Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Incense and Marijuana: Sacred, Not Profane, Cultural Cognates

In certain devotional spaces in India and other parts of Asia devotees light incense and smoke charas (hashish) in devotion to Mahadeva, Great God.  In hippie circles in the forest or desert or mountaintops high, living rooms or rooftops, hippies and other sorts light incense and smoke marijuana ("zakrazana" according to the Cologne Online Digital Sanskrit Lexicon) or hash--the incense as oft burned with intention of averting attention of "authorities" as for devotional or spiritual ends.  I would nonetheless contend that those modern American countercultural scenes--or at least scenes of dissent--are more akin to sessions of sadhus cirleing to smoke chillums than by mere susurface sheen. 

Indeed throughout the discourse of American culture 'tis clear are writ subtle and sometimes quite overt correlations to the worlds most abiding religious tradition, woven in a way betray more than traces of a well p;otted poeti maintianing strands of connection between India and America.

"Hooray!!  Hoorah!!"

Hari-Hara, Vishnu and Shiva in One Body, sharing split sides of the same form.

As noted above, the word marijuana sounds oddly like zakrazana, the Sanskrit word for the same psychotropic plant.

I must wonder precisely how such similarities manifest, whether transmitted or emanated or simply by dispersion of culture via movements of peoples and trade exchanges.  I more than tend to believe that these too similar to be mere coincidence  nigh linguistic or cultural cognates manifest means minds of people in different parts of the globe must be connected, that the stories are intertwined throughout the whole of all countries and language and culture and religion.

Even might be said there are trans-cultural dharmic didactic modes writ into the fabric of everything from pop culture to seeming colloquial sayings to any number of other facets of institutions of culture, dharma writ into every corner of life lived, analogies and reminders of the root or "parent" religio-cultural discourse and milieu to be discovered in the most unlikely facets of the melting pot that is American.  Even in a society that generally denies or ignores the fact its own language largely derives from a tongue still utilized in the ancient temples of India, sanAtana dharma is writ even in everyday life in the modern USA--and I would contend virtually every corner of the globe.  A Divine Scripture thus writ in and between the lines of the seeming mundane.