Higher Learning, Kaneh Bosm

On extatic intoxication in religion



Chemical means, i. e., drugs, are employed almost exclusively by uncivilized peoples in order to produce intoxication during religious ceremonies. Brinton tells us that “in every savage tribe we find a knowledge of narcotic plants which were employed to induce strange and vivid hallucinations
or dreams …. The negroes of the Niger had their ‘fetish water‘, the Creek Indians of Florida their ‘black drink‘ for this purpose. In many parts of the United States the natives smoked stramonium, the Mexican tribes swallowed the peyotl and the snake-plant, the tribes of California and the Samoyeds of Siberia had found a poisonous toadstool; all to bring about
communication with the Divine and to induce extatic visions.”‘

The Indians of New Mexico who are “unacquainted with intoxicating liquors . . . find drunkenness, in ‘the fumes of a certain -herb smoked through a stone tube and used chiefly during their religious festivals.” Among the old Mexicans, a seed called Oliliuhgue entered into a vision-producing ” divine
medicine,” which could be obtained only from the priests.

” In the Indic and Iranian cult there was,” we are told, ” a direct worship of deified liquor analogous to Dionysiac rites.”

It has even been maintained that the whole Rig Veda is but a
collection of hymns for soma worship. The drinking ceremony was accompanied by magical incantations and by religious invocations. During the frequent libations that marked the sacrifice of soma, the officiating priest asked repeatedly for inspiration. He offered the liquor with these words:
“O,Indra, accept our offering . . . drink of the soma, thou the friend of prayer and of the liquor; well disposed God, drink in order to intoxicate thyself.” ” I pour it out into the double cavity of thy belly; may it spread through thy members; may it be sweet to thy taste; may it steal upon thee, O deliverer, veiled as women seeking a rendez-vous. Hero with the strong neck, full bellied, strong of arms, O Indra, praised by many, accept the pressed out soma, father of divine energy.”

Modern India has not renounced the use of drugs in religious ceremonies. The India Hemp Commission appointed by the English Government to investigate the use of hemp drugs in its Hindoo possessions, reported that several hemp preparations are ” extensively used in the exercise of religious
practices.” They found evidence of the “almost universal use of hemp drugs by fakirs, jogis, sanyasis, and ascetics of all classes, and more particularly by those devoted to the worship of Siva.”
The hemp plant is believed by priests and people to be a special attribute of that god.

Text source:

Extatic Intoxication in Religion
James H. Leuba
The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Oct., 1917)
Published by: University of Illinois Press

Image source:
Dervish Smoke Out, 1901

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Higher Learning, Yogi Dread

The Dakini Code

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Higher Learning, Kaneh Bosm, Yogi Dread

ON THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF TRINATH WORSHIP

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 piece.

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.”

From APPENDIX, NOTE BY BABU ABHIILAS CHANDRA MUKERJI, SECOND INSPECTOR OF EXCISE, BENGAL, ON THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF TRINATH WORSHIP IN EASTERN BENGAL, REPORT OF THE INDIAN HEMP DRUGS COMMISSION, 1893-94.

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