Drugs and alcohol

There is a variety of attitudes to the consumption of alcohol and other drugs. For many Hindus all intoxicants should be avoided as they both cloud the mind and impair moral judgment. A few states in India are ‘dry,’ forbidding the sale of alcohol. Others may take the view that moderate consumption is acceptable. The god Shiva is sometimes associated with smoking cannabis, some groups of ascetics use it as an aid to meditation, and alcohol may feature in offerings to some local deities and in tantric rituals. Other Hindus will criticise this, and even argue that the mysterious ‘soma’ of ancient times (see Vedic ritual) was not an intoxicant.

Download the entire essay here

Hindu Worldview Traditions


649.4 KB

Download resource