The Churning of the Ocean of Milk

Contemporary painting of Vishnu seated in the Ocean of Milk, as Brahma, Shiva and other deities approach from the shore. Illustration by Kailash Raj (1) (Click to enlarge)Contemporary painting of Vishnu seated in the Ocean of Milk, as Brahma, Shiva and other deities approach from the shore. Illustration by Kailash Raj (1) (Click to enlarge)CANNABIS CULTURE – Did you know that the largest continual human gathering in the world, Kumbha Mela, is based around the myth of the making of the Cosmic bhang?

(For all those neophytes out there, bhang is a drink made from cannabis).

I am still putting the finishing touches on my book Cannabis and the Soma Solution and recently revised some more of the material in my chapter on India:

Excerpt from Cannabis and the Soma Solution:

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk

In Hinduism, Samudra manthan or The Churning of the Ocean of Milk is one of the most famous episodes in the Puranas (500-300 BC) and the story is still celebrated in the popular festivals known as the Kumbha Mela. Interestingly, this ancient myth, composed within about two centuries after the initial pogrom against Soma, seemingly takes sacramental hemp use out of the cult of Indra, Lord of Soma, and instills it with the devotees of Shiva, Lord of bhang.

Article on Soma:

Video on Soma:

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk tells the story of the search for the elixir of immortality, amrita, by both the gods in order to restore their waning strength. The myth relates that long ago, Indra, king of the gods and all of the three worlds, had grown rude and arrogant. As a result of this insolence, when the great rishi Duravas, a portion of Shiva, placed a garland as an offering before Indra, who rode upon an elephant, Indra placed the offering on the trunk of the elephant, who grew irritated at its smell, throwing it off and stomping on the garland in front of the insulted Duravas, who called down a curse on Indra for his arrogance.

Due to Duravas’ curse, Indra and all his domain of the three worlds, including the other Gods, were weakened and sent into ruin and this allowed the demons the opportunity to exert their strength against the weakened gods. The Gods turned to Brahma, who advised them to seek Vishnu, the tamer of demons. Brahma led the gods along the edge of the Ocean of Milk to Vishnu’s seat, where they prayed for his aid.

Vishnu promised to restore their strength by ordering them to prepare the amrita, a sacred substance that bestows immortality and vigor, telling them “Do now as I command: cast into the Milky Sea potent herbs, then take Mount Mandara for churning-stick, the serpent Vasuki for rope, and churn the Ocean for the dew of life [amrita]” (Coomaraswamy & Nivedita, 1914). Thus wrapping the huge serpent around the mountain, together they could use it as a giant pestle in order the churn the “potent herbs” they cast into the Ocean of milk and make amrita! Here we see a cosmic account that clearly parallels the use of the mortar and pestle to grind milk and cannabis in order to make the earthly bhang.

19th century painting depicting the gods and demons using a mountain as a pestle to churn “potent herbs” into the Ocean of Milk in order to produce the sacred amrita, i.e making the cosmic bhang.19th century painting depicting the gods and demons using a mountain as a pestle to churn “potent herbs” into the Ocean of Milk in order to produce the sacred amrita, i.e making the cosmic bhang.Vishnu tells the Gods that the job before them will be far too large for them to complete on their own, and they will need the help of the daityas (demons) to accomplish the task. Vishnu then tells the Gods to promise a share of the amrita to the demons, and to tell them it will bestow immortality upon them. But this was a trick, as Vishnu explained “I shall see to it they shall have no share of the water of life, their share will be of the labor only” (Coomaraswamy & Nivedita, 1914).

As the Gods and demons joined together in churning the Ocean of Milk, various things began to rise out of as a result, first the wish-giving cow, Surabhi, rose out, delighting gods and demons alike, then Varuni, with rolling eyes, the divinity of wine, followed by the Parijata, the fragrant tree of Paradise, then the graceful troops of apsaras. These were followed by the moon, which was grasped by Shiva and placed upon his brow, and then a draught of deadly poison, also taken by Shiva who drank of it, lest it should destroy the world, a selfless act that is said to have turned the God blue when the poison became stuck in his throat. Then appeared Dhanwantari holding in his hand the vessel of amrita, the dew of life, lighting up the eyes of both the Gods and demons with desire.

The story has it that after the amrita appeared in the Kumbha (urn) the demons attempted to gain control of it and as a result a 12 day battle, equal to twelve earthly years , took place between the Gods and the demons in the heavens. During the battle, the celestial bird, the Garuda, (known for his association with Soma) flew away with the Kumbha of amrita to protect it from the hands of the demons.

Contemporary image of Shiva “Concocting bhang”  by churning hemp with a pestle into a bowl of milk. (2)Contemporary image of Shiva “Concocting bhang” by churning hemp with a pestle into a bowl of milk. (2)To insure that the precious amrita did not fall into the hands of the demons, the Kumbha (vessel) of nectar was temporarily hidden at four places on the earth – Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. At each of these places, a drop of the nectar was said to have spilled from the pot and from these drops of this precious water of immortality it is believed that these places acquired mystical power. Kumbha Mela is celebrated at the four places every twelve years for this reason. Ancient tradition has it that one of the miracles that resulted from the spilling of the amrita was the creation of Hemp.

“[Cannabis]… was originally produced, like nectar from the ocean by the churning with Mount Mandara, and inasmuch as it gives victory in the three worlds, it, the delight of the king of the gods, is called Vijaya, the victorious. This desire-fulfilling drug was obtained by men on the earth, through desire for the welfare of all people.” (Grierson, 1893)

With the aid of Vishnu, the Gods finally overcame the demons and eventually gained control of the pot of amrita. Invigorated by the sacred elixir, the Gods were able to drive the demons down to hell and order and prosperity was restored to the three worlds. In honour of their success against the demons the Gods gave cannabis the name Vijaya (“Victory”) to commemorate the event.

The God most closely associated with the collecting of the amrita, was Shiva, and his devotees still partake of cannabis in commemoration of this event to this day. “The votaries of Eudra-Siva are addicted to Cannabis sativa” (Chakbraberty, 1944). “According to the old Hindu poems, God Shiva brought down the hemp plant from the Himalayas and gave it to mankind” (Chopra, 1939). [3] This close association clearly goes back back to the myth of The Churning of the Ocean of Milk: “Shiva on fire with the poison churned from the ocean was cooled by bhang” (Campbell, 1894).

According to one account, when nectar was produced from the churning of the ocean, something was wanted to purify the nectar. The deity supplied the want of a nectar-cleanser by creating bhang. This bhang Mahadev [Shiva] made from his own body, and so it is called angaj or body-born. According to another account some nectar dropped to the ground and from the ground the bhang plant sprang. It was because they used this child of nectar or of Mahadev in agreement of religious forms that the seers or Rishis became Siddha or one with the deity. He who despite the example of the Rishis, uses no bhang shall lose his happiness in this life and in the life to come. In the end he shall be cast into hell. The mere sight of bhang, cleanses from as much sin as a thousand horse-sacrifices or a thousand pilgrimages. He who scandalizes the user of bhang shall suffer the torments of hell so long as the sun endures. He who drinks bhang foolishly or for pleasure without religious rites is as guilty as the sinner… of sins. He who drinks wisely and according to rule, be he ever so low, even though his body is smeared with human ordure and urine, is Shiva. No god or man is as good as the religious drinker of bhang. The students of the scriptures at Beanres are given bhang before they sit to study. At Benares, Ujjain, the other holy places, the yogis, bairagis, and sanyasis take deep draughts of bhang that they may center there thoughts on the Eternal.

The Hindu poet of Shiva, the Great Spirit that living in bhang passes into the drinker, sings of bhang as the clearer of ignorance, the giver of knowledge. No gem or jewel can touch in value bhang taken truly and reverently. He who drinks bhang drinks Shiva. The soul in whom the spirit of bhang finds a home glides into the ocean of Being freed from the weary round of matter-blinded self.

…. So the right user of bhang or of ganja, before beginning to drinker smoke, offers the drug to Mahadev saying, lena Shankar, lena Babulnath: [4] be pleased to take Shankar, take it Babulnath. According to the Shiva Parann, from the dark fourteenth of Magh (January-February) to the light fourteenth of Asbadh (June-July), that is, during the three months of the hot weather, bhang should be daily poured over the Ling [sacred phallic image]of Shiva 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 pradoshs, and on all dark fourteenths or shivratris still more on the Mahashivratri or Shiva’s Great Night on dark fourteenth of Magh (January-February.), 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. (Campbell, 1894)

A contemporary depiction shows Shiva partaking of bhang [above right], which is being offered by his wife Parvati while his elephant headed son Ganesh [5] prepares more of the sacred elixir with a mortar and pestle in the foreground, (by Kailash Raj).[6] Considering this image of family bliss and the making of bhang, it is interesting to note that in one myth about the discovery of cannabis, Shiva “enraged with family worries…withdrew to the fields. The cool shade .of a plant soothed him. He crushed and partook of the leaves, and the bhang refreshed him… So the right user of bhang or of ganja, before beginning to drink or smoke, offers the drug to Mahadev saying, lena Shankar, lena Babulnath: be pleased to take Shankar, take it Babulnath”(Campbell, 1894).

A group of bhang Drinker depicted in an early 20th century postcardA group of bhang Drinker depicted in an early 20th century postcardAs The Churning of the Ocean of Milk is a story that identifies the origins of cannabis with amrita, it is interesting that the ancient Vedic text the Satapatha Brahamana, identifies Soma with both amrita and with cannabis.

Satapatha Brahmana, “Soma is a God, since Soma (the moon) is in the sky. ‘Soma, forsooth, was Vrita; his body is the same as the mountains and rocks: thereon grows the plant Usana,’—so said Svetateketu Auddalaki ‘they fetch it hither and press it; and by means of the consecration and the Upasads, by the Tanunaptra and the strengthening they make it into Soma.’ And in like manner does he now make it into Soma by means of consecration and the Upasads, by the Tanunaptra and the strengthening.”

In 1921 an article by Braja Lal Mukherjee, The Soma Plant, which appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Mukherjee explained that the ‘u’ in ‘usana’ was a prefix carryover from the Kiratas, with whom Soma originated, and when the ‘u’ is dropped you return to one of the original Sanskrit names for cannabis ‘sana’.

The Satapatha Brahamana, also records of the amrita that this “same nectar of immortality is Soma.” [7] “In some Puranic texts Soma, the moon god, was seen as the receptacle of the amrita. amrita and soma are often conflated. Like amrita, soma is also compared in the Rg Veda to rain or the milk from the heavenly cows, which are the clouds” (Duncan, 1990). “In the Vedas, the name amrita is used to signify various items that are sacrificed, but it is particularly applied to soma juice” (Coulter & Turner, 2000). “amrita: … ‘Immortality.’ Literally ‘without death (mrita)’… This word is apparently related to Greek ambrotos, ‘immortal,’ hence ambrosia the food or drink of the Gods, which has its Vedic equivalent in the legendary elixir called soma, a central element in Vedic rites…” (Subramuniyaswami, et al., 2007).

Literal meaning [of amrita]: ‘non-dead’. The water of life in Hindu mythology. It was recovered by the Churning of the Ocean….

Probably identical with soma, the favorite beverage of Indra, amrita is an echo of practices that must antedate the Aryan invasion…. “We have drunk Soma,” the Vedas recall, “we have become immortal, we have entered into the light, we have known the gods.” Its exhilarating qualities serve to remind us of the role of drugs in ancient religions. (Cotterell, 1979)

Thus the amrita of the Puranas can be seen as the “Heavenly Soma” which was drunk by the gods from the receptacle of the moon, and when the nectar spilled from the khumba (vessel) which held it fell upon the earth, the earth produced cannabis, the worldly portion of amrita, an identification clearly marking hemp as the earthly counterpart of the heavenly Soma/amrita.

Drinking of cannabis in the form of bhang can be traced considerably back in time. The current form follows the tradition of ritual use prescribed for soma, such as washing, grinding, mixing with milk and spiritual invocation…. The use of bhang by Brahmans and householders at festivals has a form and style that may be traced to soma… (Morningstar, 1985)

To this day, Hindu Holy men, sadhus, and other worshippers, celebrate their most important festival, the Kumbha Mela, smoking chillums of hashish, and drinking draughts of bhang in honour of Lord Shiva every 3 years at one of the four sacred spots that the amrita is believed to have been spilled, returning to each of the four holy sites in a twelve years cycle. Over 60 million worshippers are said to have attended the 2001 Kumbha Mela, making it the largest human gathering ever. The next Kumbh Mella begins in February 2010 in Haridwar, India.


2. Image from
3. As quoted in (Merlin, 1973).
4. Mahadev , Shankar, Babulnath are all epithets of Shiva.
5. Ganesh’s acquisition of an elephant’s head is also another story that accounts the degradation of the former king of the Gods Indra. Ancient Puranic myths relate that at bathing time, the Goddess Parvati, wife of Shiva, created Ganesh as a Suddha, or pure white being, out of the essence of her body, and placed Him at the entrance of People gathering for Kumbha Mela.People gathering for Kumbha Mela.the house. Parvati commanded her son not to allow anybody inside and then went for a bath. After a long sojourn away, Shiva returned home to Parvati, and Ganesh blocked Shiva’s way. In the ensuing battle Shiva took Ganesh to be an outsider and cut off the head of Ganesh. Shortly after, as Parvati emerged from their home and he witnessed her sorrow and grief upon seeing the body of her beheaded son, he realized the grievous mistake he had made. Vishnu, seeing the tragedy that had befallen this holy family, went to bring the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head northwards and thus, the head of the Iravat (The elephant of Indira) was cut off and Vishnu joined the head of the elephant to the beheaded body of Ganesh.
7. Fifth Adhyaya First Brahmana: 8

Chris Bennett is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the history of cannabis, having written dozens of articles in Cannabis Culture, High Times, and other magazines as well as three books dealing with the subject; Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion (Access Unlimited, 1995), Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (Forbidden Fruit Publishing, 2001) and the upcoming Cannabis and the Soma Solution (TrineDay, 2010). Read his CC Blog here.



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  563. Anonymous on

    The “19th century painting depicting the gods and demons using a mountain as a pestle to churn “potent herbs” into the Ocean of Milk in order to produce the sacred amrita, i.e making the cosmic bhang.”

    Do you have details of the artist, or what/where the original source of the painting is?

  564. Brad in Oz on

    drug free faith…

    Personally I believe that there’s strong evidence suggesting MOST of the worlds major religions were derived (a looong time ago) from the use of intoxicating plants, and indeed this is why the MAJORITY of modern surviving “primitive” religions (derogitory ref from other religions) still use (or recently used) intoxicating plants (where ever available) as a crucial part of their beliefs eg. Peyote, Ayahuasca, Morning Glory, Cannabis, Psilocybes, Pituri, etc,etc…

    In fact, dare I say it;
    I believe that there’s much more archeological evidence for Christinity having been derived from the use of hallucinogenic plants combined with the ramblings of mentally ill persons than there is archeological (physical) evidence that Jesus existed!

    Go read Plant of the Gods with an OPEN mind (something you sadly probably lost as a young child).

    Remember it’s a human trait to lose objectivity (the entire premise of science) and to group, catagorize or just go with the flow (or what seems right) – but resisting this urge yields previously unimaginable rewards!

  565. heide on

    yep you got it im a racist
    but you missed my point entirely
    what exactly did george mean when he said
    take the indian hemp seed and plant it everywhere?
    was he talking about seed that came from india ?
    or was he talking about the the seed he and his minions had gotten from the tuscarora nation?before they tried to killthe entire people off the face of the earth..
    for you see the tuscarora people had been growing cannabis/hemp for centuries,,and using it for medicine for body mind and spirit ,as well as food ect.. before the white man even knew there was a place they then called the “new world”
    now i have asked the goddess help wrap your mind around this concept..cannabis /hemp was known here,europe,asia and africa,it didnt get brought here it was already here..

    as for the drug wars in asia far as ive studied all that started with the usa war on cannabis
    which was decided needed to spill over onto the whole of the earth
    which in turn was started as i said before by the whitemans need to control everything and everyone..
    federal prohibition started in 1937,,with this statement…
    marijuana makes white women seek relation with black men…

  566. Anonymous on

    People might take you more seriously if you could stay on point without descending into high school mentality. Right now, it appears you don\’t have very much to add to this discussion.

    You started off ok, but when Chris destroyed your arguments you then switch to ad hominem and condescending language. A sure sign you are on the weaker side of the argument.

  567. Anonymous on

    Wow, you sound like a right twat and bitter about life.

  568. Read about it on

    Have you even read the Bible? Where does it mention anything about Christmas or Easter. Just because some person added something to tradition does not mean that the religion has changed. Christianity is about giving up your earthly desires and doing what is right in the eyes of God. God made plants, including cannabis, but that doesn’t make them good or bad, it’s how we use or abuse what is given to us that makes them that. God also gave man the power to choose between right and wrong, so choose for yourself what is right or wrong. After all, it all comes down to the individual.

  569. Chris Bennett on

    Actually, the oldest evidence we have indicates that cannabis was originally first used for its psychoactive properties by white people. The late archaeologist Andrew Sherratt of the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, pointed to the use of cannabis incenses at a gravesite of a group known as the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the Kurgans, who occupied what is now Romania 5,000 years ago.

    The discovery of a smoking-cup which contained remnants of charred hemp seeds at the site documents that at 3,500 years before Christ humanity had already been using cannabis for religious purposes for millennia.

    These same people were the first to domesticate the horse, and it was with them that we find the linguistic roots of the term ‘cannabis’, which comes from an ancient Proto- Indo-European root word, “kanap”; the “an” from this root left traces in many modern terms for cannabis, such as French “chanvre”, German “hanf”, Indian “bhang”, Persian “bhanga”, Dutch “Canvas”, Greek “Kannabis,” and so on. Through their high mobility, these ancient ancestors of numerous modern cultures spread not only the plant and name, but also the religious and magical connotations that had grown around it. Evidence of this has even left their traces in some of the world’s oldest existing religions.

    If you have some evidence that cannabis was indigenous to North America, it would be great to see it. Otherwise, deal with the facts.

    Also, if what you are saying about the white-man is true, why are there people being killed for cannabis in Asia and the Mid-East? The problems you refer to are people probles not race ones. Unfortunately you are a racist.

  570. heide on

    now on this subject me thinks you and i could agree..the herb was here long before the whiteman came,,as well in many other places on earth…the white man in his ignorance and fear, and self appointed heavenly mandate to civilize the savage,,control the whole earth…when the whiteman got ahold of jesus,,and christianity,,it wasnt about love,,it was about power. burned many things,their own people,medicine women,ect.,whole continents,,with a cross in one hand and a gun or sword in the other,,they have ravaged the earth…..and still today it continues..that is why prohibiton of the herb started in the first damb place
    greed and the whitemans need to control everything and everyone…

  571. heide on

    hippies also know that some cannabis that is used for smoking is going to have seeds in its buds depending on variety of said substance..
    as well that female clones of the herb come from a mother who started from seed….

    hippies also know that cannabis is one of the best herbs found in nature for many uses…
    and none of your psychotic dribble is going to change this fact
    so mr anon issue please keep it up u so funny..i like u.. i get a good giggle everytime i read your post

  572. Dylan Haddock on

    May you achieve great success. 😉
    It is about time the feds started doing more than pay lip service to freedom of religion.

    Is there somewhere you are documenting the case online?



  573. Anonymous on

    Sorry you’re confused, but he meant that just by having the hemp products he does today proves that awareness and acceptance are growing rapidly, and not declining like you believe. As far as what defines a hero, well that is highly subjective and from what I’ve seen there are thousands that would contest your view of a man neither of us have met. Regardless, I think the chance of US industry using the best methods possible to grow and thrive will happen in time.

  574. Chris Bennett on

    Just waiting on the federal governemnt to submit their afidavits in early Feb., and too see if they accept or reject the 3 afidavits I submitted from professors.

  575. Dylan Haddock on

    Dear Chris,
    Thank you so much for your exhaustive research into this topic. You are an inspiration and I look forward to reading your books when I get the opportunity. In the meantime articles like this are awesome to read.

    I really appreciate that you answer your “negative comments” in a very thoughtful and kind manner providing ample evidence for ANONYMOUS, and such, to be seen in light of hi/r ignorance.

    Love and light from South East Asia to you.
    Any news on your court challenge?

    May the work you are doing serve to bring the benefits of “the Tree of Life” to all everywhere on “God’s Green Earth”.

    In peace and freedom,

    Dylan Niall Haddock

  576. Anonymous on

    Thanks Chris, I’ll look into it know..

  577. Anonymous on

    You sound dangerous to your own people my freind.
    How can you KNOW that we are all the same and yet say that.
    Your own lineage respects and loves and cherishes ALL LIFE!
    Not just what you choose, you are being hypocritical to all your teachings my freind.
    Skin Colour or birth ancestry has no bearing, if that person, treats you not right then judge but why judge a whole species when some would give their lives to save yours seeing it as all life, precious no matter what their history
    I Don’t beleive in Religion my freind but I do beleive in Nature and it has taught me even animals of enemy and survival in strange circumstances can instead become family.
    Have you never come across and animal being mother to one that was not it’s own?
    Listen to nature your people are one with and learn negative and hurt bleeds from you and into all your surrounding, including your loved ones.
    Stop being angry with the Whiteman and stop and listen and learn, the Raven has something to say but you refuse to listen…

  578. Covey69 on

    You sound like you are explaining yourself, Chris is not a christian and is looking at the Bible as a possibly knowledge of history and a book, noting more.
    You see Super Jesus Flying in one day to save us all, dadada- da.
    Who here seems more rational, hmmmm…
    Sounds to me like you are so blind by your faith that you don’t even know your Book is full of contradictions.
    Explain to me why each Apostle that speaks of Jesus s resurrection in a different way.
    One says the Guard helped him carry his cross while others say he carried himself and they’re not even sure who was at the cave, everyone has different recollections on who was their and when..
    It’s most likely Jesus was an incredible person as wonderful as Gandhi except the people who wanted control of us created the Super Jesus story embellishing to control the masses, none of us can be equal to and we have to wait for him to save us , instead of saving ourselves.
    How long do you think we should wait for that?
    2000 years and still nothing..


    I beleive in Jesus but he was a amazing wonderful, loving caring, human being who made an amazing movement like Gandhi and then Religion made him from someone to something.
    Like Hollywood did with Gandhi, if you speak to people even this many years later from their country he is thought of as a very good man, but still a man we all can be too.

  579. Chris Bennett on

    hey thanks for the thoughts. I have ahard time breaking some of this stuff down to five minutes, but there is a load of stuff on youtube if you put in my name and cannabis or marijuana along with it. Also ther are about 50 shows on under Burning Shiva I did betwe 2000-2005.

  580. Covey69 on

    Wow is that the stupidest thing I have ever heard..
    I guess all science is also a perversion as a matter of fact, you might want to say the earth is flat as well.
    the food they GM is also a perversion to..(not perversion of Heaven but perhaps a perversion of ignorance and LONG TERM SUFFERING that may come yet becasue of it)
    please since you’ve obviously spoken to heaven and learned the mandate, can you explain please??
    And I am SO PROUD to be a HIPPIE!
    They have to start with seeds or their would be no plant and you might want to go to all those old peoples homes and explain they will be residing in hell for eternity for grafting their apples and oranges and tomatoes to becasue Heavenly Mandate requires us to stay stupid.

  581. Anonymous on

    World hunger exist NOT becasue of lack of food, it’s becasue of lack of Commerce, OUR MONEY countries go in and buy fertile land in starving countries just so we don’t have to be seasonal and wait.

    Why are we wasting our time speaking to people like this who obviously will not reason and argue with facts or logic and refuse to do any any real research; only personal attacks.

  582. Chris Bennett on

    In 1921 Murkherjee noted the use of the terms similar to “Soma” in the names for cannabis in the languages of the Tibetans, “somarasta”: and the Tanguts, “dschoma”. A connection that has been noted by a variety of other sources; “[T]he Tibetan word for Cannabis and its drug products is So.Ma.Ra.Dza. This appears to be a direct borrowing from the Sanskrit soma-raja (Eng.: ‘King soma’, ‘Royal soma’). The term soma-raja is glossed as ‘king soma, the moon’ in Monier-Williams’ Sanskrit dictionary although the RIG VEDA, in its hymns of praise to the drug, refers to it frequently as ‘King soma’ (8.48.8, 8.79.8 etc.)” (Crowley, 1996). As Helsinki researcher Pentti Aalto has also noted: “…[I]n Tibetan the hemp is, according to the lexica, so ma, so ma raja or zla ba (=Moon, since in India Soma as a god was identified with the Moon)… [and] other synomonous names,… root shoot of the moon… ‘the king (?) of the Moon’” (Aalto, 1998). THE RANGJUNG YESHE TIBETAN-ENGLISH DHARMA DICTIONARY (2003) lists the following cannabis and other potentially related words under ‘so ma’:

    so ma – genuine, naturalness, no bias in its naturalness… new, climbing plant whose juice was offered to the gods and Hindus worshipped for intoxicating qualities, fresh, freshness [JV]

    so ma – hemp; freshness; fresh, freshness Syn naturalness, [present awareness], brand new.

    so ma ra tsa’i ngan thag – hashish [JV]

    so ma ra rtsa – hemp [JV]

    so ma ra tsha – hemp, marijuana, flax, jute [IW]

    so ma ra dza – flax cannabis sativa l. [JV]

    so ma rwa dza – datura stramonium l. [JV] [likely included through the sense of its intoxicating properties]

  583. Anonymous on

    Christianity (and Islam) is a perverted version of Judaism; a Jesus-facade pulled over the eyes of European folks who have an older, truer, and ancestral tradition still living. Christians have so little imagination, and a horrible message, that it feels the need to steal everything from other religions (trinity, easter, christmas, etc.).

    Cannabis will not awaken the retarded giant of Christianity, that religion is as good as dead.

  584. Anonymous on

    You sound like a missionary Chris,, mopping up criticism to the whitemans treaty and walking in the redmans’ shoes – for a few yards..while the audience squints

  585. Anonymous on

    We note when you need the Bible to back your theories up, its a wonderful important sacred book.,. however when it doesn’t suit your immediate purpose its a fraud with old men pulling strings to make everybody miserable

    Hope you sell dozens of copies of your new Book Chris-
    thumbs up- see? there is life past Harry Potter

  586. Anonymous on

    so your food, clothing & office supplies talk to you

    a hero makes makes significant sacrifices for other people?
    How does the author of an American industrial fantasy book that didn;t inspire his nations’ industry to act on his suggestions add up to hero? Doesn’t hero have something to do with action ? Deeds not words? He’s not dead yet- there is still time for US Industry to go hemp.. but really, what’s the chance of that happening?
    ask your milkshake, your scratchpad or your pajamas why that is.

  587. Paul on

    A few years ago I looked up the Tibetan word for cannabis in an English-Tibetan dictionary and it is soma.

    The number of truly septic opinions that appear in comments at this website never cease amaze me. Canada clearly has its share of bitter and twisted people. Is the alcoholic anglo/irish/scotish/french colonial legacy a big factor?

  588. Bradson on

    It had a typo, but I found the site. It’s interesting that the cannabis leaf is commonly used in modern graphics concerned with cannabis yet not present in older Indian art even though these images are clearly about cannabis use. If I ever stumble on to a reliable historical answer to this odd omission I’ll pass it along.

  589. Chris Bennett on

    Actually those little green things are bhang balls. One reason might be that the cannabis used in these pictures would not be big beautiful buds, but the crushed up cannabis used for making bhang.

    If you go to though, and enter bhang in their search engine, you will see that the description of the paintings identifies the bhang in them. I bought those 3 paintings of Shiva making and drinking bhang myself. They also have some great depictions of chillum smokers and hookah smokers.

    Curiously, although I have seen a number of pictures of people making bhang and smoking cannabis by a variety of Indian artists, I have never seen one that clearly depicts a cannabis plant.

  590. Chris Bennett on

    I am a big fan of Evo Morales, and his outspoken fight for the Coca plant. The right to plants is the natural indigenous right of all people. My European ancestors have been smoking and ingesting cannabis, according to reliable archeological evidence,for over 5,500 years. Its my natural right to use it.

  591. Chris Bennett on

    So you are saying North America had both books and cannabis before the arrival of Europeans? That is just not true.

    There is no credible archeological evidence for either of those claims.

    I like the story of Black Elk’s Vision for an analogy cananbis come sto make up for the loss of the Buffalo herds.

    Black Elk’s Vision is a Native Indian Apocalyptic prophecy made at the turn of the century contains many references to a sacred pipe and herbs of power. In “Black Elk Speaks Of His Great Vision” , Black Elk tells us that the Indian people will be brought back together after much suffering.

    In his vision Black Elk is taken to a council of elders: The oldest spoke again: “Your Grandfathers all over the world are having a council, and they have called you to teach you.” His voice was kind, but I shook all over with fear now, for I knew that these were not old men but the Powers of the World.

    One of the Grandfathers gives Black Elk a pipe and tells him “With this pipe you shall walk upon the Earth, and whatever sickens there you will make well.”
    And now another Grandfather spoke, he of the place where you are always
    facing, whence comes the power to grow. “Younger Brother,” he said, “with
    the powers of a nation I shall give you, and with it many you will save.”
    And I saw that he was holding in his right hand a bright red stick that
    was alive, and as I looked it sprouted at the top and sent forth branches,
    and on the branches many leaves came out and murmured, and in the leaves
    the birds began to sing.

    And then for just a little while I thought I saw beneath it in the shade
    the circled villages of people, and every living thing with roots or legs
    or wings, and all were happy.

    “It shall stand in the center of the Nations circle.” said the Grandfather,”a
    cane to walk with and a people’s heart; and by your powers you shall make
    it blossom.”

    A sacred man rolls on the ground before Black Elk, and in his wake appears a healthy Bison, which in turn is replaced by a sacred herb with four blossoms. Each of the herb’s blossoms are of a different colour, representing the different races of humanity.

    Black Elk interprets this as meaning that the Indian Nation would lose the bison but this herb would serve the Indians as another source of strength.

    He explains that “all the people seemed better when the herb had grown and bloomed.”

    And later we are told suddenly the flowering tree was there again at the center of the nation’s hoop where the four-rayed herb had blossomed.
    Then as I stood there, two men were coming from the East, head first
    like flying arrows, and between them rose the day-break star. They came
    and gave a herb to me and said, “With this on earth you shall undertake
    anything and do it.”

    It was the day-break-star herb,the herb of understanding, and they told me to drop it to earth. I saw it falling far, and when it struck the earth it rooted and grew and flowered,four blossoms on one stem.

    Black Elk tells us that I saw more than I can tell and I understand more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner.

    Although Black Elk never specifically names the herb in question, his vision connects the sacred herb with a sacred tree, and in light of John Splitting-the-Sky Hill’s comments it seems reasonable to conclude that Black Elk was referring to cannabis.

    So the next time you are gathered in a sacred circle to pass the pipe, or share communion via a ‘joint’, pay reverence for the Good Medicine from the Great Spirit, that can be found in that sacred herb which you so enjoy smoking, and remember it isa gift for all of Humanity, which is One.

    My brother, obviously have deep issues of racism, and I am sorry for the life expereince that has led to that, but I don’t feel responsible for it, just a victim of that history as you are. Before Catholocism swept through Europe, the people there were earth worshipping pagans, Celtics, Druids, etc, this culture was ripped away from European humanity by Chrisitanity in the same way that Native American culture was ripped away from them. It took centuries of dark Ages to accomplish this dark task, and thousands upon thousands lost their lives. It is the spread of ideas that are the issues, not the color of a man’s skin. Humanity is One.

  592. Anonymous on

    Posted by [email protected] at 7:29 AM 2 comments Links to this post
    Thursday, January 7, 2010
    Bolivia President Calls Alternative Climate Meeting

    Bolivia Leader Calls Alternative Climate Meeting
    Photo copyright by Earl Tulley, Navajo, in Copenhagen

    LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday he’s inviting activists, scientists and government officials from around the world to an alternative climate conference following the failure of a summit in Copenhagen to produce binding agreements.

    The leftist leader said the April 20-22 meeting in Cochabamba will include indigenous peoples, social movements, environmentalists and scientists as well as governments ”who want to work with their people.”

    Morales said the meeting is meant partly to pressure industrialized nations to accept that they have a ”climate debt” to poor countries and will work toward an international court on environmental crimes.

    Other topics will include a ”universal proposal for the rights of mother earth” and the transfer of technology.

    Last month’s 193-nation climate summit in Copenhagen agreed on creation of a fund to help poor nations but it was vague on how the money will be raised.

    Bolivia was one of five countries to block a consensus on accepting the Copenhagen Accord brokered by President Barack Obama, arguing that the deal was done in secret by a small group of countries.

    Lacking agreement by all 193 countries, the document was ”noted” by the conference, giving it less moral and legal weight than if it had been formally adopted.

    In his speech to the assembly and in a press conference during the summit, Morales railed against capitalism and imperialism, which he said spawned the problem of climate change by ignoring the rights of nature and the rights of indigenous peoples.

    He denounced industrialized countries for pledging $10 billion a year to help countries meet the challenges of climate change, while spending ”trillions to fight unnecessary wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    On Tuesday, Morales called the Copenhagen summit ”a triumph of the people” because ”the presidents came, proposed and went without hearing, but this time they could not impose their declaration.”
    fuck europe, and most of all,…..lying europeans,go home!this is NOT!! your homelands and you have NO RIGHT to be here. So, i guess your all wrong euros, are you not?

  593. Chris Bennett on

    That is like saying virgins in the Bible are a “perversion of the heavenly mandate” they are not.

    But its not the words recorded by man in an old book that grants Humanity their right to cannabis, but the 12,000 – 25,0000 year history we have shared to with the plant. Prohibition of cannabis is a perversion of humanity’s natural indigenous relationship with the plants of the earth. There is no doubt that man wrote the religious texts of the world, but no matter what God you believe in, you had better believe that God created cannabis. Texts like the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, Exodus 30:23 etc., are but evidence of that long and important history we have shared with hemp, the most sacred of all plants.

  594. Anonymous on

    BOY! do you have it ALL WRONG!! weed the gift didnt comt from India or Asia it came from the NEW WORLD ?? but you will never know this your kind burned most of the books, maybe we should burn yours?? But weed never started in India it started here whiteman, what the hell do you know about world history other than the one your kind MADE UP?? and why are you writing this lie of a book, MONEY! thats all but those who know, will not let you keep lying about what you europeans claim to have brought here?? we say this NICE TRY, BUT ITS STILL BULLSHIT!! european bullshit, but still bullshit!!

  595. Chris Bennett on

    Well my morning hemp nut smoothie, with hemp nut I bought at a grocery store, the hemp clothes I am wearing, and the hemp paper I have on my desk, all say you are wrong. Hemp is being used for all sorts of products, the hemp industry is a growing one, and as Humanity seeks greener industries, hemp will be there to offer her solutions.

    What do you have to offer the world besides your bummer trip and attacks on a dying hero like Jack Herer?

  596. Anonymous on

    “…green seed yielding herb..blessed and called good…”

    even hippies know that the cannabis that is to be smoked is grown without seeds, therefore : a perversion of the heavenly mandate

  597. Anonymous on

    the idea is to convince everybody else- not just you
    & not just me, and I suggest you do better than post someone else links..those are excuses, not evidence

    Jack Herer will be remembered as the super stoner who made up a lot of stuff, knitted a conspiracy that, basically, didn’t matter, and in the end failed to bring hemp into American agriculture. The American hemp movement is farther away from its goal now, in 2010 than it has ever been in 20 years. At least 10 years ago Jesse Ventura listened, now he doesn’t Your smigeon of evidence above is exceptionally heavy on opinion and discredibly light on apply-able insight.

    75 years down- 10,000 to go

  598. Dan-o on

    patent number 6,630,507 states unequivocally that cannabinoids are useful in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases including auto-immune disorders, stroke, trauma, Parkinson’s, Alzeheimer’s and HIV dementia. The patent, awarded in 2003, is based on research done by the National Institute of Health, and is assigned to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

  599. heide on

    genesis 1 vrs 9

    green seed yielding herb..blessed and called good…… of the greatest gifts the gods ever gave to humankind… hiding behind anonymous..are a blasphemer…

  600. Bradson on

    Chris — What’s your take on why none of the traditional artwork, at least none shown in your post, depict the cannabis plant? Other plants are rendered in beautiful detail, but the distinctive cannabis leaf is missing.

    I see what might be a bowl of buds next to a skull beneath one figure, but it could be anything.

  601. Anonymous on

    Hey Mr. Anonymous have you ever heard of the nutritous hemp seed?

    Hemp for paper?


    ” Tashkin speculates that perhaps the THC chemical in marijuana smoke prompts aging cells to die before becoming cancerous.”



    Pots just alla round good
    Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects, (JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION, Volume 115, Issue 11, November 1, 2005)

    In a recent news story Expert Testifies Cannabis Helps Slow Aging’, Dr. Robert Melamede, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs biology professor, and former head of the UCCS biology department stated that:

    “You can look at the harm caused by free radicals as biological friction or biological rust and the endocannabinoid system minimizes the impact of that and directly acts as an antioxidant as well as modifying the biochemistry in a way that minimizes the impacts,” said Melamede outside court Thursday, likening endocannabinoids to humans like oil is to cars. He said if you don’t have lubrication in your car, your car breaks. In the human body, the damage comes in the form of age-related diseases.

    “I’m saying what science has now shown is that marijuana and cannabinoids are effective anti-aging agents which means that they are effective in minimizing the onset and the severity of age-related illnesses which include cognitive dysfunction things like Alzheimers, cardiovascular disease, be it heart attacks, strokes, or clogged arteries,” he said. (Newham, 2008)

    As another recent news story recorded of cannabis’ potential rejuvenating qualities:
    Marijuana may live up to be “the elixir of life” for brain cells

    A study by University of Saskatchewan researchers suggests beneficial aspects of smoking marijuana at least among rats, who appear to have sprouted new brain cells and besides benefiting from reduced depression and anxiety. The study’s results appearing in the ‘Journal of Clinical Investigation’ have actually given a fillip to the traditional and mythological view that associates the addictive weed in some ways with immortality.

    The Canadian researchers led by Xia Zhang, suggested that the illicit substance marijuana actually may promote new brain cells in region of the brain called the hippocampus that is associated with memory. They concluded that marijuana was possibly “the only illicit drug whose capacity to produce increased neurons is positively correlated with its (anti-anxiety) and anti-depressant-like effects”.

    For the study, the researchers injected laboratory rats two times everyday for 10 days with HU210, a synthetic cannabinoid chemical (obtained from marijuana) and evaluated them against a normal group. The rats that underwent the HU210 injections developed new nerve cells in the brain’s hippocampus dentate gyrus region of the brain that facilitates memory development. The injections also appeared to counter depression and anxiety, but could not be held as 100 percent akin to smoking marijuana, which the researchers felt would require additional studies.

    Zhang suggested that the study did indicate that marijuana could have its medical uses particularly “for the treatment of anxiety and depression”. But these results are unlikely to buy the favor with the US administration or the possibility of legalization on medical grounds. In fact only recently the US Supreme Court ruled against marijuana growth or possession for medical reasons.

    Unlike most addictive drugs that are known to inhibit the development of new neurons, causing loss of memory and impairing learning on chronic use, it appears that marijuana or ganja may actually be the mythological “elixir of eternal life” that Indian gods churned from the oceans. A sharp contrast from ordinary addictive substances, the researchers suggested that marijuana’s neurogenetic properties may actually be unique given that the rats showed some correlation between their cannabinoid treatments, the increased nerve genesis and their altered stress or anxiety levels.

    Marijuana that has traditionally been used by many cultures over centuries “for medical and recreational purpose”, as the researchers suggest appears to be able to modulate pain, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, stroke, cerebral trauma and variety of other disorders both for humans and animals alike. But it maybe several more studies before the mysterious benefits of marijuana that currently stand shrouded in tradition and mythology, become accepted by the modern scientific world. (Ravi, Chopra, Earthtimes, Oct. 15, 2005)

    and that is just a smidgen….

    One thing about Jack Herer is he will always be remembered as a somebody. but you Mr. Anonymous, what will you be remembered for?

  602. Anonymous on

    world hunger? people will eat the leaves of the tree of life? Maybe you are thinking of popeye- world hunger VS Industrial hemp? hunger seems to be winning,and Bigtime

    Deforestation? hemp will not replace lumber- how will holy pot leaves resolve petro chemical toxidity..

    the diseases you list-cancer, glaucoma, HIV, MS- are nothealed by any tree of life- perhaps bring on sleep ( narcos _ and the munchies, but not demonstratably cure.heal *& healing is the prophesy, not just induce intoxication so one forgets they are sick..

    maybe slow down before you answer with such sketchy conjectures Mr B
    you don’t want to end up like > Jack Herer,
    science fiction writer to the 420 stars since 1990
    hero of the stoners, joke to everybody else

  603. Chris Bennett on

    You mean you haven’t heard of things like Cancer, Glaucoma, HIV, MS etc. that cananbis is used for? How about deforestation, the pollution of the petroleum industry, the poisons of the cotton crops, and world hunger vs industrial hemp? Is that enough healing for you?

  604. Anonymous on

    What is so wrong that requires so much healing ?
    where did the pot God go Chris, to Vancouver ?

  605. Chris Bennett on

    Those Christian folks have just been reading and talking about the keneh bosem Christian experience of 2000 years ago, once the herb dissapeared so did God. Capeche?

    Drug free faith is the dead stale religion of today’s Christianity, no miracles, no new word from God, just some words on paper and some unhappy Patriarchal old men.

    Keneh bosem is going to change that. There is more healing power in cannabis than all the Churches of the world. “The Leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” Make way for the Tree of Life!

  606. Anonymous on

    and did you know that the most populous regious belief system in the world is …Christianity,, and them pesky Christians manage to celebrate the virgin birth of the Son of God for over 2000 years without having to rely on Kanna bosum flavoured anointment to find spiritual meaning in the same world we all walk around on.. wowser Chris we can arrange to have a dreadlock Jehovah Winesses visit you, for Bible study.. nobody is trying to convert you, but maybe just point out the massive non pot chapters in the Bible..

    Whatever holy dope ” some ” priests ” may” have used, the billions of common people of naked faith didn’t get any
    tokes.. imagine that…. drug free faith…