quick digestion.

It is also called kaphaharI, which means, it suppresses the production of mucus in the body. kapha is the property which causes coaggulation, and heaviniess, not just in the respiratory system, but throughout the body.

All these qualities make marijuana an excellent remedy for various disorders like epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, indigestion and impotency.

It is also used topically, to cure worm infested wounds and relieve pain. However, since it is categorized as upa-visha or mildly toxic, purification processes, called shOdhana, have to be performed before bhangA can be consumed.

It is also used in ayurvedic medicines like pushpadhanwa rasa, which enhances sexual stamina, and reduces premature ejaculation. jAti phaladi churna, which enhances the respiratory and digestive functions, in nidrOdaya rasa, which treats insomnia and nocturnal ejaculation in bahumUtrantak ras, which treats frequent urination, and in mahajwarankush ras, which brings balance to body temperature.

Other ayurvedic works like kaiyadeva nighantuh, and sushruta samhita, have similar descriptions of the benefits of marijuana. This fairly establishes that bhangA was not seen as a substance of taboo, in ancient indian culture.

It was even attributed divine qualities, of being a favourite of lord shiva. But what needs to be understood, is that it was not a substance to be abused. We extremely aware of it's toxic nature. Consumption of bhAng was always done after shuddhikarana. Even though it's toxic effects are not extensively mentioned, i think the reason behind it, is because once it was categorized as visha, maybe the sages trusted us, that we'll not intentionally poison ourselves.

So, should one use marijuana, or not ? If you are consuming it in smoke form, you should stop it immediately, you are slowly killing yourself. If you are consuming it orally, are the proper purification processes being done, to remove it's toxicity ? Essentially, the question we should ask ourselves when using the plant that breaks the mind,bhangA,is, is it giving you a break, or is it giving you a break down.

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I hope you enjoyed this article.

Marijuana in AtharvaVeda, Ayurveda and more... Marijuana in AtharvaVeda, Ayurveda and more... Reviewed by Niranjan Yamgar on August 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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