Vrindavan, 2017.01.03 (VT) During winter, Vrindavan’s Thakurjis are fed special prasad, including ghee-drenched-khichri and, at Radha Ballabh Temple, bhang, a ganja laced milk. Visitors to the temple yesterday received khichry prasad as well as small samples of the ganja milk.
Ganja is usually associated with Lord Shiva, who is said to have taken it as medicine after ingesting the poison from the churning of the ocean. Hence, the herb is sacred to Lord Shiva and is sometimes used during the Shivaratri festival.
The use of bhang in Krishna temples is less common, however, priests can offer what they imagine that Thakurji would like. Sri Radhavinod from Tarash Mandir, near Ramakrishna Mission hospital, Vrindavan have a hookah offered to them because several sants have been witness to their enjoyment of the offering.
In a lila described in Dr. OBL Kapoor’s The Saints of Vraj, Jagadbandhu Prabhu says to Banamali Ray, “Today let us enjoy the hookah-smoking lila of Lilamay (the playful Lord). See, Vinod Ji is smoking. Listen to the hubble-bubble of the hookah.” Both the sants heard the sound of the water in the hookah, proving once and for all that Thakurji smokes it.
Shyama Gopal, a frequent visitor of Radha Ballabh temple said, “Just as Krishna is an adorable thief, if he drinks bhang lassi, that is also adorable. Whatever we do, the power to do it came from Sri Krishna, so, to fulfil the desire of devotees, Thakurji also takes intoxicating substances. I don’t take bhang, but, Thakurji cares about everyone, so, if that’s what people want to do, He shows them – look, I am the Lord of your favourite pastime.”
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