Nepalese Holy Men Banned from Selling Cannabis During Shivaratri Festival
According to Hindu mythology, the god Shiva was an avid hashish smoker. In keeping with this ancient belief, thousands of sadhus— Hindu holy men– gather at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal every year to celebrate the festival of Shivaratri. During the celebration, devotees fast all day and hold all-night vigils. They also give offerings of cannabis leaves to Lord Shiva. The sadhus also smoke out in honor of Shiva.
But according to the BBC, authorities are cracking down on the sale of cannabis at this year’s Shivaratri, which begins tomorrow. While no one minds if they smoke hash for their own worship purposes, sadhus have been banned from selling the plant to festival-goers. “Over the past few years, the use of drugs has become more widespread and it’s also become commercial,” said Sushil Nahata of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT). “It has spoiled the essence of the festival.” PADT has formed a 25-member task force, including police officers, to enforce the ban on cannabis sales. Undercover officers have infiltrated the sadhus to identify dealers; some 20 have already been arrested.
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